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The UCI today announced that Marianne Vos, Iris Slappendel and Anna Meares are among the 13 athletes elected to the new UCI Athletes Commission.
The Athletes Commission aims to improve the training and competition conditions for athletes; ensure that riders are heard by the UCI administration; and reinforce the links between current or recently-retired athletes and the UCI.
“I am honoured to be part of the new Athletes Commission,” said Vos. “In recent years, we have noticed that it’s very good to create a bridge between the UCI and the peloton. That way we can communicate directly and more riders are involved in what’s implemented. The athletes in the committee are designated spokespeople to collaborate with the UCI to bring bright future to our sport.”
For the first time, the commission members were elected directly by their peers. The commission members represent four continents, nine countries and, between them, have 40 UCI World Championship titles and four Olympic gold medals.
Vos will defend the interests of the cyclocross racers while Slappendel, together with Dutchman Bobbie Taksel, will represent the road riders. Meares meanwhile is joined by Frenchman Kevin Sireau to represent the interest of track racers.
“It’s is certainly nice to be chosen by colleagues. It’s a big responsibility but also an honour,” said Slappendel. “The committee is important for the communication between riders and the UCI — something where there is still a lot of room for adjustment.”
The 13 members will serve until mid 2017, at which time another election will be held.
The commission represents all eight UCI-recognized disciplines of cycling including road, cyclo-cross, mountain bike, track, BMX, para-cycling and the lesser known indoor cycling and trails.
The four Olympic disciplines –road, track, mountain bike and BMX — each have two representatives to ensure gender parity.
The members of the commission will set an agenda during the commission’s first meeting in the fall.
“Exactly which topics we’ll be discussing are yet to be determined,” said Vos. “In cyclocross, highlighted issues include development, internationalization and equality.”
“For me, safety and professionalism of teams and race organizers are high on my agenda. This would require changing the rules and regulations bit by bit,” added Slappendel. “Of course, I represent the peleton as a whole and therefore I welcome input from my colleagues.”
In addition to setting an agenda, the members will also use their first meeting to appoint a President for the Commission. The elected will be co-opted onto the UCI Management Committee, which is the International Federation’s executive body that officiates under the authority of Congress.
“I am very proud of this new step which signifies a significant move forward in the representation of the athletes,” stated UCI President Brian Cookson. “The athletes are the heart of our sport, and it was necessary to give them the place they deserve. This reinvigorated Athletes Commission corresponds with my concept of modern governance founded on dialogue and cooperation between the UCI and cycling’s main players.”