Saying his organisation was used to being a "good punchbag," UCI president Pat McQuaid has defended the decision to create the 'approved by UCI' stickering programme. He was speaking to six journalists on the first day of a two-day presentation held at the governing body's HQ in Aigle, Switzerland.
The press presentation was the idea of Uwe Weissflog of German PR company InMotion mar.com, recently appointed as the UCI's external PR agency for the homologation program.
As well as consumer cycling magazines from Germany and Denmark, the meeting consisted of three trade journalists, including from the USA and Taiwan. BikeBiz.com - which was the first news source to report on the UCI's homologation program - was also present.
The journalists were hosted by Gerrit Middag, the UCI's marketing and events director, and Enrico Carpani, the communications director.
It was revealed at the meeting that the stickering program - which is expected to have a turnover of 1.5m Swiss Francs per year - makes no profit for the UCI.
Some of the costs go on salaries: the UCI has appointed two engineers to liase with bike manufacturers. There are also technical costs - 3D measuring equipment ain't cheap - and fees for the secure upload environment used for submitting technical drawings.
41 bike frames have been put through the stickering programme so far. The homologation process is to certify that frames and forks are compliant with the UCI's technical guidelines, formalised in 1996 and in force since 2000, but erratically policed. The homologation process has nothing to do with safety standards, although the UCI would like to be involved in the administration of such standards, as reported here on BikeBiz.com.
One of the reasons for the haste in installing the programme - details were announced at Eurobike in September and pre-2011 bikes were meant to be compliant by January 1st - was said to be a requirement for cycling to formally submit its tech credentials to the International Olympic Committee well in advance of the Olympic Games to be held in London next year.
Julian Carron, appointed to his post as the UCI's technical co-ordinator in October 2010, confirmed that after the Olympics, the UCI would be drawing up specifications to pre-approve cycle clothing, bicycle helmets and components. Unlike bicycle frames, none of these items would require an obligatory label but would need to be listed on a database accessible to UCI race commissaires.
The UCI anticipates that manufacturers will use the 'approved by UCI' logo on packaging and in marketing materials. Such use of the logo would require a licensing fee to be paid.
The 'approved by UCI' homologation program is aimed at the upper end of cycle sport, said Middag, and will not be used to specify compliant equipment on UCI-organised sportives such as the global Golden Rides.
Julien Carron's PowerPoint presentation is clicky-flicky here.