The UCI has appointed Professor Xavier Bigard as medical director.
Professor Bigard is an internationally renowned professor of sports medicine. He has written several books and contributed to eminent scientific publications, and until 2017 was president of the French Society of Sports and Exercise Medicine.
As a health researcher for the armed forces – a position he occupied until 2013 – his work focused on the physiology of exercise, muscular physiology and biology, the biological mechanisms of muscular degeneration and regeneration, tolerance to physical training, human nutrition, and the nutrition of an active athlete.
Professor Bigard is currently scientific consultant to the president of the French Anti-Doping Agency, specialist and consultant to the Ministries of Health and Sport for promoting healthy physical activity, associate researcher at the French National Institute of Sport, Expertise and Performance, and lecturer at several French universities. He was recently admitted to the French National Academy of Medicine. He will join the UCI on June 1st this year.
As UCI medical director, professor Bigard's main missions will be to create a medical policy that corresponds to athletes, implement and coordinate medical supervision imposed on elite licence-holders and professionals, set up a medical service to operate during competitions, and lead medical research and studies into the harmful health effects of products, methods, conditions of exercise and aids used.
UCI President David Lappartient welcomed his imminent arrival commenting: "Implementing independent medical supervision was a key component of the manifesto on which I was elected UCI President six months ago. Welcoming Professor Bigard to our Federation is a strong indication of our commitment to guaranteeing the health of our athletes, but also to assessing the consequences of taking certain substances, legal or otherwise."
Professor Bigard added: "Keeping elite athletes healthy is one of the key aims of any sports doctor, and I am very proud to be lending my knowledge and expertise to cycling and to an International Federation as prestigious as the UCI. I look forward to investing all my energy and knowhow into this opportunity to develop a preventative medical policy.”