The UCI has been getting a lot of bad publicity over its handling of the ‘Approved by UCI’ labelling system. When BikeBiz revealed the UCI’s plans had been shelved – even if the plans will be revised and will return – the story was ‘retweeted’ 54 times, including from some big-hitter names such as journalist William Fotheringham. @sc_cycling said: "And so, the UCI’s busy hands are slapped away from the bra strap of the cycling industry."
Following yesterday’s story on BikeBiz – ‘Approved by UCI’ labels suspended following industry backlash – Marius Widmer, Communication & Marketing Manager for the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry got in touch to say "some points are not really accurate."
The WFSGI of Switzerland is the member organisation which took over from GOCEM, the bike industry organisation that aimed to open a dialogue with the UCI.
The WFSGI press statement is run in full below. BikeBiz has informed WFSGI that the feedback it has received privately is far more caustic than might have been received by the UCI or WFSGI. One industry source told BikeBiz the meeting in Switzerland was "uncomfortable". Others have said they hoped the UCI’s withdrawal of the labelling programme would lead to a massive overhaul and that the UCI should have consulted with more companies before releasing its plans.
The International Cycling Union (UCI) has invited the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) and its member brands and guest brands for a meeting in Aigle and Lausanne, Switzerland on January 13 and 14, 2011.
No less than 33 bicycle brands and manufacturers joined the meeting, namely 3T Cycling, Advanced Sports, AeroDesign, Are-n-Dee, Argon 18, Bianchi, BMC, Boardman Bikes, Canyon Bicycles GmbH, Cervelo, CORIMA S.A., Derby Cycle, DT Swiss, Eddy Merckx Cycles, Enve Composites LLC, Euro Compositi, Felt Bicycles, Giant, KOGA, Look Cycle, Merida Europe GmbH, Neilpryde Bikes , Pinarello, Ridley Bikes, Rotorbike, SCOTT SPORTS SA, Shimano, Simplon Fahrrad GmbH, Skins, Specialized Bicycle Components, SRAM, TrekBikes and Wilier Trestina.
Successful start – open points remain
WFSGI Secretary General Robbert de Kock said afterwards: “The meeting was very successful even when we have not been able to solve all points that have been brought to the table yet. The discussion was very open and questions have been put forward and drawings have been exchanged where after the UCI asked for a few weeks to come back.”
Mr. de Kock is also glad about the evolution of communication between UCI and the industry.
“This is an absolute positive development as before there was no real exchange between the UCI and the industry other than on occasional, individual basis. Several supporting documents have been supplied to the UCI for further internal discussion and a letter from the UCI this week showed that our comments are taken very serious and will be further evaluated”.
UCI wants bikes to be conform with its rules
In his speech to the industry UCI President Pat McQuaid stressed the need to advance.
“The rules used to have a more philosophical approach that needed to be explained in a more technical, engineering way. UCI searches the support for testing with EPFL [Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne] and Professor Manson. It is more comfortable to know that a bike is conform.”
Until today, the UCI did not have a controlling procedure other then the commissioners at the races. During the last two years more and more equipment became an issue at races, which led to create a homologation of bikes.
Philippe Chevallier, Sport & Technical Director at UCI, said: "The rules were put into place on January 1, 2000 and have been unchanged until today. In Beijing 2008 we saw that two third of the bikes were not conform. That is why in 2009 we started to look for a solution to create a level playing field and started to talk to Professor Manson.”
Dirk Bruynseraede, Chief Information Officer at N.V. Race Productions/Ridley Bikes was also in Switzerland and stated after the meeting: “It is a good thing that UCI is taking steps to make things more clear. It will be a challenge for manufacturers to adapt to a new system."