Brian Cookson is in favour of including cyclocross in the Winter Olympics, the new International Cycling Union (UCI) president told an assembly of the Belgian Cycling Federation (KBWB/RLVB) this weekend. With road, track, mountainbike and now BMX all included in the Summer Olympic schedule, cyclocross remains the only major cycling discipline that does not feature in the games.
“I’m a fan of cyclocross; beer, frites and mayonnaise,” he laughed. “And Sven Nys is a incredible athlete.”
Unfortunately for the possible inclusion of the discipline in the Winter Games, rule six, section two, of the Olympic charter states that “only those sports which are practised on snow or ice are considered as winter sports.”
While some races in the depths of winter take place on snow, the sport itself is generally run over grass, sand and dirt, which means that it doesn’t currently qualify.
“Cyclocross as a discipline in the Winter Games is currently impossible because it is not practiced on snow or ice, but perhaps the IOC will review that rule sometime,” Cookson stated hopefully. “They are missing something at present. For instance, cross-country running could be added to the [track and field] athletics programme.”
In addition to his support of cyclocross, Cookson also sought to reassure the Belgian Federation over the proposed reforms to the top level of cycling that were leaked at the end of October. With the UCI seeking to globalise, many established European events see their days cut in the proposed 2020 calendar, as the overlapping of major races is also virtually eradicated.
“Belgium will always remain part of the legacy of cycling,” Cookson said. “Nothing will ever replace those Classics. What we need to do is work around these monuments. The Tour of Flanders, Gent-Wevelgem, these are all great races.”
- Mike Plant appointed president of UCI Cyclocross Commission by Brian Cookson (velonation.com)
- Addendum to Cookson’s thoughts on parity (mcquaidvscookson.wordpress.com)
- Armitstead lashes out at Cookson (mcquaidvscookson.wordpress.com)