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The special edition of the UCI Newsletter

28 March 2020
In this special edition of the UCI Newsletter devoted to the new coronavirus (Covid-19), you will find a reminder of the various measures taken and announced by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) in response to the current health situation.

 As the world governing body of cycling, the UCI places the safety of athletes and all those involved in cycling as a top priority and calls for solidarity and participation in the measures by all members of the cycling community: athletes, teams, organisers, partners, media, volunteers and the public. We all have a role to play in overcoming the pandemic and must work together to best prepare for the resumption of the cycling season, which we all hope will in the very near future.

Measures taken by the UCI for all cycling disciplines 
Faced with the accelerated spread of the coronavirus and the restrictive measures taken by a number of countries within Europe and beyond, prohibiting gatherings and movement of people, the UCI has, in the past few weeks, put in place a series of strong measures with the aim of ensuring the maximum protection of health of all those involved in cycling events, and sporting equity between participants.
The measures taken are as follows:

  • The safety of athletes being a priority mission of the UCI, organisers have been expressly requested to cancel any cycling event on the UCI International Calendar in territories identified at risk by the WHO.
  • Suspension of all classifications for all events on the UCI International Calendar, across all disciplines, at least until 30 April 2020, to ensure sporting equity between athletes.
  • No events on the men and women’s UCI International Road Calendar will be held at least until the end of April. In view of resuming the cycling season, priority will be given to events on the calendar at the date of the resumption and, with regards to the men’s calendar, depending on the space available and taking into consideration the possibility of overlapping, to the three Grands Tours and cycling’s Monuments.
  • Possible extension of the men and women’s road season to until 1 November 2020.
  • For the postponement of events in all disciplines other than road, once the season resumes, priority will be given in order to the UCI World Championships, UCI World Cups, Continental Championships, National Championships and then events on the UCI International Calendar.
  • Closure of the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) buildings, which house the International Federation’s headquarters.  A business continuity plan was put in place by activating home office work for the 120 staff members working for the UCI and the UCI WCC.
  • Repatriation of the UCI WCC athletes to their respective countries and families in compliance with public health rules related to international travel and movement.

It is important to note that as the situation is constantly evolving. In order to facilitate the monitoring of the calendar and to have a clear picture of the main UCI events (UCI World Championships and UCI World Cups), and the UCI WorldTour and UCI Women's WorldTour events, lists of the races affected are now available on the UCI website. These will be updated daily and will soon be extended to include all UCI International Calendar events postponed or cancelled.

Furthermore, the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, and the Japanese Prime Minister, Abe Shinzo, announced that the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games should be rescheduled after 2020, but no later than the summer of 2021, in order to safeguard the health of the athletes, all those involved in the preparation of the Olympic Games and members of the international community. The UCI welcomes this decision and remains in close contact with the IOC to adjust its qualification process to the decisions taken concerning the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Please note that the test events for BMX Freestyle and Track have also been postponed.

In the meantime, the UCI will remain in regular contact with the National Federations and all its stakeholders via this special newsletter, which will provide updates on the latest developments where useful.

Update on the COVID-19 pandemic 

We are all living in very difficult times, marked by uncertainty, doubt, anxiety, fear, and feelings of helplessness. This specific period we are going through has given a certain perspective on the organization of our societies, our health systems, and on the various strategies put in place to contain the spread of the virus.

Certain traits have now been ascertained and confirmed as the weeks go by, among other things:

  • the transmission of the virus, which is essentially human-to-human, or more rarely via contaminated surfaces.
  • the very high rate of transmission of the virus; it is estimated that a person carrying the virus transmits it to an average of 2.3 people.
  • the very low prevalence of the disease among young people (just 1.5% of cases are under 20 years of age, and 8% between 20 and 29), and the high mortality among the elderly.
  • the incubation period, which does not appear to have changed; this is the period between the entry of the virus into the body from the appearance of the first clinical signs. It varies from 1 to 14 days, with an average of around 5 days.
  • the severity of the virus, which remains largely unchanged from the initial data to come out of China. It is estimated that 81% of those who contract the virus will have a mild to moderate case, 14% will have a clinical form requiring hospitalization, and 5% will have a critical form with respiratory distress syndrome. An average of 2% of patients will die. Most people for whom the virus proves fatal are elderly, frail, and/or suffering from chronic underlying medical conditions (diabetes, heart failure, respiratory, etc.).
Currently the most effective strategy to combat SARS-CoV-2 is still the raft of individual measures that can be used to prevent direct contamination. These include:
  • hand washing; this means of prevention may seem minor, but it is extremely effective when it comes to avoiding contamination. A number of simple rules should be followed, such as the use of hot water, soap, carefully washing between your fingers and cleaning for at least 20 to 30 seconds.
  • social distancing; the aim is slowing the spread of the disease by keeping individuals a safe distance apart. It is also a recommendation, which is now becoming a requirement in some countries, often used as a last resort when no other measures are available. This should not be the case, as social distancing is extremely effective. The use of dynamic models that are perfectly valid in epidemiology has perfectly shown the limits of a total and forced quarantine; it turns out that it is almost impossible to completely separate the infected from the healthy population, and such a measure only slows down the spread of the disease. The measures to reduce public gatherings, strong stay-at-home messages, and minimising interactions with others, in other words: social distancing, appear more effective and realistic than authoritarian confinement at home. Maintaining an external activity for a part of the population (1/6 to 1/8), accompanied by a strict strategy of social distancing seems to be the most effective strategy for reducing the peak of the epidemic.

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