UCI president Brian Cookson has confirmed that Global Cycling Promotions, the governing body’s race organisation arm, will cease operations following this year’s fourth and final edition of the Tour of Beijing. The Chinese WorldTour race was the sole event set up by GCP since its establishment in 2009.
"Global Cycling Promotions, which is a wholly owned arm of the UCI, will in effect be wound down after the Tour of Beijing this year," Cookson said at the world championships in Ponferrada on Friday. "We don’t see the UCI as being a major promoter of races outside of the world championships and World Cups. Those are the things I think we should concentrate on."
In an interview with Cyclingnews on Thursday, Cookson’s predecessor Pat McQuaid claimed that the Tour of Beijing’s demise had come about as a result of "incompetence at the UCI." Cookson said that GCP’s existence did not tally with his plans for the sport and posed a potential conflict of interests.
"The vision of Global Cycling Promotions that the previous president had is not one that I support and we’re going to do things differently in the future," Cookson said. "Global Cycling Promotions did a good job with the Tour of Beijing but it hadn’t achieved many of its other objectives and frankly I think it was putting us in a position of slight conflict of interests with respect to other organisers and national federations."
Global Cycling Promotions was developed in part as a consequence of the UCI’s stand-off with Tour de France organisers ASO during McQuaid’s first term as president, which led to the withdrawal of the three Grand Tours from the ProTour following the 2007 season.
ASO remains the most powerful race promoter in cycling, organising seven races on the WorldTour calendar and over 100 total days of racing per year, but Cookson said that he was not concerned by its dominance in the sector.
"They are a very successful company who do a great job and it’s natural and normal that we work with them," Cookson said. "Would we like to see diversification and other organisers coming through? Of course we would, but I’m very pleased with the working relationship we have with ASO now, we’re not in conflict with them anymore, as the UCI was a few years."