The UCI announced the election of Czech rider Katerina Nash as the president of its UCI Athletes' Commission. The new group members met on December 2 and 3 at the UCI headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland.
Nash's participation on the Athletes' Commission isn't new. She was elected as the women's representative for cyclo-cross in January at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Bieles, Luxembourg.
"I was already on the Cyclo-cross Athletes' Commission and figured that off-road disciplines could really benefit if one of us runs for the presidency. In the past, the position was help by road racers."
The UCI noted that this year the Athletes' Commission has seen an increase in the representation of cycling's various disciplines. It's made up of 20 members, including the president. There are two representatives, one male and one female, for each discipline: road, track cycling, XCO mountain bike, DHI mountain bike, BMX Racing, BMX Freestyle, para-cycling, cyclo-cross, trials and indoor cycling.
Nash's role as president will run on a four-year term, and she will officially begin her role following the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Valkenburg, Netherlands in February 2018.
"I am very happy to see a woman, and a very capable woman at that, elected by her peers to represent both male and female athletes on the Federation's most important executive body," said new UCI President David Lappartient.
"Throughout her magnificent career, Katerina has inspired many riders with her talent and her always exemplary behaviour. I will be delighted to welcome her on to the UCI Management Committee in the coming weeks."
According to a press release from the UCI, the mission of the UCI Athletes' Commission includes six key factors. First, to present the UCI Management Committee with a wide range of considerations in order to improve the role of athletes in all disciplines. To promote/improve the respect and rights of athletes across all forms of cycling and in all disciplines. To promote ethics and all fair play rules inherent to the practice of cycling at all levels. To provide a direct link with the UCI Management Committee for major events. To inform athletes of the range of professional training available to them during and after their sporting careers. And lastly, to act as ambassadors and role models for all disciplines and at all levels.
"I'm still learning the ins and outs of this position," Nash admitted in light of the seemingly large task at hand. "Essentially, I'll represent all the disciplines under the UCI and work closely with athletes from those disciplines. I'll also attend the management committee meetings that meets three times a year."
During the two days of meetings in Aigle, several topics were discussed. Athletes noted a need to be more involved in meetings throughout the season (to be held at events), the need for more live broadcasting of events and safety concerns.
"It's important that athletes have a voice and I am really pleased to be a link between the UCI and the athletes," Nash said in a press release from the UCI.
"This was already the case as a member of the Cyclo-cross Commission, but as president of the Athletes' Commission, I will be invited to all the most important meetings and be given the opportunity to stand up and be heard. I will be representing all the disciplines, and I am really excited. If you want to change anything, you have to be part of the process."
Nash has spent much of her life as an elite athlete, beginning as a cross-country skier and then becoming a cross-country mountain bike specialist. She has represented her country in five Olympic Games (two Winter and three Summer).
In cyclo-cross, Nash has earned two bronze medals at the UCI Cyclo-cross World Championship (2011 and 2017). In addition, she has earned a silver medal (2016) and two bronze (2010 and 2014) in the team relay at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, as noted on the UCI website.
Nash told Cyclingnews that she will begin her 17th season of racing with Clif Pro Team in 2018. Although she is still at the top of her sport's game, she is dedicated to making time for her new role.
"I'm near the end of my career, and it is good to focus on something else."