UCI President Brian Cookson made an appearance at the Tour de France on stage 16 of the race, mixing with riders and journalists before calling for calm and responsible behaviour over a number of aspects that have hit the race.
“It’s important that I’m here to give my support for riders, the teams and the race organisation. Once again we’re seeing an incredibly exciting Tour de France. Yes, there’s been bits of controversy but we’ve seen a great race and it’s wonderful to see so many happy people alongside the roads and enjoying the spectacle,” Cookson told Cyclingnews in Bourg de Peage.
The race has seen a number of talking points in recent days with the maillot jaune Chris Froome alleging that a spectator threw urine over him during stage 14. Froome has also had to face repeated questions over his performances.
“There are a few silly people doing irresponsible things. I don’t like to see that. I don’t like to see people running alongside riders and shouting in their ears. I don’t like to see people standing in front and waving their flags and moving out of the way at the last possible moment. Anything more than that is even more irresponsible. I’m calling for people to respect the riders.”
While Froome has defended himself in the face of questions over his dominance, several figures including his team boss Dave Brailsford and former Tour winner Greg LeMond called for power data to be incorporated in the biological passport data in the hope that it would provide analysts with more complete tools and information to work with.
“We’re looking at all of those issues. I think it’s wrong to make any kneejerk reactions,” Cookson told Cyclingnews.
“I don’t particularly want to comment on any individual rider or any individual team as my job isn’t to defend or represent any rider or team, it’s to defend the sport as a whole. That’s what I think that we’re doing and we’ll keep doing that as best as we can.”
Cookson went on to stress his view that the UCI is leading the fight against doping in the sport.
“We have the best anti-doping activity of any professional sport anywhere in the world and we’re running it with independence and integrity. That’s not just down to me, it’s down to WADA, the CADF, the work that’s going on here at this race with the AFLD. I’m very confident and very happy with that.”
Cookson is also at the Tour de France with no confirmed plans over the UCI’s future reforms of the sport. ASO are currently discussing several of the reforms that the UCI proposed this year but Cookson is confident that consenus can be reached.
“We’re still working on the reforms. There’s still some detail to finalise but we’re close to a solution and I’m confident that we’ll find one that keeps everyone happy.
"The processes that we’re going through were designed to achieve consensus and I’m confident that we’ll achieve that.”