The UCI announced Thursday that it has made financial contributions to the women’s teams association UNIO and the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) women's section. The sports governing body also acknowledged that it has officially recognised the two associations following a virtual meeting of the UCI Management Committee from February 2-3.
"Despite the current complicated situation, the well-being of riders remains an important element for the UCI," read the UCI press statement
"In this respect, as part of its on-going strategy for the reinforcement and development of women’s professional cycling, the UCI Management Committee decided to make a financial contribution to the women’s branch of the CPA, the recognised association representing all professional road cyclists. This contribution comes on top of that which had been approved for UNIO, the recognised association representing professional UCI women’s teams."
UNIO launched last February as a new teams' association that aims to safeguard and promote the interest of the women’s teams on an international level. UNIO started with four founding member teams that include Boels Dolmans (SD Worx), Canyon-SRAM, Bigla-Katusha (the now-folded Equipe Paule Ka) and Parkhotel Valkenbug, but Cyclingnews understands that it now currently represents more than 12 teams.
UNIO is the third dedicated women's association launched in the last five years along with riders' associations; CPA Women and The Cyclists' Alliance (TCA).
The CPA, which was launched in 1999 and is currently headed by Gianni Bugno, announced that it had started a women's section in July of 2017, with Alessandra Cappellotto appointed as manager. It had an initial focus on improving business aspects for female racers.
CPA Women, like the CPA, is made up of national riders' associations such as the Association Française des Coureures Cyclistes (AFCC) in France and the Associazione Corridori Ciclisti Professionisti Italiani (ACCPI) in Italy, among others, and includes rider ambassadors from nations that don't have riders' associations.
Retired professional cyclist Iris Slappendel also co-founded TCA – a women's riders' association that has gained notoriety for being the de facto union for women's cycling because of the positive work it's done to develop women's cycling from contract and educational support, career advice, and legal and retirement assistance, and resources related to abuse in the sport; all in support of its growing membership.
CPA Women is the association that has received recognition for being the riders' representatives within the UCI, however, and as such has a seat at the table in some of the meetings concerning important issues in cycling.
"We are grateful to the UCI which, by pursuing its policy of developing women's cycling, has added the CPA Women to the other professional associations that benefit from economic aid," Cappellotto in a press release from the CPA Women.
"Thanks to this contribution, our association will be able to participate with its delegates in a greater number of events and be increasingly in contact with organisers, teams and national federations. Above all, however, I believe that this is the recognition by the UCI of the work that the association does in less developed countries."
The CPA Women also stated that it aims to create new national associations, starting in countries where women's cycling is less developed.
"This is where CPA Women best expresses its social intentions: the growth of women through sport, because sport means integration and emancipation," said Cappellotto in the press release.
"CPA Women represents champions and athletes of every level, talks and collaborates with the major organisers, has meetings with important personalities, but I have no doubt in stating that every ambassador of CPA Women is proud every time we manage to obtain a residence permit for an athlete from an emerging country or when we manage to send useful material to less fortunate colleagues."
The UCI Management Committee stated its intentions to create a transition fund for female riders. The transition fund set up for professional men's cycling was created by the UCI in 2002 before the management of it was transferred to the CPA in 2012. However, it has had an accumulated deficit for several years.
The Management Committee has made a contribution of €400,000 to the transition fund for male professional cyclists and confirmed that it "will work closely with the CPA and provide support to the association to meet future structural challenges linked to the fund and to create a fund for women riders."
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