The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the international governing body for the sport of cycling plays a pivotal role in the cycling world. Based in Switzerland, the organisation is tasked with overseeing world championships across various disciplines including road, mountain bike, track, and cyclocross. It also sanctions all major international competitions and maintains points rankings for the disciplines throughout the season, among other responsibilities.
Dubbed ‘The Hell of the North’ and ‘The Queen of the Classics’, the Paris-Roubaix race, first held in 1896, is said to be the most challenging one-day road race globally. Starting from Compiègne, just north of Paris, and concluding in Roubaix in northern France, the race features numerous cobblestone sectors in the latter half of its approximate 280km distance. These pavé sectors are largely considered to be the making or breaking point for many competitors’ races. The Tour of Flanders is another prestigious event that seems to be entrenched in the fabric of cycling history. While specific details about the race were not provided, it is implied to hold a significant place in the cycling calendar, akin to the Paris-Roubaix.
The 2020 edition of Paris Roubaix took place in the autumn and ever since there have been calls for the major race to find itself moved to Autumn to give us more wet hardcore editions. The UCI probably won’t take steps to move the race but they are looking to reassess the current calendar to find the best spots for all of the current races.
In the women’s calendar in particular there is a lot of intense periods and then big gaps, particularly late on in the season. There’s the early season, the spring classics, Spain Month, the Giro/Tour de France Femmes combination and most of the other races bar the World Championships don’t quite take on the same importance as the teams start to wind down. The UCI will look to address this and make sure that whoever possible, major races don’t clash.
With cycling’s intricate tapestry of events and governing protocols, it’s clear that the sport is rich with tradition and rigorously structured competition. The UCI’s vital role in maintaining the integrity of this system, and the legendary status of races like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders, are testament to the enduring allure and competitive spirit that cycling continues to inspire.