The International Cycling Union (UCI) has granted its Ethics Commission the power to impose sanctions without referring cases to the organisation’s Disciplinary Commission.
The move was taken at the UCI’s latest Management Committee meeting, with the two days held at Olympic House in Lausanne and virtually.
The governing body said the decision to grant full power to the Ethics Commission would reduce the length and complexity of proceedings opened for violations of its Code of Ethics, helping to prevent and sanction all forms of abuse.
The change comes amid criticism of the UCI, after Doltcini-Van Eyck Sport manager Marc Bracke was found to have breached the UCI Code of Ethics last year.
Bracke was however able to continue managing the team this year, due to the Disciplinary Commission still determining sanctions.
The UCI said an obligation for the Ethics Commission to inform complainants was also approved, whereas until now only the parties against whom the proceedings are directed have received procedural rights and information.
The obligation includes providing information concerning the decision and its considerations.
The Ethics Code will also have various measures and sanctions that can be imposed by the Ethics Commission, including provisional sanctions, as well as preventive and/or coercive measures to avoid conflicts of interests and suspended sanctions.
These may be accompanied by educative measures.
The UCI says its new website, which will be launched in September, will include pages dedicated to the protection of athletes and everyone working in cycling.
Pages will contain general awareness information, for example video tutorials provided by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), along with a reporting system to enable anonymous notification of inappropriate conduct.
The UCI added that it will appoint an Integrity and Education Manager by the end of September, who will be in charge of establishing education and awareness courses for all cycling’s families, and managing the reporting system for harassment and abuse.
Their role will aim to complement the UCI’s Ethics Commission.
Thank you to @Olympics President, Thomas Bach for your warm welcome to the IOC Headquarters in Lausanne.— David Lappartient (@DLappartient) May 31, 2021
The UCI will hold its annual set of June meetings here, involving the UCI Management Committee and Professional Cycling Council. pic.twitter.com/M0t8pq2so1
The Commission will pursue breaches of the Ethics Code, while the manager's role will be to ensure that stakeholders are informed of behaviour constituting a breach of the Ethics Code and the applicable sanctions in the case of violation, and that they receive training on the subject.
"It is fundamental for the UCI to ensure the wellbeing of athletes, be it their safety, physical health or mental health," said David Lappartient, UCI President.
"With the strong decisions taken today to fight against all forms of abuse in cycling, through prevention, education and improving procedures, and which come on top of measures already implemented in the domains of safety and health, the UCI has armed itself with effective tools to combat this scourge.
"Inappropriate behaviour has no place in cycling."
Changes have been welcomed by The Cyclists’ Alliance, the unsanctioned association for the women’s professional peloton.
The group said it worked with the UCI and the International Association of Professional Cyclists on changes.
"We are appreciative that the UCI responded to this request and the TCA, together with the UCI and CPA, had two dialogue sessions in which we collectively discussed the current ethics code and recommendations to change this procedure and process," The Cyclists’ Alliance said.
"Not all, but many of the TCA recommendations have been incorporated, or mitigated by the proposed changes and the TCA is of the view that a more equitable process will follow as a result."