UCI President visits Baku
The President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Brian Cookson visited the capital of Azerbaijan, Baku, for the inaugural European Games, the multi-sport event of the European Olympic Committees (EOC).
On Friday 12th June, Brian Cookson met with Fazil Mammadov, President of the Cycling Federation of Azerbaijan, Sahib Alakbarov, the Federation’s Vice-president and Fahrad Aliyev, Secretary General. Topics of discussion included the UCI Europe Tour event the Tour d’Azerbaijan, the development of cycling throughout the country, and the Federation’s bid to host the 2018 UCI BMX World Championships.
Before attending the Opening Ceremony of the Baku 2015 European Games, Mr Cookson met with Timothy Fok, International Olympic Committee (IOC) Member, President of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong and Vice-President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA), to discuss the Hong-Kong round of the 2015-2016 UCI Track Cycling World Cup, the Tour of Nansha to be held in November in China and more broadly the potential for cycling to grow as a sport in China.
On his last day in Baku, Mr Cookson attended the European Games’ mountain bike events, accompanied by the President of the EOC Patrick Hickey, Azerbaijan Sports Minister Azad Rahimov and UCI Management Committee members Renato Di Rocco, Emin Müftüoglu and Tom van Damme. Switzerland dominated the men’s and women’s Olympic cross-country events, taking home five of the six medals up for grabs (with Jolanda Neff for women and Nino Schurter for men taking gold). Third in the women’s race, Polish rider Maja Wloszczowska prevented the Swiss making a clean sweep of the medals.
Commenting on Jolanda Neff’s victory, Patrick Hickey said he was “very impressed that the UCI World Champion has now become European Champion. It shows the quality of the athletes. She’s making history, big time.”
“The UCI is very happy to support these European Games,” said Brian Cookson.
“I am delighted that Europe now has a multi-sports event of this calibre, which will be held every four years, the year before the Summer Olympic Games. Similar events already exist on other continents, notably the All-Africa Games, the Asian Games and the Pan-American Games. Now we have got it we can only get better. This is an absolutely brilliant start with an extremely high level of organisation, great commitment from the National Federation, National Olympic Committee and Organising Committee. The government here has done a great job.”
After the men’s and women’s mountain bike races, cycling will feature again in Baku with the road time trials on June 18, the women’s road race on June 20 and the men’s road race on June 21. The BMX Finals on June 28 will bring the curtain down on the 2015 European Games, taking place just a few hours before the closing ceremony.