Men and women from across the world recently completed their Sport Directors course at the the UCI World Cycling Centre (WCC) in Aigle in Switzerland. For the second year running, women were offered scholarships in an attempt made by the UCI to increase the number of qualified female Sports Directors.
Participants completed three and a half or eight days of learning (depending upon experience) to prepare them for the final exam which is a compulsory qualification for anyone wanting to be a Sports Director for a UCI WorldTour team.
Topics covered ranged from team audits, to the sporting control of road races, anti-doping, equipment, leadership and driving in races.
After reports emerged last month that a young British rider was denied food and water by her Director Sportif, it's good to hear that this training happens and that women are being encouraged to take part.
Among the eight women to receive a scholarship from the UCI WCC was multiple Scottish title holder and Commonwealth Games medalist, Charline Joiner. The ever effervescent Joiner retired from Elite cycling recently, having decided to move on and search for new challenges.
The Scot, who coaches under the company name 'Dynamique Fitness’, said: “I have been under good Sport Directors and bad ones so I know how important the job is."
Joiner is busy coaching and working as a personal trainer, but has ambitions to start and direct a women’s team in the future:“My dream is to start a women’s team or help a team grow. I don’t want to jump into anything prematurely but by 2018 I would like to direct a team."
Talking about the training course, she said: “This course has been amazing. We have learned so much, even things that as riders we didn’t know. It’s a lot of information and I don’t think I have ever been so tired, even riding a stage race! But it is all so important. It’s a question of making people more aware of the rules and regulations. We are the new generation of Sport Directors who will be able to say, ‘well no, actually you cannot do that’."
The course isn’t only for ex-athletes, one of the other women taking part was Ana Vivas, of Colombia. Vivas doesn't have a cycling background but works at the Federación Colombiana de Ciclismo and is the federation’s contact for the UCI.
She commented: “In Colombia the cyclists are getting better and better, so we should get better too. I work with the future, and I work with people’s dreams so I need to be the best possible person I can."
She added: “I am not a sports person but more of a book person. I know the regulations very well but I have a lot to learn from other people on this course who have so many stories to tell of their racing careers. It is amazing when you think about it. We have all come here (to the UCI World Cycling Centre) from the world over because of cycling. You could say that cycling is the new future of humanity!"