FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany - In July, it was reported that UCI president Pat McQuaid (photo) said high-end pro-level carbon-frame bicycles were potentially "unsafe" and were made in China for "30 or 40 US dollar a piece."
Soon after the story went online, the UCI received a forthright letter from Robbert de Kock, secretary general of the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI).
Revealing he had sent the letter in July, Kock said at last week’s Eurobike that McQuaid’s comments were "unproductive". He added : "It’s a shame for people in our industry, who work very hard, when they are accused of doing such things which are far from reality."
The letter to McQuaid said: “You can imagine that our members were quite surprised by the interview you gave to some journalists at the homologation presentation in Aigle a couple of days ago. Your statement that the industry is manufacturing low quality racing bicycles and safety is not an issue. These manufacturers work very hard every day to create innovative and safe products."
McQuaid's July comments were made at a trade press meeting held at the UCI’s HQ in Aigle, Switzerland. The meeting was staged to provide journalists with more information on the ‘approved by UCI’ stickering program.
McQuaid had said the bike industry was "turning out thousands of carbon fiber frames, at a cost of maybe 30 or 40 US dollar apiece, and that same bike is ultimately sold as a bike for five or six thousand euro."
Kock said: "The whole issue is about safety at races which the UCI wants to improve. The UCI president’s comments were inappropriate, because they were not true. Safety is the number one priority for bike companies. We want to help the UCI understand the issues. Pat McQuaid gave the impression that we as an industry made a lot of mistakes. Those comments were misplaced. The way the issue was raised was the wrong way."
Kock furthered: “We have offered our services to the UCI. They have reacted to us that after consulting with the teams, they will issue recommendations. These will be discussed at WFSGI Bicycle Technical Committee in September.”