By Duncan Mackay

Evelyn Stevens_World_Road_Championships_September_2012September 21 - The International Cycling Union (UCI) has signed a new four-year media rights agreement with the Infront Sports & Media agency, which gives them broadcast rights to the sport's annual road, track, mountain bike and BMX World Championships from 2013 to 2016.

The deal also includes the UCI Track Cycling World Cup.

The rights, previously distributed by an in-house team along with the European Broadcasting Union, cover all territories except the United States and Japan.

The Swiss-based company, which is headed up by FIFA president Sepp Blatter's nephew Philippe, is already associated with cycling as it is due to organise and market the Tour de Suisse from 2015. 

UCI President Pat McQuaid is hoping that the new deal will be able to help the sport take advantage of its popularity following London 2012. 

"The UCI is delighted to have this new and dynamic partner which has significant worldwide sales power," he said.

"Infront Sports & Media has a large network worldwide which is totally in line with the UCI's goal to universalise cycling.

"Cycling is going through a boom as seen at the recent London Olympics.

"Our aim is to work together to continue to reinforce the development of cycling across the globe and the draw of our sport as a high appeal television product, which merges tradition and innovation in all disciplines."

Pat McQuaid_in_front_of_UCI_signUCI President Pat McQuaid hopes the new deal with Infront Sports & Media will help cycling continue its development

McQuaid is keen for cycling to remain on free-to-air television, particularly the World Road Cycling Championships, which is worth $9 million (£5.5 million/€7 million) to the UCI each year. 

This year's Championships are currently taking place in Limburg, Holland, with next year's event due to be held in Florence. 

"We are very much looking forward to contributing our comprehensive expertise in media rights distribution to further strengthen the international coverage of the prestigious UCI World Championship events," said Blatter.

"Our dedicated team shares the UCI vision to strengthen the public positioning of its various properties – in both the well-established and the growing disciplines – and to ensure access for the broadest possible cycling fan base around the globe."

In the longer term, the UCI and Infront Sports & Media plan to collaborate also in other areas, including the centralised media production, sponsorship distribution and the introduction of new technologies, such as such as digital media solutions.

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