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Responding to the publication of details of the so-called Velon addendum, a document which the professional rider’s association CPA instructed its members not to sign, Velon CEO Graham Bartlett has described the situation as a misunderstanding.
CyclingTips received a copy of the document this week. It appeared to confirm a Tuttobici report saying that a document was in existence that imposed demands on riders and raised questions about image rights, personal privacy and other matters.
The document, which is detailed here, covers those areas and also others relating to riders’ physical and mental health, their racial and ethnic origin, information relating to any criminal proceeding a rider may have been involved in and more.
It also suggests that teams should have the right to sell such data to third parties, and to distribute this data to the team’s business contacts outside Europe even if countries or territories did not “maintain adequate data protection standards.”
A source told CyclingTips that he considered this document to be unfair and to overstep the line of standard contracts.
However, speaking to CyclingTips on Thursday, Bartlett responded by saying that the document was a misinterpreted piece of advice rather than a binding set of rules.
“There is an underlying misunderstanding here,” he said. “Firstly, Velon works for its member teams, it does not tell those teams what to do, whether it is their rider contracts or anything else. It conducts work on their behalf. This is what has happened here.”
Bartlett, who previously worked with UEFA and Nike before becoming head of the Velon group prior to its launch last November, gave his explanation for the addendum.
“The teams asked Velon to conduct a central piece of advice for them to review this area,” he said. “Velon created this and gave it back to the teams for them to decide if and how they would make any proposed changes with their riders. That is what the “Velon Addendum” was for – research and review for teams to determine if and how they might draw upon it.”
Last week the CPA sent a message to its members on the matter. It said that the document didn’t comply with the UCI’s Joint Agreement and that it considered it to be unacceptable. It advised riders not to sign the addendum.
Bartlett said that since then, Velon had been in contact with both the CPA and the AIGCP, which represents professional teams, in order to clear up any misunderstanding. CyclingTips understands that contact is ongoing.
As regards the points in the addendum and what might be included in rider contacts, Bartlett said that a case by case basis would likely apply.
“There are many different types of riders within a team, [and] contracts may differ. But in every case it is clear that the agreement is finally determined by the team as the employer and the rider as the employee,” he said.
“That relationship is not Velon’s business and it has no standing whatsoever in that relationship. Velon does not tell its teams what to do, let alone any rider.”
Rider agents told CyclingTips this week that they had advised caution to their riders, and that they wanted to get clarification of what exactly teams wanted them to sign.
Bartlett believes the matter has been taken out of context and that, with clarification, it will blow over. He said that the company represents teams and that its motives were clear.
“Velon’s objective is to put the teams at the heart of the economic model of the sport; make them more financially stable,” he stated. “The belief from Velon’s teams is that riders will benefit from that.”
Velon is made up of 11 of the 17 current WorldTour teams. The BMC Racing Team, Etixx – Quick-Step, Lampre – Merida, Lotto Soudal, Orica GreenEdge, Cannondale – Garmin, Team Giant – Alpecin, Team Lotto NL – Jumbo, Team Sky, Tinkoff – Saxo and Trek Factory Racing are all involved.
None of those has publicly commented on the Velon addendum situation.