In this morning’s edition of the CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Vaughters – Tinkov was a victim of his own sword; Vaughters – Tour owner ASO ‘is the big playground bully’; Verbruggen claims UCI won’t strip him of honorary president title and will pay settlement, but Cookson says agreement is null; Novo Nordisk to make its WorldTour stage race debut; Who will make the cut for the 2017 Tour de France?; New South Wales adopts minimum passing distance trial, other measures; CyclingTips expands into the US, merges with BikeExchange; Some serious yarnbombing; Velon’s best of 2015 highlights video.
Vaughters: Tinkov was a victim of his own sword
Cannondale-Garmin boss Jonathan Vaughters has weighed in on his Tinkoff-Saxo counterpart’s planned departure from the sport, suggesting Oleg Tinkov helped contribute to the unsustainable environment he found himself criticising.
“He was putting a lot into the team. I think it was around 60 million [Euros]. No matter how wealthy you are that’s a lot of money to lose as an owner when you don’t have any way of recouping that money in the current way cycling is structured,” Vaughters told Cyclingnews. “Essentially you’re not actually investing the money, you’re donating it. He was effectively donating money to the ‘save the Alberto Contador salary fund’.”
However Vaughters was somewhat sympathetic toward Tinkov and the Russian’s view that pro cycling lacks a sponsorship model that encourages return on investment for teams and sponsors.
“There’s got to be some fundamental changes if we want a more sustainable system. Everyone talks about getting their hands on ASO’s television revenue, however I don’t agree with this. It’s premature. We need to add value to their events, before we dive into their profits. Which we can do! But it will take time.
“In the meantime, if you simply cut a cheque from TV revenues it’s not going to sustain a team. And imagine you get that cheque, so does everyone else, all it would do would be to inflate the salary market of the very few top riders in bidding wars. The money would be burnt through and it wouldn’t add anything to the context of stability.”
Click here to read more at Cyclingnews.
Vaughters: Tour owner ASO ‘is the big playground bully’
In other Jonathan Vaughters news, VeloNews has spoken with the Cannondale-Garmin manager about the ASO’s decision to remove its races (including the Tour de France) from the WorldTour calendar from 2017 onwards.
“ASO is the big playground bully,” Vaughters said. “End of the day, every high-level, highly funded team out there is not going to be able to continue with their high-level sponsors if they’re not in the Tour de France. I think most teams’ sponsorship contracts read along the lines of, ‘If you’re not in the Tour de France, we can terminate the contract.’ That is a very scary prospect.
“[ASO] can simply wipe $20 million and a hundred-something jobs off the map just because they don’t like you,” Vaughters said. “It’s a level of power that is, in essence, a monopoly in the sport. It puts them in a position of extreme unilateral power.”
According to Vaughters, ASO’s move seems designed to disrupt any attempts from commercial group Velon to pull the sport’s top teams together.
“I think ASO is pre-empting those organizations from getting any stronger with this move, forcing everyone back into a subservient position,” he said. “Velon obviously is very strongly unified and I think we speak with one voice. But that is 11 teams. I have spoken with that group, and I think that they understand, I would say we all have the same point of view. I think all of us actually have the intention of sticking together 100 percent. It’s just that sticking together becomes so difficult when basically you’re forced with the choice of stick together or lose your sponsor.”
Click here to read more at VeloNews.
Verbruggen claims UCI won’t strip him of honorary president title and will pay settlement, but Cookson says agreement is null
by Shane Stokes
Tensions between former UCI president Hein Verbruggen and the organisation’s current leader, Brian Cookson, continued to rumble on with conflicting reports about the future of Verbruggen’s role as honorary president.
In the wake of the CIRC report Cookson put pressure on Verbruggen to step down from his position as honorary president, prompting Verbruggen to start a court case against Cookson and the UCI. An article published on Inside the Games this week suggests Verbruggen and Cookson met to arrange a settlement, in which, Verbruggen claims, “Mr. Cookson [renounced] definitively from asking me to resign from my Honorary-Presidency and [agreed] not to mention this question anymore publicly or privately.”
Inside the Games also claimed that the UCI paid Verbruggen 40,000 Euros in the settlement, but Cookson has hit back at these and other suggestions.
“No money has ever been paid to Mr Verbruggen since I became President,” Cookson said.
“I indeed met with Mr Hein Verbruggen last summer. We came to a confidential agreement which was to ensure, amongst other things, that he would stop using his influence to criticise and cause trouble for the UCI. Since Mr Verbruggen never respected his commitments, the agreement is considered null.”
Click here to read more at CyclingTips.
Novo Nordisk to make its WorldTour stage race debut
Novo Nordisk, the US Pro Continental team comprised of diabetic riders, will make its WorldTour stage race debut in 2016 at the Tour of Poland.
Novo Nordisk is one of the five wildcard invitations for the race which has been moved from August to July to avoid a clash with the Rio Olympics.
“This race is especially meaningful as it will be our first appearance in a WorldTour stage race,” said Novo Nordisk’s Vassili Davidenko. “We are looking forward to racing the Tour of Poland for the first time in 2016.”
“Our riders are ready to take on this next level of racing,” said CEO and co-founder Phil Southerland. “We’re looking forward to competing against the best teams in the world.”
Novo Nordisk made its WorldTour debut earlier this year at Milan-San Remo.
Click here to read more at VeloNews.
Who will make the cut for the 2017 Tour de France?
In the wake of ASO’s decision to remove the Tour de France from the WorldTour calendar in 2017, The Inner Ring has written a great piece of analysis looking at what this means for the teams. Given the race would likely be a HC-classified event, only 14 WorldTour teams would be allowed on the startline, so the question is: which teams would miss out?
The Inner Ring makes a few guesses before looking at the more serious implications. Here’s an excerpt:
“Imagine being the manager of Lotto-Jumbo or the person in charge of marketing at Merida right now: they must look like like character in one of Edward Munch’s The Scream paintings. They’re committing millions of their marketing budget to a team that could sit out the Tour de France: a risk too big to ignore …
Which brings us to the serious point: ASO’s strategy is an invitation to teams to skip the World Tour all together and to break up the Velon alliance. Remember the 70% upper limit for World Tour teams starting a race. If you’re a team or a sponsor unsure whether you’ll fit into ASO’s preferred group of 13-14 World Tour teams then better to apply for a Pro Conti licence because there’s no limit to invitations for this category.
If Team Sky and Etixx-Quickstep are a World Tour teams they’d surely get an invite, if they were Pro Conti they’d surely get an invite too. But Lampre, Lotto, IAM or Cannondale? Quit the World Tour and your chances of riding the Tour de France actually rise.
Click here to read the full article at The Inner Ring.
New South Wales adopts minimum passing distance trial, other measures
The New South Wales state government has introduced a range of new rules and regulations regarding cyclists, including but not limited to a trial of a minimum overtaking distance.
From March 2016, drivers will have to give cyclists a minimum of one metre or 1.5 metres on roads with a speed limit of more than 60km/h. These measures mirror trials or regulations that are already in place in Queensland, the ACT and South Australia.
Also introduced by the NSW government are the need for adults to carry identification when riding a bike and increased fines for cyclists. Riding without a helmet will now attract a fine of $319 while running a red light will cost the rider $425.
For a good summary of the new regulations, check out this page at the Transport for NSW website. And for some informed analysis of the situation, check out this article from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael O’Reilly.
CyclingTips expands into the US, merges with BikeExchange
Earlier this morning we announced on CyclingTips that in 2016 we’ll be expanding into the US, following a merger with the online marketplace BikeExchange. As CyclingTips founder Wade Wallace wrote, it’s a move we couldn’t be more excited about.
“For the entirety of this seven year journey, the one thing that has kept me awake at night more than anything else is the explosion of ideas and desires I have for the business. The partnership with BikeExchange will allow us to put that vision into motion and both businesses will be stronger together as a result.
What does this mean for CyclingTips? Well, for starters CyclingTips and BikeExchange will work together but remain separate sites. We’re always striving to get better and that won’t change. What this allows us to do is to expand into new markets and get better at what we do. To start with that effort, I’m honoured to announce that we’ve Neal Rogers (from GCN and Velonews) to head up the editorial team in the US, and James Huang (from BikeRadar/CyclingNews) as our Tech Editor. Both will be joining the CyclingTips team in the new year.
Click here to read the full announcement post.
Some serious yarnbombing
Here’s something a little different, courtesy of ABC Radio presenter Robbie Buck.
Yarn bombing in extremis. pic.twitter.com/CajVCgqY4q
— robbiebuck (@robbie_buck) December 20, 2015
If you haven’t heard of yarnbombing before, here’s how Wikipedia describes it:
““Yarn bombing … is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk. While other forms of graffiti may be expressive, decorative, territorial, socio-political commentary, advertising or vandalism, yarn bombing was initially almost exclusively about reclaiming and personalising sterile or cold public places.”
It’s not clear how well the bike would roll with its knitted tyre-covers but it certainly looks striking.
Velon’s best of 2015 highlights video
Here’s a great little highlights package from Velon showing some of the best moments of the year as captured by on-bike cameras.
What You Missed
And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed at CyclingTips in the past few days:
- Giving back: how members of the pro cycling community are helping others
- Tacx Neo Smart trainer review
- Daily News Digest: Monday December 21