Your Saturday Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

December 3, 2016

In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: No more podium girls at Tour Down Under; A review of the professional cyclist union; Froome feared a broken back after Tour crash; Tour de Yorkshire route announced; Kjell Carlström to direct Cycling Academy team; Drapac Pat’s Veg Holistic development team; Holowesko-Citadel team adds four in 2017; Australian women’s Team Roxsolt evolving; No positive doping tests from 2016 Vuelta; Will Routley announces retirement; New research into bike saddles and erectile dysfunction; Cyclist ID law overturned; Riders on the Revolution Cycling Champions League London; Boiler Rollers – Teaser.

A review of the professional cyclist union

by CyclingTips

The Outer Line conducted a review of the Cycliste Professionnels Associés (CPA), which formed in 1999 to protect the rights and interests of professional cyclists. While it has had successes –including the “Joint Agreement” with the teams’ organization AIGCP to help govern the relationship between teams and their riders, and a riders’ “Solidarity Fund” to provide limited financial support to certain retiring riders — the review claims the organisation has largely struggled to achieve the power needed to enact real reforms.

The peloton calmly rode out of Pau to begin a hard and hot day in the Pyrenees. Photo: Cor Vos

The review also includes recommendations for the CPA to undertake to achieve its goals. Here is an excerpt:

At the end of the day, little is likely to happen on any of these issues until the riders themselves step forward to demand a louder voice. Unfortunately, there is still a largely unspoken but still significant fear of standing up and speaking out. Riders still worry about being black-balled or replaced if they challenge their teams or the status quo. Worse, some riders appear to simply not care much about the whole issue. The tough Darwinian economics of the sport force many riders to focus strictly on themselves – their training, racing, and maintaining their employment. But if things are ever really going to change, the riders must be encouraged as a group to become more informed, and more invested in future reform negotiations.

We argue that a stronger union would strengthen the overall sport, and would actually be good for the other key stakeholders in the sport – the AIGCP, Velon, ASO, and the UCI. Many other pro sports like football and baseball made their greatest leaps in popularity and revenue following the development of a more powerful voice for the athletes, which in turn forced rapid evolution in the business of those respective sports. Strong athlete organizations in women’s sports like tennis and golf led to dramatic growth, and rapidly increased the earning power of both athletes and event organizers. A strong collective bargaining agreement, which clearly spells out binding expectations for rider and team ethics, combined with strict regulatory oversight and enforcement could also help the peloton to better police itself and help resolve the legacy doping challenge.

Pro cycling is one of the few global sports today in which the athletes do not have a direct vote at the governance table to determine the financial, safety, or labor standards of their profession. The UCI itself told us that the CPA is “one of the essential stakeholders as we prepare cycling for tomorrow.” But the CPA has to live up to that role. It cannot drive change by hoping that the governing body will read its memos and public statements. It must strive for equal footing – and the ability to negotiate with strong countermeasures – if it is to fully represent its athletes’ interests and help to determine the future of the sport.

Click through to read more at The Outer Line.