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New Fan Lobby Group Being Formed

Cycling fans are grouping together to form a lobby group called Association de Vélo de Route Internationale. AVRI will campaign on behalf of fans to ensure their voices are heard and stake a claim to share in the spoils of professional cycling and lobby for improvements to help fans such as better race websites and sharper TV production.

Founder member Maarten Den Bril explains the origins: “Dutch corner was great but it cost me €400 to drive from Rotterdam to Alpe d’Huez and back. I was driving home when the monkey came out of the sleeve: there’s so much money in the sport! I saw the publicity caravan and millionaire riders and asked why aren’t the fans paid? We put on a big show, we are part of the theatre. We deserve to share some of the money, no? We want create a new economic future for the sport and bring fans closer to the riders, races and teams by working together and in partnership with others.”

Teams are paid travel expenses and given a participation fee” says co-founder Luca Di Pesce, “We reckon it’s time the fans got a slice of the action. It’s a win-win situation. Look how boring the Tour of Qatar is, the only spectators are lost construction workers wasting their monthly day off work. AVRI could fly out 200 retired people and basta! it’d look like the finish of a Paris-Nice stage.”

Di Pesce also says AVRI will lobby for minimum standards for spectators and viewers. “Many elite races have websites that look like they were built in last century. Sure big companies like RCS and ASO have slick pages but they still don’t tell people what time the roads will be closed or offer advice on how to view the race, they just expect people to show up. Simple information like route info, prize lists and race rules are hard to find. Good luck finding a profile for this Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.” Di Pesce adds that most people watch a race on TV and AVRI has some plans too. “TV broadcasts are the same as they were in the 1980s only today every rider has a timing chip on their bike. AVRI will launch a Kickstarter fund to buy 10 RFID timing mats and gift these to impoverished race organisers and broadcasters. ASO could have extra intermediate time checks to make a time trial less boring. RCS could place one at the top of the Cipressa and another at the top of the Poggio so we know who is there for a change.”

Licenced to lobby?

After collecting seed capital via a Paypal appeal AVRI have hired a chief executive in Pat McQuaid. The Irishman has been at a loose end since his role as UCI President came to an abrupt end in 2013: “For years I could put a trip to a race on expenses and expect VIP treatment. Recently I’ve had to pay my own way and it’s expensive. I know first hand how the UCI ignores fans and its commissions and committees have almost no representation from fans and outsiders. Our first priority is an AVRI website with a mission statement.”

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gullible van Keirsbull Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:08 am

    This is truly great news for us. I will finally become a millionaire!

  • Ferdi Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:09 am

    It all looked good, until McQuaid was mentioned. Oh, and Qatar too. Apart from that, it is good that fans become organised, and heard.

    • Cameron Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 12:46 pm

      Hah, yes, McQuaid was the give away for me too. But with how entitled (& demeaning) internet cycling fans act I’d not have been surprised if this turned into a real thing.

      • Sam Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 1:15 pm

        ‘demanding’ not ‘demeaning’, perhaps? 🙂

        Tho in the case of some people…

  • MD Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:16 am

    What an end paragraph! Ha.

  • Thesteve4761 Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:26 am

    nice mix of April 1 with some statements that actually resonate with reality.

  • Alex222 Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:35 am

    amusing start to the day

  • Karl W Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:38 am

    Ha, I like it. The RFID tags at the top of key climbs though, now that is an idea, how can my local 10k running race have a better timing system / live results than the TdF is beyond me.

  • Anonymous Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:41 am

    Well done…it took me until the 3rd paragraph until i realised…which is longer than most websites today

    • GTGTGT Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:18 am

      Yep, same for me… I thought, ‘Is this guy kidding himself’, then for some reason when I read the word ‘basra’, it twigged….

      Nice work Mr Inrng

  • StevhanTI Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:48 am

    AVRI as in Poisson d’AVRIl I presume 😉

  • MultiplexRant Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 8:50 am

    AVRI… nice touch.

  • FlammeRougeMedia Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 9:17 am

    Absolute gold! The monkey came out of my sleeve!!!

  • Qwerty Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 9:19 am

    “fly out 200 retired people and basta! it’d look like the finish of a Paris-Nice stage”
    cruel!

  • Sheree Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 9:20 am

    Brilliant!

  • Beno Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 9:27 am

    Is this the best cycling website in the world? Yes. Do I wake up and check it before my emails or news websites? Yes. Have I developed a Armstrongian habit of asking questions and then answering them? Maybe. INRNG I salute you.

  • Beno Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 9:30 am

    To be honest, for an April fool you could have just published a screenshot of your interaction with Oleg on Twitter yesterday. “@INRNG, bad….” Ha ha brilliant.

  • Kimmi Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 9:35 am

    Good News everyone, it looks like the UCI_Overlord has agreed to be the treasurer of this little enterprise 😉

    • Sam Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:23 am

      *hides money under mattress*

  • Ifor Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 9:47 am

    Nice one, thanks!

  • Michiel Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:03 am

    nice one, messrs Den Bril and Di Pesca

  • JC Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:16 am

    Luca di Pesce… very good 😉

  • Sam Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:24 am

    I’m ready to chip in for those timing mats 🙂

  • Blacky Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:26 am

    Flawless 🙂

  • Joe K. Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:41 am

    Ha! ^^ Me like!

  • ave Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:59 am

    Yeez, it took two paragraphs to check the date! Great effort! 😉

  • StevhanTI Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 11:03 am
  • QKRTNU Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 11:05 am

    Had to check my calendar, only then did I chuckle! Another reason this is the first cycling site I check…

  • nortonpdj Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 11:05 am

    Not just the best serious journalism and analysis, but the best April Foll too. Thank you 😉

  • nortonpdj Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 11:06 am

    That’s fool, you fool….

  • Pierre-Jean Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 11:13 am

    Next April it should be an UCI limit on body mass index, like the one being imposed on models. We don’t want skeletons on bicycles.

  • AK Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 11:16 am

    Haha, very good. And some very sophisticated language use again. Den Bril in particular is quite a subtle touch to your Dutch!

  • Anonymous Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 11:28 am

    This is the best cycling website by far
    And this is brilliant.
    We would be lost without you.

    • NancyA Thursday, 2 April 2015, 12:34 am

      +1!

  • Alex Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 11:34 am

    good work!

  • leonn Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 12:15 pm

    Inrng,

    you’re unique! The 2nd, 3rd and 4th paragraphs are bunch of nonsense thoughts! And I’m start asking myself “Inrng must be joking! He/she/it always posts some balanced, curious and thoughtful pieces. What’s the catch about all of this?”

    Later it appears some nice and reasonable ideas and I think “this can be serious”.

    At end when it mentions McQuaid, I said “no FW!”

    Until I read comments saying about 1st April, I was having confused feelings about this piece.

    Nice post, really delightful.

    Thank you, Inrng.

  • Gargatouf Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 12:27 pm

    I almost thought it was true!!! I couldn’t believe a spectator wanted to get paid to watch a race!!!

    Nicely done Inner Ring.

  • Larry T. Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 12:29 pm

    Wonderful news. We can use the money to help pay for our new support vehicle!
    http://cycleitalia.blogspot.it/2015/04/cycleitalias-new-support-vehicle.html

  • GMT Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 12:41 pm

    Chapeau, unlike most April fools articles today, it took me a little while to cotton on. As mentioned above, some truth mixed in with implausible statements does make you wonder. At least until the McQuaid part anyway!

  • Chris Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 1:24 pm

    You forgot to add the selfie clause .. any fan can stop a rider up a greater than 15% climb for a slefie .. of course rider must be carrying selfie stick !

  • Andrew M Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 1:30 pm

    But it would be a perfect position for Pat……

  • Wheelsucker Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 1:37 pm

    Had me going, nice one. Di Pesce, indeed.

  • Francisco Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 1:57 pm

    Am I the only one that sees similarities between AVRI’s and Velon’s programme?

  • DNF Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:00 pm

    Nice try!

  • Drago Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:20 pm

    They should be careful what they wish for: soon will be drug testing. Camper vans will be regulated….

  • Ash Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:36 pm

    This blog just keeps giving and giving. Love it.

  • Andrew E Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 2:39 pm

    It was only when I saw Pat McQuaid with a gun that the penny dropped.

  • Andrea Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 3:08 pm

    Brilliant, had me going until ‘Di Pesce’!

  • Tom Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 4:16 pm

    I think this idea has legs, but you’ve missed the biggest opportunity for revenue streams. Cycling fans at the roadside are staring at their smartphones with Froomian intensity. AVRI can create an app which links the roadside images creating their own crowdsourced video feed of the race. By using pattern matching algorithms the app can identify individual riders and by accessing the GPS the app will know the location and time that the riders passed effectively tracking riders in time and space throughout the race. By extending this coverage before and after the race, riders can be tracked 24/7. This info can be sold to WADA for more effective drug testing or to competing teams interested in the training techniques of others.

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 9:02 pm

      Very interesting. I’m sure AVRI would say it’s a good idea, why share a fun video when you could syndicate the rights to it for money?

  • alegret Wednesday, 1 April 2015, 10:08 pm

    Excellent poisson d’avril. Thanks for your blog which is always very interesting to read whatever the subject.

  • Othersteve Thursday, 2 April 2015, 7:17 pm

    Always a smile on my face when I leave your site.

    I can only add it would of been nice to have read that LA would have agreed to be AVRI’s “Ambassador Emeritus”

  • Smart Friday, 10 April 2015, 2:52 am

    I enjoyed this – but seriously this idea has merits because the professional cycle sport revolves around money. Teams and rider need sponsors and sponsors want to reach… and sell to the fans. But fans have a relatively passive roll and only inadvertently influence the sponsor brand through our behaviour (watching races, reading cycling news and buying their products or services). Unifying the fanbase has potential to move the power to the fans and the two obvious areas are ‘fair competition’ (i.e. doping) and bike regulations. Why should the UCI, with their vested interests, decide what a bike should and shouldn’t have. If the bike brand, the teams and the fans don’t understand why a weight, a dimension or a technology is regulated – more power to the people. And on performance enhancement, it would be good to get some clarity and real enforcement. A second option is two competitions – one is the clean league and the others for dopers and ex-dopers.

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