How The UCI President Gets Elected

Brian Cookson

With David Lappartient announcing he’s standing for election to be the President of the UCI, to challenge the incumbent Brian Cookson, here’s a primer on how the election works.

The President is elected by The Congress. This itself is a meeting of cycling officials from around the world who belong to federations belonging to the UCI. The next Congress takes place in Norway during the world championships in Bergen in September. Under the UCI Constitution these officials appoint voting members, a total of 45, who are divided into regions as follows:

Africa 9 delegates 20%
America 9 delegates 20%
Asia 9 delegates 20%
Europe 15 delegates 33.3%
Oceania 3 delegates 6.7%
Total 45 delegates 100%

These 45 are the ones who vote to select the President of the UCI.

To be elected President a simple majority is needed, so 23 delegates out of 45, assuming all 45 vote rather than abstain. Brian Cookson won in 2013 with 24 votes to Pat McQuaid’s 18; there were 42 voting delegates back then (7 for Africa and 14 for Europe). While most votes at the UCI Congress involve a show of hands a secret ballot is used for the presidential election.

Should a third, or more candidates, come stand for election then the vote has two rounds. On the first round the two with the highest vote win and go through to the second round whereby a majority is needed. If it just two candidates in Lappartient and Cookson then it’s a simple vote by secret ballot where the one with the most votes wins.

A candidate has to be nominated by a national federation. David Lappartient is supported by the French federation. Brian Cookson has the support of British Cycling.

Global electorate
If you have strong views on Brian Cookson’s tenure that’s probably because you’ve got a strong interest in pro cycling on the road and subjects like the aborted World Tour reforms the ongoing enquiries into British Cycling and Sky or murkiness on motors come to mind. But remember delegates may have very different interests.

They’ve got legitimate local concerns instead of the World Tour such as securing IOC funding for a sports complex, qualifying their national team for a regional competition and networking within the IOC among other things. Imagine you’re the head of, say, the Trinidad and Tobago federation. You care little for the turf war between the UCI, Velon and ASO over the World Tour calendar nor whether the Women’s World Tour is working out, you’re more interested in local issues such as your track team and trying to get funding for riders to qualify for the regional games. In other words this is a contest to satisfy many local issues, including the pro peloton but plenty more topics too.

The Contest
There are no rules for the campaign itself, no spending limits. The UCI is supposed to be neutral on this, for example David Lappartient should be able to use the UCI’s list of contacts although he ought to have this already. Incumbency helps, the President has a network of contacts to call on and can use the UCI’s travel budget to fly around the world cultivating relationships, as is his job but handy when an election is due soon.

Have Your Say
Only 45 people get to vote but it’s crucial to understand these delegates are mandated by national federations. So if you’re a member of one of these then these delegates are acting in your interest so feel free to ask your local federation what it will do. Even if you’re not a member you might find your taxes go to a national federation so you can legitimately ask what their stance is too.

45 delegates from national federations grouped in to regional confederations get to pick the President this September. These delegates and the federations and regions they represent are the core electorate but they in turn are supposed to represent local members, possibly you. As well as a direct, private contest to sway this small electorate we’re likely to see a parallel public campaign because as well as winning over the voting delegates the contest will take place in the media spotlight.

Tomorrow a look at David Lappartient’s chances.

76 thoughts on “How The UCI President Gets Elected”

    • Sky’s TdF kit just got changed from black to white

      It’s also similar in that it apparently can’t be a woman ^__^

      (Wait, wait Pope Joan made it! Albeit it was all down to adverse propaganda)

  1. Thank you as always INRNG for covering these dry topics and making them accessible and easy enough to digest.

    Also, good reminder on the local concerns. Being a fan it’s sometimes easy to forget there’s more than just men’s pro road cycling. I wonder how let’s say, a BMX enthusiast feels about this topic.

    • The UCI are quite similar to the FiA (Motorsports governing body) both are multi discipline sports – but both are guilty of concentrating far too much on one of them; the UCI – Road cycling; the FiA – F1.

      What have recent UCI Presidents done to really advance CX, MTB, BMX, etc?? I know this is a road website, but the candidates are very rarely questioned on the other disciplines; which are just as relevant as the road.

      • I guess that BMX was made Olympic by some “recent” UCI President, although not the current one. That’s quite much, I’d dare to say.

        I don’t know about FIA, but in cycling the other disciplines are indeed as relevant (meaning “pertinent”), but not as important, not even by far, in pretty much every dimension you might look at (history, revenues, spectators, grassroots, people engaged in non competitive sport etc.)

        Which means that they deserve to be fostered, to start with, that’s for sure, but it also means that it’s hard to defend that the UCI is concentrating “far too much” on road cycling.

        Money *isn’t* everything but some years they happen to be putting more money in MTB (inrng should know better) than in road cycling… and they don’t get back as much, not even by far, just as in the other disciplines.
        I doubt that the investment in road cycling is of a different order of magnitude when compared to BMX, CX, MTB etc., but I’m pretty much sure that what the UCI is able to gain is indeed of a different magnitude in the case of road cycling.
        Again, this doesn’t mean that you only should invest in what produces big revenues *today*, nor does it mean that the economic dimension should drive every decision – nor does it even mean that it’s enough to say “we’re throwing money in CX, so what?”. There’s more they could and perhpas should do.

        Nevertheless, the whole picture makes it harder to define what exactly is concentrating *too much*, both because of the factual importance road cycling has got for the UCI (as well as in more general terms) *and* because the UCI is at least doing a significant something, at least when money is concerned, for those other disciplines.

        Instead, I’ll give you an example of “concentrating too little”.
        In 2014 there was a specific amount of money to support women’s professional cycling (I believe that it was some 25% of what UCI puts in BMX and 1% of total UCI revenues – but again, I admit I could be wrong about exact quantities).
        In 2015 it was cut out. Of course, each discipline could be fostering women’s cycling out of their general budget. Of course.

        • I would think that the number of people that participate in non-competitive MTB and/or amateur MTB racing is not far behind the nr for road cycling. And way higher than track. The number of olympic events on the track compared to all other cycling disciplines is ridiculous if you look at the number of riders involved in all levels of the sport. But that is also part of what the olympics are about no, giving a global podium to obscure sports nobody would ever watch if they weren’t at the olympics.

          • In fact, I’ve heard that the UCI puts way lot more money into MTB than in into track, more or less the same quantity they invest on the road (and lately they’ve reduced the road budget, but not the MTB one, which stays some 150% of road and track).
            Though, the difference with the other discipline is that the money you throw into MTB doesn’t come back as much. They barely make a balanced budget.

            I’d say that, in general, more people “would watch” track than MTB, especially if you consider live audience and take into account that Six Days are track. That was even more true in the relatively recent past (the 90s).

            However the strength of track cycling at the Olympics also depend on tradition: track cycling has been in since the first (modern) edition in 1896.

            And it always was a suitable terrain for power trading between CIO, international sport federations and national federations (see keirin). Having a programme with several medals allow you to negotiate a lot – which can bring in more medal or take some away – while, for example, the single medal of road cycling doesn’t leave you much margin.

          • @ gabriele: I looked up the most recent UCI report on their website, which is 2015. Indeed MTB is the only major discipline that runs a net loss, 170.000 CHF at a revenue of 3.723.000. Track ran a profit of 1 million aat 3.424.000 revenue. Road is the big money maker, but only because of the WC. The WorldTour though, ran a bigger loss that year than MTB, over 250k. óther’ (not BMX or cyclocross, but stuff like para and cycle ball) ran the biggest loss, 533.000.

            On the other hand, the number of “events” on the calendar for MTB is almost as much as for road cycling,almost 600 in 2015. So I don’t agree that less people watch MTB. Most of those events don’t charge admission though. And in the last couple of years, enduro MTB has increased enormously, that’s a discipline that is not even recognised by the UCI.

          • @AK
            First of all, please notice that I don’t dislike MTB at all. It’s a great discipline and I’m sure it should be further fostered.

            All the same, your points aren’t convincing: you split road race in World Championship, WT etc., but I guess that in every discipline something will produce more money and something else will lose it. If we’re comparing disciplines, and UCI’s attention towards them, it’s not that relevant how the money is divided *within* any of them. MTB’s got some Worlds, too, I’d say. But the big business is the road.
            What’s interesting in the figures you wrote down isn’t as much the gain or loss of money in itself: I’d say that what’s interesting is that we can sort out how much the UCI is investing in each discipline. Some 4 M in MTB, while they’re putting 2.4 M in track. I checked road and UCI’s investment is reportedly 2.5 M (1.3 M in CX, 800 K in BMX). This doesn’t look like “concentrating on the road”: it’s quite much the other way around.
            And MTB apparently is who was winning UCI’s big money. It’s a bit crazy, indeed, maybe there was some special reason in 2015.

            The number of events is not that strongly related to the number of spectators. The simple fact that at least a dozen of road events have got each from ten to a hundred times more spectators (roadside and TV) than any MTB events speaks for itself. Televised road events happen to be the *main programme of the day* on a main national channel in Italy, France, Spain (in Spain some GT stages *lead* on the *number 1* TV channel), Belgium – that goes on several times (tens of them) each year… Live roadside spectators can be hundreds of thousands in a single day, and that happens repeatedly each season. It’s not comparable, not even by far, to MTB. And you don’t pay for most road events, either.

            Nove Mesto, which was presented as an example of successful Worlds, had 50 K total spectators on the course over 5 days (17 K daily record). Fort William is allegedly one of the most crowded rounds of World Cup and its record edition, last year, totalled 22 K with a daily top of 10.8 K – that’s impressive, no doubt (imagine that nowadays football in Italy is struggling to make those figures on many middle-level matches), yet… a lot of GT stages and Classics just smash those excellent MTB numbers every year (both MTB events I chose are pay events, and that’s why we’ve got the figures; OTOH, according to the organisers, being pay didn’t limit affluence, it was a consequence of success).
            If you want to check it against road Worlds, Ponferrada totalled 350 K roadside spectators, Richmond some 630 K, Florence was over 1 M… the desert flop still achieved 30 K (!!!).

          • “giving a global podium to obscure sports nobody would ever watch if they weren’t at the olympics”

            And that’s pretty good. as it is
            What do you want, Olympics with only the 20 most watched sports. which have more than enough attention between the games? The games are already a gigantic commercial profit machine. It’s a good thing to have sports beside the big ones which already have their market shares. I’d like to see more niche sports there, drop the football tournament for instance. It has no meaning in the football world.

          • It seems not everyone has correctly interpreted my intentions. I also think that is good that the olympics give a podium to obscure sports.
            I’m also not saying that the UCI are concentrating on the road, somebody else said that. It’s the public that concentrates on the road. I did say that there may be a lot of people watching MTB,I agree that was rather silly when compared to pro road.
            But what I actually want to say is that the UCI should not be there for the spectators. It should be there for the (competitive) cyclists. There are a lot of mountain bikers that love competing in races, which nobody except their bored spouses come to watch. I think it is a good thing that the UCI invests some money in this, and not much in track that has very few people actually practising the sport.

      • What they’ve done? They made MTB and BMX an Olympic sport. Equal disciplines for Women on road and track at Olympics.
        Now we only waiting for CX at Winter Olympics and a reform of the disgusting recent Omnium changes.

  2. Note that the UEC voting delegates to the UCI Congress are obligated to respect the decision of the UEC General Assembly, see clause 14.4 of I would expect an extraordinary General Assembly of the UEC, as permitted under section 8 of the UEC constitution, at which candidates for the UCI presidency will debate and the assembly take a vote to decide which candidate the UEC voting delegates are mandated to vote for at the UCI Congress. Win all the UEC votes and that leaves you requiring a further 8 votes from the remaining 30 to obtain an absolute majority.

    I do not believe there is any guarantee that voting delegates will vote as mandated.

  3. How the blazes do Africa and the Americas have 9 representatives each. Surely the Americas should have more than 9 considering their strong tradition of cycling?

      • But should it be done by overall population or number of people who are actually involved in cycling? (How much say do the people of Brazil, the USA and Indonesia have on how cricket is run? And how much should they have?)

        45 people having the vote shows just why the UCI is the shambles that it is – having that few voters is page one of ‘How to make corruption easy’.

        I don’t know much about Lappartient and it seems hard to imagine how he can be worse than Cookson, but then I said the same thing about Cookson when he was up against McQuaid. I’m not even convinced that Cookson has been an improvement over Pat.

        (I’m speaking here from the perspective of men’s road racing – I know very little about other disciplines.)

        I’d choose whoever is most likely to look after traditional races and stop cheating. The answer to those might well be ‘neither’.

        • Depends what you want to achieve I suppose.

          If you want the sport to grow then you have to involve countries which currently have few ‘participants’ but large potential. One of the problems in both cricket and rugby currently is that all the power is concentrated in the hands of the few countries that have professional leagues etc. and so the willingness to spread the wealth and grow the sport in other countries seems limited. If all you want is to keep the traditional races then yeah keep all the money and power in the hands of the European federations. Although perhaps it’s worth bearing in mind, I think I read on this website, that most of the income for the UCI comes from the olympics and the world championships, so their interest in other events is limited.

        • You will find cycling where you find icecream. Or where you can make yourself understood in French. Colonialism left behind a lot and cycling happens to be one of those things.

      • It’s interesting that the seats of Africa and the numbers of cyclists there are in question, but not Asia. Seems like an usual neo-colonialistic view on that continent. People just don’t know a lot about Africa, only in the news for bad news, all the races there aren’t much in any focus of the cycling world. Though they still happen.

      • J Evans… your comments never make any sense – how would the UCI figure how many people cycle in each country? A government with all the apparatus of state to enact and analysis studies would struggle to do this?

        And Cricket being a good example to run anything is mindboggling – their power structures have more issues than almost any sport. The guiding light of any governing body must always be to bring more people to the sport and those running Cricket have failed pretty spectacularly on the front – inclusiveness is the way forward, not a members club ethos.

        You also dismiss Cookson without giving reasons – from the other comments it’s difficult to imagine you have any that might stand up to scrutiny.

        And finally, your proposed reasons for voting are so reductive given the scope of the UCI’s work that it’s hard to know how you’d have a serious conversation on the leadership – bearing in mind they don’t even have a say in most the traditional races!

        • I was keeping it short for the sake of brevity – I think most people could work out what I meant (if they actually tried). You could do it by number of people who race bikes, for instance (include amateurs, everyone).
          I didn’t say cricket was a good example.
          As for Cookson, I really didn’t think it was worth re-hashing all this again, but here’s a copy and pasted list just for you:
          Astana – Cookson says it’s serious and they’re going down. Nothing. At least have the sense to keep your mouth shut.
          CIRC – nothing.
          Ethics – nothing. E.g. allowing Team Bahrain.
          Kreuziger – same as Astana.
          Disc brakes – UCI introduces them despite lots of people saying they’ll cut open your legs; one alleged incident and UCI gets rid of them.
          Motorbikes constantly hitting riders – does nothing until someone dies. Then says he’ll do something (as ever – placate the media). But nothing was done. Then another rider is permanently brain damaged. Still little done.
          The new weather rules – gives teams the power to affect the results of races; as seen at Tirreno-Adriatico.
          Siding with Velon, a group solely interested in helping themselves.
          The on-going farce with ASO.
          The new WorldTour events: inferior races with zero history being forced on teams and spectators who have little interest in them, to the detriment of historic races.
          His conflict of interests with Sky.
          Backing Wiggins despite what we’ve all seen.
          Constantly suggesting cutting the Vuelta to two weeks so that the UCI can have more money-making races in places where no-one is interested in cycling.
          Still not banning tramadol or corticosteroids out of competition – do it independently of WADA if needs be.
          Immediately – and whilst admitting to knowing nothing about it – dismissing that
          British doctor’s claims about doping athletes. It might well be nonsense, but he says so without even knowing anything.
          Russia: 19/11/15 “I’m confident that the people running the Russian Cycling Federation are trying to do the right thing and I’m sure that if there were any problems there, they would not want to cover them up at all.”
          Coming up with that first – really stupid – calendar idea, before the second really stupid calendar idea, before the latest really stupid calendar idea.
          Motors in bikes, not using thermal imaging and the UCI seemingly thwarting the French police investigation. Oh and the woman caught was seemingly working without anyone on her team having any knowledge.
          (in The Guardian):
          The International Cycling Union president Brian Cookson requested an interview with the panel investigating claims of bullying and discrimination in British Cycling in January, having been upset by a highly critical draft version of its report.
          Cookson on Wiggins:
          “It’s clear, as far as I can see, that no rules have been broken and there’s no reason to assume that any action will follow. If the rules have been followed that’s the end of the matter.” Cookson said.
          Ten days later he says, “We shouldn’t be surprised when elite sports teams push to the very limit of the rules. Perhaps that’s what happened here.”
          “I read somewhere that I’ve absolved Sky and Wiggins of wrongdoing. No I haven’t. I’ve just said it’s not my place to comment. I wasn’t president of UCI at that time, so I can’t take responsibility or credit for anything that happened at that time. I was president of British Cycling. So you could say there is potential for conflict of interest. So I’m saying I’m stepping back from this.”

  4. Is it true that Lappartient also wants to shorten the Giro and the Vuelta to two weeks? (My source was unreliable.)
    If so, I don’t really care who wins – although Cookson’s presidency has been such a schmooze-fest he seems bound to win.

    • The Giro has been “talked about” shortening for years. McQuaid talked about shortening the Giro promoting the Tour of California years ago.

      Lappartient is doing ASO’s bidding.

    • I’ve never heard this about him. There were plans about a shorter Vuelta, they were looked at and soon binned. No UCI President can achieve this anyway, the idea of telling ASO and RCS to shorten prize assets, ie to take a massive cut income, is not something the UCI can do.

      • J Evans – come on, you should know the UCI has no power on the front so Lappartient’s views here are meaningless even if true?

        The UCI has next to no actual power. Cookson’s presidency has been about attempting to restore credibility and I think it’s unfair you label it a schmooze fest without elaborating why?

        Because he hands out trophies?

        I see a lot of Cookson criticism without any actual backup – or worse, misguided expectations of what he is able to enact.

        • EXACTLY – everyone’s expectations of Cookson and any past, present or future UCI president are out to lunch.

          The UCI may have billions of meetings where things are discussed, and may have actually done a few things but in reality their appearance of power hides how little power they actually carry. The powers that be in cycling do not work in the UCI office.

          • Well, they did work precisely there until a (very) few years ago. I wouldn’t be so sure that they currently don’t anymore. And I’m not very sure if it was good or bad news in either case.

  5. feel free to ask your local federation what it will do.

    They will feel free to ignore you. At least in the U.S., the federation isn’t democratic in any sense.

      • Not much to say. USA Cycling isn’t a democratic organization. License holders are just customers.

        Thom Wiesel essentially moved the money and control of USA Cycling to USA Cycling Development Foundation. The beauty of USACDF is there are none of the old by-laws of USA Cycling to constrain him from doing what he likes with the money raised. None of the minor IOC/USOC “integrity” regulations apply.

        Before anyone posts, “It’s a 501.c3, it can’t be used for bad things.” The good intentions of 501.c3 regulations are regularly abused.

    • In Italy you might be sued. Just for asking questions.

      But, hey, we shouldn’t complaint too much: in other federations lack of democracy implies people being murdered.

      (I’m joking about not complaining 😉 )

      • +1

        Unusually good piece on such a subject, for the NY Times (it’s by a freelancer). Kudos to Quintana for speaking out. In “athletics” countries like Kenya and Jamaica (as examples of nations with top athletes) seem to have opportunities to exploit underfunded anti-doping efforts by their respective federations. In cycling–to its credit– such an approach will predictably lead to scandal if allowed to prevail. I wonder if it would be possible for Quintana or other Colombians to register with a European federation (or maybe AUS for Chavez, US for Uran), to protect their own reputations while at the same time pressuring Colombian authorities to turn the page. Federation “politics” cannot exist until anti-dopage is up to standard.

        • US for Uran

          The American federation would permit doping. Again, the same guy intimately involved in USPS still runs the federation there. In the book Wheelmen, it is reported that Thom Wiesel stated to Lemond that riders should be free to put whatever they want in their bodies.

          This story goes back quite a few years but, USA Cycling gladly gave Genevieve Jeanson a license when her home federation, Canada, wouldn’t. The Canadian federation apparently new she was taking EPO. Ms. Jeanson’s story is a tragic one and we can only hope she’s gone on to lead a peaceful, happy life.

          There’s no transparency such that the average fan can be confident the sport is actually a sport, and not a form of structured athletic entertainment.

  6. Surely to have a sitting vice president challenge the sitting president in the next election is a sure sign that there must have been a serious conflict of interest between the two while performing their executive duties over these past few years, especially, as according to Cookson, it was very apparent that Lappartient’s primary goal and ambition was to run for the presidency. Normally, the vice president’s role is to support and back-up the president. So if the president can be faulted for any failings or short-comings, then it just stands to reason that his vice president is equally to blame. Of course, the vice president might have deliberately not supported the president, in which case, it is even worse because he is then a two-faced, back-stabbling, unreliable liar.

    • “Yes, Minister”

      I would imagine this will be the most likely situation in any sports administration as many are currently constituted. The fact many question what has changed under Cookson (that wasn’t already scheduled) sums up the disconnection between participants and administrators, this despite the fact a large proportion of visitors here are very well versed in the machinations of the UCI over the previous 2 decades.

  7. From all the reports – taking into account how underfunded and relatively powerless the UCI actually is… has Cookson really done much wrong? I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that there’s a hell of a lot of change happening internally, and people are expecting way too much from four years in charge of a frail and disgraced governing body.

    More to the point… do Armstrong and Bruneeyl think their voices are a reason to vote against him? Given their hand in the destruction of the UCI’s reputation, were I to have a vote I’d do exactly the opposite of what they say…

    & Damien Collins… seriously? WTF? Talk about out to make a reputation, considering Cookson had a part in translating success in a niche sport into a surge of public interest and take up – how can he argue Cookson is all terrible and responsible for a professional climate, which as far as I can see had massive positives and negatives and is being treated a little unfairly in the aftermath as if it was US Postal MKII – which is utterly unproven as yet?

    There may be a better option out there, but this feels like people have unrealistic ideas of what the UCI can do – and are missing how soured it was by the previous administrations.

    • My impression is that Cookson has suffered some losses in fights with ASO and the big road cycling teams, but has made a lot of progress in promoting women’s cycling and bringing stability after the doping fueled Verbruggen/McQuaid years.

      I wonder what the situtation behind the scenes is. Did Cookson clean up to Augia stables in Aigle or is he the weak leader some make him out to be? Maybe INRNG can shed some light on this? Are there still controversial figures from the doping years in prominent positions?

  8. So Armstrong and Bruyneel have come out attacking Cookson, that alone suggests he can’t have been doing that bad of a job as LA’s enemies are usually people with at least some credibility and honesty.

        • Ha – looking forward to it. In all honesty I will make up my mind on what’s said in the piece!

          My instincts are Cookson has been a little disappointing, more than anything in handling public perception and communicating that there’s only so much he can do – but I’m willing to give the benefit of the doubt that he inherited a mess and is near enough powerless in the grand scheme – so given the good job he did at British Cycling *(in getting people in the UK cycling, engaging politicians, and structuring the amateur side, I don’t believe he had much impact on the elite success or failing depending on how you see it) deserves more time.

          I also like that he fell into the role rather than scheming to take it as it appears Lappartient has been doing.

          As I doubt there’s a huge amount of difference between the two, Cookson’s past success and what I see as being unfairly judged sways me his way, along with the Armstrong tweets – unless Lappartient’s charisma/media savy with a similar programme might ward off unfair ‘schooze-fest’ criticises from the likes of J Evans above, that Cookson’s own quietness has seemingly not.

          Although you always have the fear when someone is manoeuvring Machiavelli-like for a sports goverance job that they’re the next Blatter or Verbruggen!

          I almost like Cookson most because he so obviously isn’t that!!!

  9. How is it decided which countries federations will vote for the president and which won’t? Is it already known which countries will vote?

  10. I would like a president who looking into the financial sustainability of pro cycling – teams coming and going cannot be a healthy premise for building a fan-base.

    I would like to see a president truly promote women’s -cycling, if think its a win-win-win situation for the one ho dares take this on, so much potential and so much goodwill to be won(and lets move beyond podium girls one and for all)

    I would like to see a president address issue regarding grassroots cycling, 20 years ago cycling were competing with other active sports for getting the youth into pedaling, now with e-sports the paradigm has changed, how can we ensure that young people keep the food chain healthy.

    As mentioned in here many times before, cycling is dependent on its history, I changes are to be made, I would like a president to take responsibility for creating a points system, which can be grasped to a greater extend, maybe with emphasis on the team-issue rather than individuals.

    Regarding Doping, I choose to trust that the peloton is cleaner is recent years, I am not to worried about mech doping, yet I would like a president to include more stakeholders in the fight against doping, what is Specialized stand against doping? what is campy stand, if they can take an active stand I think mountains will be moved.

    I wote Inrng for president!

    • I second that… but firstly cycling is more than just the pro road racing world tour and the UCI Pres needs to oversee it all, plus to get teams away from the current model would mean the ASO, RAI giving up revenue most likely which is unlikely.

      It’s almost impossible to imagine a scenario where teams were given a share of TV revenues to make them sustainable.

      I agree it’s a massive shame.

      Pro cycling is so inaccessible to new comers in terms of a seemingly random calendar, changing teams, confusing goals for different skillsets in the same races etc etc etc – that a complete over hall would be incredible. It just won’t happen.

      • Oh please, it’s not inaccessible as such.
        It’s gone through more than century of history and even if it’s supposedly a sport love by elder people, I guess that some newcomers must have been able to effectively come in, during this time, mustn’t they?
        I really don’t think that people are less capable in cognitive terms nowadays than, say, 20 years ago (late 90s) when cycling lived a boom in terms of public, or in some countries rather than in others.

        Cycling became less sustainable because someone decided that it was a cheap gamble to come into a relatively modest sport with a huge amount of money and soon forming a competitive team became too expensive.
        It’s not like cycling’s model “isn’t sustainable”, truth is that we’re living a speculative bubble. It’s like saying that “building houses isn’t sustainable, look at the bubbles we had”.
        Yeah, building houses for mere speculation’s sake and trying to force conditions on the biggest actors’ part for their own profit with no “ecologic” (in a broader sense) perspective… well, that isn’t sustainable, as we saw… but it’s not like the underlying activity is really the problem.

        • I disagree with you Gabriele.

          I know you hate to hear it, but I firmly believe you are wrong.

          For me, you’re a purist, and happy to live with the bunker mentality that all is well – worn out arguments for a calendar with charm and tradition is basically code for cycling remaining exclusive and your special little interest – but cycling could and should be more popular if it had better management and made itself more accessible/inclusive.

          There is clearly serious room for improvement on all fronts.

          The sport could be so much better for the spectators, the media, it’s viewers and most importantly the cyclists and the teams… basically everyone… it’s a mess and a reformed calendar *(I realise it is impossible), mainstay teams etc would all make for dramatic improvements.

          • You may stand as firm as you please in your beliefs, but you should back them up someway unless you want to end up repeating some mantra you learnt somewhere else.
            Writing some nonsense about me (“all-is-well mentality”, just exhilarating – it would have been enough to read a couple of my other posts in this *same* page) doesn’t make you more convincing.
            I can be wrong, surely, but, guess what? It’s better to be wrong knowing the subject you’re speaking about than firmly believing you’re right without having much idea.

            Just an example: things as they are, as inrng show some time ago, sharing TV revenues wouldn’t help make teams much more stable, the involved amounts aren’t (yet?) enough – not even by far (by the way, RAI is paying, not collecting TV revenues).

            And cycling is *not* an “exclusive” sport at least in three out of five main European countries (soon three out of four…), just as in other places all over the world. Including several where I lived.

            Make cycling more inclusive means making cycling as a sport easier to access, both to take part and watch: not to change the sport to help those who already have access but don’t have the patience to understand. They just easy come and easy go.

            (millions of spectators in Europe who *would positively* watch cycling, things as they are, cycling as it is – they already watch whenever possible – are excluded by the choice to broadcast it on some pay-TV? People already want to watch, they aren’t offered the product. And nobody is tackling the question)

        • First I would like to say the I really appreciate your inputs into this blog, I read them with great interest.
          Your argument regarding a bubble might be very true, but the problem IMO keep on existing, I guess one could argue that structures seem to remain for example Unzue and his crew, but teams come and go and being dependent on a single income is not sustainable the way I see (pro)cycling.
          The underlying activity will most likely exist, but sustainability is not all about the pro-cycling bubble, it is also about cycling on a grassroots level, from my perspective(madrid) I do not see much done besides the AC-foudation, maybe a British approach with a state sponsored olympic program to spit out strong rouleurs and the occasional GC contender is a solution?, I certainly do not claim to have the answers, but I can see why for potential sponsors it makes more sense to support a race rather than a team.
          As a fan I would find a project attractive that is long term and more than x-y brand name sponsors.

          • Of course I share your worries, and I don’t have any easy solution, either, but I’m pretty much sure that unless we focus the problem correctly we won’t advance much just trying to copy wholly different sports.

            Cycling is a pretty much unique (as long as I know) mix of individual *and* team sport because of its technical content, not just because of current historical, cultural and economic conditions (which all varied a lot along the last century, with an incredible display of different formulas, without ever going as far as to modify the complex nature of the sport in terms of balance between single athlete and team). Motorsports might be similar, in a broad sense, but the engineering component makes them quite different (until bike motors will be made official 😉 ).

            However, despite the well-known difficulties team have to face (many of which not that directly related to cycling’s characteristics), 7 out of 18 WT teams – more than a third part! – have been running for more than 20 years (some of them even for more than 30 years!). You may think that it isn’t that much compared to football, but the picture looks better when you compare it to other sports, all of them with a more solid “team” nature. 5 further teams are at least 10 year old. Only 6 teams are still young, but most of them look pretty much solid and don’t suffer from any lack of identity (or money): Sky, Orica, Katusha, Trek, plus the two relatively “weaker” ones, that is, Bora and, even more so, Bahrain.

      • None of the things you specificly mention as making pro cycling inaccessible to new comers are things that, quite frankly, only a very small fraction of spectators or even people following the sport closely care greatly about.

        People watch races, they don’t watch seasons or years (it’s not a championshp or a league sport).
        People are mainly, almost solely, interested in riders, not teams, even when they are able to understand that cycling is also a team sport and that every race involves team tactics.
        They grasp fairly quickly that there are different kinds of riders and different kinds of races for different kinds of riders or that there are riders who ride to wind and that there are riders who wide to help other riders win or that one set of riders can ride for one goal, another for another and yet another for yet another, all in the same race on the same day!

        All of this is true for new comers, whether they are grannies, house wives, mamils who are yet to purchase their second road bike, nearly everyone else but the…well…I don’t know how to put it…serious sports fan with a background as a keen follower of an essentially different kind of sport.

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