The CPA Contest

Having looked at the history of rider unions last week one theme was the divisions with unions forming and splitting. Here’s the follow up piece looking at the upcoming presidential election there’s a contest and even if the numbers say Millar has no chance it’s still useful to air ideas.

Read more

A Short History of Rider Unions

David Millar is running to become the next President of the CPA, the union of pro cyclists. He’s got a mountain to climb, he launched his bid just weeks before the vote and the voting system is likely to hinder him but whether you like him, loathe him or feel indifferent having a contest is a good thing. We’ll look at this contest tomorrow but for now here’s a brief history of rider unions which helps set the scene.

Read more

No Way To Run A Sport

Do other sports hang out their dirty washing so obviously at times? Probably but pro cycling has its moments, see how the ex-Lampre team doesn’t know if it’s going to ride or not just weeks out from the start of the new season or the farcical decision by the major races to shrink the number of participating riders without agreeing with anyone else resulting in a rapid climbdown.

Sometimes pro cycling seems trapped in a loop with regular failings and flops that repeat themselves. It’s tempting to launch into a rant but the irony is that a lot of these flaws can be fixed.

Read more

Who Speaks for the Riders?

That’s Luca Paolini and Manuel Quinziato in discussion with officials from the Giro d’Italia following the treacherous circuit around Bari where riders were sliding over the road. It’s often difficult to know who speaks for the riders and there are regular calls for a rider union, a collective body to protect and strengthen the rights of professional cyclists. Only this exists already, it’s called the CPA and every pro is compelled to pay for it. Only few seem to know about it.

As the sport reorganises there’s an alphabet soup of acronyms, each fighting for competing interests. There’s the UCI itself then race organisers like ASO and RCS who themselves are part of the AIOCC, a lobby group for race promoters. There are the teams, the employers, who form several groups for example their collective lobby is the AIGCP and many also subscribe to the MPCC and there’s the newly created Velon too. Will the riders and their union have a say too?

Read more

The CPA Pro Cyclists Union: Ride to 2016

Guest piece by Frank Kwanten

The sport is changing. Teams want a new model and some have united under the “Avignon Accord“. The UCI and the races are changing with calendar reform, a points overhaul and more. ASO buys the Vuelta, even leaving Hein Verbruggen in awe.

But what of the riders? Too often they’re not represented and when they are, it often doesn’t satisfy with concerns about everything from safety to late payment of prize money. “Ride to 2016” is an initiative by Dutch rider Reinier Honig who is a strong advocate of better protection for the riders. He found himself without a team after the Crelan team pulled the plug late in 2013. While still training and racing (he won a race a few days ago) Honig wants to contribute to a bright future for young cyclists. Reinier took the initiative together with Frank Kwanten who, after a career at Vacansoleil-DCM, now works as a Rider Agent and does some consultancy in the world of pro cycling. Frank is the owner of First Echelon and strongly believes that for a clean and bright future the riders need to take a stand and organize themselves.

Read more

If the UCI can’t mediate, someone else has to

UCI President Pat McQuaid opened the meeting… …He then informed the CCP members of the reason for the absence of Messrs Jonathan Vaughters and Gianni Bugno, who had been formally invited to choose between participating in the meeting and standing by the AIGCP and CPA in their threat to launch boycotts and strikes against the proposed ban on the use of earpieces during races.

You might think this is from George Orwell’s 1984, a confusing text from Franz Kafka or maybe the notes from of a Soviet Praesidium, as presented by spy novelist John Le Carré. Alas the text above is no fiction but a real statement issued today by the UCI.

Read more

The Beijing boycott

UCI sign contract
Anyone know a good Sino-Swiss contract lawyer?

With the dispute over race radios rumbling on, there’s talk of a boycott of the Tour of Beijng. a five-day stage race scheduled for October. If you haven’t heard of this race, don’t worry since it’s a new one but nevertheless it’s on the UCI’s World Tour calendar. A surprising addition given it’s never been held before.

Read more

Who speaks for the riders?

Eisel takes the lead Many riders are used to seeing Bernard Eisel take a lead. Only it’s more often during the late moments of a race, when the Austrian rider hits the front as part of Mark Cavendish’s sprint train. But this time Eisel has brought up a subject that many riders think about but … Read more