The Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA) has responded to questions raised by The Cyclists' Alliance (TCA), regarding the introduction of a Centralised Prize Money Management system (CPM), claiming that it reserves the right to sue the latter for touting what it calls 'fake news'.
In a strongly-worded statement, the CPA said in reference to comments made by TCA: "We reserve the right to sue for defamation those who discredit our work by spreading slander and causing only damage to cycling and its protagonists."
What is the disagreement about?
The Union Cycliste Internationale (sorry, last acronym: UCI) launched a Centralised Prize Money Management system for the men's peloton in January, 2019. It was rolled out to the women's side of the sport in January 2022.
However, prize money within women's cycling is a very different scenario when compared with prize money within men's cycling. As an example (of many), at the 2021 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, women's winner Anna van der Breggen (SD Worx) picked up only €930 compared to men's winner Davide Ballerini's (Deceuninck - Quick-Step) €16,000.
What did The Cyclists' Alliance (TCA) say?
TCA, a body that exists to represent the interest of female cyclists, stated its concerns regarding the CPM last week, highlighting elements of the system such as the 'Transition Fund', which supports riders after retirement, and payments that may be made to national riders associations.
The TCA stated that the men's Transition Fund is currently running "at a deficit of €2.8 million", adding "given the relatively low amounts of prize money available in women’s cycling, it is also questionable if a Transition Fund for women can provide any amounts which are sufficient to be considered meaningful for post career assistance".
Over payments to national riders associations, it noted that "it is not clear where the deducted amount of money goes, when a country does not have a national riders association."
Other concerns included the "1.82% [that] will be deducted from the prize money (for the development of the CPM)" and the fact that "C1 and C2 races are not part of the Women’s CPM system", the TCA stated: "those races are often the hardest to collect and receiving the prize money for the riders. Therefore, we ask the UCI to discuss incorporating these race categories in a future version of the Women’s CPM."
Concluding its discussion, TCA wrote: "The prize money belongs to the riders, they should be entitled to take part in this discussion."
What's the response from the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA)?
Both TCA and CPA work to a similar goal, the latter calling itself an "international non-profit association that safeguards the interests of the professional riders."
The CPA has claimed that the TCA has published "false information disclosed with the clear intention of defaming the CPA and manipulating the riders."
It added, "through the dissemination of such incorrect information, the TCA not only appears to be ill-informed but manifests superficiality in its communications."
The CPA says that the CPM exists to allow for "the standardization of the management of prizes, transparency and traceability but also optimal financial conditions", thanks to its financial know-how.
The CPA has said that the deductions that will be made from the women's prize money, in the World Tour and Pro-series races will be: a 1.82% levy for management fees (percentage identical to that of men), a withdrawal of € 300 per year per World Tour team for bank charges, a withdrawal of €200 per year per Pro team for bank charges.
The CPA has not noted any additional deductions for a Transition Fund, or money to go to national rider associations, clarifying "no other deductions will be applied."
The CPA also says that the management costs of the women's prize money will not be "fully covered by the 1.82% levy", and that the UCI has undertaken to "finance the missing share" which it says is more than 50%.
Addressing the question over C1 and C2 races, the CPA says that the decision has been to apply this fund only to World Tour and Pro-series races for 2022, "before extending it" to lower ranked races.
Finally, the CPA says that riders, and teams, are free to choose not to use the CPA, adding "nobody is obliged to choose the CPA as their agent."
In a statement, the TCA noted: "The TCA recently provided riders with a summary of the existing men’s CPM, together with a list of questions we (the TCA and the Rider Council) had asked of the UCI, to obtain clarity around the new system. Whilst we are pleased to see the CPA has confirmed they will only deduct 1.82%, we are somewhat surprised at the response to our request for rider consultation, transparency and accountability.
"This response should not detract from the questions originally raised," the body said.
TCA rider representative Ellen van Dijk stated on Twitter: "I don’t think this is the best way to contact, but I feel like I need to react.
"As riders, we asked [the CPA] to ask questions as we need transparency around the prize money platform. All we need is answers instead of a threatening statement."
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