Pro cycling teams have launched a scathing criticism of the UCI and have demanded urgent action over their “serious concerns.”
The Association Internatonale des Groupes Cyclistes Professionnels (AIGCP), which acts on behalf of men’s pro road cycling teams, has released a 2,400-word open letter, raising a multitude of concerns over the UCI’s role.
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Among the issues raised by the AIGCP include race refereeing and safety, teams being ignored and not consulted on major decisions, and the increased demands on teams as the racing calendar grows.
In the letter, addressed to UCI president David Lappartient, the AIGCP said: “The purpose of this letter is to formally notify you that men’s professional road teams (AIGCP) have serious concerns about the current level and execution of governance of men’s professional road cycling by the UCI.
“AIGCP expects urgent action and invites the UCI to a dialogue to work out a governance structure which would have the consent of teams and their riders and which will better serve the growth of men’s professional road cycling.”
The wide-ranging document includes three main headings: UCI’s core task in regard to men’s professional road cycling not being performed at the required level, No Stakeholder Rights: “taxation without representation”, and interfering in commercial domain.
Under the first heading, the AIGCP says the “the level of fair and consistent race refereeing and the management of riders’ safety is below the level it should be.”
In the second section, the body argues that teams and riders have no effective say despite their large financial contributions to the UCI, and under the third category the letter says that the UCI “is using its regulatory powers in many ways and forms to, directly and indirectly, interfere in the commercial domain and too often at the expense of the UCI’s own stakeholders: the teams with their riders.”
The examples given include the introduction of new races as WorldTour teams now compete for 180 days of the year, the new World Championship mixed relay event which they say was brought in with no consultation with teams, and the use of data from on-bike devices like power meters.
To conclude, the AIGCP says tt wants to enter into talks with the UCI over six key areas: race referees and their decisions, licence procedures for race organisers, the number of race days, rider and team representation, the UCI’s involvement in the commercial aspect of teams, and the financial contribution teams should make to the UCI.
Last month, the UCI decided to press ahead with its new “Classics Series,” despite the objection from teams.
Cycling’s international governing body plans to introduce a general classification for one-day races, as part of the UCI’s drive to improve the popularity of cycling.
But the Classics Series has already hit a speed bump as the AIGCP opposed the innovation, saying that riders will not take part.
The UCI has also come under fire from personalities in the cyclocross world over plans to expand the World Cup from nine to 16 rounds.
Cycling Weekly has approached the UCI for comment.