David Millar says the fight to give professional cyclists a voice starts now after he lost the election for CPA president.
The former Scottish professional says cyclists including Chris Froome (Team Sky) are “crying for help” because the CPA is not protecting their interests.
“I think there’s still a lot of work to do,” Millar told Cycling Weekly after a busy 24 hours in Innsbruck, where he lost to incumbent Gianni Bugno on Thursday.
“I need a few days to speak to riders to get opinions and pick the direction to go.”
Millar knew he was likely to lose, but wants the election to bring change.
“This is a long game,” Millar said.
“It’s been an intense month and it’s opened up the debate and raised awareness. Now the long game properly begins.”
Millars’ campaign raised awareness that a few select nations have large voting powers in the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA).
Nations including France, Italy, and Spain vote in blocks on behalf of their riders and have the power to steer the union.
Only six member associations vote at the CPA: France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland and North America.
Riders from other nations hardly carry weight – which is troubling when those professionals want change.
Millar is considering whether he could work from within the CPA for change or bring it via outside means.
“I saw the system was flawed, it’s not going to go away through the normal process with the committee, it’ll be shut down if you propose change,” he continued.
“This candidacy was the only way to do it, raises awareness and force a change. You needed a big noise to force some change.
“Whatever happens, it’s trying to get the CPA to work better, to get the peloton to feel they have representation that they believe in and trust. “
Ahead of the election on Thursday, big name pros including Froome, Geraint Thomas, Greg Van Avermaet and Tom Dumoulin wrote to the CPA saying the election would be “unfair” and the union is not representing them.
The election unfolded regardless and as predicted, Bugno won with a landslide 379-96 vote.
“Will the riders strike? No. They would be willing to, but it doesn’t work like that in cycling. The problem with striking, there are 200 people on the start line of bike races. It’s a lot of people to get on the same page,” Millar explained.
“You want to get to a point where the peloton is so unified and the union so well represented so that even a threat of a strike would be enough.”
The CPA asked Millar to help from within, but he will decide if that is the best way or if a change from outside could be better.
“Riders are crying for help on social media,” he added. “They don’t feel the CPA is doing it for them.”