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Cycling's top teams have joined together to form a new group called Velon, with the aim of bringing more marketing potential and money into the sport. Team Sky is one of the 11 first division, WorldTour teams to join in.
"To create a more exciting, stable and credible sport that fans can support long-term," read a Team Sky press release.
"[It is] the first joint venture of UCI WorldTour cycling teams. This group brings together 11 leading teams to drive a financial model that, in line with other international sports, ensures a sustainable future for the teams."
The founding teams include Belkin, BMC, Garmin-Sharp, Lampre-Merida, Lotto-Belisol, Omega Pharma-QuickStep, Orica-GreenEdge, Giant-Shimano, Sky, Tinkoff-Saxo and Trek Factory Racing. The 11 squads simultaneously sent out press releases this morning at 8am London time to announce the new group.
Velon explained that it wants a coherent calendar that attracts fans via new technologies. The teams mentioned the on-bike video cameras that were used to record and created post-race videos during races like the Tour de France this year.
"The teams involved in creating Velon have come together with a powerful shared vision to optimise the sport and develop new ways for professional cycling to grow," Sky's team principal, Sir David Brailsford said.
"If the teams unite and work collectively with other key stakeholders to make cycling better to watch, easier to understand and get guaranteed commercial support it's to everyone's benefit and will encourage even more fans to follow the sport we love."
Chris Froome added, "With the development of Velon, it will allow the teams to work together and help find new innovations to grow the sport, keep fans excited and attract new followers."
"It will be important to make our sport even better, more understandable, and more marketable for people outside the cycling world," said Mark Cavendish of Belgian team, Omega Pharma-Quick Step. "This kind of project is important to enlarge our fan base and to increase the awareness of our sport internationally."
The Velon group will work for its 11 board members with Graham Bartlett (formerly of UEFA, Nike and other major sports brands) as the appointed CEO. Bartlett explained that it will be easier to promote team growth with a smaller and stronger group that is different from the International Association of Professional Cycling teams (AIGCP).
However, first division teams Ag2r La Mondiale, Astana, Europcar, FDJ.fr, Katusha and Movistar did not join Velon. Three of the six are French – Ag2r, Europcar and FDJ – and Astana has Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali.
"There is always an effort to make pro cycling a pro-style NBA league," Europcar manager, Jean-René Bernaudeau told France's L'Equipe newspaper on Monday. "I'm against it."
Union Cycliste Internationale is reviewing IAM Cycling's paperwork prior to issuing the Swiss team with a WorldTour licence
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