Sir Dave Brailsford says cycling needs a better business model after coronavirus crisis

The Team Ineos boss added that if one race goes ahead this year, it should be the Tour de France

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sir Dave Brailsford has said cycling needs a better business model, as the coronavirus crisis continues to cause upheaval and uncertainty in the sport.

Team Ineos boss Brailsford also said that if just one race goes ahead this year, it should be the Tour de France.

In an interview on BBC Radio Four (opens in new tab) on Wednesday morning (April 22), Brailsford also said that there are still health concerns about delaying the Tour until late August, adding that safety measures would need to be taken.

Brailsford, the former performance director at British Cycling, said: “One of the challenges cycling has is that revenue is totally dependent on sponsors and different sponsors are in different businesses and some are more effective than others in the current climate.

“Modernising the business model going forward would be wise for everybody."

He added that finding a new business model for cycling would be a “good lesson” for the future of the sport, featuring a more diversified season with bigger races spread out across the calendar, easing the pressure on one race, the Tour de France.

Brailsford said a new structure would those in cycling to plan for the medium to long term, rather than just the short term.

Earlier this month, Tour de France organiser ASO announced that the three-week race would be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, with the event now scheduled to start in Nice on August 29.

But the decision not to cancel the 2020 Tour has been met with scepticism in some quarters, as many people feel the coronavirus crisis could still prevent the race from going ahead.

However abandoning the Tour for 2020 could have sweeping consequences for the sport, as sponsors put so much emphasis on the exposure of the world’s biggest bike race.

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On the safety aspect of the Tour, Brailsford said: “There are risks involved and hundreds of people lining the road in close proximity is not the best idea.

"Certain measures would have to be taken in order for the event to be run safely, which is of paramount importance."

But Brailsford said his riders and team are preparing as if the Tour will go ahead in August and September.

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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.