Is Velon’s deal with the Tour de Suisse the future of race organisation?

Velon CEO Graham Bartlett tells Cycling Weekly that teams and race organisers need to work together more for the long-term future of the sport

Velon‘s latest deal with the Tour de Suisse could be the future of race organisation, according to the partnership’s CEO Graham Bartlett, who says teams and races need to work together to move the sport forward.

Eleven WorldTour teams make up Velon and the joint venture signed up to a five-year deal with the Tour de Suisse, which includes a revenue sharing element for the teams involved.

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As a plan to grow the Swiss race into a world class sporting event, Velon will work with organisers to improve the social media from the race, attract new technology and sponsors and showcase some of the sport’s best riders.

“For the long-term movement of the sport, the teams and the organisers have to come together and do more joint business because they need each other,” Bartlett told Cycling Weekly. “This is a great example of that. We need to do more for the race and the race needs to do more with us – together we can take this position forward.”

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While the Tour de Suisse is a WorldTour race, it has found itself battling with the Critérium du Dauphiné to attract the best talent ahead of the Tour de France.

Indeed, history shows that every winner of the Tour de France since 2006 has ridden the Dauphiné in the month previous, meaning the plan to bring “the best riders and teams” to the Tour de Suisse could come down to different definitions of the word ‘best’.

“It’s all about building a calibre of field among the 11 Velon teams,” Bartlett said. “We can draw from many wells, so we are looking how we can improve the rider quality of the field and step up there.

“That’s not to say the other races won’t have great riders as well because they clearly will. The Dauphiné is a great race and I’m sure it’ll continue to have a strong field.

“[This deal] is not about teams favouring one race over another, it’s about bringing quality to the race so it can properly set itself up going forward.”

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Bartlett is hoping to showcase some of Velon and Infront’s telemetry platforms at the June race, with promises of live on-bike footage and enhanced broadcasting features.

Velon’s press releases about the deals with Infront and the Tour de Suisse have been quite vague about what advancements there will be in broadcasting, and Bartlett insists full details will be revealed when the two sides are actually able to show audiences what they’ve been working on.

“When we announced the InFront deal, one of the things we wanted to do was a much deeper and very exciting telemetry project and we’re looking to showcase that at the Tour de Suisse,” he said.

“We’d also like to do some live on-board stuff, which we pioneered at Abu Dhabi. The best thing to do is show people that rather than talk about it.

“Any time you tell people this is coming and there’s going to be new technology platform they all say ‘that’s great, when can you show us?’. We’ll say more about that when we can show you.”