The Outer Line.
Pro cycling’s association of teams, the Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels (AIGCP), recently issued a strong rebuke to the sport’s ruling body – the UCI. Generally fed up with the pace of reforms and with the economic pressures they face in trying to field teams for all of the WorldTour’s far-flung races, the teams voted to boycott the upcoming UCI World Team Time Trial (TTT) Championship in Doha, Qatar in September.
This potential walkout highlights the teams’ growing discontent with the UCI – specifically the expansion of the WorldTour calendar in future years – and the frustration of not having enough input in how they run their own businesses. This is just one more contentious development in the fractured business world of pro cycling - and a threat which may not hold anyway - but the teams have a legitimate beef here. They are rightly worried about how additional expenses may further hurt their ability to attract and keep the all-important sponsors - without which the whole sport would collapse.
As we have noted elsewhere, cycling’s tenuous hold on key sponsors is a central challenge to the future of the sport; it is in the interests of all stakeholders - particularly the UCI - to confront and address this challenge. To read more about this specific issue, and broader issues it represents, click here.