Change Cycling Now: Fuller claims fear kept riders and industry sponsors away
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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Change Cycling Now: Fuller claims fear kept riders and industry sponsors away

by VeloNation Press at 8:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Bike Pure hails early progress of new pressure group

Jaimie FullerStating that he contacted approximately a dozen riders plus ten industry sponsors to see if they would take part in the inaugural meeting of the Change Cycling Now movement, Jaimie Fuller has claimed that a fear of retaliation was a major reason in their reluctance to do so.

The group met in London on Sunday and again yesterday and subsequently released a charter which CCN hopes will be adopted within the sport and bring about change in the UCI.

Riders and sponsors are clearly a big part of the sport, yet Fuller said that a fear of rocking the boat kept them away.

“I’ve attempted to have the riders represented on our panel, but all the riders have been terrified and intimidated,” the Australian told NOS. “This again is just indicative of the culture within the UCI. They [the riders] have no faith, they have no trust in the UCI and they feel that if they are outspoken and they do or say anything, they will be punished.”

Fuller stated that while they had a representative of the CSC company joining them for the discussions, current sponsors didn’t show a willingness to get involved. He said that one of those contacted told him that, as with the riders, there is concern about a possible backlash.

“I approached ten different presidents and CEOs within the cycling industry. I only got two responses,” said Fuller. “One of those was ‘thanks but no thanks,’ and the other one we had a phone call. He explained to me that all cycling industry sponsors feel intimidated and under threat from the UCI.

“If they stick their head above the parapet and if they are critical to the UCI, that the UCI will punish them by not giving them compliance stickers for their products.”

Fuller likened the behaviour to that shown by Lance Armstrong when he was racing. “We are talking about intimidation and bullying, and that is exactly what we saw with Armstrong and out of the peloton,” he claimed.

VeloNation knows of one rider who was contacted but declined to take part, expressing concern about the difficulties this might cause. However it emerged yesterday that known outspoken competitor was not contacted, namely David Millar. Fuller said that he was mistakenly informed that the Scot would be abroad training at the time, and that he otherwise would have been asked.

He added that two women riders had been invited to attend but they were wary about getting involved.

According to former UCI biological passport panel member Michael Ashenden, riders should not have a fear of intimidation under a fair system. “That is a terrible indictment of the administration of the sport, when the riders are too afraid to tell the truth,” said the anti-doping researcher. “That is a terrible situation and that has got to change.”

Bike Pure’s Layhe hails first meeting:

In addition to Fuller, triple Tour de France winner Greg LeMond – who said yesterday that he had been asked to push towards becoming an interim president of the UCI – anti-doping researchers Ashenden, Robin Parisotto and Dr. John Hoberman, team managers Eric Boyer and Jonathan Vaughters and journalists Paul Kimmage and David Walsh were amongst those who were part of the weekend meetings.

Andy Layhe Paul KimmageSo too Andy Layhe of the Bike Pure group, which has long been pushing for a clean sport. He flew from Australia to London for the CCN meeting and said that he believed strong progress had been made.

“It was a highly constructive day and evident from the offset that the energy and passion for urgent transformation of the way in which the sport is governed was going to be the catalyst for the day's agenda,” he stated.

“Off the back of the Lance Armstrong scandal, the sport sits in a precarious position, where the desire for a new way forward has to be grasped urgently. Someone has to take responsibility at the top of the chain for what has happened in recent weeks.

“The UCI have ignored fundamental issues and must be held accountable for the damage that has been incurred. If this were a government scandal or failings at the top of a multi national company, people would have been fired, lost their jobs for the complete mishandling of the situation.”

Layhe said that while the sport had seen numerous fresh starts, that he believed that those involved in the CCN movement had much of what was needed to push for lasting change.

“We have a fundamental opportunity, and all those associated with the sport can do their part,” he said. “Once proposals are published, we urge cycling fans to get behind the proposals for change and do their own part in shaping a sport that they can be proud of.”

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