Eleven ‘rebel’ teams named in relation to potential split with the UCI
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Eleven ‘rebel’ teams named in relation to potential split with the UCI

by Shane Stokes at 5:59 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Several teams abstain from aligning with rival league

UCI World TourThe UCI recently revealed that plans had been drawn up for a rival league, which could see a number of ProTeams potentially split from the governing body in the search for a new system.

“I have heard about these rumous for several weeks now. This discussion has been going on, it has been led by a couple of team directors. I know [Johan] Bruyneel was involved. [Bjarne] Riis may have been involved too,” the UCI president Pat McQuaid told VeloNation this week.

“Meetings have taken place in London and also in parts of Europe with business people in relation to teams investing a certain amount of money and those business people investing a certain amount of money. They would create something out of that.”

McQuaid said that he didn’t know the identities of all of those concerned. “But my understanding is that this agreement was signed by eleven teams at the beginning of the year, at an AIGCP meeting or something like that. It was around about the same time as the fight against the radios started, proving that this fight against the radios was just a cover for something bigger all along.”

The identities of those eleven squads have now been confirmed by French newspaper L’Equipe, which names five teams as being the principal ‘ringleaders.’ These are Radioshack, Saxo Bank-SunGard, Quick Step, Garmin-Cervélo and Movistar. They are supported by six others, namely Omega Pharma-Lotto, Leopard-Trek, HTC-HighRoad, Liquigas, Rabobank and Sky Procycling. Johan Bruyneel and Jonathan Vaughters are named as two key people in the project.

That leaves seven ProTeams which have decided to steer clear, as well as various other Pro Continental squads. Those ProTeams are Ag2r La Mondiale, Katusha, Astana, Vacansoleil, Lampre, Euskadel-Euskadi and the BMC Racing Team, with the latter preferring to remain neutral.

AIGCP head Jonathan Vaughters has said that the UCI is not listening to the teams and that they need to have more say in the decisions pertaining to pro cycling. He has stated that the race radio issue is just one example which shows that the team’s wishes are not being taken into account.

McQuaid claims that all of the stakeholders are listened to, but that the teams can’t have a vote on the management committee. “The teams will never be on the ultimate decision-making body of cycling, which is the management committee of the UCI, no more than teams are not on the FIFA executive board, nor are they on the FINA executive board, nor on those of other sports,” he said.

It remains to be seen if this split will indeed happen, and which direction race organisers such as Tour de France organisers ASO will go.

McQuaid and riders’ association president Gianni Bugno are due to meet in the near future to discuss radios and other issues. With more details emerging about the potential schism, it’s quite possible that a rival league could also be on the agenda.


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