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Alessandro Petacchi with two time World Champ Gianni Bugno
Former Italian pro could be a popular choice
Former professional rider Gianni Bugno has signalled his intention to run as a candidate for the Presidency of the professional riders' association - the Cyclistes Professionels Associés (CPA) - following the withdrawal of Cédric Vasseur from the position in December 2009.
The 46-year-old Italian, one of Italy's greatest riders, was a professional between 1985 and 1998. He won stages in the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España, the road world championship in 1991 and '92 plus Classics such as Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders and the Clásica San Sebastián.
In recent years he has dedicated time to being a helicopter rescue pilot, appearing on the credits as the TV helicopter pilot during the 2008 Giro d'Italia. He also ran on the Partito Democratico (Democratic Party) ticket in the Lombard Regional Council election held earlier this year, although he wasn't elected.
He stands a better chance of entering the politics of cycling however, having recently been vice president of the Association International des Groupes Cyclistes Professionels (AIGCP) and recently wrote an open letter to various stakeholders, addressing the conflicts that beleaguered Vasseur during his tenure as President of the Association and his vision for the organisation should he be elected.
These days many riders (and non-Italian) and some of you have asked me if I wanted to ask my candidacy as president of the CPA.
This is a prestigious position with a heavy responsibility. Especially now that the association appears crossed by internal conflicts and renewal requirements.
I thank with my heart all those who thought of me, showing their confidence and esteem. In this regard, for the sake of clarity and transparency, I tell you right now my thoughts.
The CPA has always had a lack of representativeness because the participation of riders is reduced. Its President is therefore often in a situation of difficulty and isolation which weakens its political action and authority in respect of the teams, organisers, the UCI and the media.
The concerns of Vasseur and his attempts to involve riders were certainly justified.
However, I am convinced that if we are to achieve the goal of a more unified CPA, compact and independent, we not only seek greater involvement of riders (something also increasingly difficult, given the number of races they attend during the season), but also a greater participation and accountability of National Associations.
To this end, I think one of the tasks of the CPA should certainly not be to marginalise the national associations, but be more involved, working also to help establish new national associations in countries such as Australia, England, Scandinavia, the United States, Russia and so on.
Only then, in my opinion, that the CPA will achieve greater cohesion and is the expression of the whole bunch.
That said, I tell you what I replied to all those who contacted me. Gianni Bugno wants to be president, provided that we all agreed on the following points:
1. Commitment from all National Associations to participate in the CPA and take responsibilities on the basis of specific delegations to establish within the Executive Committee. I am convinced that only through dialogue, collaboration and team work can achieve good results;
2. Hold at least two Steering Committee meetings per year in which each national association will have the opportunity to show others the main problems it has occupied his country in the previous semester, so that all of the Steering Committee be more involved, informed and involve various issues in the different countries.
3. Set some goals, but clear, precise and shared.
The first problems to be addressed are - in my opinion - the following:
1. The reform of the solidarity fund.
With the cooperation and involvement of the UCI must be rethought to ensure (especially for categories of riders lower) which have a minimum capital at the end of his career;
2. The issue of Continental teams.
Having taken note of the fact that the UCI is considered for all purposes as part of the professional movement, try to establish for these teams and sporting minimum contractual conditions that are common and valid in all countries to discourage transfers involved and adverse situations from one country to another.
In addition, it should be in the racing category 1.HC-2.HC and 1.1-2.1 (which also includes the ProTour teams) that Continental teams are not accepted unless they can prove a guarantee that their riders adhere to protections contained in the joint agreement and they apply the anti-doping protocols.
3. The rules for participation of teams in the races on the international calendar.
It is in the interest of the riders arrived in obtaining clear and transparent rules for the participation of teams in the race to avoid imbalances, injustices and inequities.
4. The establishment of an internal disciplinary code to the CPA.
I think it important to try and establish rules of procedure agreed with the riders and national associations where one sets the rules and procedures to follow in case of strike when our group wishes to express its disagreement with organisers, or the UCI or teams because of decisions taken and/or unsafe racing conditions. This is to obtain, in case of strike and/or protest, the largest union membership and the riders.
5. Confirm and remembered through training (especially towards the new professionals) the importance of compliance, so that among younger riders the idea is strengthened that those who violate the rules hurt not only themselves and their team, but also the whole movement, and more so, their colleagues.
If you agree on that, I can assure you all my efforts and enthusiasm, as long as they unite with yours.
My warmest greetings to all.
Monza, 10 April 2010.