Today's professional cyclists face increased demands to allow them to perform their job and fewer well-paid job opportunities. Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown explores the options riders have to express their power in today's cycling world.
For the past 10 years cyclists have faced an image problem due to doping. The public believes that most cyclists are cheats due to a few high-profile cases and the strong, public efforts the sports authorities are making to run a clean operation.
The image problem compounds with the bad financial market that caused sponsors to lessen their contribution or pull out entirely. These situations have left cyclists – who have increased out-of-competition testing and anti-doping obligations – riding for less money or, worse yet, out of a job.
In the 1990s riders turned to the International Association of Professional Cyclists (AICPro) and national federations for their needs. Following the 1998 Festina Affair, the Association of Italian professionals (ACCPI) called a meeting at the 1999 Giro d'Italia. The Association of Professional Cyclists, or CPA, began with ex-professional Francesco Moser as its president.
The Association of Professional Cyclists
Over the past 10 years the Association of Professional Cyclists has taken hold. It gained new momentum with the election of ex-professional Cédric Vasseur as president in October 2007. The Frenchman, newly retired, related to the new problems that faced the cycling world.
"I really think that the riders are starting to realise they have an association that's become very powerful," Vasseur said to Cyclingnews. "They are concerned about what their team managers will say, or the race organisers or the UCI [International Cycling Union - ed.]. This year, the riders – with the CPA – have realised they have a lot of power in their hands."
Vasseur connects to all ProTour and Professional Continental riders – first and second division – via e-mail. Last year, he conducted polls before the Tour de France to hear what the riders had to say about banning earpieces in the race.