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Lance Armstrong urges pro cyclists to unify

Lance Armstrong rode with Astana when he made his TDU debut
Lance Armstrong says now is the time for the peloton to 'take back the power' (Image credit: Tim de Waele/TDWSport.com)

Lance Armstrong has urged professional cyclists to use this downtime from racing during the Covid-19 coronavirus lockdown to unify and "take back the power" in their sport.

Speaking to his Instagram audience in a video promoting his 'The Move' podcast, Armstrong spoke directly to his former colleagues.

"To the sport of pro cycling, to all you cyclists sitting out there at home not sure if you're going to get your paycheck next month, not sure if your team is going to survive this: now is the opportunity," Armstrong intoned.

The lack of racing since the pandemic spread throughout Europe and around the globe has caused a crisis situation for some teams and their sponsors as business has been brought to a near halt and economies are beginning to teeter.

Several teams have reduced rider salaries and laid off staff since the pandemic stopped all racing in March. Bahrain McLarenCCC TeamMitchelton-ScottAstana and Lotto Soudal are among the WorldTour teams that have announced reduction measures thus far, and more are expected as the crisis wears on.

The CPA, the professional riders’ union, said this week that it is willing to accept salary cuts during the coronavirus pandemic, but only in cases where teams can prove that their budgets have been affected by the hiatus from competition.

Following talks with the UCI and the teams’ representative body the AIGCP last week, CPA president Gianni Bugno said that his union is prepared to accept pay cuts on a case-by-case basis, but the CPA will not agree to a wholesale reduction of salaries during the coronavirus pandemic.

CPA general secretary Laura Mora added that the riders’ body has been consulting with agents in recent weeks "so that nobody gains or loses by making agreements that damage others." 

Armstrong said he believes now is the time for the professional peloton to unify and protect their own interests.

"Now is the opportunity for you to reset the scales, to get a seat at the table, to take the power back," he said. "If you don't take this opportunity right now, you may never have another chance to do it.

"So think about that," Armstrong continued. "Talk to each other. Talk to the peloton as a whole and unify. Take this opportunity to take this power back. You are the actors in the play, and without the actors the play doesn't go on."