Riders demand 'valued' jersey

By Gregor Brown

The Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) is fighting to make sure that the new world calendar leader's jersey has value. Its president, Cédric Vasseur, wants to ensure prize money for the new classification, awarded to the rider with the most points in the International Cycling Union's 2009 calendar of Historical and ProTour races.

"How can you say to the riders to fight [for the prize] if there is no money, just for honour – it's a professional sport. That is not acceptable when they are using the names and images," Vasseur told Cyclingnews.

Vasseur spoke with the International Cycling Union's Alain Rumpf about the new classification jersey, set to debut in 2009. He said the manager of the ProTour did not have funds allocated for the jersey.

"I cannot imagine people from the UCI working for free. If you put a classification with no money on offer, just a jersey... It's the image rights for free."

The UCI will award the leader's jersey after each Historical Calendar or ProTour race, which includes races like the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Paris-Roubaix. It will replace the white jersey awarded to the ProTour leader from 2005 through 2008 and try to establish an overall 'rider of the year', similar to what the world cup rankings achieved from 1989 to 2004.

The first race on the 2009 calendar is the ProTour-ranked Tour Down Under, January 20 to 25.

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