February 29, 2012 by Irish Peloton
The AIGCP want reform, who do we blame?
There is ongoing debate from all sides about the future of the sport of cycling with respect to the racing calendar and the distribution of money along with a potential breakaway league. Richard Moore wrote an excellent piece on it for Pro Cycling magazine which was reproduced on cyclingnews.com.
Jonathan Vaughters is the president of the AIGCP which is the association which represents the interests of professional cycling teams. As Matt over at The Inner Ring has pointed out before, the AIGCP are somewhat mysterious. Although Vaughters himself has a large online presence and is very accessible, the AIGCP itself does not have a website. If nothing else, it would provide a platform from which they could outline a clear agenda and the reasons for their existence.
Instead, the only disclosure we get with regards to the goals of the AIGCP are through articles on the likes of Cycling News and Velonation when Vaughters gives an interview or through Vaughters’s own twitter feed.
But yesterday, I stumbled across an interview with the head of the AIGCP, who is also the directeur sportif of one of the most successful teams in the sport. This is an article which you may not have read before. Again, it only outlines end goals and doesn’t provide details on how or why these goals may be achieved, but it does give some insight into the AIGCP itself. Here are a few snippets from that article:
Cycling’s top teams and race organisers could be on a collision course, as longstanding disagreements over the funding of the sport threaten to escalate. The debate over the future structuring of the race season and distribution of television money has been sparked by the head of the teams association, AIGCP.
“The rights holders are not getting as much television revenue as they should. Cycling is the second most popular sport in Europe in terms of hours and audiences. It gets high viewing figures, so it is profitable for broadcasters. That profit must be shared with the teams”.
“All sports now make changes to their calendars to cater for television schedules. But cycling’s calendar is the same as it was 50 years ago. We need to eliminate the boring stages in the major tours and cut down on the number of events outside the tours”.
A re-structuring of the season – bringing it down to a skeleton schedule of big events, built round the three major tours, five or six single-day races and the world championships – would also help solve the sport’s long running doping problems.
“It would give riders more time to recuperate, meaning that they won’t have to resort to doping simply to keep up. We need more quality and less quantity”.
If you’re thinking ‘same old, same old, sure there’s nothing new in those quotes‘, you would be correct. These are the essentially the same points which Vaughters and the AIGCP have been making for months now. But the interesting thing about this article, which appeared in Pro Cycling magazine, is that those aren’t the words of Jonathan Vaughters.
What seems to be new on the agenda since then is actually splitting from the UCI and forming a breakaway league. But Drastically altering the cycling calendar and teams receiving a share of TV revenue are not new ideas.
Back in late 1999, Vaughters was swapping his US Postal racing jersey for a Credit Agricole one, while his partner in crime in the breakaway league notion, Johan Bruyneel, was waving goodbye to Vaughters having just finished up his first year as directeur sportif of US Postal.
So before you go pointing the finger of blame for these fanciful ideas at the likes of Jonathan Vaughters and Johan Bruyneel, remember that the AIGCP and the thirst for money and power has been around long since before either of those two came to prominence in the sport of cycling.