Today the UCI provided another update regarding the Nations’ Cup track series. You can read the article here.
Once again, we have been caught by surprise. The UCI has not responded to our letters, nor has the organization made any attempt to involve us and other key stakeholders in its discussions.
Several aspects of the UCI’s proposal seem entirely counterproductive to the health of the sport. First, we are concerned about shifting the calendar to the summer, when track cycling events will have to compete for attention against already popular road races. In our opinion, track cycling — an indoor sport — can have the greatest impact during the winter months.
Second, we are worried about the long gap between the end of this World Cup season and the start of the new commercial series the UCI is planning to introduce in November 2021. Riders who do not qualify for the Nations’ Cup and are thus excluded from the major tournaments will be out of competition at the highest level for a year and a half. This could lead to many riders simply leave the sport.
Finally, the UCI seems ready to squander the opportunity offered by commercial track teams — and destroy the investments made so far. We have been working on developing our team since 2017. We are bringing on new partners, and the enhancement of the commercial aspect has enabled us to strengthen our organization, including offering higher salaries. Our budget continues to grow every year. Clearly, there are commercial opportunities, and potential partners are interested in supporting the sport. Rather than taking a step backward and returning to the amateur days of the past, the UCI would do better to concentrate on making the current series more attractive for new parties to join, with more TV coverage and well-organized events, so that we can grow the sport and make it more commercially appealing.
We have doubts about whether this move by the UCI is even legally permissible. We are investigating our options with our legal partner, the law firm Kneppelhout Rotterdam, to determine whether we can appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.