In recent weeks, you will have gathered that I have an issue with the governing body of world cycling, the UCI, that I share with cycling fans across the world.
Basically, we don’t think they’re managing the sport very well and in the last few days you may have noticed were doing something about it.
This week, we announced the creation of a new independent organisation, Change Cycling Now. It is an organisation which aims to represent the interests of stakeholders across the world who like me, believe that fundamental change at the top of cycling is required in order for its integrity to be fully restored and for cycling to have an opportunity to reach its full potential.
I’m delighted to say that we’ve collected together a tremendous list of members who’ll join together in London for a special summit this weekend to discuss our aims and activities. We aim to best reflect the views of fans, sponsors, riders and officials who genuinely feel dis-enfranchised by the current leadership. Without any disrespect intended to our other panelists, there can be none better to illustrate the strength of feeling there is across the world on this subject than three-time Tour de France winner Greg Lemond. Greg has been a fierce anti-doping campaigner over many years and has crossed swords with Lance Armstrong and his team on more than one occasion.
During his lifetime, he has seen team-mates ravaged by doping and even experienced the trauma of losing a close family friend and fellow rider, Johannes Draaijer who died because of it at the age of 27. Joining Greg will be a group of people that includes world renowned doping experts like Michael Ashenden, who formerly served on the UCI doping panel, Jonathan Vaughters, a former team mate of Lance Armstrong’s who is now President of the International Association of Professional Cycling Groups (AIGCP) and sports journalist Paul Kimmage who has fought a long battle to reveal the truth about doping despite strong intimidation at regular intervals along the way. At the last count, there were at least a dozen others who will be with us in London and their absence from this list certainly does not lessen their influence.
The quality around the table makes one thing certain: This won’t be a two day bitching session. That would achieve nothing and it would be easier to go down the pub and do that over a beer. (Now there’s a thought…)
Equally, it would be easy for us to say; “we’re representing the fans” and then make lots of short term, positive noise and leave it at that. But the whole point of this is to genuinely give the fans a chance to join with the likes of legends such as Greg LeMond and force change on cycling, its drug culture and, indirectly, the problems within others sports as well. I can’t tell you how privileged and proud I am that Greg and all the other members of the group have agreed to join us.
At this juncture, let me clear up one potentially confusing point. The fact you’re reading this blog about Change Cycling Now on a platform provided by SKINS, might make you think its all part of a SKINS’ marketing ploy? Please be assured, it is not.
That would cheapen, weaken – even destroy – our message and would also, of course, be highly disrespectful to the high profile, internationally renowned people we have supporting us as group members. We’ve set up independent platforms to carry the message and I’m merely using the option of the SKINS’ platform because I can. It’s true the principle that doping is not a genuine part of sport goes to the heart of the SKINS brand. There is no stronger principle and it is intertwined in our ethos and messaging. No question.
But when you see Change Cycling Now on your TV sets, in the newspapers, magazines or on-line this weekend, its incredibly important to me that you understand exactly why you won’t see the SKINS’ brand associated with it.
Change Cycling Now is not a vehicle for SKINS but I shall continue to use our website and other infrastructure to publicise a cause I firmly believe in and one that I also believe reflects the true feelings of the global majority.
As we spread the message, the pressure for change will be greater. I hope you will join us.
Thanks for reading.
Sign our global petition on the new website: www.changecyclingnow.org
Check us out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/changecyclingnow
Follow us on Twitter at @cyclingchange
Please consider cutting and pasting the following message into your Twitter account for your friends:
Hi. A global group has come together to Change Cycling Now. Follow them @cyclingchange and at the Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/ChangeCyclingNow