Elections for the International Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA) Presidency could provide an area of intrigue during the International Cycling Union (UCI) Road World Championships in Innsbruck.
The World Championships are scheduled to begin in the Austrian city tomorrow, with world titles and key areas of the sport’s governance on the line during the week-long event.
The CPA is the UCI recognised association for professional riders, with the group aimed at defending their interests and rights, as well as improving working conditions.
Italy’s Gianni Bugno, the 1990 Giro d’Italia winner, has led the organisation for the past eight years.
He intends to secure a third term at the body’s elections on September 27, which will take place in Innsbruck.
The CPA Presidency is being contested for the first time, with former British rider David Millar having declared his candidacy to lead the organisation, which was established in 1999.
Millar, who served a two-year doping ban during his career and have since become an advocate for anti-doping in sport, has criticised the current set-up of the CPA.
In a four-point manifesto, the Briton stated he would make the organisation more professional, active, representative and vocal.
Millar asserts he would create a more professional riders union modelled on the best pro athletes unions in the world, allowing riders to be part of deciding the rules of the sport and make them part of negotiations seeking to improve a joint agreement with professional teams.
The Briton has criticised the current format in which the CPA election is decided, with the heads of the Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese and North American rider’s unions able to vast votes on behalf of their riders.
Seems to me that the CPA is running a dictatorship, not a democracy which truly represents all the riders #fail— Chris Froome (@chrisfroome) September 9, 2018
This is due to the officials sitting on the CPA’s Steering Committee, with their unions they only full members, with Australia and England among those featuring as guests.
Riders will also be able to vast their vote individually from non-member affiliated countries, however they will only be able to do so in Innsbruck.
This has led to criticism from several prominent riders, including Britain’s Grand Tour winners Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome, with the latter accusing the organisation of running a dictatorship.
The assertion has been denied by the CPA, who have stated they work for all riders.
The CPA have also stated that proposals to alter statutes must be submitted in writing 30 days before the General Assembly, meaning a campaign launched for an electronic ballot would not be able to take place.
The existing leadership have defended their record at the body, which riders at WorldTour, Pro Continental or Continental level automatically are part of.
A release from the CPA stated their efforts have led to riders being represented on all UCI Commissions and a boost in safety, through the introduction of the extreme weather protocol and pressurising the UCI over the use of disc brakes.
Boosts to prize money and increases in the minimum wage of riders have also been touted as achievements by the CPA.
The election is expected to go in favour of Bugno, with Millar’s candidacy having been viewed as a protest against the current set-up.
The CPA will be viewed as an important voice in the debate around the UCI’s latest round of WorldTour reforms, which could come into forced for the 2020 racing season.
UCI President David Lappartient will unveil plans for the sport’s reform during the World Championships, with the governing body’s Management Committee scheduled to convene from September 25 to 27, with the UCI Congress then taking place on September 28.
A major restructuring of the WorldTour and Pro Continental divisions is expected to be proposed.
The plan would reduce the WorldTour from 18 to 15 teams - which could see between 120 to 160 fewer WorldTour riders by 2020.
The International Association of Professional Cycling Teams (AIGCP) have expressed hope the number of teams and riders will not be reduced, having met with Lappartient in Madrid earlier this month.
Race organisers are another key group involved in the process.
The CPA have claimed part of their upcoming goals are to stop “the cut in the number of riders in the Grand Tours and in the classic races.
They also state they will endorse “the increase in the number of teams to qualify for the Grand Tours” as well as favouring “bigger rosters in top teams.”