Twitter

The Outer Line

…. is the path often taken by cyclists who are unable to break into the lead-out train, but whose strength, resolve and tactical cunning can lead them to victory.

 

We provide an independent perspective on the challenges facing pro cycling – and offer an objective forum for analyzing the key structural, economic, governance and ethical aspects of the sport. Through informed and constructive discussion, we hope to improve the underlying characteristics, reform the historical models, and help pro cycling to truly grow and thrive.

 

 Cycling has relied on legacy and tradition for too long – locking us to an inner line that has clearly failed, and which risks the future of the sport.  It’s time to listen to new ideas and change direction.  It’s time to take The Outer Line…

——

Click below for a Summary of A Roadmap to Repair Pro Cycling


Download_summary

spacer

And, click here for an overview of our Business Plan for the proposed

International Pro Cycling League
spacer

Scroll down to read our most recent articles on the issues facing pro cycling and the perspectives of various leaders in the sport. Print out copies of any of our past articles from the Article Library page, and check back frequently for on-going commentary, innovative ideas and new directions in pro cycling.

A Crazy Idea, or a Sure Bet?

Two recent news flashes in professional cycling have underlined some key uncertainties about the future of the sport. First, it was reported that Peter Sagan was in talks with Team Astana team about a contract for 2017, after Tinkoff Bank ceases its cycling sponsorship at the end of this year.  More recently, it was confirmed that the IAM Cycling WorldTour Team will be folding at the end of the year, as its management was unable to secure a successor sponsor. These may seem to be two unrelated developments, but there are some intriguing ways in which they might intertwine to create a lucrative opportunity for the right player. In addition to being the current World Champion, Sagan is the peloton’s most charismatic star; he was recently ranked by Sports Pro Media as the 26th “most marketable” athlete in the world – ahead of such global stars as Rory McIlroy, Usain Bolt, and Lionel Messi...

The Athletes’ Commission: Traksel Gaining Traction

Bobbie Traksel has had a long and distinguished pro cycling career. While he was never a big name at the highest level of the sport, Traksel’s talent and strength in the Northern Classics led to victories in the U23 Tour of Flanders, the Driedaagse van West-Vlaanderen, as well as a highly regarded and hard fought win at Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne in 2010, after a heroic breakaway in the cold and rain. But Traksel now faces perhaps his greatest challenge, and one that he might never have imagined when he started his pro career over 15 years ago: representing the professional peloton – and seven other cycling disciplines – as the newly-elected President of the UCI’s Athletes’ Commission. Traksel’s election last December puts him in a potentially very powerful position at the forefront of the sport. The Athletes’ Commission (AC) was originally convened by prior UCI President Pat McQuaid in...

Breaking Away – From the Tour de France

The 2016 professional cycling calendar is barely underway, but controversy has already reared its ugly head. The Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO), owner of the Tour de France, has reignited its historical battle with cycling’s governing body, the International Cycling Union (UCI), and threatens to plunge the sport into disarray again. ASO is upset over a relatively minor but widely-agreed licensing reform which would allow a measure of greater economic stability for the teams. The privately-owned firm has often acted against the interests of the greater sport, at times seeming to undermine the basis of its own business model – cutting off its nose to spite its face. The core challenge for pro cycling is obvious. The Tour de France is the one “super-marquee” competition of the sport – the only event in the sport where teams and sponsors can really profit.  Don’t participate in the Tour,...

Full Circle: Cycles in American Track Racing

The foundations of competitive cycling in the United States were built at its velodromes, from the early days of Major Taylor and Bobby Walthour, to the high point of the Six-Day racing era of the 1930s. Velodromes were one of the most popular sporting venues in the U.S. at that time and attracted the world’s best riders. Yet from those early days of widespread national and international popularity, the sport declined during and after World War II, with the last annual Six-Day race occurring in Madison Square Garden in 1961.

ASO’s Game of Monopoly

The recent move by the Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) to reject proposed UCI changes and pull its races out of the WorldTour has left people wondering what it all means. ASO says that its move will preserve an open and more competitive atmosphere in the sport. But closer analysis shows that if ASO follows through on this threat, it will inflict severe economic pressure on the teams, strengthen their own competitive advantage over other race organizers, and marginalize the economic and career aspirations of the riders – even forcing many out of the sport. From the short list of rather marginal changes that comprise UCI’s so-called reforms, ASO is primarily unhappy about the proposed extension of WorldTour team licenses from one year to three years. This is a critical point for the teams, because WorldTour license holders receive an automatic invitation to the Tour de France – the...

Fiddling While Rome Burns?

Big news keeps hitting pro cycling during what is normally the sport’s winter down-time. On December 7th, the UCI announced its next wave of “reforms” for the WorldTour, to far more fanfare than the facts generally seemed to justify.  Just a day later, rumors began to swirl that Dalian Wanda – the emerging Chinese sports/entertainment giant, and new owner of Ironman Triathlon – was looking to purchase pro cycling’s Grand Tours.  Joining Dalian Wanda in the sweeps for a Grand Tour stake, it was then reported a few days later that media and entertainment giants Discovery Communications and International Management Group (IMG) may be bidding for RCS’s race portfolio, including ownership of the Giro d’Italia.  Finally, as if on cue, and to throw another wrench in the works, ASO rejected the UCI reforms and pulled its races from the WorldTour on December 18th, ostensibly in the name of...

New Twists on Sponsorship: Good or Bad?

Several new pro cycling sponsorship deals have been announced in the last couple weeks. The first was a commitment from Deloitte – the international accounting and consultancy firm – to be a new “gold” sponsor for the newly named Dimension Data-Qhubeka team.  Then the German grocery chain Lidl made a commitment to add funding to the Etixx-QuickStep team.  These two events share a common thread: the investments were needed to bring specific riders on board. Deloitte believes that Mark Cavendish and his key lead-out men can bring multiple wins and exposure for its brand name, while Lidl seems to think Marcel Kittel can do the same for them. Team sponsorship is the critical financial under-pinning of professional cycling, and it is always something of an economic gamble.  Sponsors come and go with alarming regularity; neither of the above-mentioned teams have the same sponsors today that...

Leading by Example: A Discussion with Marco Pinotti

During his professional career from 1999 through 2013, Italian Marco Pinotti was one of the most respected racers in the pro peloton. He won the Italian national time trial championships a record six times, as well as numerous stages in the Giro d’Italia, and he wore the race’s pink jersey on two different occasions.  In 2009 he joined the record-setting Columbia High Road team of Bob Stapleton – a team which set new standards in terms of clean racing as well as competitive results.  He finished his career in 2013 with Team BMC, where he still remains as a sports trainer, and where he recently guided the team to victory in the World Time Trial championships in Richmond, Virginia. Pinotti was perhaps never a household name in pro racing, but during his career he established himself as much more than an accomplished bike racer.  While training to become a professional cyclist, he also...