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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…

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


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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 Downloads page, and see our Blog page for on-going commentary and developments in pro cycling.

Changing the Business Model of Pro Cycling – Introduction

Despite its legacy of scandal and its many challenges, professional cycling is a beautiful and compelling sport to watch, and it remains one of the most under-valued potential investments in the global sporting market. Few sports put the fans so close to the action as it happens, and few sports offer as much potential return on investment to sponsors and investors.  But even as pro cycling seems poised to finally climb out of the dark and pervasive doping era of the last thirty years, the sport still suffers from numerous challenges and potentially threatening problems: a financial model which is almost entirely dependent upon unpredictable commercial sponsorship – leading to an undercurrent of “paycheck insecurity,” a lack of long-term team sponsor and race organization stability, and general uncertainty about the future of the sport a confusing governance structure which is riddled...

Anti-Doping: Is the Cure Worse Than the Disease?

Editors’ Note:  Although most participants in the day-to-day hustle and bustle of pro cycling and the mainstream cycling press may not be too aware of it, there is actually an on-going and robust discussion in academic circles regarding the effects of anti-doping regulations on elite sports.  Indeed, there is a significant community of scholarly practitioners around the world who are actively researching and debating the longer-term effects of anti-doping programs, conducting regular global conferences on the topic, and writing interesting and provocative papers and books.  Two of the primary observers and critics of existing anti-doping approaches are Professors Paul Dimeo of the University of Stirling in Scotland and Verner Møller of Aarhus University in Denmark.  This duo has produced a number of recent papers essentially arguing that in the wake of the systematic doping scandals of...

Perspectives on Doping in Pro Cycling – 3: Will Frischkorn

(Editors’ Note: This article is the third in a series of in-depth personal narratives about the impact of doping on the lives of people within or now outside of the sport of pro cycling.  This series presents alternative views of how the doping culture has proliferated in the sport; new revelations of how it has caused harm to the people, economics, and governance of the sport, and; why the Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s charter needs to look farther back in time than 1998 to make a lasting difference.  Through these individual perspectives, we hope to stir constructive debate about how the sport can come to terms with the past in order to find a new way forward.  Look for our other articles and perspectives on the Blog page at www.theouterline.com.)   Will Frischkorn is a well-known and popular figure around Boulder, Colorado.  A former racer for the Mercury, Saturn and...

Perspectives on Doping in Pro Cycling – 2: Inga Thompson

(Editors’ Note: This article is the second in a series of in-depth personal narratives about the impact of doping on the lives of people within or now outside of the sport of pro cycling.  This series presents alternative views of how the doping culture has proliferated in the sport; new revelations of how it has caused harm to the people, economics, and governance of the sport, and; why the Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s charter needs to look farther back in time than 1998 to make a lasting difference.  Through this, we hope to stir constructive debate about how the sport can come to terms with the past in order to find a new way forward.  Watch for other articles and perspectives over the next several weeks.) Mention the name Inga Thompson to a modern cycling fan, and you might get a raised eyebrow. “Inga who?”  But to fans and observers of the sport from the 1980s and...

Perspectives on Doping in Pro Cycling – 1: Theo de Rooij

Editors’ Note: This article is the first in a series of in-depth personal narratives about the impact of doping on the lives of people within or now outside of the sport of pro cycling.  This series will present alternative views of how the doping culture has proliferated in the sport; new revelations of how it has caused harm to the people, economics, and governance of the sport, and; why the Cycling Independent Reform Commission’s charter needs to look farther back in time than 1998 to make a lasting difference.  Through this, we hope to stir constructive debate about how the sport can come to terms with the past in order to find a new way forward.   We start this series with the story of Theo de Rooij, a highly successful Dutch cyclist at the amateur and professional levels, later a directeur sportif for various teams, and then the general manager for the Rabobank team for...

Changing Pro Cycling: The Perspective of Travis T. Tygart

Editors’ Note:  Travis T. Tygart is the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) – a non-profit, independent entity created to administer the anti-doping program in the U.S. for the Olympic and Paralympic sports – some 50 different sports.  USADA’s stated mission is to preserve the integrity of competition, inspire a commitment to the core principles of true sport, and protect the rights of U.S. athletes to compete healthy and clean.   USADA is equally dedicated to four main areas of service: (1) anti-doping testing and results management processes; (2) programs that deter and detect incidents of doping; (3) research that advances anti-doping science; and (4) educational initiatives aimed at preventing doping altogether – and building a culture of integrity and leadership through sport.  Tygart holds an undergraduate degree in philosophy from the University of North Carolina...

Setting A New Ethical Standard in Pro Cycling

The Problem:  Professional cycling has never adopted a formal set of ethical standards for its riders, teams or governing officials.  There has been no standard for responsible and ethical behavior – no training, guidelines or expectations that people should do the right thing, even when “no one is looking.” Cycling has instead always relied on the strength of its rules and regulations – and prescribed punishments for violating them – to guide the behavior of its participants, and to keep the sport from breaking down. But after more than a century of a continuous cheating, a thoroughly entrenched culture of doping, and too many scandals to count, one could argue that the UCI’s rules and regulations have devolved into nothing more than strongly worded suggestions.  Individuals with the right finances, advisers, and influence in cycling have allegedly been able to chart their own path....

Changing Pro Cycling: The Perspective of Hein Verbruggen

Editors’ Note:  Hein Verbruggen ran professional cycling for most of the past thirty years – first, as President of the predecessor FICP starting in the mid-1980s, then as President of the UCI from 1991 through 2005, and he has been Honorary President right up to the present.  Verbruggen ruled the sport with what many viewed as an iron fist, and he was often a lightning rod for controversy.  However, the fact is that he oversaw pro cycling during a long period of increasing visibility and international growth.  And despite the accusations of his detractors, no one has had more international executive experience in cycling. Verbruggen recently initiated a dialogue with  the Outer Line  to express his opinions regarding our 2013 “Roadmap to Repair Pro Cycling” report, and then agreed to a detailed discussion and interview.  Our interest in talking with Verbruggen was not to revisit the...