Cycling Unions, Associations and more

I had many discussions with friends about the the UCI’s newest “series of measures for rider safety”. The critics of the UCI are very vocal and various complaints are being brought forward. I do not believe all of them are fair and that the issues are as black and white as the cycling Twittersphere likes to think. I started typing out my thoughts and realised there is a lot of issues in cycling and decided to split my ramblings – This is a first set-up about the various groups and organisations that want to have a say in cyclings future.

***

Many say Belgium is the heartland of Cycling, and few could flat-out disagree with that statement. One thing cycling has adapted from Belgium, is the stability and unity of politics. Renowned for the fragmentation of parties and the resulting difficulties of forming lasting majorities has been part of Belgian and cycling history. Following is a look (back) at the various interest groups and our currently fragmented cycling world:

Continue reading →
Categories: UCI

Spanish Cycling Resurgence

The golden age of Spanish cycling

Spain is one of the great cycling nations and Spanish teams and riders have been a huge factor at the top level of racing for a long time. In the wake of the successes of Miguel Indurain a huge wave of Spanish sponsors, teams and riders took part at the highest level of cycling. This enthusiasm brought about one of the greatest national generation of cyclists with Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde at the forefront. In 2000 there were 4 Spanish professional cycling teams and there was a total of 89 Spanish riders under contract at the highest level.

This gave plenty of roster spots for young Spanish cyclists to have teams in which they could develop into strong top-class riders without having to burn themselves up just to get onto a team. This generation of Contador, Rodriguez and Valverde comes from this golden age of Spanish cycling and these riders all debuted with Spanish teams. O.N.C.E, Kelme, Liberty Seguros, Banesto (later Ibanesto) or Euskaltel-Euskadi let cycling enthusiasts light up.

In those years there was a broad competition for the biggest talents of Spain and young riders had an abundance of teams where they could join as domestiques and develop into better riders with the experience that the highest level of racing brought to them. Spanish cycling fans got accustomed to this situation and nobody expected this all to go away so suddenly.

Continue reading »