Major Teams Unite to Reform Cycling Industry
Plans to promote on-bike cameras and reform the race calendar
Eleven premiere cycling teams have combined to create Velon, a joint venture aiming to spur a sport-wide commercial makeover, VeloNews reports. Velon’s foremost initiatives include enhancing television coverage with on-bike cameras and restructuring the yearly race schedule into a cohesive, easy-to-understand narrative. The teams will act as a collective bargaining unit in dealings with race promoters and the world cycling governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).
The impetus to form Velon arose from dissatisfaction with cycling’s dominant business model. “We need to stop being 95 percent reliant on the team sponsorship model,” Velon CEO Graham Bartlett told VeloNews. He added that more money needs to flow from fans.
Velon plans to make cycling more fan friendly in two major ways. The first is to expand the use of telemetry and on-bike cameras, which the UCI had prohibited until this season. The second is to streamline cycling’s fragmented race calendar. Cyclingnews reported earlier this month that key UCI stakeholders have been discussing a reformatted WorldTour to begin in 2017. Bartlett says that Velon will attempt to sway this process toward a simpler scoring system and a narrative-driven structure, potentially with one season-ending “crescendo event” (unlike now, with the Tour de France falling right in the middle of the race calendar).