New US PRO Riders Group

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I saw a few articles the last couple days about a new group of riders that have gotten together to form an association that is going to be affiliated with the CPA Pro Riders Union, where, I guess, the North American Pros will have a voice in that group.  It is called ANAPRC – Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists.

I’ve seen conflicting membership lists, but Cyclingnews has these guys, Christian Vande Velde as president, Lucas Euser, Brent Bookwalter (BMC), Ted King (Cannondale-Garmin), Tejay van Garderen (BMC), Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing) and Peter Stetina (BMC), as the initial board of directors.   I know most of these guys personally and the ones I do know, are good guys for the positions.

If you notice, all these volunteer directors are on Pro Tour Teams, minus Lucas, who rides for United Healthcare, a Pro Continental team.

I think it is a little early to comment much about what this association is going to accomplish,  but I’m not too big  on what I read in  the Velonews and Cyclingnews articles, which lists their current agenda.  On their website, and in the articles, it lists their #1 agenda, and only agenda as of now,  as a weather protocol issue.  It states

Extreme Weather Protocol

I don’t even know how this even got on any agenda of this organization.  If I were to list the top 50 things that North American “Professional” bike riders have issues with, this wouldn’t be on my list.

Historically, cycling is a hard guys sport.  Many of the epic races historically have involved both precipitation and temperatures.  How about Andy (Hampsten) taking over the race lead in the Giro on the Gavia Pass.  I guess we’d just throw that one out and start all over the next day?  And Greg Lemond outsprinting Sean Kelley in the rain at The World Road Championships?  Neutralize that one?  Epic conditions make memorable bike races.

Maybe they should consider a heat rule, so if it’s too hot, maybe over 40 degree C, then the race is neutralized?  The list could go on and on.

I do understand safety concerns.  But, that really is an issue between the UCI and their officials.  The sport has always been dangerous.  Our biggest danger isn’t weather related.  If it is, maybe never start another criterium when the course is wet.  I forgot, UCI Pro Tour riders don’t really race criteriums.  Especially wet ones.

Like I stated above, all the riders listed above on the board are salaried bicycle racers.  Their concerns are obviously different than the majority of North American professional cyclists.  But, there are how many North American riders on Pro Tour teams?  Maybe 20 max.

Nearly all North American professional bike racers are racing on Continental Teams.   And most of these riders  are drawing minimal, if any salary, at all.   This organization probably isn’t going to represent them too well if they don’t move on from the weather protocol and start addressing real concerns of American professional cyclists racing domestically.

Our domestic Pros are more worried about how to get to the next race.  Like, whether they are going to loose their job because they turn 28. (UCI Rule 2.17.005 For continental teams, the majority of the riders must be under the age of 28.)  Or how to pay their rent, or about getting their Di2 rear derailluer replaced after they fall at a local training race, than whether a race they go to will be cancelled at the appropriate time because of weather.

Last year, at Joe Martin, I lined up on the 2nd row of the criterium, the final day. The front row was the top ten in general classicification.  The weather was iffy and it looked like it might rain.  I was checking out the tires of the guys lined up in front of me.  I think all, but one, were on  professional teams, Continental Teams.

The tires were scary.  I mean, sketchy scary.  I don’t think half the guys were riding tubulars.  And more than half the guy’s tires were so worn out that I would hardly have ridden them training.  The guy directly lined up in front of me was riding worn out Contiental Gatorskin tires.  Probably the worse tire you could ride in the rain.    And these were professional riders at a NRC Stage Race.

This is just one example of issues that US Professional riders here have.  I don’t think many are concerned about race cancellations because of weather.  I could be wrong here, but I don’t think so.

I don’t believe that because one stage at the Giro last season was screwed up, makes the subject the number one priority for the new North American Riders Association.

Anyway, this organization is in its infancy.   I’m not even sure I qualify to join.  Hopefully when the elections happen later this season and they get more established, then the group can start addressing real issues that North American Professional riders are having and not be concerned with the CPA agenda or where ever they came up with this weather protocol “problem”.

Andy riding into the pink jersey at the Giro.

Andy riding into the pink jersey at the Giro, in the snow.


"Official" poster from the day.  I took this photo at Andy's Frame company yesterday here in Seattle.  I went by to visit Andy's brother, Steve.

“Official” poster from the day. I took this photo at Andy’s Frame company yesterday here in Seattle. I went by to visit Andy’s brother, Steve.

And Greg winning the World Road Championships.

And Greg winning the World Road Championships, in the rain.

22 thoughts on “New US PRO Riders Group

  1. Doubting Thomas

    You think they might want to address, umm, doping? Wait, looking on the names involved, maybe better not. Better to focus on weather and that doping drinking lying liar Aspen guy. Where is Vaughters and Och when we need them?

  2. Andrew Ross

    Looking at the BOD, I think Tejay’s po’ed about the Mt Crested Butte stage of the USAPC last year and that’s the reason this is their highest priority.

  3. Larry T.

    Riders unions or whatever you want to call ’em have traditionally done………pretty much nothing. Think of when pros have shown solidarity, to protest being forced to wear helmets or to protest anti-doping rules or perhaps at best to oppose double stages in the Grand Tours. It would be hard to organize a group more short-sighted when it comes to making rules or weighing in on what’s important. If they get organized enough to show any credibility they’ll be right up there with MPCC, the current joke in pro cycling.

  4. och

    wank wank wank

    Conti and shimano gave all their good stuff to masters racers. I hate to quibble, but “pro” road racing in the USA is a cruel joke

  5. Steve Tilford Post author

    How about these “Pros” stopping three times to protest the temperatures in a race? Here’s the deal. Not one is forcing anyone to race bikes. If you show up at a race and don’t think it is in your best interest, then don’t race. If you are on a team and go to a race that you don’t think is in your best interest, then talk to your director and tell them you reasoning and hopefully he’ll agree. But don’t try to stop the race. That’s not your business. And it is total bullshit.

  6. Jordan

    As for tires, historically tubulars may have been better, but in wet conditions I tend to run my clincher wheels because I can change the tires based on the conditions. Whereas on a set of race tubies, I run something optimized for my typical riding conditions (dry). There are lots of good clinchers these days.

  7. Touriste-Routier

    You need to keep in mind that the UCI doesn’t really consider continental teams/riders to be “professional” in the true sense of the word. Continental teams/riders are viewed/treated more like amateur or semi-pro.

  8. wasfastnowimnot

    Its about the pain and the suffering. At least that was the mantra I grew up with racing through the 80-current. My/ our heros back then were the hard men who slogged through the wet and cold and ice and mud and muck of the spring classics and brutally hot or wet and cold stages of the grand tours.

    I recall footage from one of the PR’s in the 80’s. A 7/11 rider (i think) exited late in the race. Cold, wet, muddy. With a raspy cough. The reporter was asking him the usual idiotic questions. The rider (Jeff pierce??)not really sure who or the team. Im Olde now) responded saying it was awful, and terrible and cruel and hard. When asked if he’d compete in it again, he smiled and said OF COURSE! Its the most beautiful race there is!.

    I LOVED racing in crap weather. Made me feel alive

  9. Dog

    I remember the interview. That was Theo De Roy, a Dutchman riding for Panasonic, after he’d gotten off his bike at Paris Roubaix. He was one of the few Euro pros who spoke English. I believe this was the first coverage ever of PR by a US TV network.

  10. Larry T.

    Here it is

    And they want to set some rule where if it’s X degrees and wet, the course gets rerouted or the stage is cancelled. In the mountains of the Giro how many stages would be affected? Think of the MEN (hell, even Alfonsina Strada did it) back-in-the-day who had to ride the race, find someone to rub their legs, a place to eat and then a place to sleep. All on their own using heavy bikes and racing over monstrously bad roads. They’re threatening to add video games to the Olympics so maybe these guys should think of a career change? Too windy? Too wet? Too cold? I thought modern, high-tech equipment would handle all this, at least that’s what the advertising claims. Maybe those slab-sided, carbon fiber “aero” wheels should stay in the truck on days like these? What are those letters I’m thinking of?…..HTFU I think.

  11. Dog

    Bike racing is “rain or shine”… Period. That’s a basic premise of the sport. You don’t have to ride the race, but the race is the race. Take your time if you need to. Bring some snacks and lots of water, or dress warm. Get off the bike and rest for a while if that’s what you need, but the race is the race.

    Great photo of Lemond, Dmitri Konyshev and Kelly. Note the Red Russian team jersey and the Colnago bike. That was the first year that Soviet block riders were allowed to race professionally without having to defect first. And note that Konyshev kicked some serious ass. I don’t even think he was on a team yet. And also note that Lemond kicked ass above that, against the best known sprinter in the world at the time.

  12. Dog

    If you don’t want to be racing in mid-winter, in Northern Europe IN EARLY FEBRUARY, then don’t agree to race such a miserable program when working out your contract. It isn’t the promoter’s fault that you agreed to show up and race.

  13. wasfastnowimnot

    HEY!! THANKS!! I knew it went something like that. I’ll not aver forget that!! That interview has always inspired me. HTFU INDEED!

  14. Mr. De Facto

    They only represent themselves. US Pros should stand up to these retards and say they don’t need their “help”.

  15. Furious Styles

    I guess the US is made up of a bunch of entitled crybabies. A bad day on the bike is better then a great day working in some crappy factory in Europe. The riders in the US have moms checkbook for backing. The average euro pro can either suck it up and race or voice their opinion and punch the clock in some mundane job. If you don’t want to race in bad conditions then don’t ask for a paycheck.


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