The details of the One Cycling reform project, designed to shake up and modernise professional cycling, are still largely shrouded in mystery, hidden away from the fans by secret negotiations and non-disclosure agreements.
Richard Plugge of Visma-Lease a Bike appeared to be the initial driving force before the idea of One Cycling. Now, other teams and some major race organisers are also involved.
EF Education-Easypost, Lidl-Trek, Ineos Grenadiers, Bora-Hansgrohe and Soudal-QuickStep are some of the biggest teams in the sport, and all seem to believe One Cycling can finally change professional cycling’s business model and reduce the dependency on sponsorship income and the need for success at the Tour de France.
Soudal-QuickStep team manager Patrick Lefevere was once the manager of the AIGCP teams association and spent hours in meetings about possible reforms, only for them to collapse or for Tour de France organisers ASO to defend their dominance of the sport.
Yet Lefevere appears to believe in the One Cycling project. The veteran team manager thinks private equity investors can be convinced to bankroll One Cycling and that a few teams can work together with other stakeholders to create something new that boosts their revenue and eventually pushes others, including ASO, to become involved.
“Do you know why I believe in the One Cycling project? Because if there are four or five teams involved, it could work,” Lefevere told a small group of media, including Cyclingnews, at the recent Soudal-QuickStep media day in Spain.
“It’s always the same song; there are too many negative people in cycling. If we just sit here, nothing will happen. If you want to see a miracle, go to Lourdes, but if we want things to change, we have to work on it and work in the same direction.
“If there are 18 people with their hands on the steering wheel, it won’t happen. Three, four or five teams have to take the lead. If that happens, the others will come. Then when it’s ready and signed, you can go to your colleagues and ask: ‘We did this, do you want to join us or not? Even if you didn’t do anything for it, you can get this much money from the new project.’
Some believe that the One Cycling project could revolutionise the sport and finally unite teams, race organisers and even the UCI.
Under the possible One Cycling plans, a new private, commercially-driven company, would own and run a significant part of the sport, while the UCI has a more simple…