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More than half of WorldTour peloton backs growing labor movement

A petition urging the CPA to change its ways has garnered signatures from 325 WorldTour riders in just 48 hours.

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A new organizational push among the elite men’s peloton continues to gain momentum.

Sources told VeloNews that a petition this week pressing for change within the CPA garnered signatures from more than half of the WorldTour peloton within 48 hours.

By Friday, some 325 riders — with grand tour winners, former world champions, and monument riders represented among them — representing nearly every WorldTour team have joined a growing effort to shake things up.

“This is supported by all kinds of riders across the entire peloton,” Luuc Eisenga, a spokesperson working with the rider coalition, told VeloNews. “This is an important step.”

As reported last week by VeloNews, some of the peloton’s top riders are rumbling for change within the CPA (Cyclistes Professionnels Associès), the closest thing professional racing has to a rider’s union.

Some riders have complained that the current power structure — with the CPA officially created by the UCI in 1999 — doesn’t give enough heft to rider concerns about a variety of issues, ranging from rider safety and race security, to larger questions about an equal voice at the bargaining table among cycling’s stakeholders.

The rare, mid-season race stoppage triggered by the coronavirus has given typically busy riders more time to take a fresh look at the CPA and the potential power of their collective voice.

Riders, along with a mix of representatives, agents, and experts on governance, have used the downtime to try to bring unify a large swath of the elite men’s peloton, and take it directly to CPA leadership.

Riders tapped Stef Clement, an ex-pro, and Eisenga, who’s been involved in the management of WorldTour teams as well as the AIGCP, the teams’ association, to help guide the effort.

Last week, after initial contact with the CPA leadership, the riders wanted to demonstrate just how many riders are supporting the new organizational push.

Eisenga said the group is hopeful for a “constructive dialogue” with the CPA.

“We sent out the petition electronically on Tuesday, and within 48 hours, we had 325 riders agreeing to sign on,” Eisenga said. “That shows how much support there is for change.”

Backed by the petition, the new riders’ group presented a letter Friday to CPA leadership. The CPA is set to hold its annual general assembly — via online video conferencing due to the coronavirus — next week.

Eisenga said the group is pressing for key changes within the CPA, with more transparency and representation, as well as a change in how riders can vote and chime in on issues that directly affect them.

Eisenga said the group of riders hopes to reach consensus so that the CPA is a group that he said “every rider feels like a member.”

Speaking to VeloNews in an interview last week, CPA general secretary Laura Mora defended her group’s role in pro cycling, and said the CPA welcomes more interaction with any riders in the peloton.

“We asked them to define who they speak for and to send a written request that will be evaluated by the CPA Steering Committee,” Mora told VeloNews. “There are many riders who participate with our group, and there are many who appreciate what we do.”