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CPA promises voting changes by 2022 as Gianni Bugno defends group

Ex-pro Gianni Bugno defends CPA against renegade group creating a rival rider association.

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Gianni Bugno, president of the CPA (Cycliste Professionnels Associés) riders’ association, defended the role of his group against a new push to create a separate rival riders association.

The Italian ex-pro also promised that a new electronic voting system to allow riders to vote remotely will be in place by 2022.

“Until now it was possible for riders to vote only physically,” Bugno said Tuesday in a press release. “But we have adapted to electronic voting which will be in a technical safe way from the next elections scheduled for 2022.”

Bugno’s comments are the first since a move last week by a group of riders, representatives, and others to create a stand-alone group — called the Riders Union — that organizers hope will be up and running by 2021. Officials said they hope to recruit at least 200 top pros in the coming weeks in order to build a strong base for what they say will be a more independent voice for riders in elite men’s road racing.

The voting issue was a sticking point for many critics of the CPA, the group of national associations that represent riders under the guise of the UCI. Riders are only allowed to vote in person during the CPA’s annual meetings that coincide with the world championships. Bugno promised a new voting system will be in place to allow electronic voting for the next round of elections for the group’s president.

Bugno also pushed back against the new rival group, insisting that the CPA is the appropriate group to represent the peloton among cycling’s key stakeholders.

“It is not my job to judge but what is certain is that managers by the nature of their profession and their personal profit represent only riders which are under contract with them,” Bugno said. “The CPA, on the other hand, wants to represent all riders in the same way.

“The CPA is made up of national democratic associations, mostly founded by former pro riders,” he said. “It is the best way to be close to the athletes in individual national contexts and our legal system has always provided that each individual rider can cast his vote in the elections.”

The CPA was created by the UCI in the late 1990s, but Bugno insisted the group provides an independent voice for riders. Its critics accuse the CPA of being too cozy with the cycling federation and of being unresponsive to rider concerns, but the group said it’s working to raise its profile and be more proactive with its members.

Rider safety continues to be a point of contention within the sport, yet Bugno said the CPA is taking a more active role.

“We have been fighting for years to achieve improvements at all levels for the riders’ jobs, we care about the fate of riders, their representativeness and safety,” he said. “We know how much energy and work it takes to make small improvements.

“Problems can be solved, changes are taken into consideration, but always in a democratic way,” he continued. “We have always been open to new members and new ideas but true to our principles and without having to compromises and with no conflicts of interest because our only purpose is to work for the good of all riders. With our surveys, our chats on Telegram, meetings on Zoom, the riders can participate in first-person and express their opinions directly. We listen to everyone’s voice and give a voice to those who do not have one. Proudly, we are and will continue to be the spokespersons of all riders.”