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By Fred Rodriguez
Editor’s Note: Rock Racing pro Freddie Rodriguez, a three-time USPRO champion, has submitted the following letter to VeloNews.com urging his fellow pros to vote in the upcoming USPRO board elections, and to vote for Rock Racing team owner Michael Ball. Rodriguez’s letter is reproduced in its entirety below. Writers who support other board candidates are welcome to submit letters in their support.
With one week left to vote in USA Cycling’s 2008 elections – a process that will determine who will help shape the direction of USA Cycling for the next two years – I am appealing to you, my peers and riders of the pro peloton. I am asking you to exercise your right to vote and make sure our voice is heard in this year’s election.
I know there are a lot of us out there who don’t vote and never have. We’re professional bike racers. We train hard, we compete and that’s our focus.
These elections come and go and things pretty much stay the same year after year. So even if we did get around to it, I don’t think many of us believe voting really makes a difference.
So why now? Why is this year any different?
Because for the first time, I know there is a candidate on the ballot who will stand up for the riders. A candidate who will listen. One who will act. One who has our best interests at heart.
I’ve been a pro for 13 years, racing first domestically and then in Europe. Last year I left a successful career in Europe and came back to the U.S. to ride for Rock Racing. From the very first
conversation I had with Team Owner Michael Ball and after hearing his vision for the team and for cycling, I knew this was going to be the best decision of my career. I wasn’t wrong.
Never have I felt so empowered as a rider. Never have I had the support of a team owner to make decisions that are in my best interest. Never have I had the freedom to voice my opinions the way I
can in the open environment Michael has created for us.
Rock Racing and Michael Ball are invested in the future of this sport and committed to making it better. As a rider on his team, it’s exciting. But it’s exciting for all of us because Michael’s vision
goes far beyond just Rock Racing.
In our sport, it’s so easy to identify all the problems but it’s a lot harder to find the solutions. Michael is not only finding solutions, he’s acting on them. Last month, he announced the
creation of the Professional Cycling Catastrophic Injury Fund, a non-profit entity, created for no other reason than to provide all of us with a financial safety net that did not previously exist, in the
event of a major accident. He saw a need, committed to the development of a viable solution, and made it happen.
To me, that’s a testament that there can be change — and more importantly — that there is someone out there who knows how to do it.
We all know our sport needs a significant overhaul. It’s not going to be easy, but we can do better than just accepting “the way it’s always been.” For all the reasons we have chosen this sport as our
profession, there are just as many (if not more) reasons to get involved with how the sport is run to make it better for the next generation of U.S. pro cyclists.
Take the time to vote today. It takes less than 5 minutes and can be done entirely on-line. All you have to do is:
– Go to www.usacycling.org
– Click on the “login” button near the upper left.
– Create an account or use your license number and password to login.
– Cast your vote after receiving the prompt.
This is our chance to take responsibility for our own sport. And it is OUR sport. It’s our future. Let’s set the direction now because the Power is in the Peloton.