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New union draws 160 pros in first month

‘Riders Union’ hopes to serve as new link between peloton and stakeholders.

More than 150 top-level pros have signed on to a new rider’s association within the first month since its founding.

Officials from the group, called The Riders Union, confirmed to VeloNews on Monday that so far 160 riders have committed to the new group.

“We have riders from 30 countries and 25 teams,” said interim director Luuc Eisenga. “That’s a good start. It’s reassuring that what we were thinking and proposing was the right way forward.”

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The group formalized its foundation last month under the banner of The Riders Union, and so far, the group includes former world champions and grand tour winners among its early signatures. Officials estimate about one-quarter of all WorldTour-level pros have officially backed the new group.

The group’s founders say it hopes to create a new voice among key stakeholders and vows to work cooperatively with the UCI as well as the existing rider’s group, the CPA.

“This organization is new, and we will put a lot of energy and effort to build up a good work relationship with everybody,” Eisenga said. “The sport can only grow if we have constructive relationships with all the stakeholders.”

So far, both the CPA and the UCI have taken a dim view of the organizational efforts, and last fall, UCI president David Lappartient insisted that the CPA is the official voice of the peloton within the existing structure.

Eisenga said riders will convene early in 2021 to confirm its bylaws as well as elect its leaders and board members. One of the group’s primary tenets is the “one rider, one vote” concept that founders hope will lead to a more democratic and better representative voice among the elite men’s peloton.

“We’re encouraged by the numbers, and we hope to sign up even more in the coming weeks,” Eisenga said in a telephone interview. “It shows that riders want to be seen and have their voice heard in a constructive way.”

The group was created following what its founders said was growing dissatisfaction among the rank and file about how the peloton is represented and how its collective issues and concerns are addressed.

Earlier this month, the UCI, along with input from the CPA, unveiled a series of steps it says will address concerns about rider safety in the peloton.