BEAT Cycling Club plans to step up to UCI Pro Team level in 2023 with a team keen to revolutionize the transfer market with the aim of setting up a loan system for riders from WorldTour teams.
The team hopes to announce the signing of former Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix winner Niki Terpstra as its marquee transfer for next season. The 38-year-old currently races for TotalEnergies in France. A contract has not yet been signed and is reliant on BEAT first confirming their status as a UCI Pro Team.
It’s understood that Terpstra will flip between the road calendar and his newfound passion for gravel racing. He will bring essential WorldTour-level experience to the young squad of international riders.
BEAT currently sits in the Continental ranks and has a Dutch license. Next year the project aims to build a team that can aim for the classics, sprints, and wildcard invitations to some of cycling’s major events. The club will have gravel, road and mountain bike schedules.
BEAT is entirely different from other teams in the highest level of men’s cycling in that they do not have a title sponsor and instead treat themselves as a club, or a franchise. They are supported by partners and paying fans.
On the BEAT website the club states that, “the shaky business model behind a professional cycling team, which lives by the grace of main sponsors, has been under discussion for years. Every year, teams completely change their identity, or worse: they disappear from the pack for good. That is why we started our mission in 2016: building a professional cycling team based on a new model. A club structure that we know from football and other sports.”
VeloNews also understands that behind the scenes the management is trying to set up a loan-style structure within cycling.
Similar to how professional soccer works, riders would be able to sign long-term contracts with WorldTour teams but then be loaned out to BEAT for a specific amount of time. No riders have currently been signed up for this side of the project but it’s understood that several WorldTour teams have expressed interest in the idea.
The UCI has not yet approved the measures.
Such a system does not currently exist in professional cycling but it would potentially help WorldTour teams if they signed young talent but needed the riders to have a fuller race program. It would also free up space for the WorldTour team if they could move developing stars to a team in the Pro Team ranks.