Speech to the CPA’s Steering Committee
By David Millar
Feb 19, 2019
Mr Vice President, Delegates,
Firstly, thank you for this opportunity to speak – and also thank you to Laura for organizing this meeting: your work and commitment to the CPA is appreciated by all involved.
Secondly, I am sorry for being rather outspoken for the last few weeks. I wish that this could have been a much smoother and less adversarial election, but I do think that it has been a steep and necessary learning curve for all involved.
I know how hard everybody here works for the CPA, and I don’t want anybody to feel I am attacking or under-estimating the commitment you have towards the association.
It is an admirable cause. I’ve even heard Gianni rightfully use the word passion – and it is a passion that we all share, I do not doubt that for a second.
It is that passion that enabled me to find the courage to run for the Presidency when it was clear it was not welcomed by the committee.
I am not doing this for personal gain. My business and family have been relegated whilst I’ve been campaigning – because my fundamental belief is that I am doing the right thing for the right reasons.
What are those reasons?
I know the current peloton, I have friends in it whom I raced with, for and against, I live in Girona where approximately 100 professionals live, I commentate and watch races throughout the year.
I am as close to the sport now as I was when I was a racer, and I can see all is not well.
The riders have the good fortune to have a union that is recognized by its international federation and the teams association, yet the riders feel like the CPA does not recognize them.
The riders do not feel like the CPA represents them, and this is something that has to be fixed and CAN BE FIXED. The peloton has arguably never been unified, there are reasons for that, the sport as a whole has been disparate and parochial for far too long. I often say that it’s a global sport that operates like a cottage industry, well, it’s time for that to change.
It’s up to the CPA to win over the very riders it represents, at the moment they feel isolated, as if they have no say or control in the decisions being made that dictate not only their profession, but their lives.
This election has brought that most clearly to light, with the riders disenfranchised. Sadly, the vote is widely recognised as not only undemocratic but also discriminatory.
The CPA exists to protect the interests of professional cyclists, yet for the moment all decisions are made by this steering committee of six representatives without polling or voting of the very people we represent. In fact often the professional cyclists do not even know what discussions are being had on their behalf or who is representing and negotiating them.
The professional cyclists should be a powerful stakeholder in cycling, and our voice must be loud, clear, rational, and above all, unified. There are three other stakeholders, the teams, the race organisers, and the UCI, they should not be enemies, but they shouldn’t be too good friends either.
Let’s think of it as a four rider TTT, if the four stakeholders can work together, we can go further, and we will go faster than any one of us individually.
I believe in the CPA, and I recognise and commend the good work it has done to date – but I also know it can do so much more and be so much better. It is time for the CPA to truly represent the Peloton, give it the powerful voice it deserves and be the leaders of change in our beautiful sport.