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Transforming the business of pro cycling

James Fairbank and Oliver Duggard from Rapha, an international cycling apparel manufacturer based in London, said professional cycling’s “archaic regulations, limits on innovation, uncoordinated presentation to fans, and inadequate outreach to the public” are key factors preventing the company and the sport from reaching objectives. Rapha met with about 50 high-level executives, officials, athletes, organizers, journalists, and observers, inside and outside professional cycling, to discuss the company and the sport’s future. One issue that repeatedly arose, as Association of North American Professional Road Cyclists Executive Director Michael Carcaise said, is the sport’s lopsided governance structure. Athletes have little say in how they are governed. And as Raymond Kerckhoffs and Stephen Farrand pointed out, there is too much insolation. Teams and race organizers have developed their own digital marketing and media bodies, restricting media access en route to creating their own message. The end result is an “insiders selling to insiders” environment; teams and race organizations are creating cycling’s narrative and selling it to current fans. This creates a negative feedback loop that does not pull in new fans or even reach the general public.

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