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Velon Takes Legal Action Against UCI for Anti-Competitive Practices

Velon, a joint venture company part-owned by a number of the world’s leading men’s cycling teams, has filed a complaint with the European Commission accusing cycling’s governing body, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), of anti-competitive practices.

According to Velon, in the past year the UCI has tried to stop their organization and the teams they represent from jointly developing new races and technology.

“We and our shareholders and partner teams hoped and expected that its initiatives would be supported by the UCI, as had been the case in previous years. However, in the past 12 months the UCI has used its regulatory power and political leverage to seek to block the business activities of Velon and the teams in an incorrect and unlawful manner,” says Velon.

“The UCI today believes that it should not only be the regulator for the sport but also take new business creation from its stakeholders without their consent. The UCI feels entitled to use its regulatory powers for its own commercial benefit and to take the rights of the teams and riders without consultation or permission,” adds Velon.

  • In February the UCI ruled that Hammer Races may not be referred to as a Series under UCI regulations. No explanation has ever been given. Velon, and the teams competing at Hammer events, continued to race for the Series – one of the key, unique features of the new races – despite the UCI’s threat that they may refuse to register Hammer Races in the 2020 calendar if we did.
  • Despite the positive reception to the Hammer Series by the fans, teams and riders and strong interest from potential race organiser partners and host cities to stage a Hammer race, the opposition by the UCI has significantly hampered the development of the Series.
  • Earlier this year the UCI passed new technical regulations without due process or consultation with any of the stakeholders in the sport (even with its own Equipment and Technology Fraud Commission) that sought to give itself and race organisers ownership and control over the teams’ business on live race data.

Despite continued efforts to address its concerns with the UCI, Velon says the governing body has refused any constructive dialogue for more than a year.

As a result, Velon and its teams have decided to submit a complaint to the European Commission, challenging whether or not the conduct of the UCI’s regulatory power and political leverage has violated EU competition rules.

Velon says, the teams were the ones who ultimately decided to take action against the UCI, along with the decision to openly publish their complaint.

“Our desire is for a stable, predictable and fair regulatory environment for the sport that treats the teams, riders and race organisers in equal manner. Velon, its shareholders and partners, want the development of new ideas, to attract new investment and to create a better business model so that professional road cycling continues to strengthen and develop for the fans and everyone involved in the sport”, says Velon’s CEO Graham Bartlett.

Velon currently comprises the WorldTour teams, Bora-Hansgrohe, CCC Team, Deceuninck-Quick-Step, EF Education First, Lotto Soudal, Mitchelton-Scott, Team Ineos, Team Jumbo-Visma, Team Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo and UAE Team Emirates.

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