PARIS (Reuters) - The Velon business group, which represents 11 elite cycling teams, has filed an anti-trust complaint with the European Union against the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), claiming the sport’s governing body has been trying to hamper their business.
“In the past year the UCI has tried to stop what Velon and the teams have pioneered in their joint business on new races (the team v team “Hammer Series”) and technology,” Velon said in a statement on Tuesday.
“Velon and its shareholder 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.”
Member teams of Velon are Bora-hansgrohe, CCC Team, Deceuninck-Quick-Step, EF Education First, Lotto Soudal, Mitchelton-Scott, Team Ineos, Jumbo-Visma, Sunweb, Trek-Segafredo and UAE Team Emirates.
None of the Hammer Series, which has had a limited impact since its implementation in 2017, is part of the UCI’s World Tour which groups together the top races of the calendar.
Apart from the world championships, the major cycling races are privately owned, with French-based Amaury Sport Organisation having the lion’s share with the Tour de France and some major classics such as Paris-Roubaix and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale has not been notified of the complaint referred to in Velon’s press statement of 1 October 2019,” the UCI said in a statement to Reuters.
“In the case of such notification, it will take necessary steps according to appropriate procedure. In line with its mission, the UCI will continue to work with all its stakeholders, and in their best interests, for the new organisation of men’s professional road cycling.”
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Christian Radnedge and Clare Fallon