Canadian Cyclist


April 10/20 12:41 pm - Steve Bauer Talks About the Crisis Facing Cycling - "We're Trying to Survive"

Posted by Editor on 04/10/20

On April 9th, the UCI published a statement regarding how the ongoing - and necessary - shutdown of bike racing, including the Olympics and Paralympics, has impacted the organization's finances [see UCI Admits to Financial Difficulties Due to Event Cancellations & Postponements].

They are not alone, of course. Event organizers, teams, athletes, the media (including us) and everyone involved has been hit hard by the restrictions which, in a best possible scenario, will be in place until the Fall, with a slow recovery after that.

When we spoke with Steve Bauer about his 1990 Paris-Roubaix [see Race Revisit - 1990 Paris-Roubaix with Steve Bauer] he had recently returned from Europe, where he is the Team Sporting Manager for the WorldTour CCC Team. CCC is one of a number of teams that has had to basically shut down operations - reducing salaries and furloughing staff.

After Steve talked about the 1990 Paris-Roubaix, we then discussed the current situation for pro racing, and the months ahead:

I think we can just sum things up by saying that this is a world crisis, that we didn't see coming two months ago. It's worldwide; not only the crisis, but economically. It's affecting businesses and the way of life; cycling is a bit further down the totem pole of necessary needs.

Mr Milek [sponsor of the team and founder of the CCC shoe company], owns the company and his retail shops are all shut down; he can't sell anything and cashflow is next to minimum, I would think. He's the one funding the team, and you can do the math ... he's not paying what needs to be, to keep the team alive.

So, we're trying to survive; hopefully we can return to racing, and if we can return to racing, we can likely have a shot at saving our team. It's probably similar for other teams - Sunweb is a travel company, and travel's completely dead. The list goes on and on. Unless you have someone willing to pay salaries for a sport that doesn't exist at the moment, we are just going to have to live it through.

And that's just cycling; the NBA's shut down, NHL is shut down, sports are not happening, people aren't going to work ... it's a reality check for a lot of people in the world.

We asked him if a Fall start to the season was feasible? Some riders in certain countries cannot train outdoors. How do you decide which races to run? Or have we pretty much lost the year?

I think racing is feasible. If riders use the excuse that they can't train, then I one hundred percent disagree. You can train, you can train indoors. Maybe it isn't an equal playing field, but you can't say, 'Okay, we aren't going to start racing'. Let's get back to the sport!

Believe me, if guys are training indoors on their home trainer and there is a race to go to, they are NOT going to say 'no, I'm not going to go because I haven't been able to train'... give me a break, we are going to start racing if we can. I just think we just have to get back to it, the best we can. The organizers will be the same.

I think the UCI has not taken any leadership whatsoever in this crisis, unfortunately. Which is, sorry to say, typical. The organizers and the UCI - however they structure the end of the season - will have to get it done without fighting about it. As simple as that.

If it puts the Tour de France in August, then great. If you put the Giro in September, then do it. I think Matteo Trentin [Italian rider with CCC] had a great idea to do one Grand Tour; starting in Italy, going through Spain and finishing in Paris. It's an interesting concept, although it may be more difficult to do, based on travel and government restrictions.


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