Pat McQuaid proposes new levels of team staff & qualifications to protect riders

More doctors and coaches to care for riders' health & welfare...

As part of his campaign to be re-elected president of the UCI, Pat McQuaid has proposed new team structures and qualifications for team support workers.

Staff members such as doctors, coaches and sports directors will have to have suitable qualifications and McQuaid proposes a skills certification system for these staff members. In addition teams will have to have one doctor, coach and sport director per seven riders.

McQuaid says the idea is to provide better support for the riders, though it might involve smaller squads. This would move teams away from the "historic model that left riders without adequate mentoring, support and supervision" he said.

“This will enhance the level of monitoring care and support available to each rider, thereby helping riders to better manage their workload, race schedule and recovery,” said McQuaid in a statement.

“Individualised training and sustainable race load programmes up to a maximum of 80 days racing are also required.

“Teams must be capable of providing analytical, scientific and innovative training solutions for their riders that are based on performance monitoring, especially power metering.”

McQuaid acknowledged that the UCI must also introduce a sustainable and long lasting economic model to assist teams in implementing the initiatives that he is proposing.

“This may well require the UCI to reduce the size of teams at UCI World Tour level and UCI Continental level by five or more riders respectively,” he said.

These changes would place riders at the centre of a team’s organisation and activities, rather than leaving them to their own devices.

“Today’s riders should never be faced with having to make the same choices as previous generations,” said McQuaid.

“Today’s teams and those of the future must be built upon a model where riders are placed at the centre of the organisation where their performance is monitored and underpinned through collaboration with a multi-disciplinary scientific team.”

Some teams are already at the staffing levels proposed by McQuaid. Team Sky, for example, has four team doctors, coaches and sport directors for a 27-man team. But others will have to recruit new personnel and may have to choose between riders and support staff.

Acknowledged by the Telegraph as a leading cycling journalist, John Stevenson has been writing about bikes and cycling for over 30 years since discovering that people were mug enough to pay him for it rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work.

He was heavily involved in the mountain bike boom of the late 1980s as a racer, team manager and race promoter, and that led to writing for Mountain Biking UK magazine shortly after its inception. He got the gig by phoning up the editor and telling him the magazine was rubbish and he could do better. Rather than telling him to get lost, MBUK editor Tym Manley called John’s bluff and the rest is history.

Since then he has worked on MTB Pro magazine and was editor of Maximum Mountain Bike and Australian Mountain Bike magazines, before switching to the web in 2000 to work for Along with editor Tony Farelly, John was on the launch team for and subsequently became editor in chief of Future Publishing’s group of cycling magazines and websites, including Cycling Plus, MBUK, What Mountain Bike and Procycling.

John has also written for Cyclist magazine, edited the BikeMagic website and was founding editor of before handing over to someone far more representative of the site's main audience.

He joined in 2013 and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

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