At a press conference today from Lausanne, Switzerland, president Patrick McQuaid gave new hope to teams desperate for UCI points. The new “Pay for Points” program will allow teams to purchase the valuable points required to gain or keep a ProTour license.
“There are teams out there that are struggling. It’s not easy if you don’t have a Gilbert or Evans,” said McQuaid. “This gives a squad like AG2R a chance to acquire UCI points in another manner. We think it moves the sport in the right direction.”
Details of the program are yet to be announced but Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reports that each point will retail for 500 euros, with packs of twenty available for 9000 euros. Discounts will also be available through the “Friends of Pat” club.
AG2R director Vincent Lavenu was pleased with the new arrangement. “This gives us an opportunity to remain a ProTour team and we thank Mr. McQuaid,” said Lavenu. “We should not be forced to hire some freaky rider from Iran just because we are desperate for points.”
Reached for comment, Cervelo president Gerard Vroomen was critical of the new plan. “Really, I shake my head. When teams are going out of business because of a deeply flawed financial model, why are they wasting time on a preposterous scheme like this?”
Apparently the plan was hatched in a long cocktail session at the UCI headquarters, which later reconvened at a burlesque show in Lausanne. However, any criticism of the plan is likely to meet with immediate dismissal.
“This is the way forward, believe me,” said McQuaid. “Really, anybody and sit back and criticize the sport. It’s easy to take pot-shots when you don’t understand the situation. I’ve talked to the Russians, the French and they like the idea. This is a win-win for the UCI and cycling.
Convincing some of the top ProTour teams to support the “Pay For Points” system may not be so easy. “I’ve had no communication with Pat on the subject. That’s not a surprise. I really don’t know what to say. It’s a dumb idea.”