If it was broken then, surely now it edges towards disrepair. Among the great upheavals to global sport caused by coronavirus, the temporary pause of the cycling calendar may seem unworthy of special mention. And while it is true that every stadium in the world - every field and court and pool and ballpark - sits empty, cycling continues to stand apart as a sport with such inbuilt fragility - such consistent instability - that it may well be the most damaged by the ongoing hiatus. Even as the UCI announced a new 2020 calendar with all its crown jewels still largely intact, teams and riders face dire financial realities that could see swathes of the men’s and women’s pelotons without a ride next year. Say it quietly, the business model of the sport has put its very existence at risk.
But just as the challenges become clearer and more immediate, so to do the opportunities and the urgency to consider them. The Roadmap concluded:
“Beyond the substance of these discussions, beyond the specifics of reality and reform which have formed the spine of this work, it is the meetings themselves that form the most compelling sign of the incredible potential for change. Professional cycling is overflowing with talent on and off the bike and there is no shortage of passion for the sport at every level of involvement. That passion, whether it was presented as anger and frustration or optimism and reflection, was evident in every interview for this work. Riders past and present agitated for a voice without exception. Team managers and owners all spoke candidly of their struggles for survival. The organisers of the biggest events revealed in unison the pressures driving their businesses. Governors, lobbyists and politicians have detailed as though scripted their shortcomings as well as their successes. We have spoken at length about the demand on riders, the structure of races and calendars, the value of media and sponsorship, the pressures of oversight, the realities of doping and the systemic, relentless failures to change perceptions. Nothing has been off limits and we have been presented consistently with the same image of the sport; it is too beautiful, too exciting, too completely bewitching to be so small, to leave so much on the table.