CPA statement on abuse of Julian Alaphilippe

CPA statement on abuse of Julian Alaphilippe

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is an example statement that the CPA should consider releasing in support of Mr Alaphilippe

Background, Context and Conclusion:

Only recently has research begun to focus on workplace bullying within organisations outside of traditional white-collar industries, such as professional sport. The unique, institutionalised nature of professional sport makes it difficult for athletes to report bullying behaviour. The authoritarian character of sport can lead to abusive and coercive environments, significantly impacting the athletes ability to report and address the issue.

The difficulty riders have reporting is likely enhanced by the normalisation of these practices that are modelled by authority figures in professional teams. However, it is our opinion that teams typically take safeguarding extremely seriously and provide reporting mechanisms for athletes.

In 2023 Israel Premier-Tech team owner, Sylvan Adams, publicly criticised Chris Froome for not being “value for money.”

It was an oversight by us, the Cyclistes Professionnels Associé, to not have made a statement at the time. It was and remains unacceptable for teams to speak about riders in this way. At times, those involved in the running of teams forget that racing professionally is not a privilege, it is a job. A highly sought-after job and a childhood dream, but it is a job, nonetheless. The riders work hard to earn their contracts, and they work every day to stay in the profession. The attempts by some to frame the occupation as a ‘privilege’ is an attempt to disarm riders and make them feel as though they should be happy with whatever they get instead of expecting more protections and benefits. The same benefits that all employees are legally entitled to.

The recent public outburst by Patrick Lefevere, where he attacked Julian Alaphilippe in the media, was unprofessional. A senior staff member within a professional setting is mistreating someone at work, which can lead to a detrimental impact on their mental and emotional well-being. This is workplace bullying.

These remarks by Mr Lefevere are unacceptable and they violate the fundamental principles of respect and dignity, undermining a healthy and collaborative work environment. Behaviour like Mr Lefevere’s causes emotional and psychological harm. It impacts an athletes ability to perform optimally and contributes to work related stress. Should Mr Alaphilippe wish to take legal action against Mr Lefevere and Soudal Quick-Step for bullying at work we will support him in this endeavour.

Related Matters:

The CPA is aware that it is not always straightforward for an athlete to establish that workplace bullying has occurred. We are also aware that many athletes might be afraid of reprisals should they speak publicly or raise concerns relating to workplace bullying.

If you find yourself experiencing workplace bullying, please don't hesitate to reach out to us for a confidential discussion. We are here to help you navigate any challenges you may be facing at work, ensuring the protection of your rights. We recognise that there is still a long road ahead to establish safe workplaces for every rider. We are committed to supporting you throughout this journey.

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It seems the CPA remains silent on matters that arise between a team and a rider. Sam Bennett is another example of a dispute being prosecuted in public.

Maybe The Cyclists Alliance can introduce and new “Associates” Category and provide some help to the Men’s peloton.

Colin Morley

Well written! It’s wonderful to see you standing up for better in this respect! If Lefevere can get away with such statements, in public, and also mention his personal opinions about Julian’s wife (Marion) then who will hold him accountable and progress standards for treatment.

I find it mind blowing, he can sit in a press conference, basically say his employee is “not value for money” and his wife is part of the reason for his devaluation. It is an arachic mindset, and as you said, bullying and mistreatment. People are more than money and/or an employee and deserve to be treated as such. If someone in power sees them only as their dollar worth, then perhaps their personal monetary value is defunct!

I’m infuriated that Lefevere’s voice has been given media volume, and you counteracting this is so so important for the direction of how not just cyclist, but people in general, are treated in the future.

Keep doing the good stuff! We need you to please!

Michelle Spiel

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