While I don’t typically post press releases, this one caught my eye. I will post any information that comes my way regarding this fund:
Culver City, Calif. — Rock Racing today announced the creation of the “Professional Cycling Catastrophic Injury Fund,” a charitable entity to raise money for professional and elite amateur cyclists who suffer a catastrophic injury as a result of their participation in the competitive sport of cycling.
The first of its kind, the fund will offer financial assistance for riders who are injured in a sport that often involves high speeds and technical courses — particularly in major events such as the Tour de France, which begins July 5.
“Devastating crashes and cycling go hand in hand and currently there is no safety net in place,” said Rock Racing Team Owner Michael Ball. “If these riders get seriously injured, that’s it. There is no insurance, no pension and no workman’s comp. There is nothing. This is the first time there will be a financial support mechanism in place.”
Rock Racing will make the initial contribution with a significant donation and will continue the fund’s growth through direct monetary contributions as well as a percentage of its own sales. Ten percent of all Rock Racing on-line sales will benefit the fund as will 100 percent of proceeds from special Fund-branded products to be introduced later this year. The goal is to raise $20 million over the next two years.
While Rock Racing is taking the lead in securing protection for these athletes and their families, Ball says it is a collective industry responsibility.
“I challenge every other cycling organization, sponsor, and manufacturer — any entity that generates revenue from bicycle racing — to contribute to this fund and support these amazing athletes for the risks they take every day. The fund will create a truly powerful and viable resource that supports our sport and takes care of our athletes.”
The fund will be devoted to providing financial assistance for medical and rehabilitative care, increasing public awareness of safety issues related to bicycle racing, promoting increased participation in the sport and engaging in other charitable activities associated with cycling.
The establishment of the Professional and Amateur Cyclist Injury Fund comes on the heels of a year marked by an inordinate number of crashes.
At the Tour of the Gila in New Mexico in May, former Mexican National Champion Fausto Munoz Esparza crashed during a high-speed descent and was left paralyzed. At speeds of 50 mph, cyclist Tim Duggan landed on his head and was left unconscious on the pavement during Stage 3 of the Tour de Georgia. High-profile races such as the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia have sidelined elite racers and brought renewed attention to the sport’s dangerous nature. Saul Raisin, David Zabriskie and 2007 Tour de France winner Alberto Contador are among those whose tales of dramatic crashes and road rash are legendary.
Rock Racing’s Fred Rodriguez, a three-time U.S. national road race champion, appreciates the establishment of the fund, having himself experienced a number of potentially career-ending crashes.
“The thrill of cycling comes with the reality that one hard fall can end it all,” Rodriguez said. “Until now, there has been no formal support system for cyclists who crash. This fund is an important step in the right direction for the sport as a whole.”
As a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, contributions to the fund will be tax deductible. Decisions regarding the amounts and future beneficiaries of the fund will be decided by a panel of experts and other persons committed to the sport of cycling.