"Cycling is not the only victim of the problem. We are part of it" - Thijs Zonneveld critical of pro cycling's ignorance of climate crisis

In a fairly critical column, AD journalist or BEAT Cycling Club rider Thijs Zonneveld has become involved in the climate debate, which also seems to be increasingly on the agenda in cycling.

The climate crisis regularly recurs not only in the social debate, but also in various sports. Looking specifically at cycling, we saw Cofidis man Guillaume Martin, 'the cycling philosopher', sound the alarm at the end of 2022. "We are dealing with a big, very big problem," the Frenchman said at the time. In the most recent Tour de France, we saw Movistar cycling around in shirts made from recycled plastic, which were then auctioned off to benefit ocean conservation programs.

"In this Vuelta almost everything that can go wrong goes wrong. Thanks to the amateurish fumbling of the organization, but mainly thanks to the weather," the 42-year-old cycling fanatic starts.

Zonneveld refers, among other things, to the aircraft movement that completely went wrong. "The domestic flight could of course also have been done by train. Our climate is changing, the weather is becoming more extreme. It has consequences for everyone, including an outdoor sport like cycling. Riders are increasingly confronted with heat waves and floods, downpours and gusts of wind. The sport is hardly working on that now," he continues his account in a critical tone.

Zonneveld clearly does not hide his opinion. "To be very honest: I often hate it when the race has to be stopped when another one is glued to the asphalt with his hands. But they are not wrong. Cycling may then be environmentally friendly; cycling as a professional sport is anything but. Because of the oil countries (UAE, Bahrain) and the plastic magnates (INEOS) on the jerseys, because of the advertising caravans that dump tons of knick-knacks onto the roadside, because of the procession of cars and motorcycles, because of all the travel movements, including journalists like myself."

"A mobility think tank calculated that the UCI WorldTour is seven times more polluting than Formula 1," says Zonneveld. "There are hardly any organizations and teams that have sustainability high on their list of priorities. As a sport, we dangle hopelessly in the rear when it comes to CO2-limiting measures. Cycling is not the only victim of the problem. We are part of it," he concludes sharply.

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