Organizational Forms in Professional Cycling: An Examination of the Efficiency of the UCI Pro Tour, pp. 19-41

Luca Rebeggiani
Davide Tondani

This paper analyzes the changes induced by the newly introduced UCI Pro Tour on the behavior of racing teams. We develop an oligopolistic model starting from the well-known Cournot framework to analyze why the UCI Pro Tour fails to reach its primary aim, namely to increase overall competition among professional cycling teams. In particular we show that the pattern of non-competitive behavior displayed by race teams is the result of a poorly designed Pro Tour licensing assignment procedure. Empirical findings confirm that teams put forth low effort in a high percentage of tour events, reserving their greatest effort for races organized in their home countries. This less-than-optimal performance pattern is the result of an organizational design that focuses solely on financial requirements and does not include incentives related to race performance. The study concludes with the recommendation that the current “closed league” organizational structure be replaced with a relegation system.