Julian Dean competed during some of professional cycling's darkest days but wants to be part of its long road to redemption.

Dean, who retired from competition last year, has moved back to Rotorua with his family and joined the Australian-based Orica-GreenEDGE team as a performance director.

Orica-GreenEDGE are one of 11 World Tour teams who have joined Velon, a newly-formed business venture that wants to clean up cycling's image following years of doping scandals and promote sustainability for teams.

They plan to work alongside cycling's governing body, the UCI, and major race conductors ASO who operate the Tour de France.


"This is very exciting," Dean said. "I think a lot of the detail in what the Velon group is going be involved in is not yet available but it's something we've been working on for 18 months.

"Obviously we've had a very troubled few years with the history of cycling and this is really a move to get away from that."

The Kiwi rode for a collection of teams during a 14-year career at the top level and knows that winning back the casual fan won't be easy.

"It's only really a question of time," Dean said. "I'm very proud of cycling. I think we've been the most advanced sport in the world in terms of our anti-doping policies. It was the first sport in the world to have a no-needles policy.

"We are not allowed to race anymore using cortisone [injections] and we are the first sport in the world to adopt the blood passport programme, which is a very significant part of our anti-doping procedures."

Six of the big teams who ride on the UCI World Tour haven't aligned themselves with Velon, including Astana, who boast Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali in their ranks. French teams Ag2r-La Mondiale, FDJ and Team Europcar are also among those who are yet to get on board.

29 Nov, 2014 3:06pm
2 minutes to read
30 Nov, 2014 12:06pm
4 minutes to read
1 Dec, 2014 8:51am
2 minutes to read
3 Dec, 2014 8:37am
2 minutes to read

Dean remained confident they would get involved once they had seen the positive changes Velon wanted to make.

"The one thing we do have to understand about this whole process is we are not a revolutionary group," Dean said. "We are not going to demand a revolution overnight. It's a process. It's a three to five to 10-year plan."

Part of Velon's vision is to find a way to generate more revenue for the sport so teams aren't as reliant on sponsors, and the introduction of a first-person camera on a cyclist's bike will appeal to TV viewers.

Dean hasn't had the opportunity to speak to BikeNZ about a formal role with them in the future but said he had visited the new velodrome at Cambridge and would be available to provide advice for New Zealand's upcoming road riders.

"Certainly in the future I wouldn't be adverse to helping out there. Obviously they've got a fantastic set-up in Cambridge and their future is looking bright."