Cyclingheroes: What were the highlights of the first
season for the Toyota-United
Sean P. Tucker: Signing Toyota
on as our Title Sponsor, the excitement of
our launch in New York City, the
craziness of training camp, winning Stage One of the
Amgen Tour of California in Santa Rosa, spending time on the road with the team, the first
time I saw a recreational cyclist I didn't know riding his bike in our team kit, selling
our first United Bicycle, signing up our first paid member to our team membership program, and winning
the overall title at the Cascade Classic by a tie-breaker.
What kind of business model does the team have and is the future of the team secured?
Sean P. Tucker: Our
business model is a hybrid of traditional support from large sponsors such as Toyota and revenue
generated by paid memberships, merchandise sales and bike sales.
Cyclingheroes: Can you tell us something about the United cycling foundation?
Sean P. Tucker: My
wife Leslie and I have always donated time and money to various charitable causes and we felt
that we should setaside a percentage of all membership sales from the team to
the Foundation in order to raise money to help homeless people in America.
There are over 750,000 homeless people in America and we want to help these folks.
We will be doing an inaugural event in 2007 to raise money and awareness.
Cyclingheroes: In Europe cycling had
one of it's biggest crises because of the Fuentes affaire. Do you have an opinion
what could be done to tackle the doping problem?
Sean P. Tucker:
Absolutely. Since the motivating factor is for athletes
to maximize performance which in turn allows them to make more money, I would
have a 12 month rolling window in which the UCI sets aside 50% of the riders salaries
or some mechanism/sliding scale whereby each rider gets a minimum salary and when
the 12 months is up and all of their drug tests have tested negative, then the
remaining funds that have been held in a third party escrow account will be released.
In addition, I would have very harsh penalties based on the type of drug they
tested positive for. Ie. EPO a four year ban, testosterone a two year ban
and some minor drug a one year. Then if someone is a repeat offender of any
of these in any combination a lifetime ban or something to this effect.