I love cycling I can’t help but feel frustrated with the sport today, in particular with the politics and administration. With the presentation of next summer’s race just hours away, things are in a mess.
I don’t know what you did last summer
We don’t yet know who won the race last summer. Three weeks is enough suspense but three months later nobody knows if Contador is the winner or not. Yet he’s tested positive for a banned substance, the A and B samples have come back from the lab a long time ago. This story highlights two things. First is the obvious spectre of doping, major races keep being dogged by scandal and the results are constantly under question, indeed subject to revision. Second, the administration of the sport looks sloppy, that three months on there’s still no resolution of Contador’s case.
Worse, to compound the administrative bungling, we simply don’t know the rules that will set the sport in 2011. The UCI is trying to launch the World Tour but the big race organisers are not on board.
Annoying for fans, scary for sponsors
So we don’t yet know who won last year’s race and we don’t know who can ride next summer either. Uncertainty like this might annoy a fan but it has bigger repercussions. Corporate sponsors hate risk, they don’t want to commit money to a sport where the rules keep changing and where the perception is that they’re only a doctor away from scandalous headlines harming their brand.
Yes the sport is beautiful but there are so many things to get right. Hopefully we’ll know more by the end of today given UCI Pat McQuaid is back from holiday and he’ll be in Paris for the Tour presentation. So as well as learning the route for the Tour, we might also get some news on the more basic aspects of the sport. Certainly he’s due to brief the media on the Contador case and hopefully the status of the World Tour will be confirmed, especially the relationship with big race organisers like ASO and RCS.