Groundhog Day

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Today is Groundhog Day. In the town of Punxsutawney in Pennsylvania a small rodent is used as a portent for the fate of the upcoming spring . The groundhog has just announced an early spring.

Phil casts a shadow over pro cycling

The term took on a new meaning following the 1993 film “Groundhog Day” where a character played by Bill Murray goes to bed each day only to wake up find that he can’t start a new day, instead he is condemned to repeat the previous day, waking up to the same radio chat, to see people in town do the same things.

I can’t help feel the world of cycling is the same. Right now we wake up to allegations of doping in the Tour de France, every winner going back to the 1990s is under suspicion, save for Carlos Sastre. Each day the accusations fly, recriminations are traded and we’re no closer to settling the past events. Similarly it feels like not a day goes by without organisational bungling at the top of the sport.

On a day when we should be turning towards the spring, it’s proving hard to escape the past.

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{ 5 comments }

beev February 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm

I say now is an opportune moment for pro cycling to have a new governing body – be it by splinter or overthrow – now is the time.

The UCI has demonstrated serial ineptitude over the last 15 years (too many specifics to list, but Bobridges stunning ride overnight highlights the nonsense that is an olympics without an IP – and yes it is the UCI and not the IOCs fault).

However it's now got to the stage that nobody takes them seriously at all. Nobody!

It's all too easy to nominate JV to head up a new regulator/body, but i want to make it clear that i do not do so because of recent topics of public interest or the wave of support his "pedantic" actions have aroused, but because so many people underestimate him for what he actually is. He is the archetypal power hungry corporate psychopath – but one with a heart for cycling, and right now cycling needs him more than any trade team does….

Anonymous February 2, 2011 at 2:49 pm

If Punxsutawney Phil (the groundhog) is a "small rodent", what are examples of large rodents? I suspect the answers resides in Aigle…

TheInnerRing February 2, 2011 at 3:09 pm

beev: it wouldn't be that hard. An alliance between teams and race organisers could see things carved up very well. But we should be careful what we wish for, sports that are run purely for profit don't tend to go for clean and healthy things. Not that the UCI is great here but the tendency to sweep doping under the carpet could be increased. So a replacement is possible but it would need to be well done.

Anonymous: there are small rodents in the Alps called Marmottes. As for Aigle, they do have a superb record to bungle things but there's a cast of many others.

hamncheeze February 2, 2011 at 11:14 pm

I too felt like I was re-living the same day, month, year when I looked at CN this morning and saw the article about German TV threatening to boycott the Tour. Between that, the Armstrong affair, Landis' interview with Kimmage, honestly it felt like the same morning as Feb. 2, 2007.

Thankfully reading about Bobridge's amazing ride put some life back in me, but then I realized how this new generation of amazing pursuit riders (Bobridge, Phinney, Sergent, Geraint Thomas, Rohan Dennis, Luke Durbridge) were going to be denied a crack at IP Olympic glory. And that brought me back down to level.

Anonymous February 6, 2011 at 3:10 pm

This is pitiful. A thousand people freezing their butts off waiting to worship a rat. What a hype. Groundhog Day used to mean something in this town. They used to pull the hog out, and they used to eat it. You're hypocrites, all of you!

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