In place of strikes

Friday, 25 February 2011

The lastest is that the racing will go ahead this weekend… but there’s still confusion as to whether riders will start with radios or not.

Race radio

Either way, I put a message on twitter earlier saying the campaign to keep race radios was proving to be a PR disaster as it amounts to little more than riders on twitter issuing a mix of sincere, sarcastic and sometimes bizarre messages, backed up by the threat of protest and a rider strike. Lacking both a clear message and leadership, this is just noise backed up by self-defeating sporting sabotage. Then a reader replied to ask what I had in mind when it comes to alternative campaign methods. So in reply here goes…

So instead of striking, what can the riders and teams do to change things? Actually there’s plenty…

  • Campaign: The AIGCP is supposed to be leading the teams but it doesn’t even have a website. You can’t hope to inform yet alone influence opinion if you don’t have a basic platform for your ideas.
  • A petition: The UCI claims it consulted over the issue, the riders say no. A list of 400 signatures from pros saying they want to keep the radios would provide a the pro-radio campaign with a knock-out PR punch.
  • Sharpen up the message: Some talk about safety, some say its frustration with the UCI. Others have used different reasons. It might be due to many factors but the argument in favour of race radios needs to be refined into a consistent message.
  • Leadership: Who is leading the campaign? Even if many agree, someone needs to be fronting the campaign, with a couple of high profile multi-lingual riders and team managers aiming for visibility.
  • Lower Johan Bruyneel’s profile: The Belgian’s been quite vocal on this issue but he’s paid by Radioshack, an electronics retailer. The risk is he’s seen as talking for his business interests, even if it’s not true.
  • Stick it to the UCI: A boycott of the Worlds would cost Aigle millions of precious Swiss Francs. The race is special but if riders feel so strongly perhaps they can organise a collective boycott. This has the advantage of concentrating the UCI’s mind but also it buys time too.

There, a few ideas off the top of my head. Do you have any more suggestions?

Duncan February 25, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Useful ideas and a bit obvious when you think about it.

The Inner Ring February 25, 2011 at 7:15 pm

Duncan: that was the idea, to put a few suggestions out in five minutes.

As a follow up I’ve asked Vaughters via Twitter why there’s no AIGCP website and he replied saying he’d have to kill me before telling me.

Starr February 25, 2011 at 7:28 pm

The radio ban is all talk (no pun intended).
UCI will win this round, because the teams in opposition have nothing to stand on. yet…

ps – I vote for radios, but not if “my” opening cobbled weekend is in jeopardy

Hugh Jampton February 25, 2011 at 7:56 pm

http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza/videozone/MG_sportnieuws/MG_wielrennen/1.970750

Marc Seargent & DS tells his riders what to say in interview over the radio!

Red Rottingham February 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm

The riders poll results that I saw were that while a strong majority of riders support keeping radios, many of those want info limited to neutral safety/road condition information. Based on that, Bruyneel is disingenuous about the riders’ viewpoint (as he often is about a lot things.) I suspect Bruyneel wants to keep radios not so much to make soon to be ex-sponsor Radioshack happy, but to keep himself feeling like he can control his riders regardless of what the riders (or fans) want.

Reno February 25, 2011 at 8:06 pm

A suggestion would be to find a compromise, albeit an unrealistic idea given the firm position the two sides have chosen. The UCI find they have an sportive argument against radio’s, the teams have a safety argument pro radio’s. I believe Lelangue hinted at a middle-way recently as well.. heck, Shane over at VeloNation upped the idea many moons ago: one-way radio from rider to service car (‘got a flat one!’) and perhaps a broadcasting service from the organisator. But that’d overdo it, as hazarduous spots on the road are indicated with a signgiver or other signals.

Anyway, the suggestion is a compromise.

By the way, word on the street is that especially the Belgian teams found it hard to have a all-or-nothing strike, this in respect to the organisers. A notion that was agreed to by some (Lelangue for one), but not so by others (the barking dog).
The international teams, in the form of the AIGCP or not, are a bit like the EU: every party has its own interests and very seldomly they overlap entirely. Unanimous agreement has proven to be almost a utapian idea.

PS. Barking dogs don’t bite.

Blake February 26, 2011 at 1:28 am

Amazing how loudly these guys will moan about radios, when they say nothing about the doping. If I was a clean Pro, I’d gather a coalition of other clean Pros and absolutely ostracize the dirty guys. Where are their priorities?

Blake February 26, 2011 at 1:29 am

Just wanted to follow that with “Bravo, Tondo!”

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