Stick to the road – New UCI TV show – Coaches – No Bruyneel verdict – Classics Countdown
The UCI’s quietly issued an update to its “stick to the road rule” but the new wording is even more confusing than the original.
Here’s the new wording with the additions in bold:
“It is strictly prohibited to use sidewalks/pavements, paths or cycle paths that do not form part of the course (i.e. those separated by kerbs, verges, level changes or other physical features) if a dangerous situation is created inter alia for other riders, spectators or race personnel by such action or if such action procures a significant advantage over other riders.”
It’s an attempt to clear things up but the wording seems ambiguous. Rather than tidying up a rule we seem to have more questions and uncertainty. What is a “dangerous situation”? For example is hopping over a kerb dangerous given a rider could mess it up and crash or is it only dangerous if an accident happens? Note the “significant advantage”, what does it mean, how do we weigh up a smoother dirt path versus pavé, it’s not clear in black and white text yet alone for riders who must decide these things mid-race with the fatigue of five hours and a coating of mud or dust etc.
Rules should be black and white, crystal clear leave no doubt. By contrast the revised wording takes a confusing rule and manages to make it more ambiguous. Chapeau!
One way to check whether riders obey the rules is to watch inCycle. This is a new TV show being produced by sports management company IMG
for the UCI for the Project Avignon teams. The aim is to showcase pro cycling and create a regular magazine format that can be sold to TV channels around the world. You can see the intro above. I’ve seen the full show and it’s slick. Here’s the brief from IMG:
- The best racing action from the UCI World Tour and UCI Continental Tours;
- Provide historical insight and tactical analysis for each event;
- Spend time getting to know our favorite riders;
- Reveal the inner workings and unsung heroes of each team on the various Classics and Tours;
- Unpick the headlines of cycling science;
- Wrap all this in an accessible and fast-moving 26 minute magazine format that is bursting with energy.
Notice anything? It’s men-only. In fact if inCycle is slick it’s almost too good when you compare it to the Women’s World Cup and the UCI’s new venture in reporting women’s races. Hear for yourself with the Skype-quality audio:
Is something better than nothing? Well we do get some online coverage which is great. But I tend to agree with the Velocast podcast which asked the same and said “no it is not” because the quality isn’t captivating and if “the product” isn’t sold well then it risks looking like a second-tier sport compared to the men.
The good news is that production qualities can be improved – buy a microphone and record the audio at a higher bit rate – although it begs the question of why inCycle is men-only and the UCI looks on as IMG produces a slick package for the men but not the women.
Contador’s new coach
It was “revealed” earlier this week by De Telegraaf’s Raymond Kerchoff that Alberto Contador is being coached by Tinkoff-Saxo DS Steven de Jongh. It seems an odd scoop, a coach should be obvious. But it seems the sport is such that we know more about the team coach of the vehicular kind rather than the staff variety. More odd was Contador telling the media “I’m not interested in knowing anything [about Team Sky]” when asked if he was now using techniques from Team Sky imported by de Jongh. Surely everyone in cycling is interested… and none more so than a rider whose biggest rival is on Team Sky? Then again some athletes deliberately ignore their rivals because its out of their control; but all the same here’s a chance to get some intel. Or Perhaps he was just cagey and wanted to end the conversation in case anyone asked him about his former coach Jose “Pepe” Martí at Discovery and Astana.
If Martí sounds familiar it’s because he was given a lifetime ban by USADA along with Johan Bruyneel but this went to arbitration over the winter. The verdict has yet to be delivered although it could well appear soon. But the delay doesn’t look good for anyone. Justice is very slow whether to clear people or prosecute them and it makes the whole system look opaque and private when it needs to be presented as something much more transparent.
If Martí’s not a coach you want to associate with in public, how about Doctor Daniele Tarsi? A long career with his last pro team stint at Vini Fantini (“all the values were normal” he said about Danilo Di Luca and Mauro Satambrogio) he is now the coach of the Colombian national team. Is this the best choice going?
50 Days to the Giro, 5 to Catalonia
There are better things to look forward to than a Colombian time bomb. There are 50 days to the Giro but hopefully nobody is doing a big countdown as before the Giro there’s so much to look forward to with the classics with Milan-Sanremo on Sunday (no snow this time but rain). Even if you’re sadly allergic to one day races or pavé there’s the Volta a Catalunya next Monday with a galaxy of stars including Chris Froome vs. Alberto Contador alongside Joaquin Rodriguez, Nairo Quintana, Tejay van Garderen, Carlos Betancur and more.