UCI Presidential Contest

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

We have a contest. David Lappartient has announced he will stand for election as UCI President, challenging the incumbent Brian Cookson. There’s now three months of campaigning before the UCI Congress in late September.

Lappartient? He’s from Brittany, aged 44 and a trained surveyor before going into politics and sports admin, leading to his roles as President of the French federation, a member of the UCI’s Management Committee and President of the European Cycling Union (the regional grouping of UCI federations in Europe) as well as mayor of Sarzeau, population 7,802 and has held other positions amid the layercake that is French regional government. He faces five challenges:

  • Incumbency : it’s hard to topple the standing President. Cookson has been on a UCI world tour meeting cycling officials around the world. His twitter account is a parade of photos and handshakes with friends from far-away federations and, for this blogger at least, the subtext of “another vote in the bag”. Cynicism aside it is Cookson’s job to sound out what matters for national federations and regional groupings so this gives him a head start
  • Cookson himself:  Cookson’s record is uninspiring rather than outrageous or disastrous so there’s no urgency to change him or try anything different. Cookson was arguably elected to be boring, the “safe pair of hands” pick after his accident-prone predecessor and if there have been some failures and controversies during his spell there’s been nothing disastrous
  • Lappartient’s record: he’s been the President of the French federation with some good and bad times, a healthy expansion in membership and the creation of a new HQ and velodrome outside Paris. As President of the ECU he launched the European championships last year (you might remember Peter Sagan and Kasia Niewiadoma won). But there have been hiccups and headaches along the way the record seems at best steady rather than transformational or radical
  • Differentiation: Lappartient is no new broom. Instead he’s been a UCI insider, sitting on the Management Committee, the governing body’s executive. So anything Cookson has done has been achieved with the consent and support of Lappartient, unless Lappartient can demonstrate otherwise. Lappartient can’t paint the Cookson rein as a disaster because he’s been party to it, he can only try and say what makes him better and as such this is harder argument to fight

His manifesto is beaucoup bland especially if we take statements in isolation, for example “placing UCI at the service of national federations” doesn’t mean much but if the message communicated to the federations that the UCI’s substantial financial reserves could serve national federations then you can see why officials around the world could become interested of funding for their plans could be secured.

Who will win? That’s hard to call. Brian Cookson has plenty of advantages as the incumbent and his record is not as accident-prone as his predecessor so it’s quite possible the select electorate sees no need to change. But today’s L’Equipe (print or paywall) says the European delegation, including British Cycling, will vote en bloc for Lappartient which delivers one third of the votes, leaving him with just eight more delegates needed to win. The paper also quotes a source saying Lappartient is an experienced politician who won’t have declared his candidacy unless he has sounded out enough support to think he can win. But a lot can happen in the coming months and the votes are cast in secret. Thinking aloud it is also possible Lappartient runs this time in order to build momentum for a presidential bid in 2021 whereupon he’s the certain pick.

The campaign pits two opponents but working out their differences is a game of amplification, a Briton versus a Breton; a man who worked in local government and chaired his national governing body against a man who worked in local government and chaired his national governing body. Both pledge to make the UCI better. We’ll learn more during the coming weeks.

What’s more certain is that a contest is a good thing. Not the boxing match or sprint contest between two men racing for an electoral finish line, instead the brief three month window to debate ideas, to explore how the UCI is run and by extension the sport in general. The campaign will allow for debate, test arguments and compare Cookson’s record as President to his 2013 manifesto and explore Lappartient’s record in office. How profound this gets remains to be seen, the fear is media tennis where quotes are lobbed and forth. Better a contest than a coronation.

Brian Cookson
David Lappartient
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+
Tim June 21, 2017 at 8:41 pm

Surely even here Peter Sagan or GvA deserve a chain ring 🙂

Martijn June 21, 2017 at 9:28 pm

“today’s L’Equipe (print or paywall) says the European delegation, including British Cycling, will vote en bloc for Lappartient which delivers one third of the votes”

My impression of sports newspapers like L’Equipe and La Gazetto dello Sport is that they publish every vague rumor there is, because juicy gossip sells and it would be impossible to make a daily sports paper otherwise, especially now that the football season is over.

BenW June 22, 2017 at 11:36 am

Agreed. The Eurosport App on my phone sends me occasional “Euro papers” alerts and soe of the rumours are just the most ridiculous.

GrahamG June 21, 2017 at 9:55 pm

A change in leadership of the ASO would probably be more impactful for the professional sport?

CA June 21, 2017 at 10:29 pm

Overall, I don’t see any meaningful impact at this point. The UCI’s been operating with tied hands for years.

Perhaps a French president would get more done with the ASO? But, either way, the reforms would have to be drawn up between the UCI and ASO and both bodies appear to be miles apart.

gabriele June 22, 2017 at 1:30 pm

For years = 8 years at the *very* most. And that’s essentially about blindly believing what we’re being told.

IMHO, some wise decisions on UCI’s part about *not* using their full available power (a *wisdom* which has been probably fostered by the right dosis of conflict of interests) made for a weaker UCI in the most apparent battles. Which doesn’t mean they’ve got tied hands. Surely, on some topics they prefer to look like their hands are tied.

I don’t really dislike how things are going, even if it reminds me a version of the 90s with slightly different means (hey, this is good for cycling’s growth).
And I’m worried about the impact of a change.
Yet, I wonder if some change is already ongoing, due to the transformation of the inner balance of powers which was paramount to set Cookson’s presidency. As it is normal during a presidency, Cookson took advantage of his position and other circumstances to become less dependant on his former supporters. If he goes as far as to break the balance, uff.

Mark H June 23, 2017 at 8:52 am

I think that’s a bit disingenous gabriele, it’s not as much about a weaker UCI over the last 8 years but that ASO has consolidated it’s strength considerably over that time, along with RCS to a lesser extent.

gabriele June 23, 2017 at 10:53 am

How exactly do you think that ASO grew significantly stronger than in past decades? I’d say that a season like the last one proves the contrary, if anything.

RCS indeedd consolidated its position within cycling thanks to ASO’s woes (or *making* ASO marginally weaker), RCS’s political strength as such has become smaller than in the past – in this case I don’t need to ask, because I myself could provide a detailed long-list of factors.

Mark H June 23, 2017 at 11:46 am

ever the contrarian gabriele,
The answer is simply by being by far the biggest organiser of races and acquiring several recently. Since 2014 they organise the Vuelta, since 2010 the criterium du daphine and since 2002 Paris-Nice.

Anonymous June 23, 2017 at 12:04 pm

Extraordinary the resentment on these pages nowadays from people who disagree with others.
There seems a very pervasive belief that there are ‘correct thoughts’ and that those who do not hold those are just being difficult, ranting, etc.
Just look at the last two pages on this election.

Mark H June 23, 2017 at 12:25 pm

no resentment intended from me towards gabriele, i won’t speak for him since i don’t know him but he seems to enjoy a decent debate withough bearing any ill will towards anyone

gabriele June 23, 2017 at 1:29 pm

@Mark H
They don’t organise the Vuelta, they own it – plus, they were already decisive even as a “minority” (49%) stakeholder since 2008, feel very assured about that – and that was further back than 8 years ago (which I consider an upper limit). 2002 makes little sense for the same reason.
Obviously, they are hugely powerful for the reason you name (“being by far the biggest organiser of races”), but that’s precisely what they already were 5 years ago, and probably even 10 years ago, before buying the Vuelta.
You’re not even close to justify how “over the last 8 years” (quoting from you) “ASO has consolidated its strength considerably”. Considerably, imagine that!
ASO won several battles and probably the war in 2008-2009, but since then it didn’t become any stronger.

It’s easy to stress what ASO obtained, but it isn’t as evident to notice that they also endured some *very significant* defeat: in 2007 they wanted to kick the UCI out from antidoping management at the TdF, but in 2009 the UCI was still managing them, despite ASO’s complaints, leading to the well-known Bordry report (and the later removal of the latter…).
The current number of wildcards is way closer to UCI’s plans than to the organisers’.
But, wow people, take care!, they bought the Dauphiné…

The worldwide viewers of the TdF dropped spectacularly and continuously from 2005 to 2014 and, after a partial recovery in 2015, 2016 was an awful year, perhaps the worst in 25 years. Meanwhile, the Giro has been growing steadily for the whole decade. The worldwide viewers ratio between the two races went from 1:4 to 1:2.5!
The Ardennes classics, another jewel of the crown, are living an all-around crisis which stretches back to the last 5-6 years at least. At the same time, Milano-Sanremo and Lombardia saw their ratings growing up to a +85% in some cases.
Paris-Nice had been living an age of absolute superiority over Tirreno in the 90s: it was precisely during the first decade of the 2000s that, through several respective up-and-downs, things started to get more balanced in terms of quality, albeit Tirreno still was a different kind of race, until the changes in course design and recruiting policies saw Tirreno clearly prevailing in 2011-2015.

Most races lose money, few makes you gain… and the Middle East piggybank ASO manages (frankly, by far the best ones which were held there) are gone like Qatar or struggling like Oman. I don’t know if changing the Gulf oil revenues with Norwegian ones paid off… in terms of sheer money, I mean (the Norwegian races is quite good, too). Beijing, a money-making joint project with the UCI which marked the truce between the two institutions was a complete failure (2011-2014). Yorkshire looks very promising, but the overall balance isn’t exactly exciting.
They also lost a couple of little skirmishes against the teams, which is quite much unprecedented (the Ventoux accident, bike camera footage ownership).

The main battles they recently won were against the UCI (calendar, riders per team) – but they always allied with RCS, in those occasions.
And given that it was about the UCI, maybe they got the upper hand precisely because the UCI isn’t exercising its power.
Which I don’t necessarily consider a bad thing, by the way. But let’s stick to reality, it’s the UCI which grew less powerful than in 2000s (again, something I don’t dislike at all), ASO isn’t much more influential now than it was in 2010 or in 2013.

gabriele June 23, 2017 at 1:59 pm

@Mark H [VASTLY OT]
I appreciated your words about me and I enjoy the debate, indeed, even spiced with a little “polemica”!

I think you got some (surely excessive, if related to your single person) blame from Anonymous for something which has actually become more common than in the past on these page, that is, people focussing on who’s posting more that on what’s being posted – more often than not trying to recur to generalisation in order to sway the debate.
Which can bring to paradoxical consequences like being told in a few hours time (fictional examples): “yes, you say that only because you *always* criticise *everything*…” and “yeah, yeah you say that because for you all it’s always well and fine”.

For most people it’s easier to question an informed opinion of a commenter here (rightly so, in a sense: we’re all anonymous) than the commonplace knowledge they form, supposedly “by themselves”, through their “institutional” sources of information (websites, journos), whose quality, at least in cycling’s case is generally modest both because those materials are strongly biased and because they’re poorly worked out. I know it’s paradoxical, normally you’d better believe a newspaper than an anonymous commenter on the internet, of course!!! But – the media situation sometimes look “not normal” (cit.).
Inrng’s quality stands out because he enjoys multilanguage, multicultural and “not embedded” (as long as we know) angles, plus he works often with first-hand sources. Yes, this is the kind of job any journalist should be doing, but I think that we all know that in most media (not only in sport ones) things are working a different way; and the consequences ultimately affect the public debate we’re having. Crazy that a blogger is doing for free what people are sometimes paid… “not to do” in the institutional media setting.

Anonymous June 24, 2017 at 4:38 am

Yes, the reply was to Mark H, but the comment was aimed at many – as I said: Just look at the last two pages on this election.
This from Gabriele sums it up:
something which has actually become more common than in the past on these page, that is, people focussing on who’s posting more that on what’s being posted – more often than not trying to recur to generalisation in order to sway the debate.

jc June 21, 2017 at 11:37 pm

If Lance Armstrong and John Bruyneel are against one of the candidates then that suggests to me that candidate is worthy of support. I get the impression, perhaps unfairly, that David Lappartient is the ASO / RCS candidate. If true that would definitely be a bad thing, they have too much power and influence already. The UCI has a limited amount of power to change things. Given that it does seem as if Brian Cookson has done a reasonable job over the past 4 years, probably a good enough one to justify another 4 years

Tom J June 21, 2017 at 11:41 pm

“L’Equipe (print or paywall) says the European delegation, including British Cycling, will vote en bloc for Lappartient”

Interesting that in the light of the independent review into British cycling, that Damian Collins MP (Chairman of the Culture, Media and support select committee in the UK Parliament) has said “In light of the findings of the independent review, I do not believe that Brian Cookson should be re-elected as head of the UCI – he certainly shouldn’t receive any support from UK Sport for his campaign.” I wonder if the stance of British Cycling in the forthcoming election reflects a degree of nervousness about future funding? In theory, the select committee is the watchdog, not the paymaster, but there is a distinct tone to the comments of the chairman.

(source: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jun/15/damian-collins-calls-dethroning-uci-president-brian-cookson-british-cycling-report)

Tom

David June 25, 2017 at 10:21 am

As a result of the parliamentary election, there currently are no select committees, and there’s no reason to assume that the same chairman will be selected once it’s reconstituted. Uk Sport may well be one of the few groups to be glad of that election being called.

J Evans June 22, 2017 at 5:49 am

I’m hopeful that Lappartient might be more supportive of traditional races and less likely to promote inferior races in wealthy – and often despotic – countries.
As for my other reasons for being against Cookson, see the last blog (Dave).

Ecky Thump June 22, 2017 at 9:40 am

I think you may have touched on what is perhaps one of the fundamental differences in both candidates’ approach.
If I recall, Madiot, in one of his blogs, was firmly against the ‘globalisation’ of races and forcing teams to the far corners of the planet to race (Turkey!).
The new races, and the subsequent UCI softening on mandatory participation, showed this.
But Madiot specifically mentioned his support for Lappartient, so presumably he would look to protect the French teams.

Set against this, the French teams spend a lot of their season racing in France or over the border in Belgium – around 70% of their total races. That is far greater in comparison to other teams in their national races.
There are more French races, of course, but it does still appear insular.

As for the other criticisms of Cookson that you list, I wouldn’t disagree with you really.
But, as Inner Ring points out, Lappartient was / is an integral part of the UCI and Cookson-era.
The criticisms apply equally to both men?

J Evans June 22, 2017 at 11:38 am

‘The criticisms apply equally to both men?’ – Don’t know is the honest answer to that. I can’t say how Lappartient will be. But I do feel that Cookson has largely failed.

J Evans June 22, 2017 at 11:51 am

It’s not where the races are, it’s ‘Are they of a good quality?’
This is a general point, not aimed at you, Ecky.
There’s this on-going myth that anyone who likes the traditional races, or doesn’t think that they’re ‘too confusing for new fans’ (really – you think people are that stupid?), or enjoys seeing races in wind and rain, or doesn’t think money should be chased to the exclusion of anything else wants to keep cycling in an exclusive little club for themselves and to keep it out of all countries outside western Europe.
It’s faux-liberal nonsense.

Anonymous June 22, 2017 at 4:57 pm

Add to the all-pervasive evidence-free ‘truisms’ in cycling:

“The UCI is powerless.” That certainly wasn’t true pre-Cookson – why is it true now? It is ceaselessly regurgitated, but seems based on little. Is the UCI powerless or is Cookson ineffectual?

“Cookson is a nice many quietly getting on with the job.” This despite him being an arch politician, the constant photo opportunities of himself with anyone who might have a vote or an influence on a vote, his links with Makarov, the endless talking-up of what he’s going to do whilst simultaneously not doing it and wheedling his way out of difficult situations – often self-created by what he has told the media shortly beforehand.

Anonymous June 22, 2017 at 4:57 pm

* a nice man

gabriele June 22, 2017 at 1:47 pm

I’m a bit skeptical about Lappartient for several reasons, but there’s a *huge* difference between being President and vice, at the UCI (inrng points at a big one below).

And several questions J Evans listed on the previous post would apply exclusively to Cookson.

Should have the Frencman resigned as soon as he saw things he didn’t like? Well, it’s not like you do resign because your President made some declaration you don’t share, especially when you are there in that role not because the President really chose you but because you’ve been put there to represent different powers which contributed to the election without being politically aligned with the Presidency’s positions. If you just resign, your power quota would go lost, favouring further prevalence of the group whose ideas you don’t share anymore.
It’s about resigning if and only if things go really *too far* in a given moment – but this was never the case with Cookson, whose record is more about a quantity of little mistakes (?) which give the impression of a foggy situation, not about some single absurdity; “not taking action” rather than taking some ridiculous action which calls for inmediate resigning of whoever in your staff doesn’t agree.

All the same, I’m worried about the potential ASO-Lappartient convergence. I prefer balance of powers to an excessive concentration, even if the latter makes deciding + doing things easier. At least, apparently – because you still have to make them *actually work well* after you have enforced them (a difference as huge as the one between deciding and doing).
Things tend to work better when they are agreed, not imposed.

Ecky Thump June 22, 2017 at 1:57 pm

I agree with you there. If Cookson was more pro-British, I get the impression that Lappartient will be more pro-French.
The ASO relationship is interesting, maybe Lappartient could heal some wounds there between UCI and ASO?
You wonder too, if or what pressure ASO can bring to bear in this contest?

Red Tornado June 22, 2017 at 7:45 pm

“I’m hopeful that Lappartient might be …………… less likely to promote inferior races in wealthy – and often despotic – countries.”

+1 for me on that issue. I’m not against expanding cycling’s reach but let’s do it where it makes the most sense, not just based on where we can get our pockets lined well.

Anonymous June 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm

So many of these allegedly inferior races in wealthy – and often despotic – countries are run by or in conjunction with ASO and RCS.

And Lappartient is the ASO candidate. But you think he’ll be less likely to promote these races. Based on nothing whatsoever. OK.

J Evans June 22, 2017 at 3:10 pm

‘Hopeful’ was the word I used and I would not be prepared to go further. I then added ‘might’. Wasn’t exactly definitive, was it?

Anonymous June 22, 2017 at 8:05 am

I felt the Qatar World Championships were disastrous. When a cyclist is ran over intentionally based on gender, when there are more or less no fans at the race, when you hold an event in a place with a cycling culture that only existed until the World Championships were held there and now returns to nothingness something has gone terribly wrong.

Of course, because it wasn’t doping, or unique to cycling, it all got forgotten about rather quickly.

Rich June 22, 2017 at 6:06 pm

Qatar was awarded the World Championship under McQuaid’s Presidency.

Tom June 26, 2017 at 8:48 pm

Hey. Don’t let facts get in the way of an anonymous rant.

Ferdi June 22, 2017 at 10:05 am

I just wonder which one of the two is more interested in preserving cycling’s anachronistic identity.

Dave June 22, 2017 at 10:02 pm

Great comment

J Evans June 23, 2017 at 2:51 am

Well, it doesn’t seem to be the current one:

‘Safety was also the driving force behind a test at the Tour de Suisse that revised the protocol for the calculation of time gaps for a split in stages expected to have bunch sprint finishes to three seconds rather than one.
The revision is “intended to address the issue of increased stress and risk during Grand Tour bunch sprints, while retaining the sporting integrity of the sprint and stage,” according to the UCI statement about the changes.
The revised protocol will be tested again at the Tour de France next month.’

Has the risk increased? Any data to support that?

This means there is one fewer clever bit of tactics that can gain riders seconds. The smart/brave rider could gain time by getting themselves up near the front in a bunch sprint and hoping for gaps behind.
Now, grand tour racing requires a little less racing, which I think is a shame, but those who think cycling should be all about legs, mountains and watts will be pleased.

Ferdi June 23, 2017 at 9:40 am

Yes. That’s part of the things I need. This seeminly endless process of sanitization that includes fixing what’s not broken and just provides for a sport that’s less demanding than it was and could be.

Graham June 22, 2017 at 10:55 am

Part of me would be relieved to see Cookson go just because I am well bored of reading rants against him for things the UCI do not control.

Anonymous June 22, 2017 at 11:39 am

Never fear Graham, whoever becomes the new President, the ranters and ravers will be laying blame across the internet on just about anything on him, most of which the UCI have no control over.

Fourlegs June 22, 2017 at 12:00 pm

+1

The Inner Ring June 22, 2017 at 1:18 pm

There is a problem in seeing one person not just as the figurehead but as the UCI itself. I’m surprised the UCI doesn’t make more of its staff, telling stories about what they do in the HQ, on the ground etc in order to show there’s more to the UCI than the President.

Then again the President is powerful and Cookson’s tenure is notable for installing many British colleagues (Martin Gibbs, Justin Abbott, Mark Barfield etc) around him.

Anonymous June 22, 2017 at 2:06 pm

Good point, they have a nice HQ but I genuinely don’t know what they do in there? perhaps shame on my ignorance.

J Evans June 22, 2017 at 3:14 pm

I read far more people complaining about people complaining about the UCI than I read people complaining about the UCI.
They never back-up why they think things are fine as they are or why the UCI can’t change things, etc.
They don’t even argue against points people make that are critical of the UCI.
They also don’t back-up what they are pro-Cookson (if, indeed, they are or even have any opinion).
All they do is relentlessly complain about people being critical about the UCI.

Graham June 22, 2017 at 4:21 pm

I have had it up to here with people complaining about people complaining about people complaining about the UCI….

I suppose motor doping was a good recent example, for me the checks that have been put in place are comprehensive and if anyone was doing, they’d be crazy to keep doing it now. And yet the stories and distrust continued.

Or when a race jury makes a controversial decision, is that Cookson? No. Do people moan about Cookson? Oh yes. Maybe the rulebook needs a rewrite from scratch…. that doesn’t sound fun.

People wanting the UCI to bring in anti doping rules that go above and beyond the WADA code, many things here that I would like them to do but if the lawyers are saying there is no way to do it and for it to stand up in court then…. well…. thats that.

Police motorbike makes an error? DAMN YOU COOKSON!!!

I’m not saying he’s perfect, to be honest I am not interested enough to do the research to judge, but the above are common examples.

Graham June 22, 2017 at 4:33 pm

And also numerous examples where the UCI is held hostage by ASO

J Evans June 22, 2017 at 4:40 pm

Just taking two examples you mention:

‘I suppose motor doping was a good recent example, for me the checks that have been put in place are comprehensive and if anyone was doing, they’d be crazy to keep doing it now. And yet the stories and distrust continued.’ – What evidence have we been provided with that they are comprehensive? Why do the French police use thermal guns and why do the UCI not use these? Why do so many people claim they are not comprehensive? Who is right? I have no idea – do you? The reason there are questions is because those questions have not been answered.

‘People wanting the UCI to bring in anti doping rules that go above and beyond the WADA code, many things here that I would like them to do but if the lawyers are saying there is no way to do it and for it to stand up in court then…. well…. thats that.’ – Take two examples: corticosteroids – legal out of competition; and tramadol. WADA have banned neither. The UCI could say ‘Right, we’re not banning these – we can’t – but we will say if we find them in your blood.’ Would that be legal? Would they dare standing up to the teams? Are you confident that the UCI are successfully combating doping? If so, how?

My list on the last Inrng post is mostly a collection of minor balls-ups and things not done. It doesn’t inspire confidence in Cookson, for me.

CA June 22, 2017 at 5:07 pm

I will only respond specifically on the situation where UCI’s hands are tied by the ASO, similarly to Graham’s position.

Really, we only need to discuss the one event of Cookson’s time as President – UCI’s Reform proposals, which were presented after a few drafts and alleged discussion with all stakeholders. As I remember the situation, Cookson was very proud of the work put into developing these reforms and after a couple drafts presented the reforms to all stakeholders. During the public press conference announcing them, he stated all approved them and that the ASO did not comment on them.

That last aspect was telling because the very next day the ASO said they absolutely refused to accept the reforms and they threatened to pull the TdF from the WT and run it as an HC race…

I’m a little foggy of the exact specifics, but in my opinion this one exchange overshadowed everything that Cookson/UCI was trying to do and it proved beyond any doubt that they could not decide anything unless the ASO approved of it.

This is not, as J Evans mentioned, UCI appearing to have their hands tied by the ASO, this is absolutely the ASO truly cutting the UCI at it’s knees. We all know that if the ASO wants it could pull it’s race from the UCI umbrella entirely and run as a National race. We would all still watch it, the riders would all still race it and the teams would desperately try to be part of it.

All of Inrng’s readers are pretty well versed in these issues, but casual fans could not care less who runs the UCI and sponsors only care if the TdF will run next year.

This just proves my point, the UCI has very limited scope to get things done… and that the race organisers enjoy a very strong place at the table…

Francisco June 22, 2017 at 5:27 pm

About ‘motor doping’ tests: thermal imaging detects motors *in use* while inductive methods detect the *existence* of motor windings (I am assuming the tablet-based UCI test employs electromagnetic induction). If you want to test a bike before a race, as UCI officials do, thermal imaging will not do.

Graham June 22, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Francisco covered the motor doping thing well, I would add that the constructive thing to do if the it were possible to beat the UCI tests would be to show us a motor that could beat the tests, my understanding is that it is not possible with our current understandings of physics.

‘People wanting the UCI to bring in anti doping rules that go above and beyond the WADA code, many things here that I would like them to do but if the lawyers are saying there is no way to do it and for it to stand up in court then…. well…. thats that.’ – Take two examples: corticosteroids – legal out of competition; and tramadol. WADA have banned neither. The UCI could say ‘Right, we’re not banning these – we can’t – but we will say if we find them in your blood.’ Would that be legal? Would they dare standing up to the teams? Are you confident that the UCI are successfully combating doping? If so, how?

I….. am pretty sure that publishing medical info outside of a positive test for a banned substance/bio passport violation is very thin ice if not outright illegal. Obvs anti doping is not perfect, main issue is that it is underfunded and I am more than willing to listen to constructive criticism. Most of what I read (and I must stop reading the comments on the cycling news website) is not well thought out.

CA June 22, 2017 at 9:43 pm

As if to prove my point – today the UCI announced for 2018 it’s approved a reduction in size of Grand Tour teams from 9 to 8 riders.

This is significant because IT WAS NOT ONE OF THE UCI’S primary reform ideas, but in fact it was one item the Grand Tour organisers wanted.

I’m neither for or against moving to 8 riders, but it is just another interesting item to show who really cracks the whip in this sport…. it isn’t the UCI!

J Evans June 23, 2017 at 2:34 am

Graham:
‘I….. am pretty sure that publishing medical info outside of a positive test for a banned substance/bio passport violation is very thin ice if not outright illegal.’
Would it be legal? I don’t know. Does anyone here?
It doesn’t seem much different from testing for other drugs – it’s still publishing medical information.
So, do the rides/teams submit to that current information being released?
If so, the UCI could say to them ‘We’re adding these other drugs to that list of stuff we will release if we find it – but you won’t be banned for these ones’.
If the riders/teams then refuse to do this, the UCI says we’ll make that fact public and the teams will look bad.
The UCI would probably get their way because sponsors wouldn’t like this.
This way, the UCI could possibly stop riders/teams doping with tramadol and corticosteroids (out of competition).
So, why don’t the UCI try things like this in order to combat doping and look after rider health?
It’s a system the teams have to volunteer for, so no-one is forced to do anything.
I think the UCI don’t try things like that because the people in the UCI are more concerned with hanging onto their own jobs and in their eyes that means clinging to power by not rocking the boat.
I keep reading people say that UCI are powerless, but how much of that is because they act that way?
These are just ideas – I’m not suggesting I have all/any of the answers, but those in charge seem to do very little on this matter (and do we really believe that it’s only riders on smaller Italian teams who are doping?)

J Evans June 23, 2017 at 2:44 am

CA – But why were the UCI against a reduction in team size when it might lead to less domination of races by the big teams? The big teams were against it. Is it because the UCI try to maintain power by siding with the big teams all the time – e.g. with Velon?

Nick June 23, 2017 at 11:08 am

The medication that a person is taking and the substances inside that person’s body are plainly sensitive personal information. Publishing that information without it being necessary for particular specific reasons would be a breach of that person’s data privacy rights in EU countries at least. (Don’t know about elsewhere.) Sports governing bodies have just about got away with this where it is necessary to implement doping controls. However where it is not necessary (because it goes beyond the WADA requirements), then they would be on very shaky ground.

J Evans June 23, 2017 at 11:25 am

Nick, hence my suggestion that the UCI asks the riders/teams to agree to this.

If they then refuse, the UCI makes that refusal public. (The UCI would inform the teams that they are going to do this, so hopefully teams would agree to it – for PR reasons.)

No laws broken.

But that would require the UCI to a) have some balls; b) desire to improve rider’s health and safety.

CA June 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Are you complaining about the complainers of the complainers?

This is a tough response to respond to. I’ll have to save it for someone else.

J Evans June 22, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Yes.

Graham June 22, 2017 at 4:24 pm

Mr INRNG – what happened about the thing… with a university auditing teams and how they looked after the riders training etc? Was a big deal when Astana (or was it Katusha?) were flirting with a big suspension and seemed like a really good idea and a big deal. I don’t remember hearing a thing about it since.

The Inner Ring June 22, 2017 at 5:05 pm
Graham June 22, 2017 at 5:29 pm

Yes, thank you, this bit

The ISSUL guidelines imposed on Astana aren’t just a mechanism to save the team’s licence. Instead they’re set to become a core part of the proposed UCI cycling reforms, compulsory for all teams in a few years.

Are these guidelines still in the pipeline?

Jordan June 23, 2017 at 7:31 am

You assume INRNG is a man?

Graham June 23, 2017 at 10:16 am

I once saw a cycling journo refer to INRNG as him on twitter, seemed to know him.

Jordan June 23, 2017 at 9:47 pm

Totally plausible indeed. However, I have been following this blog for years and have noticed that a) they never mention anything personal (probably on purpose) and b) I have never seen them use a gender pronoun in self-reference, and I will admit to have been adamantly looking for it cause its absence stands out. Due to social norms it would make a ton of sense if this blog was run by a man, yet I challenge myself not to assume so.

Anonymous June 23, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Add Dwars Door Vlaanderen taking the spot of the Three Days of De Panne, which will now probably become a two-day race. Great work by the UCI – another historic race shafted. Unlike TDoDP, DDV is little different to RVV, E3, GW – doesn’t really add anything special.
This sort of thing just keeps going on, but people will still doubtless claim that ‘the UCI can’t do anything about it’.

StevhanTI June 23, 2017 at 2:51 pm

It’s the UCI’s final decision but obviously some serious deal-making behind the scenes has been going between the organizers of both events. Both of which are professional, commercial, enterprises with at lot at stake so, yeah, outwardly, it seems as the UCI takes *another* decision that harms traditional cycling but we’ll never know what has been agreed behind closed doors between all the partners involved who all have serious money and ‘brand value’ at stake. No to mention the start- and finishing towns who sometimes simply are tired of coughing up all the money for these events (especially if they get more commercial every year)

Anonymous June 24, 2017 at 4:53 am

But TDoDP didn’t want to move. Flanders Classics are a much bigger group and they decided to move DDV to TDoDP’s spot. The UCI could have said ‘no’.

Judith June 23, 2017 at 2:58 pm

Unzue disagrees with your theory on Nibali being the best GT rider in 13/14 Gabriele – apparently Froome has been No1 last 5/6 years, I as well as most sane people agree with the below and am utterly mystified by your theory even as a Quintana fan:

“Beating Froome in a head-to-head struggle is very difficult for everybody,” Unzué emphasises to Cyclingnews. “He’s been the top name for Grand Tours in the last five to six years. It’s true that Nairo beat him in the Vuelta last year. But it was due in part to a day of racing which in theory was a transition stage [to Formigal – ed.] but which ended up being much more decisive. Nairo got in a break which worked well that day and where there were lots of different interests at stake. Thanks to it, the Vuelta could be won.

“It’s also true that we opened up some important time gaps on Froome in the Lagos de Covadonga during the Vuelta. But overall Froome defended himself very well.”

What ways are there, then, to beat the Briton? According to Unzué, one powerful factor in Movistar’s favour is – quite simply – Old Father Time.

Judith June 23, 2017 at 3:06 pm

*(I personally think you’d (Gabriele) be laughed out of town by 90% of the professional peloton – Froome is clearly the best GT rider since at least ’13 probably ’12 – and the races he’s won/results outside of TDF are not insignificant, I don’t really understand what more he can win as a GT rider than he has done between Jan>Feb building up to TDF, plus the fact that he’s consistently racing against other GT riders in those races I think proves it. For those in training for TDF winning or podium’ing in Dauphine, Romandie, Oman, Tirreno, Andalucia, Criterium International is as good as it gets? Unless you’re Valverde. You undermine all the rest of your arguments with this one and it makes people suspicious when you say you only go on facts that really you only go on the facts you choose to. Plus answering along with INRNG whenever anyone posts and asks INRNG for an opinion does give other readers the opinion you may have a bit of a knowitall syndrome!)

gabriele June 23, 2017 at 4:26 pm

Wow, a whole lot of love to share for Froomie to be a Quintana fan, “Judith” ^__^

I mean, I clearly see you’re – personally – a very impartial *person*, since your Quintana fandom doesn’t *undermine*, not at all, your arguments favouring Froome.

Yet, I’m utterly surprised by the way you regard with a certain admiration and even amazement Froome’s results in shorter stage races, even going as far as to say that it is “as good as it gets unless you’re Valverde”, when precisely your darling Quintana’s track record in that field is already way more impressive than Froome’s (and, if compared to the number of seasons raced, than Valverde’s, too). Curious.

I also found interesting the question “what more he can win as a GT rider than he has done between Jan-Feb”… well, as a GT rider I expect you to win GTs, and before *2015* Froome had won *one*, besides his 3 podia. Great, but not a step above the rest of top GT contenders.

gabriele June 23, 2017 at 3:20 pm

Well, I’m not surprised at all, I rarely agree with Unzué 😉

Imagine that his strategy to go for the Tour is waiting for the rival to grow old ^__^
It makes it even clearer in the part of the interview you didn’t report.
To justify such nonsense, I wouldn’t expect less than: “well, it’s nearly to impossible to beat the guy, how can you ask us anything more?”.

OTOH, the constant and friendly rider market agreements between Movistar and Sky, as well as a lot of team strategies in past Tours (and beyond), suggest that the two teams are way less hostile than many would rather believe for some narrative’s sake. The kind of racing attitude you could see from Saxo towards USP/Discovery. Praise comes easier in such context.

Add to that the peculiar relation between Quintana and his beloved team: during the last months, Quintana has needed more often than ever (including during that Vuelta’s stage!) to take decisions which went against his management opinion. Had he done that before… but I guess it’s a tough ask.

Obviously, I’d rather hope that all this was just “pretattica”, mind games and sandbagging, very far from what Unzué really thinks. I very much hope so… but sadly it could actually be his tactics.

However, given that Unzué didn’t win many GTs for Quintana, I still can’t see how can he win for Froome the GTs which Froome himself didn’t in 2011-2012-2014.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: