|Carpani consults the bunch
Speaking to cyclingnews.com, UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani suggests the governing body won’t back down over the ban of race radios.
“We want to remind everyone that the decision has been taken with the participation of all the parties involved in the cycling movement. So the decision remains.”
This is inflammatory stuff. Rather than buying time or calming people, it’s the PR equivalent of two fingers. Why? Well it’s saying the radio ban stays in place and it’s not going to change. But it’s also saying the UCI conducted a consultation exercise. Amusing, since the organisation that represents the teams says it wasn’t consulted, the riders’ rep Gianni Bugno says there wasn’t dialogue and a poll of riders suggests they are considerably in favour of radios. Just who did the UCI consult?
I don’t expect either side to back down overnight but using the media to raise the stakes is awkward, especially as the UCI appears to have a weak hand: it didn’t consult properly and its threats risk looking shrill. The only hope is that the UCI is saying one thing in public whilst saying something different in private to the teams.
But I suspect not. You don’t have to be a master of political strategy to see that once you’ve got a public stalemate it only gets harder for each side to climb down. The more the stakes are raised, the greater the fall out. There is talk of a meeting happening during the Tour of Oman. This is going to require big diplomatic efforts to reach a suitable agreement. Yet Carpani’s statements suggest the UCI is deaf to the team’s concerns and in no way ready to compromise.
Divide and conquer
The UCI strategy seems to involve pitting teams against race organisers, knowing – as we see in Qatar – that the teams won’t dare upset the likes of ASO and RCS. Sadly this means the disruption is likely to fall on the smaller races, the ones that are not owned by wealthy backers.
Rather than looking for resolution, both sides are ready for a clash.