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Radio stalemate

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?

Stand off
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.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Reno Tuesday, 8 February 2011, 3:59 pm

    I think the UCI refer to the meeting they had with at least Vaughters (in what role, I don't know) in December. Vaughters refered to this meeting in his open letter on CN as well. He had his say, 'but the UCI didn't listen', or something to that line. Maybe it's worth diggin'up that letter.

    UCI don't give any room, but neither do the teams. If history learned one thing is that threatning the UCI, will get you nowhere but an even firmer stand off. AIGCP shoulda known better. It's all not very constructive.

  • Matt Rose Tuesday, 8 February 2011, 4:43 pm

    They consulted amongst themselves, and they all thought it was a *great* idea.

    Do they need to consult with anyone else?

  • TheInnerRing Tuesday, 8 February 2011, 4:47 pm

    Reno: yes, this is going to get difficult with both sides taking a stronger stand. Trenches are being dug.

    Matt Rose: I fear that happened. Certainly the teams have given a consistent message, although Vaughters admits to not being vocal enough, something Reno touches on.

  • Reno Tuesday, 8 February 2011, 5:42 pm

    I foresee a third party mediating in silent diplomacy, in the end. Last time it was the IOC who brought both parties (UCI and ASO/RCS) together.

    For those interested, in the following article Vaughters gives a decent insight into the issue and his role on this matter as chairman of aigcp.