Friday Shorts

Astana announced the signing of Franco Pellizotti but seemed to forget that the team is a member of the self-regulatory MPCC grouping whose code of conduct goes above and beyond the WADA Code and UCI rules. Rule 2 of the MPCC says a team cannot sign a rider who has had a ban longer than six months for two years following the end of the ban.

It could be a form of additional punishment beyond the WADA Code but in order to test this an MPCC member team would have to take the MPCC rule to court. For now the moral imperative of the group holds strong although Pellizotti is a 35 year old rider who last shone when working with Dr Ferrari, in other words he’s not the rider a team will fight hard to sign. It’s astonishing to imagine team, rider and agent all missed this.

Talking of the MPCC, it’s gaining in strength with now Astana waking up and respecting the code. It’s been largely responsible for the “no-needles” policy in cycling where nobody is allowed to use a syringe or perfusion, even if the contents are legitimate, for example a vitamin shot. Amusingly this week Pat McQuaid has been claiming credit for this but it was copied from the MPCC. Not that this is a bad thing, all the better and here’s hoping the UCI adopts the cortisone monitoring rules of the MPCC.

UCI Politics
Luckily rules still govern the sport, even Alexander Vinokourov has to bow to the MPCC. The tragic Malaysian Federation proposal to pass a retrospective rule on candidate nominations looked doomed because any constitutional change requires a two thirds majority but it might never go to a vote anyway.

As show above the UCI Constitution says all items for the agenda of the Congress in September must be prepared by the UCI’s Management Committee but Brian Cookson and Igor Makarov, both committee members say they weren’t consulted. If true the Malaysian proposal cannot be voted on.

Tour of Poland
The Tour of Poland has its attractions but the “attractivity contest” where riders earn extra time bonuses of up to 30 seconds for the combined haul of mountain competition and intermediate sprint prizes is leaving many confused. It was explained on here last week but it’s got fans, the media and even riders confused but even those who understand how the classification works and the way time bonuses are awarded don’t have it easy as you need a spreadsheet to work out the overall classification. We’ll see if this experiment lasts, perhaps the difficulty is the novelty but for now it’s near impossible to explain in a sentence and adds an extra layer of complication to an already tactically-sophisticated sport.

Mathieu Van Der Poel

Tipping young riders can prove pointless. You only have to look at the number of French riders who do great in the U-23 ranks only to become mediocre pros… a subject for future analysis. But Mathieu Van Der Poel is a name to remember. You might already know him from cyclo-cross as the Dutch junior is the reigning world champion and finished his cross season unbeaten plus he’s the son of ex-cross champ Adrie Van der Poel and the grandson of French legend Raymound Poulidor. But he’s not just one for short off-road efforts as he’s been winning several international junior races including the 2.1-rated ‘Ain’ternational Rhône-Alpes Valromey Tour as well as taking the Dutch national championships, as pictured above.

A final note of housekeeping. Comments on old articles have been switched off as spambots were managing to post phoney comments on here. The filter has blocked about 800,000 spam comments in the past two years but in recent days a few have been leaking through every day and if there weren’t obvious, those of you who had subscribed to comment threads were getting the bogus messages. Sorry.

One solution to this is to block the spammers using a software plugin called Bad Behavior which blocks them by a variety of means. But it seems that legitimate readers could be stopped from coming here. There’s no need to explain all the tech side but if I switch this plugin on and you find you are blocked from reading please drop an email or send a tweet to let me know as feedback is useful and I can undo it.

14 thoughts on “Friday Shorts”

  1. Does anybody else think that Pat is going to find some bizarre loophole to get back in this election, if he can get a large number of other election candidates, he may win. Cookson’s voters could be dissolved among several, while his, presumably, remain loyal.
    This presidency must be incredibly lucrative, if only he’d tell us how much he’s making….

    • It’s only down to 42 voters so whilst we’re all watching, the electorate presumably has different priorities. Hopefully we get discussion of leadership and competence rather than these procedural spats.

  2. Its sad that the time-bonus issue is messing up the good initiative of reducing team size. The latter has markedly opened the race, just look at Taylor Phinneys win..
    If you want to scientifically study the effect of a new intervention in an experiment, it is always important to only change one variable ..

    • has it messed up the race? I don’t know if it has affected the race at all. It only gives time bonuses to breakaway riders who are usually minutes down on the GC anyway. Riblon is winning based on time taken on the road.

      I do like the smaller team sizes leading to more aggressive and unpredictable racing.

      • Well, Izaguire was only in yellow cause of the atractivity bonus seconds he gained on two summits while in a break. So it had his impacts.

  3. Young Mathieu (the ‘son’ of Adrie Van der Poel?) might want to practice zipping up his jersey when crossing the line so as to keep the sponsors happy… 🙂

  4. Garmin have had a no-needles policy since 2008, and Team Sky likewise since the start of the team (BC have had a no-needles policy for many years). Just wanted to point that out.

  5. Obviously the MPCC is an afterthought for Astana, as is the UCI constitution for Pad “Thai” McQuaid.

    Enjoying the photos to illustrate these pieces, what is Pellizzotti doing?

    • All true but note Cookson should have picked up on this point too.

      The Pellizotti photo is from the Tour Méditerranéen in February this year. I thought it was apt given he doesn’t know when he gets to ride.

  6. WAS unaware of the 90 day rule until now ! However , i am not paid Salary to uphold the UCI Constitution , jim burn ( who thinks he is a combo of mugabe & “the dear leader “) aka phat the rat , certainly draws Salary , even if he chooses a devious course !

    My petition today :

    deserves support , yet because people have to reveal their name , appears to be a non starter !

    When phat is returned as President , it will give me great satisfaction to see people squirming for they are the beneficiary of his unethical behaviour in the future !

    You reap what you sow ! Inaction will result in a lot of whining !

  7. Good to see Mathieu racking it up on the concrete like he’s been doing on the mud. To be fair he had been doing the same before, but he’s competing against bigger fields yet the results remain the same. Papa VdP is pushing pretty hard for him to stick to the mud though. One can hardly blame him, good money for the top guys and less high speed crashes etc.

  8. The UCI presidential election is certainly drawing interest. My main concern is, if Pat somehow gets to stand, how many of those 42 delegates care about road racing? I know that scandal in road racing can threaten track at the Olympics, but I think it more likely they’d just drop the road race. Brian Cookson appeals to fans of road racing because this is where we see the worst effects of Pat’s presidency, but to countries which only care about track racing, and I’m guessing this is the majority of members, is there much to split the candidates? And if any of them have are likely to be implicated in Cookson’s truth and reconciliation process, they will surely side with the devil they know.

    It would be right that the election is fought out on policy, but part of me thinks the prospect of Pat getting re-elected is so bad that a trying stopping him from standing is a good idea.

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