Sunday Shorts

For all the talk of disc brakes being the future of road cycling, here’s the winning road bike from the Eurobike trade show. It’s by Factor Bikes and comes with integrated brakes. These are built-in brake calipers as opposed to the normal idea of bolting them on to the frame or fork. It’s not new, Lotto-Belisol ride often ride Ridleys with this feature too.

McQuaid vs Cookson
The battle for the UCI Presidency rages on. The UCI has declined to test Pat McQuaid’s Thai and Moroccan nominations after several federations wanted this to be tested in court. As a reminder the UCI’s own constitution says “The candidates for the presidency shall be nominated by the federation of the candidate” which suggests the home federation but you can take it to mean more.

But there’s no more arguing, there will be a vote in a little over three week’s time to decide between Pat McQuaid and his challenger Brian Cookson. You’d think McQuaid would be wounded after losing out twice to get a proper nomination but his supporters presumably welcome this determination.

Reda Rides
Talking of the UCI complying with its own rules, let’s clear up the case of Francesco Reda. reports that “the UCI has forced [the Androni team] to field Francesco Reda in races again” despite talk of investigations into Reda missing anti-doping controls. The point to note is that you can’t suspend a rider indefinitely without a verdict and if a rider is innocent until being proven guilty then they have a right to ride on.

However the UCI needs to be careful here. It has in the past sought to stop riders from racing when the UCI’s own rules allow a rider to continue, see Sacha Kolobnev or Frank Schleck. Or see the case of Mauro Santambrogio, suspended following his A-sample but he could escape sanction because his B-sample isn’t matching the same results. Either way some reflection is needed to ensure the UCI complies with its own rules.

Bouhanni Wins

Nacer Bouhanni beat André Greipel in the GP de Fourmies today. It marks a great day for the Bouhanni family as Rayanne Bouhanni won the final round of France’s Challenge National Junior, the Tour du Morbihan Juniors. Rayanne is six years younger and has been a keen football and basketball player and yes, he is much taller. But thanks to inspiration from his older brother – he tells a local newspaper he’s pinned up posters of Nacer on his bedroom wall – he’s taken up cycling and now making a name for himself too.

OPQS to Cofidis?
Another amateur tale from France. Florian Sénéchal might not be a name you know but the 20 year old Frenchman is on the OPQS development squad Etixx-IHNed CT. He’s from the north of France and a classics specialist, winning the 2011 Paris-Roubaix juniors and finishing fourth in the World Championships. He’s racked up a string of wins this year… and is tipped for more. So his move to Cofidis is a surprise given the team’s modest status. One to watch.

Team Bus
The team bus has become essential for squads during a stage race but they’re used in one day races too where they offer valuable publicity thanks to their presence. But having a mobile changing room for the day doesn’t come for free. They’re expensive to buy and the maintenance is not cheap either. And it costs €727 ($950) to fill up the tank.

2020 Olympics
Congratulations to Tokyo for winning the bid to win host the Olympics. Here’s hoping it works out as it’s one thing to win the bid but another to make a success of the games during the two weeks and then to make the cost stack up and the facilities work well beyond. Look at London where a quick check reveals the Olympic velodrome has not been used since the games. It’s set to reopen next year.

Finally wrestling will be back in the games. It could have been a time to rethink everything. For example why do people win medals in the swimming pool for different types of strokes or paddling backwards? Surely we should be trying to find the fastest swimmer rather than the one who masters swimming in reverse? And is the effort required for these events broadly similar? The same with athletics, by all means reward the fastest but why hand out medals for being fast but also jumping over obstacles? Okay, this is heresy… but imagine if cycling insisted on medals for riding backwards or doing a sprint which required bunnyhopping small barriers on the way to the finish line? Exactly.

69 thoughts on “Sunday Shorts”

  1. The points raised in the ‘shorts’ issue regarding the UCI are no more than the norm. I am afraid that all the evidence of recent UCI behaviour suggests that PMQ will be re elected by those who prefer the cosy relationship and position they presently enjoy. The very thought that Brian Cookson could arrive and upset their power base and way of working is proving a little much for them to stomach.

    Not good news for the many of us who demand change. But a good enough reason to support Cookson

      • Or the Wilier TT bike of recent years.

        I’m a bit disappointed that the Factor won at Eurobike. It seems a bit gimmicky – aimed at wealthy Freds rather than serious cyclists.

          • Robin, the view is great! Seriously though, my point is just that this frame seems more focused on novelty (the split down tube and fork) for marketing differentiation than actual performance advantage.* While this is a consideration for all commercially-available frames to one degree or another, this particular frame seems quite far over on the marketing end of the spectrum.

            * It may have a performance advantage too. Time will tell. However, since we’ve since these particular approaches before and they didn’t survive, I’d be skeptical of their benefit in this application.

          • I suspect that ideas like the split fork may have failed before because the public wouldn’t buy them. It wouldn’t be the first time that the public has shunned an idea that was technically superior because it didn’t look right. I’m not saying that’s the case for the split down tube or fork (I don’t even know if they offer any performance benefit at all). I suspect the Factor people are oriented more toward the engineering side than the marketing side. There are a number of good ideas in this bike, and they’ve actually gone to the effort to develop a unique power meter, which is not an easy task.

            The bike’s far out of range for my wallet, but I would like to see some test data from comparison studies.

          • I would guess that the aerodynamics are negatively affected. There seems to be limited reduction in frontal area along with additional “members” to create turbulence. The separated flow from the various members will likely interact in a problematic way. It looks kind of cool though!

  2. “Doing a sprint which required bunny hopping small barriers on the way to the finish line.” Isn’t that pretty much a description of BMX?

        • My thoughts exactly. The problem here is the limited international appeal of the sport. The idead of gold, silver and bronze for Belgium edition after edition with the occasional Dutch or Czech upset will not convince the IOC when they still exclude sports like cricket (the most popular sport in India and Pakistan and therefore the favourite of like 20% of the world population), baseball and golf.

  3. There is really only one way to operate a bicycle. I don’t think it’s illogical to test peoples agility or skill set in different environments using only their person.

    That being said, deep six the back stroke and bring back the individual pursuit.

  4. It really bugs me that track cycling is limited to so few events, when a) countries have to build a huge bloody velodrome, b) they then have to drag out competitions over more days than normal to make it look like there are enough races and c) adding eg scratch and points race wouldn’t need more riders to go, because there are riders sitting around kicking their heels who’ve ridden Team Pursuit, who could enter the scratch and points, and, damnit, the madison. I love the omnium, but I don’t understand why the UCI hasn’t fought the IOC on this one.

    • Godammit, in the Olympics, I mean!

      Plus, while I’m a heretical track fan, in that I get very bored watching IP heats, and only like the finals, I don’t see why they can’t add that in too. 4 riders in a TP team, means 1 each can race omnium, IP, points & scratch.

      • + many. The kilo too was excellent and had good drama.

        a realistic track program could be:
        Points (and/or scratch)

        Sprinter types get 3 events (not forgetting Hoy was a kilo-er) and enduros get 4.

  5. I guess the problem is more to do with the IOC and how the UCI stands up for the sport. As a sport cycling deserves more presence, especially on the track and also MTB disciplines.
    As far as swimming as a former swimmer when I was in school I would say there is a difference in the athletes who compete in the varying events. In reality though there should be a balance between all sports.

  6. Disc brakes…I’m so tired of both changing pads and changing caliper width for fat carbon wheels vs. typical alloy rim wheels so I can use the fast wheels in races. Also braking better. Don’t care if they weight a little more since almost no races go up actual mountains unless you’re a pro. The integrated brakes on the Giant Propel (aero road bike) need spacers to be moved to go from wide to narrow…totally ridiculous. Who ever thought it was a good idea to squeeze wheels to make them go slower?

    Track racing. In the Olympics, please a) drop sports where the Olympics are not the pinnacle of the sport (e.g., drop the road and road time trial event, as well as stuff where pro events eclipse the olympics like soccer and basketball). b) agreed drop iterations of a sport where the same people are in contention for more than a couple of medals. Swimming is the worst here but there are others. I love doing and watching mass/match start track racing, though cutting the pursuit and kilo as ultimate tests of certain types of ability is bad. For an event where they would even consider dropping wrestling, though, I have no hope that the ‘spirit of the event’ rather than broadcasting $$ will drive any decision.

    • “… drop sports where the Olympics are not the pinnacle of the sport.” Who would you crown king to make such a decision? If I were king I would get rid of ALL the sports involving judges holding up score cards, boil swimming down to freestyle, then ditch shooting, boxing and horsing around..but it’s all a fantasy as it’s all about the MONEY.
      I guess these bicycles with the rear brake jammed down under the chainstays are for those who forgot how bad that idea was when it was the U-brake and MTBs?
      Is ANYONE surprised the UCI declined to have the rules clarified by CAS? That would be like Robert Mugabe allowing a recount of the votes. I still fear The Mad Hatter will scheme his way into another term, just like Mugabe.

    • My thoughts exactly. Having sports like tennis, soccer and basketball in the Olympics is wrong. As is having the cycling road race. Which is more prestigious; the Olympic road race or Paris-Roubaix, Milan-san Remo, World Champs etc? The tennis/soccer gold medal or Wimbledon/World Cup final? The Olympisc should be cut down to a few pure sports (i.e. athletics, swimming, track cycling) and all the faddy and gimmicky sports should be cut. This would reduce the now huge cost of hosting an Olympics, and stop highly paid professional sports people from taking a government-funded two week holiday.

      • Totally agree on tennis, football and basketball. The men’s road race may perhaps need to be included in this list, but surely not the women’s?

    • “Disc brakes…I’m so tired of both changing pads and changing caliper width for fat carbon wheels vs. typical alloy rim wheels so I can use the fast wheels in races ”

      Fair enough but wait until you have to change the pads on hydraulic brakes and then do a hydraulic fluid bleed… you’ll be wishing that you had your cable actuated caliper’s back!

    • Short answer is no, that measure is separate and additional. The nominations by Thailand and Morocco are not questionable, they are nominations from legit federations.

      What was questionable was the poorly attended EGM in Ireland and the Fuller funded lawsuit and a questionable majority mutiny in Switzerland.

      What is pathetic is how much of an effort is being made to exclude the incumbent from an election. It’s as if Cookson’s supporters know that he could never win an election unless he runs unopposed.

      • I think it’s a lot more like McQuaid is grasping at straws. There is question about the timing of the Thai and Moroccan nominations. It’s only extremely suspicious that McQuaid would seek those out or that they would be volunteered if his re-elections hopes weren’t in jeopardy. McQuaid not known for being an honest, transparent fellow. A perfect example of that is his implied threat that cycling might lose out in the Olympics if he lost his IOC seat.

      • LM The points you make are NOT clear as you would like to imply. You appear to take a minority view on PMQ, with familiar sound bites. I have been waiting for someone to defend the the present incumbent for some time – congratulations, you are the first such person. The overwhelming view of those who understand the undemocratic machinations of the current management of the UCI, is that urgent change is required. More of the same is not what is good for the future of the sport.

        • My points are clear enough to make the curious search out ALL the facts. Cookson’s only hope at winning is to get rid of his opponent Before the election. That, in my book, is spineless and a big red flag with a warning bell and a siren all at the same time.

          McQuaid is far from perfect, but he has done more for the future of a clean, global sport than any UCI president before him. He has a record that supports that statement. That record is of initiatives that he and the institution that he oversees have put into place; passport, whereabouts, more, cost effective testing. In this, Cycling has been the leader and other sports are just now following.

          He has implemented a number of programs that are successfully spreading the joy of cycling around the world. Not just “Rah rah Cavendish”, but “ride to work”, “ride for your health”. When was the last time you visited the UCI website? He has just successfully represented and fought for the sport in the Olympics. That alone is a Herculean feat in this day and age of capitalism.

          The UCI is not perfect, but it’s slowly getting better. Imagine what the Bobsledding Union is like, or figure skating, or Luge…

          What has Cookson actually accomplished? The answer is a very quick nothing. He has kept his mouth shut and let others claim that he is the person who masterminded the rise and success of British Cycling.

          That is completely false. He is nothing more than a guy who just happened to be in the right place and the right time and then cleverly kept out of the way, never claiming the lie, but never telling the truth.

          Change is necessary; to adapt and evolve along with the sport. It is not urgent. And, it is already happening; Cycling now and Cycling under Verbruggen are two very different entities, presently far better in almost every way. McQuaid and the UCI have evolved since he was elected. Is there more to do? Of Course there is. Is McQuaid perfect? Of course not, but neither is the Pope.

          Lastly, your strongest argument is that I am a minority. I am proud of that. Most of the people who are Cookson supporters have an education that doesn’t go beyond being influenced by web site comments and the team manager of their favorite rider. I think for myself; I search out the facts, I form my own opinions and those opinions evolve with every new fact. I may be wrong sometimes, but I try my hardest to be objective and pragmatic in my thinking and I’m not afraid to be in the minority if that’s were the truth is.

          • Cookson has accomplished absolutely nothing but his appointments, that’s all you need to know about him.

            More dopers have been caught under McQuaid than any other president, that’s just one thing you can’t take away from him.

          • More dopers have been caught – drumroll – because we’ve had record levels of doping under McQuaid’s watch. From Festina to Armstrong most cheats got nailed by police or the national agencies.

            I’ll never forget that The UCI/McQuaid tried to stop USADA from prosecuting Armstrong.

          • Keep sippin’ that Caramel Mocha Latte; Everybody has doped except for maybe Bassons. Now, they are starting to get caught and it is harder and more expensive to cheat. Not by any means is it or any other sport clean, but it is more difficult to be dirty.

          • LM. I think we have agreed to disagree on a previous occasion.
            From where I sit your case is full of holes, but hey, lets not let the facts get in the way of making a case for PMQ. In your literature search please look into the BCF/BC transition from the time that Cookson took charge. I think other posters have pointed you in this direction in the past. You will notice there are many similarities in the situation regarding the current UCI. Cookson cleared out all the alleged corruption and placed BC, as it now is, on a firm financial and ethical footing.

            I am not making the case for Cookson – he makes it himself with his CV. The machinations of PMQ over the last eight years by contrast, offers little hope for change.

            Again I hope we can agree to disagree. I do however hope your wish of PMQs re-election does not come true, for the future of the sport.

          • BC,

            No sweat. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

            BUT, The National lottery is where the money came from, an initiative before Cookson was appointed and implemented in the same year. Cookson also did not “clean house”, the proplems were exposed before he was appointed and the money helped solve that too. He’s also never caught a doper.

            McQ’s machinations, and that’s an appropriate misnomer (Machiavelli was not evil, just pragmatic) have caught some cheats, spread the word and successfully represented the sport for Olympic selection.

          • I find it hard to believe that anyone would support Pat McQuaid for reelection.

            Go read the letters from Pat McQuaid to USADA in their reasoned decision documentation. Rather than cooperating with USADA, the UCI fought tooth and nail to have the case taken away from USADA. There’s no reasonable explanation for such a course of action. That tells you everything one would need to know about what’s wrong with the UCI under McQuaid’s leadership.

      • McQuaid had a chance to debate and win the EGM in Ireland but fled like a coward on the run. He tried to engineer a Swiss nomination. But he didn’t get the procedures right for a second time so this was a dogs breakfast again! Total incompetence!

    • A vote does have to be made at the Congress on the backdating clause relating to the Malaysian nomination, and a 2/3rds majority is needed for it to be passed. If McQuaid doesnt get that, he’s ruled out and the vote for presidency doesnt happen – Cookson’s elected solo.

      At least that’s my understanding

  7. The London velodrome will open to the public in the Spring of 2014. The main reason for the delay is the massive infrastructure work to make the Olympic park into the Queen Elizabeth Park. There is significant work on the ground, the roads, the surrounding buildings, etc.

    Once open the London velodrome site will also include a (modified) BMX track, a road race circuit and off road space for some mountain bike trails.

    The Hadleigh Farm Mountain Bike course will also open to the public in the new year after some reworking and building of supporting infrastructure such as parking, cafe, workshop, etc.

    McQuaid’s manipulation of the UCI rulebook is beyond belief, but this is the man who tried to beat the Apartheid ban in South Africa by riding under a false name. Once found out he was then banned from the Olympics.

    Whilst Cookson is a slightly unknown quantity I really hope he wins and we see the back of Pat & Verbruggen.

    The Olympic track program should be expanded, but is unfortunately limited by the IOC. The Individual Pursuit and a points or scratch race should definitely be in the program.

    • Thanks for laying all this out so clearly. I do get a bit fed up with those who bang on (mistakenly, as they dont bother to actually do any research) about the cycling facilities built for the Olympics still being shut as if they’re wasteful white elephants. It was never going to be a question of them being able to be ready for business to the public as soon as the Paralympics were done.

      You’re right in that the track program is down to the IOC, but the UCI caved in as soon as the IOC limited track cycling to 10 events for London. There are precedents of other sport governing bodies having pushed back successfully against IOC plans to reduce the number of events in their Olympic programs.

      • Anyone know just what has to be done to ready the London velodrome for wider use?
        The Manchester velodrome is used for world class racing and by the public with no (or very little) work seemingly done to switch from one to the other.
        What needs to be done in London that’s taking so long?

    • Better braking is one thing, not having to have brakes that work with multiple wheelsets of various widths and materials, and to race in the pouring rain, is another.

      • Ever switched wheels on an MTB? – it’s not as seamless as you imply. Switching wheelsets almost always leads to rotor rub – maybe not as much drag as rubbing calipers, but not perfect. Mutiple wheelsets on disc brakes are not perfect.

  8. I’m super pumped they voted to reinstate wrestling, and even more pumped that Inrng gave it a shout out. I wrestled in college and have started cycling in the past few years post wrestling retirement. I think the sports share more similarities than most realize and its great when my two favorite sports get intertwined, even if its just a mention on a cycling blog!

  9. The comments about swimming: I sort of agree, but I also know that many non-cyclists say just the same about track cycling. Sprint, team sprint, points, Madison, Omnium, pursuit, team pursuit, Keirin, kilo, scratch….
    To most people, it’s just riding funny bikes with no brakes round a wooden track.

    • The big difference is that there are no points, no Madison, no IP, no kilo, no scratch, in the Olympics now. Just 5 events for each gender – 10 events in total. Now with swimming, leaving aside the 10k open water, there are 16 events for each – 32 events in total. 3 times the number.

  10. LM

    Sorry the reply option is malfunctioning so this post comes out of sequence.

    Lottery money to the BCF came with conditions. There had to be management and leadership change. Cookson was the elected leader, the money followed. BC continues to receive substantial sponsorship income from several sources in addition to Lottery support.

    Machiavelli advocated the use of unscrupulous means in his treaty on statecraft. Machination’s involve plots and intrigue.

    I am happy with any of these definition’s to describe the current UCI leadership

    • I respect that your opinion differs. But, it is a machination for a guy who sells a product that is deemed illegal by the UCI to throw around $Millions in order to unseat McQ by manipulating the board of two federations in a sport that he isn’t even involved with. A machination that a founding member of CCN is trying to unseat the guy leading the effort against doping.

      I have never heard, nor could I find an article supporting your claim of National Lottery money with conditions. The main of several source is Murdoch’s Sky, the King of machinations and the real Puppet master of British Cycling.
      Interestingly, I also couldn’t find an article on the rise of British Cycling that even mentioned Cookson.

      Cookson can not win an election with an opponent.

      • Lottery funding is allocated to different Olympic Sports based on medal performance, and also on attracting new ‘grass roots’ involvement.

        In 1996 British Cycling was insolvent. Brian Cookson and anothers managed the turn around of the sport in Britain, boosted by Lottery funding, the Manchester velodrome, and the performance program approach.

        Brian Cookson was the president, a different role from the Chief Executive Ian Drake and the Performance Director David Brailsford. A team effort, not one man at the top calling the shots.

        Also Brian Cookson has never been banned from the Olympics for breaking it’s Apartheid ban, a man of principles, not someone chasing the dollar.

      • LM, I think the problem is that you repeatedly refer to McQuaid as ‘the man leading the anti doping effort’. This is a strange statement, given that it seems that he was highly complicit in the Armstrong affair and worked very hard for evidence of Lance’s doping not to emerge.

        To ask how many dopers Cookson has caught is risible because he hasn’t had the opportunity as de facto head of an anti doping organisation. Give him the chance as head of the UCI and I’m sure he’ll do better than McQuaid. A better question should be how many doping cases has Cookson covered up in exchange for money? None as far as I’m aware. Also, how often has Cookson knowingly broken the rules of the BC constitution for his own gain? Again, none, unlike McQuaid.

        I refer you to the summary of the private investigation into McQuaid and Verbruggen published today. While a lot of it is witness testimony, much of it seems to ring true. I cannot believe that you seriously think that McQuaid is a better choice to run the UCI than Cookson. Even if you doubt that the latter made any difference to BC, at least he has a clean record .

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