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Thursday Shorts

Case closed. A year ago it was all comedy rap videos from Astana, now they’ve been on the receiving end with the leaked report. But the CADF has cleared this up now and on the basis of the evidence they’ve got they won’t be taking the matter any further.

We’re not back to where we were before this time last week though. Jakob Fuglsang’s been dunked and if he gets good results this year it’ll be met with suspicion… and if he gets bad results people will be suspicious about his results last year.

One interesting thing from this is the use of private detectives to track riders and others. It’s not new, the UCI was at one point looking to recruit a criminologist but this time the investigation was outsourced to an agency which has been touting its services for the UCI but it could make some think more if they’re skating on thin ice or at least paranoid if they think someone’s watching them.

Talking about thin ice, cyclo-cross in the Winter Olympics? The UCI World Cup for 2020-21 will include a round in Villars, Switzerland, a ski resort with the idea being to demonstrate the sport can be run in cold conditions and on snow and ice. But the Olympics? The topic’s been explored in more detail before here but the short version is the Olympic charter says the winter games can only include sports that are on ice or snow. Of course you can have a cross race on snow but you could also throw a javelin or hold a volleyball tournament. So any inclusion in the Olympics sounds fanciful and that’s before we consider that few nations would support the bid either. But that’s enough cold water (ice?) poured on the idea, what if visiting a ski area turns out to be a money-spinner? Lots of resorts need to differentiate themselves and imagine a round of the World Cup in, say, Alpe d’Huez which is as popular with Dutch tourists in winter as summer. It’d be something to put on the events calendar and could see resorts bidding with more of a premium than the current hosts do.

Keeping with UCI expansion, could it get in on the gravel scene? Ideally not, this is a grass roots sport that is flourishing because of its simplicity and nobody wants to see officials in blazers crashing the party. But more pro riders are involved, brands get investing, races are being bought up by event promoters, and presumably lawyers are getting involved: gravel is getting corporate. With this there’s a need to regulate – see the spat over aero bars – then they’ll be a need for a rulebook, for oversight, anti-doping and before you know it you need a governing body. Maybe not the UCI but something.

Finally on the UCI, it’s binning the Extreme Weather Protocol. Fear not for hot or cold days, it’s now called “The Protocol” and is being expanded to include road surfaces, vehicles in the road convoy, barriers, road signs and more to make it a more comprehensive safety protocol.

Enough sports admin. It was almost a coin-toss picking between Benoît Cosnefroy and Valentin Madouas for the recent “Riders to Watch” and they finished 1-2 in the GP La Marseillaise last Sunday. Expect to see more of both.

Staying in France, there’s long been a lament that there are no more training races, that early season races are increasingly stressful. These days even the obvious smaller events are getting harder. The early season races in France all have “summit” finishes of sorts, the Etoile de Bessèges has a finish on Mont Bouquet this Saturday and the Tour de la Provence even goes up Mont Ventoux in February, albeit to the Chalet Reynard ski station and not the top. The idea is it makes these races more selective and spectacular but means stage races like these are reserved for the stage race specialists when early season races would often reward others.

The Etoile de Bessèges has looked like one of those events hanging on the calendar by a thread but it’s still here. Indeed it’s got plans to be sustainable in the environmental sense and wants to become the “ecological reference point” for bike races. It aims to be carbon neutral by 2023 with hybrid or electric vehicles, measures to protect and value the environment the race takes place in and initiatives to get more people cycling, young and old. It’ll be interesting to see whether this race can achieve it – saying and doing are different things – but also it should serve as a model for others.

Mads Pedersen has extended his contract with Trek-Segafredo through to the end of 2022. It’s notable because teams are tying down their biggest contracts earlier and earlier, it makes sense to know their spending needs ahead and so they can budget. This is happening earlier and earlier, deals that would have been done in the summer started happening in the spring and now are done in winter and some even happen a year or more out. Keep an eye on Ag2r La Mondiale where 18 riders, two thirds of the team, see their contracts up at the end of the year including Oliver Naesen and Romain Bardet.

Ben Perry is a name to remember for fans of cycling trivia and history, or trivial history perhaps. Because the Israel Cycling Academy rider is riding the Herald Sun Tour for the Israel Start Up Nation team making him the first rider under the new rule that allows World Tour teams to draft in riders from their Continental development teams.

Finally what’s Mitchelton-Scott’s budget? Like most teams there’s no public information but each year the teams receive a pack from the UCI that shows the spread of budgets and their position and in a video interview with team owner Gerry Ryan by Ride Media that’s informative several times over, Ryan says his team is tenth in the rankings of World Tour budgets.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Lukyluk Thursday, 6 February 2020, 1:57 pm

    The Etoile de Besseges deserves more publicity, the racing is often fun to watch, like it was yesterday for stage 1, a flat stage with crosswinds, you’d be forgiven to think you’re watching a 1-day classic. It would be sad to see it disappear, it’s got to be one of my favorite pre-Omloop races, but I’m pessimistic about its future, now that Raymond Poulidor (a huge supporter of the race) has left us.

    • Ecky Thump Thursday, 6 February 2020, 3:43 pm

      Their environmental aims are certainly topical and are to be applauded.
      I hope that they can attract new sponsors and draw down public funding *and* educate the riders to stop discarding litter and plastic in their wake too. Honestly, the peloton is like a mobile dustbin passing through some of the world’s loveliest places.
      There’s a real opportunity for a positive change here and a good news story.

      • The Inner Ring Thursday, 6 February 2020, 4:21 pm

        The peloton’s improved a lot, you still see people chucking waste but there are warnings in pre-race briefings, increased fines and most importantly improved attitudes which means there’s less.

        • DaveRides Thursday, 6 February 2020, 4:43 pm

          Better provision of drop zones by the more progressive race organisers has also helped.

          • The Inner Ring Thursday, 6 February 2020, 4:45 pm

            Good point, they’ve gone from novelty to established concept in many races now.

      • CA Thursday, 6 February 2020, 6:28 pm

        I don’t get why they do that… you put the snack in your pocket, take it out to eat it, then put the garbage back in the pocket… simple right?

        • Kevin K Thursday, 6 February 2020, 8:03 pm

          Back in the pocket?!? Don’t you realize how much that mylar wrapper weighs?!

        • J Evans Friday, 7 February 2020, 10:07 am

          Also, if you’re a pro there are often handily placed people at the side of the road who will pick up whatever you chuck at them.

          • Lukyluk Friday, 7 February 2020, 10:20 am

            “What??? This mylar wrapper was thrown in my vague direction by Jean-Francois Bernard’s teammate during the Dauphine of 1987. It’s not garbage, it’s a priceless collector’s item!”

          • Larry T Saturday, 8 February 2020, 4:11 pm

            I had a Celestial Seasonings logo’d bottle handed to me (actually to a friend, who then handed it to me) from The Badger himself at the start line of one of the old Coors Classic stages in 1986. I sold it on ebay for a nice price when we cleaned house before we moved out of the USA for good 🙂 Some people’s trash is……

  • jcg Thursday, 6 February 2020, 3:01 pm

    Seriously, no sport does more to kill the reputations of it stars than cycling. Can’t imagine this happening in soccer, NFL, NBA…then we wonder why no new you names are around to run teams, and big money sponsors hanging around keeping teams alive for the long term. This is sport/entertainment/business. Not a purity test, that BTW, exist nowhere.

    • Larry T Thursday, 6 February 2020, 5:45 pm

      So the problem is not the dope cheats? Instead it’s the fault of those who set out to catch and expose those who break the rules? I guess you pine for the days of BigTex and Co. with boatloads of money and corporate sponsorship supporting teams and a sanctioning body rotten-to-the-core? How ’bout the wild-steroid home-run era in MLB? Sepp Blatter’s reign at FIFA? Those were the days, eh?

      • DJW Thursday, 6 February 2020, 6:08 pm

        I could not agree more Larry. Burying ones head in the sand to avoid confronting the uncomfortable, telling young cyclists with ambition that the choice is between staying amateur or doping…I accept that cheating is hard to eliminate but that doesn’t mean one should not try – and probably much harder than currently. Sport/entertainment/ business? Without the first the second and third are worthless.

        • Larry T Thursday, 6 February 2020, 7:44 pm

          Thank you. I fear too few understand the differences between sport and entertainment these days. Being married to an educator who has devoted most of her adult life to these kinds of issues will do that to you I guess?

        • TDog Thursday, 6 February 2020, 7:58 pm

          Regulatory bodies should not be discouraged from rooting out doping. That said, riders deserve the assumption of innocence until confronted with proof of doping. Being subject to rumor, innuendo or weak/leaked dossiers is patently under fair. Damage has been done to Fuglsang – how does he wash off the dirt? As Inrng says ” if he gets good results this year it’ll be met with suspicion… and if he gets bad results people will be suspicious about his results last year” If there is proof he is doping, prosecute with prejudice. If not, he deserves an apology which the CADF letter of February 5th most certainly is not.

      • jcg Friday, 7 February 2020, 1:43 am

        Let me start with, I don’t pine for the days of Big Tex, or MBL steroid infused home runs. I’m all for catching dope cheats, as I personally experienced what it means to race against cheats during my 16 years in Italy in the 80’s and 90’s. I’m not an armchair fan. I know game pretty well. But what happened here, whether he’s innocent or guilty is not what the sport needs. When you say,
        “So the problem is not the dope cheats” you completely miss the point. You have him guilty already. No one is advocating for cheating, but some sort of process needs to be adhered to. Questioning the validity of a leaked story, that on the surface sounded fishy (Ferrari motor pacing pros in Monaco) then making the predicable leap to Big Tex demonstrates a certain lack of good measure. I’m not defending Astana and Vino, but nobody looks good now. Fuglsang whether he innocent or guilty now has a black mark on his career. And yes, the sport/business needs to protect its interests and image. That is not corrupt concept.

        • Larry T Friday, 7 February 2020, 1:19 pm

          OK, but you held up “soccer, NFL, NBA” as examples of how anti-doping should be done. Those sports do far less testing and try very hard to bury news about the cheats they catch – which certainly reminds me (but perhaps not you?) of the BigTex/Verbruggen era.
          Corruption is often justified by claims like “the sport/business needs to protect its interests and image.” no?

          • Dsd74 Saturday, 8 February 2020, 2:55 pm

            I once asked an NHL player about drug testing… he laughed

      • Rodrigo Diaz Friday, 7 February 2020, 5:53 am

        Agreed with Larry as well. You can’t complain you’ve been exposed as a cheat when your hand is in the jar of cookies – or at Dr. Schmidt’s transfusion table.

        That said, I’d vote for less leaks in unproven cases, or those under investigation. Conversely, more disclosure and transparency in the communication of the cases. I still have no idea what did Betsema take or what supplement was contaminated, nor why Froome’s prodigious salbutamol levels can’t be considered to create precedent for less-well-padded athletes.

        • Larry T Friday, 7 February 2020, 1:13 pm

          Wasn’t that salbutamol “scandal” made public via a leak as well? I seem to remember lots of wailing about how that should have been a private matter unless doping charges were filed. Am I wrong about that?

          • Rodrigo Diaz Saturday, 8 February 2020, 6:32 am

            No, I think you’re at least partially right. It was leaked but that may have been “tactical”, because he was officially excluded from Grand Tours just for this matter to be solved in the nick of time.

            In many of this cases the doping ‘charge’ is a bit of a loaded term because both Froome and Betsema were indeed suspended until they provided proof that convinced the UCI that it was all good and there was nothing to see.

          • Ecky Thump Saturday, 8 February 2020, 8:19 am

            Froome was neither excluded from Grand Tours nor suspended during the Salbutamol investigation.

          • Larry T Saturday, 8 February 2020, 4:17 pm

            Ecky Thump – and so far nothing’s happened to Mr. Fuglsang either, unless you count the “court of public opinion” which may be all the sanction that can be handed down these days if that Salbutamol caper is an example: If you’ve got the budget for high-priced lawyering you can wriggle out of a lot, even if you have to wait until you can bring your case to CAS to do it.
            If I was the king of pro cycling the UCI/WADA would have a budget to match whatever the cheats have to spend on lawyering – justice would be the same for the rich teams as the poor ones.

  • DaveRides Thursday, 6 February 2020, 4:06 pm

    To get CX into the Winter Olympics, the UCI would need to spin it off into a separate governing body which would apply for recognition as a winter sport.

    They should forget about CX and instead get Megavalanche into the Winter Olympics, run late in the event once all the alpine skiing events are done and there’s no need to keep the competition piste in pristine condition.

    • Lukyluk Thursday, 6 February 2020, 5:07 pm

      Megavalanche on a super-long DH or Super-G slope would be fun. I’d watch that.

      I’d even volunteer to drive the ambulance.

      • JeroenK Thursday, 6 February 2020, 10:29 pm

        That’s hilarious.

        Seriously: The megavalanche is a great event with a unique formula. The Alpe d’Huez event even favours more stamina than you would guess, with a nice chunk of uphill in the middle. Also, you have to do pushups for 40 minutes if you are in the top 5 or way more further down the field…

        Pinkbike reported Van der Poel has said he’d like to do MTB enduro racing too. He’s allready a one of a kind in the male category with how succesful he is across different disciplines, but if he manages to even come close in that field, that would be ridiculous.

        • Al Klostert Friday, 7 February 2020, 11:15 am

          As of this Monday, MvdP was the only cyclist ranked in the top 10 in 3 disciplines……CX, MTB XC & Road…… It’s insane…you’re not supposed to multi discipline…..it’s all about specialisation, isn’t it?

          • Rodrigo Diaz Saturday, 8 February 2020, 6:34 am

            That’s a bit of a narrow view, both in time and scope. PFP was World Champion in 3 disciplines concurrently, and M. Vos had track, cyclocross and road top ranks at the same time as well.

            You could argue that Sagan was close last Olympics. Or at least close enough to make it for an amazing first lap!

          • DaveRides Saturday, 8 February 2020, 8:38 am

            And trying to maintain that form cost Vos and PFP their health. Something for MvdP to consider when drawing up his schedule.

          • JeroenK Saturday, 8 February 2020, 10:46 am

            @DaveRides: That’s true. That’s why right now, MvdP is skiing somewhere in the Alps.

            In interviews, both he and his team regularly state this is a concern of them. Because of that, they built in regular blocks of relative rest, which is becoming a trend in the peleton. The oldskool thinking of having a month off in the fall seems to be on its way out. I don’t know about PFP, but if I am not mistaken, Vos has said she allowed herself very little rest in the years leading up to her burnout and she has learned her lessons now. It seems MvdP at least tries to be ahead of that game, but you never know. Top athletes are all on the knife edge between too much load and too little rest. Also, MvdP seems to compromise more these days. He has been building up his road base all along, compromising CX form, as weird as that sounds when you look at his results. Sure, he won a lot, but in a lot less dominant fashion as last year. To me that paints a picture of not trying to do everything 100%. In his case, 80% for CX is still enough to win everything but one race…

          • MadBlack Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 2:22 pm

            Not sure what CX races you’ve been watching but in all but one race mvdp completely annihilated the competition. Sure he’s dialled down starts overall but he sure kicked everyone’s butt when it mattered. Case in point CX worlds last week.

      • RQS Saturday, 8 February 2020, 8:50 am

        If only it had zero environmental impact. I know these are ski slopes, but mountain bike tyres are much more erosive than skis.

        • JeroenK Saturday, 8 February 2020, 10:53 am

          Hold on… Have you seen a ski slope in the summer? The mountain is just gone. Ski resorts are a moon like place with little nature left and man made structures like ski lifts all around. The sport of skiing as a whole has a footprint that dwarfs mountainbiking or CX. The slope a mountainbike trail is on, still looks like a forest from above, with a ribbon a few feet wide running through it.
          Also, research has been done to the eroding effect of MTB tires compared to hiking and horse riding. Obviously the latter erodes the most, but there was little difference between hiking and MTB. These days, the MTB community cares for its trails a lot more, dampening erosion even more.

          • Dsd74 Saturday, 8 February 2020, 2:53 pm

            And don’t feel forget the infrastructure needed for artificial snow!

  • Anonymous Thursday, 6 February 2020, 9:28 pm

    Astana are the audacious rogues who break rules challenge the status quo and will be cycling on WTO terms next year.

  • Al Klostert Friday, 7 February 2020, 11:12 am

    I’m a big CX fan (most cycling disciplines actually) , and would love to see it become an Olympic sport, but it’s in a Catch 22 situation. To become more international it probably needs Olympic recognition, but to get into the Olympics, it needs to be far more international.
    I’m not sure a half French, Belgian born Dutchman counts as international, and neither does a Dominican Rep born Dutchwoman, both who won the Elite races at the worlds.
    However, I like the thinking of having races in ski/wintersport resorts – that could really spice the sport up; surely a nice change from the endless races held in flat farmers fields , which can become pretty one dimensional.

    • Ole Monday, 10 February 2020, 6:26 am

      As if the common sports at Winter Olympics are way more international as CX. LOL
      Like Biathlon, Nordic(sic!) Skiing and or curling. Beloved sports all over the World, except for majority parts of the globe who asks WTF is that, we do not ski and shoot in India, Africa South, America Australi or even Spain or the UK-

      • DaveRides Monday, 10 February 2020, 8:29 am

        The medals in biathlon were shared between 12 nations in 2014 and 10 nations in 2018.

        That’s a lot more international than CX is at present.

  • RQS Saturday, 8 February 2020, 9:00 am

    The response by CADF was not unqualified. If I was Jakob Fuglsang or Astana I would not feel exonerated.

    “ Finally, the CADF confirms that after careful review of the elements available, it has not submitted the report to the UCI for the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against the individuals or team in question.”

    It is a major warning shot off their bow though. They’ll not be found motor paced by Dr Evil anytime soon.

    • The Inner Ring Saturday, 8 February 2020, 11:00 am

      Worth noting indeed. Some of the claims sounded odd, eg Ferrari doesn’t motor pace riders, he shows up with a motorhome with his mini lab inside to measure blood lactate levels according to his ex clients; and reports on another website said he was spotted standing on his favourite corner but this sounds a lot like Cecchini on Monte Serra rather than Ferrari, there’s no special corner on the Madone to take time checks on.

      • Larry T Sunday, 9 February 2020, 9:12 am

        On one hand it’s “Burn him, he’s a witch” while the on the other it’s “He’s our angel, sue the pants off those who defamed him!” Do the Sportradar spies get paid only if they come up with incriminating details? Ferrari would never switch up his modus operandi after his previous schemes are well-known enough to be described here? Do the spies just sit home in their pajamas and make this stuff up instead of actually spying? I doubt it’s all just an amazing set of coincidences.
        I’ve been blasted for comparing this to politics but I’d say he’s been “let off the hook” like a certain US prez rather than declared “pure as the driven snow.” As usual the question ends up being: Do things like this discourage people from wrongdoing, just make them more careful or embolden them since they “beat the rap”?

        • DaveRides Sunday, 9 February 2020, 12:23 pm

          Whatever the Sportradar spies were doing while they sat at home in their pyjamas, it wasn’t making up stuff for a report on Astana and Ferrari because it seems they were unable to find (or invent) anything to verify or support the hearsay that started this fiasco.

          Perhaps CADF should have asked Christopher Steele to write a report about Fuglsang. We wouldn’t be any closer to getting a legit anti-doping rule violation on him, but at least we would have some entertaining stories about what he allegedly got up to in a Russian hotel room.

          • Larry T Sunday, 9 February 2020, 2:25 pm

            “…they were unable to find (or invent) anything to verify or support the hearsay that started this fiasco.” Really? Did they write that in their report or is that your conclusion?

          • DaveRides Sunday, 9 February 2020, 2:43 pm

            It’s a logical deduction, going on the fact that CADF adjudged there was nothing to pass on to the UCI for sanctioning.

          • Larry T Monday, 10 February 2020, 10:50 am

            Do things like this discourage people from wrongdoing, just make them more careful or embolden them since they “beat the rap”?

          • DaveRides Monday, 10 February 2020, 1:05 pm

            Surely that depends on whether they were actually working with Ferrari or not?

            If they weren’t working with Ferrari, why would they need any further discouragement to not work with him?

          • Larry T Monday, 10 February 2020, 5:40 pm

            I guess I need to spell it our for you? “People” isn’t limited to Fuglsang and “wrongdoing” is not limited to working with Michele Ferrari, OK? Are we next going to argue over the meaning of the word “IS” for Pietro’s sake?
            Inrng’s comment section is heading (sadly) in the direction of the swirling bowl of CN and the increasingly about-ready-to-be-flushed CT these days, which is truly sad.
            If it keeps up I might have to vote myself “off the island” 🙁

          • JeroenK Monday, 10 February 2020, 9:21 pm

            So Larry, do you *believe* there was wrongdoing, based on what you heard, or do you have proof?

          • Larry T Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 10:55 am

            JeroenK – I agreed with RichardS’ comment on the previous post “Astana Again”. This kind of thing is the scourge of doping in general – nobody can know for sure and even when sophisticated blood or urine tests indicate you cheated, if you’ve got a stable of high-priced lawyers it seems you can quite often “beat the rap”.
            I’m troubled by all the demands for the head of whoever leaked this story – again it reminds me of a certain US prez and his allies calling for the “whistleblower” on his Ukraine caper to be outed…and I assume punished in some way. It seems like to some Sportrader, CADF and the UCI are all part of some sort of “deep cycling state” conspiring to smear he hapless Fuglsang.

    • DaveRides Sunday, 9 February 2020, 1:09 am

      Surely whether they would ‘feel exonerated’ would depend on what actually happened?

      If in fact they had not been doing anything with Ferrari, they would be right to feel exonerated and consider what corrective actions need to take place.

      The first step should be for an investigation of the data leak, starting with an independent forensic investigator taking custody of CADF’s records. If the leaker can be identified, they should be dismissed from CADF immediately and the appropriate civil/criminal charges pursued with vigour.

    • KGB Sunday, 9 February 2020, 5:30 am

      If the only threshold to be met was whether there was sufficient reason to pass the matter on to the UCI, then yes, Fuglsang has been exonerated. Whoever leaked the report should be penalised as far as the relevant procedures allow.

  • Kevin K Sunday, 9 February 2020, 10:56 am

    The apparent eagerness to expose and punish “the leaker” has me scratching my head. There’s a long history of corrupt institutions (which includes institutions which don’t actually believe that they are corrupt) withholding information and suppressing transparency, often at a cost to the greater good. In countless cases it’s only some leak that triggers outrage and reform. Entrenched powers always seek to punish whistleblowers, and non-disclosure clauses have become a weapon wielded by the powerful against potential critics.

    The recent history of professional cycling is but one of many examples of this phenomenon. For that reason I’m suspicious of calls to vilify whoever leaked this info.

    There’s also a counterpoint. We live in a world where smart, devious people can leak leak a mix of real and damning evidence with easily dismissed nonsense in a preemptive strike to nip investigations in the bud. If Ferrari/Vino knew there were actual witnesses to Ferrari being involved with Astana, and also knew there were some ridiculous assertions (motorpacing, standing on a particular mountain with a bag of drugs) mixed in with those witness statements, they would be very smart to get it all out there before the wheat could be separated from the chaff and a real case be built.

    In this particular case, the leaked info was clearly already circulating, at least since last spring. Suspicions were already front and center. Reputations were already sullied. This leak seems to have done little more that bringing to the light of day what people were whispering about in private. And once brought to light, it could be mocked and swatted away. And now that “wolf” has been cried once again, and no actual furry predator proven in a court of law, they’re free to go on about their business.

    • Anonymous Sunday, 9 February 2020, 2:56 pm

      … In this particular case, the leaked info was clearly already circulating, at least since last spring. Suspicions were already front and center. Reputations were already sullied….

      I am scratching my head at your post.

      Reputations already sullied? That might be the case in the peloton, but surely not in the wider cycling public and of course not in the general public. Fuglsang was never mentioned in context outside cycling magazines for example in Germany, although he is a good pro since a decade. Suddenly he has articles about him in every newspaper in Germany with the headline something like that: “Ex-armstrong doctor got caught again doping danish rider Fuglsang“. Accompanied by a picture of the report, which states as a FACT, that Fuglsang is under a doping program run by ferrari.

      And they don’t print, that he never got officially investigated, because that does not interest them. So he is now known to millions of Germans as a proven doper and connected to armstrong. The first thing you find searching him in the net are these articles – for all time. And it surely is the same in other countries. This is a life ruined way beyond the scope of cycling or his career.

      And re „reputation already sullied in the peloton“. The peloton is the last place where I would believe a thing. They gossip worse than the worst gossiper you can imagine. And none of the riders is free of bias or personal interest in gossiping. When I hear the word gossip, I always see in front of me the picture of three old people, while pretending to clean in front of their door, leaning on their brooms and maliciously gossip together through every single person they can think of. The peloton is much worse than that. If we would judge cases relying on „sullied“ reputations in the peloton, cycling would stop tomorrow, because everybody would need to be banned (which would not be be at all – cycling stopping I mean).

      I think it is vital, that it is found out, who leaked that. At least, if we still want to live in a world, where proof is needed before you accuse someone of something. Or do you want to live in surroundings like…say usa, where most officials/ those in situations of power these days act as if they belong to the mafia and where there is no more right or wrong, but only power or powerless? As for your idea, that astana/Fuglsang themselves leaked it: ????!!!

      • KevinK Sunday, 9 February 2020, 4:06 pm

        I try to make it a point not to respond to people who hide behind “anonymous,” but I want to clarify that the sullied reputations I referred to are Ferrari, the Astana operation, and Vinokourov. As for Fuglsang, there is a saying that if you lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas.

        As for what is vital to find out, we disagree. I think it’s vital to find out what athletes and teams are keeping someone like Ferrari in business, since it’s appears he’s doing rather well. The Italian investigation of 2014 showing Ferrari was working with Astana indicated that his going rate was 50k Euros a year, so apparently his business is quite good. At that time they had what appeared to be a huge amount of evidence, and yet Astana and others sailed on as if it were nothing. That is my definition of wrong.

        • Larry T Monday, 10 February 2020, 8:14 am

          +1 KevinK!

  • plurien Sunday, 9 February 2020, 12:15 pm

    Name a discipline in the Winter Olympics that doesn’t involve sliding, or a disciple that involves wheeled locomotion.
    Cyclocross wont be in the games, especially not when they have all those X-Games and similar freestyle events to capture.
    Plus there just is not a global user-base of countries doing it so it would take many 4-yr cycles to get it from consideration to test to actual event, not that a wheeled discipline would make it past first base.
    – Who owns the Olympics? I mean who really has the beneficial interest, not the national Associations. Side issue, but every owner has an agenda.

    Dopers exist. The collateral damage to those who come under suspicion is slight when compared to the total damage done by doping to those who don’t do it. Non-cheaters deserve every bit of help they can get, while those who do it, or who come under real suspicion of doing it, should at least get warned off.
    There is usually no consideration in these debates for those who never make it onto the scene because they didnt dope and so didnt get noticed. Then there are those whose been at it so long, spinning out a fake career that they don’t make way for the younger riders to come through. Bin them off and stop trying to say you wont ‘because of the damage it does to our sport’. My sport is not about cheating and not getting caught.

    • DaveRides Sunday, 9 February 2020, 3:01 pm

      Add to that:
      Name any sport in the Winter Olympics which is run by the same global governing body as a Summer Olympics sport.
      Name any sport in the Winter Olympics which is contested in the same way on surfaces other than snow/ice.

      You’re right, it’s not going to happen.

      Other governing bodies might have enough clout with the IOC to make such a situation work, but the UCI certainly does not.

    • Anonymous Monday, 10 February 2020, 6:31 am

      “no global user-base of countries doing it”
      Please, can you show us the global user-base od Biathlon, Curling, Bobsliding or Skeleteon? If this would a a counterargument, Winter Olympics would be an event for one weekend, rather than 2 weeks, cause there aren’t much sports who aren’t just completely white folk Northern hemossphere based.

      • plurien Monday, 10 February 2020, 10:49 am

        ..which is hardly a reason to bring in another NW European sport.
        With its Fin de Siecle heritage theres a lot that’s wrong with the Olympics brand whose current owners are just as protective and exclusive as they ever were. If we cant even know who owns the set-up, which let’s remember has its own laws and tax codes above any country’s own legislature, how can we begin to think what could be done to make things responsive/ responsible. It’s just another global entertainment brand with a twist – how much does the talent get paid for its show content?

        • The Inner Ring Monday, 10 February 2020, 1:52 pm

          What are these special laws and tax codes? I think this could be out of date info here.

          • plurien Monday, 10 February 2020, 5:30 pm

            Replied on the wrong comment – see below. But yeah the IOC has its own tax status and laws

          • The Inner Ring Monday, 10 February 2020, 5:56 pm

            Plurien, I suspected that was it, the laws have a changed a lot in the wake of the FIFA scandals.

      • Eskerrik Asko Monday, 10 February 2020, 11:51 am

        I strongly suggest you omit at least biathlon from your list. The number of national federations in the International Biathlon Union would probably surprise you – but the number of countries with athletes that participate actively at World Cup level, score WC points or indeed even Top 10 or podium finishes should astound you! And not only that: it would bear comparison to a fair number of (summer) Olympic sports.

        I’m not that familiar with curling, but since it’s essentially an indoor sport these days, I would expect it to be hugely more global than, say, bandy – which is effectively a five nation (Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russia, Kazakhstan) sport and destined to remain a non-Olympic sport.

        You are probably right about bobsleigh and skeleton. But they are where they are for historical reasons; if they weren’t already Olympic sports, I don’t think they’d get enough votes to make it.

        • The Inner Ring Monday, 10 February 2020, 1:53 pm

          Incumbency counts for a lot, once a sport is in then it is likely to stay. Getting a new sport into the games is a very different matter. If it brings huge audiences in new areas then it’s a big deal but cyclo-cross doesn’t tick this box.

          • plurien Monday, 10 February 2020, 4:59 pm

            Whoa! Careful there, Mr INRNG. You will have to do an analysis of how the UCI derives its funding from the IOC now. This could be a challenge!
            I for one would really like to know the amount of money that comes back into cycle sport from its slice of the Games, and how much that is. I’d like to know how much the National Governing Bodies get from each country’s Olympic Committee and what the riders get for their trouble. I do know that riders in some countries must sign a contract that denies them the title to their own sponsorship deals and means other sponsors can be forced upon them in return for very little. This is not and never has been how pro-cycling operates.
            I’m now being very careful to only cite third party sources in relation to your query of special status and tax laws… (so we’re all legalled)

            First, on the taxation. I wanted to get the latest on this so here’s a guide to taxation and the 2020 Tokyo Games. Just the opening of the exec summary;-
            “This Tax Guide was created for the purpose of supporting a specific group of non-resident or foreign organizations, corporate bodies and individuals (hereinafter the “Games Stakeholders”) who will perform certain activities on a temporary basis in Japan during the pre-Games, Games time and post-Games periods. This document has been prepared based on (i) the 2019 Tax Reform for Tokyo 2020 Games and (ii) the Consumption Tax Act, which allow the non-resident Games Stakeholders to operate on a temporary basis in Japan in a tax neutral environment, provided that they meet certain conditions. The non-resident Games Stakeholders who qualify under the Japanese tax legislation will in particular be entitled to take advantage of the following special tax measures1 :•Corporate income tax exemption;•Withholding income tax exemption;•Individual income tax exemption;•Local tax exemption.
            Also, the Japanese tax legislation allows the non-resident Games Stakeholders to recover the consumption tax charged on their expenses attributable to the Olympic and/or Paralympic Games, provided that they fulfil certain conditions and qualify for it.”
            Source: TAX GUIDE for the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. Published June 2019 *inside.fei.org/system/files/Tax%20Guide%20Tokyo%202020.pdf
            I guess you would want to note the phrase ‘tax neutral environment’ there and the fact that providers or contractors can claim back local taxation. You can see there’s an exact parallel with what happened in 2012 when London 2012 hosts had to enact the THE LONDON OLYMPIC GAMES AND PARALYMPIC GAMES TAX REGULATIONS 2010 through Parliament, with the purpose; “The Regulations exempt from income tax the activity of specified individuals who come to the UK temporarily to take part in or assist in the hosting of the Games. They also prevent the work of such individuals, where relevant, from creating a permanent establishment of their employer, if one does not already exist, for corporation tax purpose”
            This legislation is only one part of the overall commitment for special tax status surrounding the IOC activities in-country. Note the use of ‘included’;- “The IOC required all bids for the Games to contain certain tax commitments. This included tax exemptions for visiting athletes and certain persons temporarily entering the UK to carry out ‘Olympic-related’ business. The Regulations provide those exemptions.”
            source: *legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/2913/pdfs/uksiem_20102913_en.pdf
            These regulations are said to stem from the Finance Act of 2006 which again has the stated purpose of conforming to the conditions set by the IOC for bids from candidate cities. Here’s what Croner-i (a management accounting publisher) has to say about it;-“The Finance Act 2006 introduced specific legislation to fulfil the Government’s obligation to provide tax exemptions for the IOC, LOCOG and individual competitors and officials.
            The Treasury is given power to make regulations granting relief to the IOC in three areas:
            (1)it is not to be regarded as having a permanent establishment in the UK (and therefore it is not regarded as trading in the UK for corporation tax purposes);
            (2)it is to be exempt from income tax and capital gains tax;
            (3)annual payments made to it are not to be subject to deduction of income tax at source
            (FA 2006, s. 67(1)).”
            source: *library.croneri.co.uk/cch_uk/btr/145-100
            To sum this up, it’s easiest to quote direct from the Springer Press’ ‘International Sports Law Journal’ article titled “The taxpayer as the unofficial sponsor of the London 2012 Olympic Games” which is pretty clear;-
            “The package of special tax arrangements for the 2012 London Olympics ensures a beneficial treatment for numerous people officially involved in the organization of, and participation in, the Games. British taxpayers may not realize that they are unofficial sponsors of the 2012 London Olympics. Sports fans and haters alike are going to foot the tax bill for the International Olympic Committee and businesses involved in the Olympic Games because the UK government has offered a full tax exemption for any Olympics-related income. However, unlike in the case of official sponsors, there has been no negotiation or a contract with the general public which has to cover the cost of a privately held sports event. The bargaining power of the International Olympic Committee has enabled them to demand tax-free treatment and an above the law position. As a result, the Olympic Games in London have their own tax regime that constitutes a departure from the general principles of taxation in force in England.”
            source: *link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40318-013-0005-5
            The IOC contributed £1.374bn to the London Games which cost in excess of £9bn. It’s not clear what the contribution went to.

            As if special tax status when playing away isn’t enough, the IOC is a private operation. It has tax free status in Switzerland and the way this operates is quite hard to find out about. This is from 2010 on a website called ‘Play the Game’;-
            Although the IOC since the 1980s has evolved into a billion dollar business, the IOC is registered as a non-profit sports association. This means that the committee does not have to pay 20 percent income tax.
            “The tax exemption is very important. I have no concrete figures on how much we save in dollars and cents. But the tax exemption means that we can spend even more money on our Olympic solidarity work,” said Gerhard Heiberg in an interview with Danish newspaper Information.
            But the tax exemption is not the sole privilege of the IOC in Switzerland. Bank details on financial transactions kept secret from the public. Foreigners automatically get residency and work permit if they work for the IOC. And other Olympic sports federations, set up in Lausanne, pay no rent for the first two years.
            The IOC argues that the Committee retains only seven percent of its revenue for the day-to-day operation and administration. The rest is divided among the 205 Olympic countries.”
            source: *playthegame.org/news/news-articles/2009/as-the-ioc-brand-gets-stronger,-so-do-the-advantages-of-being-situated-in-switzerland/
            Of course there is more in this article;-
            “Bribes are legal
            Switzerland is also where the recent Olympic corruption scandal took place. One year ago, a trial in Zug documented that sports marketing company ISL for years used bribes to obtain contracts with Olympic sports federations. From 1989 until the company’s bankruptcy in 2001, the ISL paid at least 138 million Swiss francs in commissions to Olympic sports leaders. In return, they made sure that ISL got TV and marketing contracts with the Olympic federations.
            FIFA president and IOC member, Swiss Sepp Blatter and his Brazilian predecessor, IOC member João Havelange, are among Olympic leaders who are suspected of having accepted money from the ISL. Besides a leading ISL employee and former Adidas director Jean-Marie Weber, who escaped from the trial with a small fine, no one have been convicted in the case. According to Swiss law it was not illegal to pay commission under the table at the time of the trial.
            And the widespread corruption does not seem to be in breach of the IOC ethics stated in the Olympic Charter. With an observer status at the IOC’s summit in Copenhagen, Jean-Marie Weber is still a member of the Olympic family. ”

            And all this before we even consider who is on the IOC, how they got there, what they do, how much they pay themselves, how often they have to stand for office, what their legal responsibilities might be and so on. So many questions the average sports fan would want to be answered for their sport where it touches the Games.
            Business Insider summed this up nicely in 2010: “The elite club perpetuates itself through internal control of membership. Old members nominate and elect new members to eight-year terms, which are typically renewed for life. The presidency and other executive positions are also elected by the IOC.” It’s quite an uncharacteristically funny article;- *businessinsider.com/olympics-inc-inside-the-business-of-the-ioc?r=US&IR=T#want-to-join-the-ioc-and-get-free-tickets-to-all-the-events-sorry-youre-just-not-membership-material-3

            The IOC has at times made various claims about how much of its revenues it distributes back to the sports through the country Olympic Committees but you just never get sensible comment on what this might pay for in any country at the National Governing Body level for, say cycle sport. The IOC states that it contributes over $500m in each 4yr cycle to support ‘solidarity’;
            “The IOC also aims to make success at the Games achievable by everyone, and so, every Olympic cycle, a substantial portion of the profits from the Games is allocated through the National Olympic Committees directly to helping athletes and coaches from countries with the greatest financial need, as part of the Olympic Solidarity programme. This is particularly vital in the modern sporting world, in which talent and determination alone are not enough to reach the top. High-level coaching, preparation and the ability to travel to competitions are also required.

            Because of this, as part of the latest Olympic Solidarity Plan – which runs from 2017 to 2020 – more than half a billion dollars is being spent on various global and continental programmes going towards athlete development and coaches’ education to make the Olympic Games more accessible across the globe. Part of this money is used to fund the Olympic scholarship programmes, which provide athletes in need with a monthly training grant as well as travel subsidies to compete in Olympic qualification competitions. In addition, for athletes to progress they also need expert coaching. Between 2012 and 2016, coaches from 172 NOCs had the opportunity to take part in a total of 988 expert technical courses, with 641 coaches receiving scholarships to further their coaching skills and education.”
            Let’s call the country where you / we all live Freedonia. Does Freedonia’s Olympic Committee do anything with the money it gets from IOC apart from buying a load of blazer badges or does the Freedonia Cycling Association get some funding to develop its riders? No idea. Since it doesn’t state its revenues any claim it makes to the proportion distributed back to the country OCs can not really be summed as an amount. The IOCs statement of disbursements is highly partial and opaque, but it is headed in big letters ‘The IOC is Privately Funded’. You can read this at *olympic.org/funding

            Hope this has been a worthwhile contribution, but I have always wondered about the money-go-round of the Games and who loads the tune into its pipe organ. Any thoughts?
            * had to suppress the elements that would make these external links

          • RQS Monday, 10 February 2020, 8:32 pm

            I don’t think the IOC are at the FIFA level of corruption. There are too many different stakeholders in it. Whereas the imbalance in the Football Federations has lead to cabals of corruption especially by the poorer Federations that see collusion and corruption for control within FIFA as a way of gaming the power and money.

            With respect to the tax breaks for Olympic years: this is a way of ensuring the best and brightest talent turns up without having to negotiate appearance fees and prize money. It would make the whole of the Olympics a logistical and financial nightmare. In the U.K. foreign entertainers (including Sports persons) have a withholding made against their earnings like anyone paid for work – this ensures they don’t leave the country without paying their taxes. But for culturally significant events which are likely to generate income revenues for the country the government will legislate tax reliefs – as mentioned this makes it easier to bring the talent and the individuals don’t have to worry about how much time they’ve spent in the country to work out if they exceed the tax free allowances etc. It’s not some global conspiracy to milk money from the public by corporate entities.

          • DaveRides Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 4:04 am

            @plurien – according to the 2018 UCI Annual Report (UCI website > Inside UCI > Publications) the UCI gets around 25M CHF in revenue from the Olympics over each four year cycle. This is treated by the UCI as ‘general revenue’ and used to fund UCI operations, not distributed to national federations.

            How national sport organisations governing bodies get funded by their NOCs or national sporting commissions would vary according to the structure adopted in each nation.

  • Somers Monday, 10 February 2020, 1:15 pm

    My guess of 9 of the ten above MS:

    Ineos, UAE, Bahrain, Jumbo, Quickstep, Movistar, Bora, Astana, CCC.

    Can’t pick who the ninth would be

    • Somers Monday, 10 February 2020, 1:17 pm

      That should have said my guess of the nine teams above MS (as MS is number 10) – and in no particular order

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 10 February 2020, 1:56 pm

      It’s difficult isn’t it. You could be right but Movistar look lighter this year after their exodus and CCC might have GVA and Trentin but not many other big contracts. Trek-Segafredo with Porte, Nibali, Mollema could be close.

      • DaveRides Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 3:21 pm

        I reckon Trek would be inside the top ten, probably ahead of Movistar or Astana.

  • Othersteve Monday, 10 February 2020, 7:26 pm

    Loved the Gerry Ryan interview
    Wished every country had a sugar daddy like that

  • Michael Bell Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 1:16 am

    Ben Perry is awesome. Canadian National U23 champion 3 years in a row. Watch him continue to move up and be much more than a Trivia answer.

  • Ferdi Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 11:28 am

    UCI should just say to the IOC: if you don’t include CX in the winter Olympics (and make the necessary regulatory adjustments if you must, that’s s your problem), no UCI license-holders will participate in the summer Olympics. Take or leave.

    • DaveRides Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 11:58 am


      The UCI doesn’t have the power to boycott the Olympics on behalf of the riders, and it’s not in their interest to do so even if they could.

      The UCI needs the IOC far more than the IOC needs cycling.

      • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 12:07 pm

        Indeed and the IOC would say “ok, then you won’t get the millions from us”. After the road world championships, the Olympics are the UCI’s biggest source of income and the UCI derives much of its legitimacy because it’s the governing body that is part of the IOC.

      • Ferdi Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 12:33 pm

        CX riders have a right to expect solidarity from riders of other specialities in order to pressure the IOC, and to expect the UCI not to just bow down and say “ok, d’accord, no CX then”. It must be all of pro cycling or none.

        • Lukyluk Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 2:24 pm

          As much as I love the sport, cyclocross makes a pretty poor case to be recognized as a winter olympic sport.
          And what you describe is like threatening the IOC by pointing a gun to your own head. No, CX riders don’t have “a right” to expect road or MTB cyclists to die on that hill.

        • DaveRides Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 3:18 pm

          Nonsense. No other sport gets to include a full program of every event in either the summer or winter Olympics (unless they are a sport with a single format) so there’s no reason that cycling should be the exception to the rule.

          Cyclocross is not enough of an international sport to deserve Olympic recognition. Even cricket would be further up the queue, Virat Kohli alone probably has a couple of orders of magnitude more fans around the world than the whole CX discipline.

        • CA Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 4:05 pm

          Exactly Lukyluk and DaveRides – CX is huge in 2 extremely small countries (and not even the entire countries), with a few other countries having a small following. We’re talking a sport that millions follow, cricket blows it out of the water. Plus, most non-fans would say “isn’t that mountain biking but with a road bike”? Let’s not even start the conversation about gravel riding.

      • Larry T Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 1:48 pm

        +1 The IOC boyz could easily argue that cycling’s velodrome is an expensive facility the Games could do without…and while they’re at it declare a road racing venue too costly and complicated to manage, so the UCI could end up with just BMX, MTB and (gawd forbid) something ghastly like “artistic cycling” as a two-wheeled equivalent of ice dancing or rhythmic gymnastics. AAGGGhhhhhhhh!!

        • Lukyluk Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 2:27 pm

          I’m guessing you’re referring to trials. A bit dull to watch, granted, but fun to practice.

          • RQS Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 3:01 pm

            He means this:

            It’s the cycling version of rhythmic gymnastics or figure skating. It’s very skilful, but it sort of seems more artistic than competitive with the results being decided by judging rather than achievement of a goal, distance, height, speed or weight.

            Not everyone’s cup of tea.

          • Larry T Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 4:51 pm

            Certainly not my cup of tea…or anything else. I’d go as far as to argue anything requiring judges to hold up scorecards be reclassified as a contest rather than sport. Sports should have results that can be objectively measured rather than a subjective number some judge pulls out of his/her a__ and displays on a scorecard.

          • RQS Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 6:02 pm

            This does not surprise me.

            I agree about the contest aspect. Though I can still enjoy the events.

            There’s something not quite right whereby the outcome is decided by non-participants (judges) and they are swayed by politics and crowds, factors which lie outside the supposed technical merits of the performance itself.

        • DaveRides Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 3:12 pm

          Re: velodrome, the Tokyo organising committee argued just that and refused to build one. The track events are being held at the national training centre’s indoor velodrome at Izu, a remote location 120km outside Tokyo with no public transport access for spectators. The UCI has such a low amount of clout that they had no choice but to accept it.

          The IOC would probably be happy to get rid of the road race, as it is the most expensive event for Olympic Broadcast Services to produce. But it survives on its incumbency.

          • The Inner Ring Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 3:27 pm

            There’s public transport to Izu. It’s true it’s not in Tokyo, in fact none of the cycling is road, track and MTB. We can argue it’s put cycling outside the games but the other side is that there’s already a good track in Izu – it’s very fast – and the road race course around Mount Fuji will be a stunner as long as it’s a sunny day and more interesting than anything possible in Tokyo.

          • CA Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 4:00 pm

            Tokyo public transport solution to Izu likely is going to trump any other Olympic’s transport solutions. Greatest public transport system on the planet.

          • Anonymous Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 4:30 pm

            Correct – there’s a bus route. Certainly not conducive to getting a full house in.

            The big worry for cycling will be how to get crowds in to Fuji for the road races and time trials. It has a notorious reputation among motorsport fans for being difficult to access, even without having a whole lot of the surrounding roads closed for use as part of the course.

            Regardless of the scenery, a small crowd will make the sport look small. It’s no wonder that the UCI has insisted on a prestigious finish location next time around even if it does tend towards a sprint finish.

          • Larry T Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 4:37 pm

            There’s talk about getting rid of a lot of the high-tech sports that require the use of expensive equipment – bicycles, bobsleigh, sailing, etc.
            The IOC may be more interested in the “primacy of man over machine” than the UCI, IMHO.
            Meanwhile, since so few countries seen excited about ponying up all the loot it costs to host the Games these days, there’s also talk of having them at a permanent site, like the original games in Greece.

          • RQS Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 6:11 pm

            Many Olympic sites become future ghost towns as the existing infrastructure does not support the supply of international standard sports stadiums. London has benefitted from the venues it created, but I have no idea if they’re financial self-sustaining. Certainly the fiasco with the London Stadium being ‘sold’ cheap to West Ham and all the corrupt wranglings that went with that decision suggests that the government were reconciled to it being a big waste of public money for some short-term gain, and it’s likely the venues are heavily subsidised.

          • DaveRides Tuesday, 11 February 2020, 7:18 pm

            @LarryT – Sailing and cycling were both re-confirmed as Core Olympic Sports the last time they were voted on.

            Sailing, in the formats contested at World/Olympic level and the lower tier events that lead up to the elite levels, is actually an example of an equipment sport which has managed to retain the primacy of man over machine and eliminate the R&D arms race by using standardised boat classes.

            Cycling has made some steps forward in this area with respect to track bikes. Teams were required to submit all items of equipment to be used in Tokyo (right from frames down to gloves) before the end of last year and ensure they are available for purchase no later than 1 January this year. There have already been a few reports about which riders from ‘smaller’ teams have ordered ‘the UK bike’ or the ‘German bike’ etc that has been developed in partnership with the ‘bigger’ teams.
            There is to be a review after Tokyo to see how it has worked and recommend any changes before the Paris 2024 qualification events start – I wouldn’t bet against the introduction of ‘claiming rule’ prices if some of the teams and their equipment partners make it too obvious they are trying to exploit loopholes.

            If they can get it right for track equipment at the Olympics, I could see the system being expanded to road and MTB at the Olympics, and then to track/road/MTB at World Championship level.

            As for always hosting the Olympics in one place, I don’t think that’s going to fly. A better approach to making the Olympics more sustainable might be to make the ‘central’ Olympics much smaller with only some of the sports contested then (the allocation of which would be rotated) and the rest of the sports having their events that award Olympic titles spread over the course of the year.
            Sports like cycling which have multiple disciplines could benefit from such a concept as they could rotate the disciplines in and out of the central event.

    • Nick Wednesday, 12 February 2020, 3:34 pm

      In Olympic terms, CX isn’t a “sport”. Cycling is a sport, and CX is one of the “disciplines” of cycling. As are track, road, MTB and BMX.

      Name one other sport that has some of its disciplines in the winter games and some in the summer. There are none, because the Games are split into winter and summer sports, not winter and summer disciplines.

      This whole idea is a complete non-starter.

      • Eskerrik Asko Wednesday, 12 February 2020, 4:14 pm

        Completely off-topic and not really an answer that meets the criteria of your challenge and therefore merely an item of trivia – but modern pentathlon and biathlon used to be under the same international governing body, IMBU. until the 1990’s. It’s a stretch to call them two disciplines of a sport, though:-)

        But the idea of cyclocross races on snow and ice shouldn’t be a complete non-starter. The first obstacle as I see it is an already busy race calendar. But what if we would then have cyclists (in addition to those participating now) who specialize in the non-muddy cyclocross events? And what if the new events and the new hosts would also bring in new sponsors?
        Would UCI be willing to amend the rule about tires? Studded tires wouldn’t eliminate crashes, but they would prevent scenes that would be rather farcical.
        (In motorcycling speedway and ice speedway seem to co-exist happily under the same roof, but the seasons don’t overlap as they would with “classic” cyclocross and “winter cyclocross”.)

        • Nick Thursday, 13 February 2020, 1:23 pm

          Excellent trivia answer, thank you.

      • Ferdi Friday, 14 February 2020, 12:06 pm

        I honestly don’t see what purpose your differentiation between sport and discipline is supposed to serve.

        • Nick Friday, 14 February 2020, 12:50 pm

          It’s not my differentiation, it’s the IOC’s.

          They divide competitions up into “Sports”, which have a single governing body, “Disciplines” within each sport, and “Events” within each discipline, which are the individual competitions that end up with specific rankings and winners.

          To use a non-cycling example, FINA is the governing body for the sport of Aquatics. This sport includes the disciplines of swimming, diving, synchro and water polo. Each discipline is then broken into different events, eg., men’s 200m backstroke, women’s 4*100 medley, etc.

          The decision as to which events go into which games is taken on a sport-by-sport basis. And the sport of cycling (including all of its various disciplines) is in the Summer Games.

  • Ferdi Friday, 14 February 2020, 11:10 am

    I think, all in all, that the point of Olympic cyclo-cross is not being made properly:
    – it’s not true that only 2 countries pay attention to it: Czechia (a long-time CX hotbed), Switzerland, France are certainly countries where cyclo-cross is strong, and, albeit a bit less, so are Italy, Slovakia, Spain, and most countries of Central Europe have their CX leagues and followers. More countries than some “ice and snow” sports. Not to mention the USA.
    – the “only ice and snow” principle is silly as it defines winter as something happening only in the mountains or near the poles. Cyclo-cross is itself the self-explanatory proof of how a winter sport can typically take place in the rain and mud, and the very reason why the “only ice and snow” wording can’t stay in place.
    – Cyclo-cross has a much longer history than MTB and BMX, and than many Olympic winter sport. The black and white image of guys running uphill on splashy-slippery mud with bikes across their shoulders and faces full of dirt is more iconic than most of what happens during the Winter Olympics.
    – This is not only iconic: it has a unique sporting value that everyone, starting with the IOC, cannot fail to acknowledge. The humbling value of a guy accepting he cannot ride through the obstacles, and simply dismounting, sinking his feet in the dirt, and running while carrying his vehicle, to be able to ride it again when possible. The humbling of pedalling through sticky surfaces, in the cold rain.
    – Considering this sporting value, that is also quite spectacular, it can be said without hesitation that cyclo-cross would add A LOT to the Winter Olympics, at least as much as the Olympics would give to cyclo-cross.

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