Oiling the Wheels in Turkmenistan

In March this blog looked at the award of the 2013 track world championships to Belarus, a decision taken with input from a senior UCI official with a significant financial interest in a giant construction project in the capital, Minsk. Whether coincidental or not, the awarding of the worlds served to highlight the significant conflict of interest between the UCI’s sporting interests and the business activities of Igor Makarov, the Russian oligarch behind the Katusha team who now sits at the UCI’s top table, the Management Committee.

Now it’s time to take another look because sadly the overlap between sport and business is not restricted to one case. In another example here is a tale from Turkmenistan.

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From Belarus with love

A UCI official has a giant construction project with plans for Europe’s tallest building that’s in trouble with the city authorities. Months later the UCI awards the world championships to the same city. Is there a link?

No. But decisions like this reveal antiquated governance practices at the UCI and highlight the extensive business empire of one of cycling’s most senior officials. Here’s a look at one example where sport, politics and business intersect.

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Sunday shorts

Don’t worry, Sunday evening’s collection of short pieces is family and workplace safe. But you’ll find two stories where speaking out can land you in trouble, even prison. And if you enjoyed the Tinker, Tailor, Cyclist, Spy piece, there’s an appetiser for an upcoming story.

GP d’Ouverture – La Marseillaise
Samuel Dumoulin of Cofidis won the race in a sprint finish. Wearing full-fingered gloves and a long-sleeved top he beat Marco Marcato who sported a headband to keep his ears warm.

The Etoile de Bessèges stage race starts on Wednesday and even colder gear will be needed. Weather forecasts are predicting a deep freeze for France and snow is expected for most of the country, including the south.

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