Who made your bike?

Did you know the three cyclists on the 2008 Tour de France podium all used bikes produced in the same factory? Yes, the design and decals might have varied but there was only one manufacturer behind all three riders.

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Asymmetric globalisation: UCI adds more racing in China

Hangzhou province

As well as the decision to rule on Saxo Bank’s future in the top level, last Friday’s UCI press release announced a new race, the Tour of Hangzhou. This five day stage race will take place in October after the Tour of Beijing. Just like the Beijing race this new event is being fast-tracked into UCI’s World Tour calendar and immediately I assumed it had to be run by the UCI’s commercial events promotion arm, Global Cycling Promotions, a fact confirmed by Velonation.

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Monday shorts, Dirk Hofman time

Half Man Half Biscuit album

Sent in by a reader and posted to twitter, the photo above is from the album sleeve of “90 Bisodol (Crimond)” by British band Half Man Half Biscuit. Dirk Hofman enters pop culture. Bonus points if you can name the biblical art and the artist.

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UCI threats to sponsors confirmed

McQuaid and Liu Peng

I had to put yesterday’s piece in the conditional tense and use a question mark in the title. That’s no longer necessary given the letters sent by the UCI President Pat McQuaid are now confirmed by further sources… including the UCI itself.

Oddly the UCI started by denying this. When asked about the letters, official spokesman Enrico Carpani told the Velocast:

“I don’t know from where you got this, but I can only firmly deny UCI took such initiative. We are not used to work on this way.

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Is the UCI threatening team sponsors?

Pat McQuaid gun

The UCI is traditionally the governing body of the cycle sport but, via a subsidiary called Global Cycling Promotions, is now also staging the Tour of Beijing, making it not merely a governing body that sits above the sport but also a player on the ground with its own business interests.

This conflict of interest has worried some for a while. But now there could be evidence of the extraordinary steps the UCI is taking in order to further its commercial activities.

The Velocast has obtained a copy of the letter that appears to be sent from UCI President Pat McQuaid directly to team sponsors:

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The UCI’s new private business

There’s a new Swiss sports event management company called Global Cycling Promotions SA. Big deal you might say, after all there are many sports promotion businesses around the world. But there’s difference here: GCP is owned by the UCI.

UCI logo

It’s a curious situation where the governing body owns a private promotion business. There’s no mention on the UCI website, at least I’ve had a trawl, used the UCI search feature and checked via google too where there’s only a press release that mentions Alain Rumpf’s dual role, as both UCI official and “Global Cycling Promotion Director”. Here’s hoping the UCI website gets updated and that the accounts are published too.

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Tour of Turkey: a Glimpse of the Future?

Some races make you want to visit a place and the Tour of Turkey is one such event. Blue seas, sunny roads, it looks nice for a training holiday, although I’m not sure what the cycling is like. I watched the final of Saturday’s stage and it’s no holiday for the riders. Here’s the obligatory … Read more