astana/festina

June 30, 2007

well the dodgiest team in pro-cycling has signed up to the UCI’s anti-doping statement. can someone please do something to stop this team starting the tour de france, we don’t want another doper winning.

british eurosport

May 29, 2007

in order to make eurosport more “suitable” for a british audience “british eurosport” was launched. if you are a cycling fan this was bad news. it means that cycling – seen as a minority supported sport in the UK (which it is not) – is the first to get the boot in favour of any other sport that is on – be that snooker (the images are exactly the same being shown on the BBC, at the same time), tennis, handball, volleyball, etc.

the people running it are obvious arseholes and not aware how much they are losing as british cycling fans rush out to buy the old cheap analogue receivers to get “normal” eurosport.

another example of britain hating cycling. i wish london hadn’t got the tour grand depart 😦 it doesn’t deserve it.

you can however, watch the giro here:

mms://rntlivewm.rai.it/giro2007live

copy and paste into browser/windows media player

it’s official – unibet have been denied a starting place at the paris-nice. a judge has decided that this line of appeal is dead.

but that is not the only problem. the UCI has well and truly stabbed unibet in the back by giving in to the ASO and sanctioning the paris-nice, inspite of the fact that ASO are refusing a start to all the protour teams.

just goes to show how much power and authority the UCI wields – none.

expect pat mcquaid to be bending over in front of a frenchman any time soon.

the UCI blinked.

as i thought yesterday, unibet has taken the ASO to court arguing that excluding them from their competitions is damaging their changes in the protour competition.

full story

paris-nice and the UCI

March 7, 2007

this weekend sees the start of the racing season proper in europe with the paris-nice stage race. and there are problems. big problems.

ASO (who run the paris-nice, the tour de france, paris-roubaix, etc) are refusing to allow unibet.com from taking their place at the start line. this goes against the ideas of the protour which is managed by the UCI.

the protour was set up to get the best teams in the cycling world guaranteed places in the biggest races. everything seems ok with that concept? well, not really. the ASO and other organisers usually invite some teams to their races on top of those with guaranteed places. but the UCI recently upped the membership limit of the protour to 20 teams from 18 the year previous. this means less guest places.

the organisers do not like the way the UCI is saying who can, and cannot ride in their races and feel that the UCI wishes to further control their races and seeks too much power.

the UCI is refusing to back down and the paris-nice is the first protour event on the calender. the UCI had told its protour teams not to start at the race if the situation hadn’t been resolved. but on monday (5th march) a deal was reached. however, this looks like a fudge and unibet may still not be able to ride as french law prohibits the advertising of gambling:

To advertise, directly or indirectly, an activity assimilated to illegal lottery is against the law. I won’t risk putting ASO in conflict with the law.

– ASO president, Patrice Clerc

unibet are obviously not pleased and are threatening legal action.

so, what have we got –

an international federation trying to consolidate its power and establish a premier selection of international races with set teams taking part,

a group of race organisers fighting for control over their own events and who can be invited (mainly the ever-expanding ASO who are looking to take over the vuelta as well as the tour),

a team stopped from taking part due to french law which is ready to take every race organiser and his dog to court,

other teams warned not to start, and then told they can,

riders not knowing if they will be able to race at the top level.

basically – a mess.

it will be interesting to see if cycling can hold back from tearing itself apart for another season.

…and rightly so. nicole cooke has acheived more than any of the other people up for sports personality of the year. she has won the most prestigious of the womens’ events, and podiumed at the world champs (let alone being world cup winner). unfortunately a chinless royal type who sits on horses won. 😦

probably to be expected though, the last cyclist to win was tom simpson in 1965 – inspite of britain having the best track cyclists in the world in the 90s in boardman and obree who constantly broke the world hour record in an almost personal battle.

i reckon cyclists in the UK are merely an obstruction on the road for most people.  twats.

Tour of Britain

August 30, 2006

this year’s tour of britain got underway yesterday, and just as happened last year a breakaway succeeded and the stage winner now has over 2 minutes over his rivals and could possible now have won the tour on the first day.

this is a problem with the tour of britain that the organisers need to address. with no time trials and a very flat course this year the race looks like being one long yawn in the style of a late summer chain-gang.

the organisers really needed to have put some challenging long climbs into the race near the end of stages to really break up the field. however, any climbs that are there seem to be of the steep, short variety that no one is going to lose time on; and even if you do get shelled out the back, due to where the climbs are you can get back into the field before the finish.

what i don’t understand is why such great cycling country as the scottish mountains, wales and the peak district were ignored by the officials in favour of flat (and dull) stages as we have seen this year. i realise that the organisers are limited to the length of the tour at the moment (until the UCI promote the race to protour standard) and often have their hands tied as to where the race goes due to officialdom and police “reservations” but that is no reason to make the race so easy and dull.

everyone knows that races are decided in the mountains, that is why they get the biggest crowds. the real strongmen can distance their rivals and often put in a race-winning surge once the gradient steepens. but on the flat, with a couple of exceptions, the race is pretty much up for grabs. this makes for dull racing.

if british cycling want to promote the sport to a larger audience in this country then they really need to start by making the premier uk race more interesting by introducing more “real” climbs and better finishing venues – finishing in big cities, while it may be what the sponsors want (big crowds, etc), will never generate the results and spectacle of a mountain-top finale.