Monday, March 03, 2008

Monday Roundup

The VeloNews' John Wilcoxson opines that this time the "renegade" ASO may have gone too far in the arm twisting and coercion of Eric Boyer and its manipulation of the rules which protect riders. But, not everyone is taking it lying down:

The French Federation's decision to back ASO clearly does not have the full support of other national governing bodies. On Sunday, the European Cycling Union passed a resolution condemning the ASO, FFC actions regarding Paris-Nice by a vote of 18-7

The CyclingNews notes that the UCI has in essence "blackmailed" Team Mitsubishi-Jartazi by granting them "wildcard" status, as long as they exclude Frank Vandenbrouke from their team that is.

In the "why can't we all just get along?" department

Perhaps the ASO and UCI should taken a close look at the implosion of American open wheel racing and the recent, and much too late, reunification of the two main racing series. The flotsam and jetsam that remains hardly causes a blip on the sports radar screen. Learn from history, or you will surely become it.

St Louis agrees in an article that pre-dates the above comments. It's already too late for open wheel racing here, at least the immediate future look grim. That is the lesson the UCI and ASO must heed, though it may be too late for them as well.


Rant takes a considered look at what might be done to facilitate cycling's exit from the morass of doping that it finds itself currently in.


Gary O'Brien said...

The St. Louis Post Dispatch had a column about the UCI and ASO comparing them to the open wheel drama. Quite interesting:

Sorry for the Tiny URL. The Post has impossibly long URLs.

strbuk said...

Gary I can assure you that I didn't see that article, though the comparisons are obvious IMO. I have been a fan of CART/Champ racing since the mid 80s and it's amazing to me that open wheel racing, a great and exciting sport, is now essentially dead in this country with this ersatz "reunification.


jrdbutcher said...

Patty McQuaid and UCI seem to be up to some more serious rules shenanigans.
see: Mitsubishi-Jartazi wild card without Vandenbroucke

then scan:
Notice any striking similarities wrt any number of riders.

Floyd’s being railroaded. Hamilton, Botero, and Sevilla got blacklisted from the ToC courtesy of Amgen, with assistance behind the scene from UCI. Now UCI is openly practicing blacklisting.

McCarthyism was with us for about a decade. How long will this moronic and destructive chapter in cycling history last?

Gary O'Brien said...

strbuk, they absolutely are obvious . . . almost too obvious, given that you'd hope someone involved would actually notice that's what they are doing. You can't really read an article about the CART/Champ rift and not think it all sounds familiar . . .

What's sad, though, is that it doesn't feel as if the riders have anywhere safe to go at all in this division. Following either side feels like doom. Oh if only there were true leadership.

jrdbutcher said...

In terms American open wheeled racing (Cart/Indy Car-Tony George) having been fractious and the UCI/ASO battle for professional cycling there is a partial analogy. Where is the cycling series competing for race fans (like Nascar) that benefits from the feud? That’s where the analogy breaks down imho.

beeble said...

Bummer I wish I had been the first to post about the obvious similarities between cycling and US open wheel racing last week when it occurred to me! I'm a longtime (and still p!ssed off) open wheel honk myself, heck Rick Mears is still my favorite sports hero.

Jrd, I see your point about who may or may not benefit from the cyling split but the difference is that open wheel racing had 13 years to fester and lose fans while the cycling split has yet to shake out completely.

The question of who is benefitting from fans moving away from the UCI/ASO nonsense might be the continental teams and races although we certainly need more time to see. It's kind of the same nauseting feeling I get when Max and Bernie, the 2 clowns that run Formula 1, make some arbitrary decision seemingly against the rules like they did at the end of last season.

Just my myopic $2/100, your mileage may vary.

daniel m (a/k/a Rant) said...


Granted, the analogy isn't perfect. But there are some grassroots bicycle racing organizations besides USA Cycling out there. Several independent bicycle racing organizations exist, outside the USA Cycling hegemony. The Federation of Independent Associations for Cycling (FIAC), whose member associations are not as large as USAC, in some ways competes with USAC.

Perhaps there are similar organizations in other countries, too. If so, grassroots programs might well be able to supplant the UCI and their member associations, and provide alternate venues for cycling.

Such competition may even be the best thing that could happen for cycling. That said, I think we're a long way from such groups being a real competitive threat to USA Cycling or the UCI. Over time, that could change.

strbuk said...

The problem that I am now so disinterested in open wheel racing here( and believe me I used to go to Cleveland, Mid Ohio, and anything else I could get tickets to every year) that I didn't even KNOW that Champ Car had capitulated. My point is this: ego and politics ruined open wheel racing, ego and politics are on the verge of ruining an already compromised pro road cycling. 'Nuf said.

str said...

How much has changed?


beeble said...

Sweet, I get extra cred for mentioning Formula 1!!

Keith said...

It is "interesting" to watch the train wreck that is pro cycling today and compare it to the CART and IRL schism. Tony George split off IRL in part to run crappier (slower, stock block) cars in order to control costs, but also to let good ol' 'Merican drivers win more consistently. Sounds a little familiar to me.

grimid said...

Hey Strbuk

If you miss Cleve-burg, Mid-Ohio, Michigan, Indy or what-have-you, come on down south, we've got a nice little 10 hour sports car race at Road Atlanta in the fall - beautiful camping weather, friendly fans, great driver signing sessions, fantastic cars (V-10 diesels!). And VIR just up the road is pretty sweet for Vintage racing.

I gave up on open wheel ages ago.


Gary O'Brien said...

TBV = Mr. Nerdypants. said...

Gary, damn straight - I do wear the (nerdy) pants at the TBV household!



wschart said...


Looking back at your 2007 post referenced above, I noticed your

Some Key Lessons of History

where you have some points gleaned from the world of auto racing politics. I reprise your list below, and intersperse my thoughts.

A breakaway needs a viable schedule so it doesn't need to be concerned with sanctions and pressure from the entrenched or de-jure organizations.

>The ASO is probably not at this point quite yet, but it could soon be, especially if they pick up the Vuelta, as has been rumored. Add some classics, either by buying up existing ones or creating your own alternates, maybe a few shorter stage races, etc. and a pretty good season could be had.

A breakaway needs good relations with the key events to survive in the long term.

>If you're promoting the events, you should have good relations with yourself. Or if some sanctioning body arises with the ASO's backing, it should get along well.

A breakaway needs to happen at a moment when there is weak leadership of the incumbent organization.

>It's looking that way now.

A breakaway needs strong leadership to speak with one voice. This involves teams giving up some of their autonomy.

>As if the teams had anything to give up here!

The breakaway gives up some claims of legitimacy, and needs to work as a commercial entity on its own merits. In cycling, that means bailing on the Olympics.

>I personally think that, whatever happens with the ASO-UCI mess, cycling should bail on the Olympics, for many reasons.

You can't count on media support without the key events, and even then, it's fickle.

>Well, the TdF is certainly a key event. PN and PR are pretty big in their own way too

Gary O'Brien said...

And a fine polyester with nice wide, white belt they are TBV. You probably listen to Jonathan Coulton too. said...

Gary, it's not the 70s anymore. Today the nerd wears black jeans and an "Itanium Solutions" T shirt -- for irony.