What's Cool In Road Cycling

UCI: Who’s Side Are You On?

– By Charles Manantan –
The recent decision to further reduce the mandatory pre selection of grand tour teams is an absolute farce and smacks of the same system that was finally done under with the Olympic site selection committee. The rule changes drop the pre qualified teams from 16 to 14 for each of the three grand tours. Significantly, the winners of the teams classification are no longer pre selected. This gives reputable sponsors even less incentive to field teams, as with the Millions required to do so, Sponsors seem to be guaranteed less and less.

What reason could the UCI possibly have for reducing the pre selection process other than to free up more opportunity for the men at the top to operate an even more corrupt system? The lining of pockets and greasing of palms was finally brought public in the Olympic committee’s selection of host Cities and, where cycling is concerned, this just gives even more power to the few that run the tours by giving them even more “discretionary” choices to make.

UCI President Hein Verbruggen has continued to prove himself and the UCI impotent in efforts to control doping and restore credibility to the sport. The list of sponsors that have come and gone is a pitiful example of an organizations inability to provide a value. And as the head of a “Union” for cyclists, Hein and the UCI have failed to provide the solidarity and security to it’s members, with contracts still bordering on abusive to lesser riders and with a laughable “Health Check” system designed to keep riders “non negative” and in the saddle at any cost to both the sport and the Cyclist.

What a wonderful opportunity we are loosing. With Cycling at an all time high in international interest, Hein Verbruggen and the UCI are using all the opportunity that available, not to better the sport for sponsors, riders and Fans, but to increase the power and wealth of a few individuals and organizers, leaving the sponsors that pay all the bills even less secure and giving even less incentive for a new crop of business leaders to take part.

I can’t help but wonder what the UCI has as a set of goals.

If the UCI’s main goals are to lose a major sponsor or two every year, show absolutely no back bone in enforcing real punishment for riders who test posi… er oops I mean “non negative”, still have no labor agreement and true support for it’s athletes (not even drug rehab…), continue to produce a flawed product for current sponsors and give even fewer assurances to potential new sponsors that they will have an adequate return on a massive investment…

Job well done…
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