Freeman Cebu Sports

One big mess

ALLEZ - ALLEZ By Jose Vicente Araneta -
Doping scandals has sunk professional cycling's reputation to the bottom of the sea. Instead of attracting new fans, the petty bickering between the UCI, race organizers, cyclists, teams and WADA over money and power are tuning out even the most hardcore followers of the sport.

The UCI, for the third year, is again insisting that 27 races, including the classics, some national tours and the Grand Tours (TdF, Giro and Vuelta), must adhere to the race format governed and controlled by the UCI, called the Pro Tour (PT). The Grand Tours, knowing that their races are a financial gold mine, and knowing that the UCI is only after its revenues, are instead making their own race format outside of the Pro Tour.

On the other hand, the ICPT, the association of PT teams, recently signed a "gentleman's agreement" not to hire riders "suspected" of being part of the "Operation Puerto" (OP) investigation. While OP has been shelved indefinitely by the Spanish judiciary, the Italian Olympic Committee cleared Ivan Basso of any wrongdoing. This led to DISCOVERY CHANNEL (DC) hiring Basso and the uproar of the ICPT against DC for spitting on the "gentleman's agreement", and throwing out DC of the ICPT. The only problem is that the ICPT's decision can't lead to DC being banned by any races since the ICPT is purely a business association and is not related to the UCI or ASO!

While the UCI has no choice but to allow Basso to ride, the Tour of Germany and the Tour of Denmark, in a statement, said that Ivan Basso and all those "suspected" (here's that word again) in OP are not welcome to their races. But both races are a part of the Pro Tour, ergo, DC is insured of a spot in both races. How the UCI will work this out is beyond me. While these races are races DC can do without, the team is holding its collective breath on the announcement of whether ASO, the TdF organizers, will be inviting them for the most important dance, the TdF. And this is where the situation gets convoluted.

While the UCI considers the Grand Tours as part of the Pro Tour, the former have dissociated themselves from it and have set their own rules as to who will be the "invited". One of their rules says that they, "reserve(s) the right to refuse participation to any rider or team staff member who may harm the image of the race."

Until Basso is cleared in the OP mess, he will be forever considered as, "a rider who harms the image of the race" and thus he and DC will be excluded in the race. If and when this ever comes to be imposed, I'd expect DC, of which Lance Armstrong is part owner, to sue these organizers till the ends of the earth with the UCI grudgingly supporting them. They might even have a TRO and prevent the TdF from ever starting!

I hope that the organizations concerned will simply zip their mouths and open it only when a favorable decision is made. Or cycling will be history.
It must have been frustrating for our RP Cycling Team in the Asiad to go to war at a disadvantage. I know that these guys have been working so hard to bring home the gold but without the proper financial support, they were doomed from the beginning.

On the other hand, the same sorry excuse that the coaches tell us, that our cyclists lost because of inferior equipment is pure baloney. A juiced up rig can only do so much to improve ones performance.

Scotsman Graeme Obree, used a homemade bicycle he named "Old Faithful" that included a part of a washing machine to break Francesco Moser's 9 year old hour record (51.596 kph) in July of 1993 and then in April of 1994 (when Chris Boardman held it). He was also the world champion in the individual pursuit in 1993 and 1995. When Obree lost a race, he didn't say that his equipment sucked. Why can't we say that we lost because the competition were the better athletes?

Finally, if only the 13.5Mphp incentive was given equally to all sporting associations for training, maybe we could have had a better result in the Asiad.

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