AIGCP defies UCI, promises drastic action against radio ban.

Radio Ban crashing.

May Day, May Day, radio ban in trouble. Put down that cocktail, Pat McQuaid, people are coming for your head.

The AIGCP (International Association of Professional Cycling Groups) threatened “drastic action” if there is no repeal by May 1, 2011. Yikes-arama!

The drastic action was not specified — which only makes things more exciting. What — burn down UCI headquarters, ride the Giro d’Italia in gorilla suits, hand out pins and McQuaid voodoo dolls?

“This action will not be made public at this time, but the UCI will be informed of its content,” read the statement. A secret letter? That’s fantastic, in invisible ink, delivered by carrier pigeon. Who says this sport isn’t endlessly exciting.

The long history of UCI mismanagement under Pat McQuaid’s rule is so comprehensive, so wide ranging and so consistent that it does boggle the mind. And he still has a job and still refuses to resign.

He botched Valverde, he botched Contador, his biological passport is getting beat up in the Court for Arbitration in Sport, bike designers and builders hate the strange and confusing rules on frame specifications, team managments, director sportifs and riders uniformly dislike him.

The radio ban has blown up in his face and his hair is on fire.┬áThis is truly a personal triumph of colossal proportions. Patrick McQuaid is professional cycling’s George Bush.

Now, it’s time for the embarrassing backtrack and watch how the UCI handles it. First some bluster, then the corporate damage control will begin. The UCI will work out what it calls a compromise but is in reality a crushing defeat — not even as good as the

Twisted Spoke predicts the UCI will announce that the radio ban will continue — but on a modified time table — like next season. See — they’re not capitulating, they’re simply adjusting the start date. Then in 2012 the ban will come back in a watered down form the teams can live with — if at all.

As usual, it was Garmin-Cervelo’s Jonathan Vaughters (and AIGCP member) who wrapped everything up in a concise and thoughtful way on his twitter feed: “Racing needs to evolve with not just radios but videos on bikes, live feeds of riders. It only needs to grow not move backwards.”

Twisted Spoke was pro-radio ban because it made sense as a strategy to make the races more tactically exciting. However, it looks like the ban is about to be banned.

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  • toothandchain

    I really, really, really, really want to see the Giro being ridden in Gorilla suits. Talk about making racing more exciting…

  • Dave

    The riders want radios for safety… Let them have them… On a single frequency to the commissaires… That way everything that's said is heard by all…

    • Dave, works for me. You could get a job at the UCI. Matt

  • Mick

    It seems that many of current generation of racers are nervous about the prospect of racing with little tactical direction on the road. The necessity of racing with minimal & sporadic guidance from the DS and relying on their rarely practiced tactical sense must be nerve racking prospect. I suspect some talented riders will falter without a voice in their ear dictating everything from when to drink & eat, to when to attack & when to fall in….( for the same reason some seemingly lesser talented riders will flourish in that type of environment)… I suspect more than a few DS's (I'm looking at you JB) will feel pretty damn impotent not being able to script the race.

    On another note, from what I've been hearing, Garmin is already working on (visual) communications via their Garmin units eventually making radios (or lack of) a lesser issue for them…

  • spandelles

    twitter #drasticaction

  • Sam

    "Patrick McQuaid is professional cycling's Geaorge Bush"…wow…that's awesome. I shouldn't be asked how I feel about either one. Although now that he is not proving on a daily basis why I felt the way I did about him, I've softened my approach with our former President. Out of site, out of mind. McQuaid, however, seems to be living up to every comment you've ever written about him…on a near daily basis.

    • Sam, the man is an incompetent buffoon who is killing the sport.A true crime and a mystery why he's still in power.Matt

  • Heidi

    "Patrick McQuaid is professional cycling’s George Bush." thought that was great, too! I side with the riders on the radio ban. I think the sport is dangerous enough without being able to warn the riders about potential hazards in the road (like cars coming from the other direction!). Had the UCI considered this from the beginning (and proposed an open channel), there would certainly be less drama right now, and we could all just be enjoying the racing instead of participating in the "soap opera" aspect of professional cycling!

    • Heidi, first, welcome to Twisted Spke which throws an extra heated welcome mat out to hot and informed women who follow pro cycling and this humble blog. We have plenty of cold, un-informed men and it's killing us. Second, yes, your points are spot on. Thanks for reading and wirting in. Best, Matt