Landis and UCI. The failure of Shuddup.
That pretty much nutshells the seismic shift in power happening right now between the UCI and the rest of the cycling world. Well, world is an exaggeration but it sure feels like it.
Yesterday a court in the UCI’s Swiss backyard ruled in their favor against Floyd Landis. However, the only meaningful outcome of the verdict was universal laughter and derision at the UCI’s expense.
As the wise Inner Ring cycling blog pointed out, if the UCI wanted to make shouts of “corruption,” “coverup” and incompetence” go away, then that backfired in the extreme.
When a court specifies in its ruling that Landis cannot refer to the UCI using the words “full of shit,” “fools,” “clowns,” “worthless, liars” and “no different to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi,” you haven’t improve your image, you’ve made yourself a joke.
It’s also not going to make Floyd Landis shut up. The ruling in Vevey, Switzerland means something close to zero. He isn’t paying the fine and he won’t be headed to jail. We have to believe that if Landis knew he’d have this much fun with the UCI, he would have made his Armstrong allegations years earlier.
Fact is, all the ruling accomplished was to give Landis even more comedic material with which to work. As far as Landis’ critical remarks against the UCI, there won’t be a retraction, there will be an escalation. In the larger sense, FLoyd won in Switzerland, exposing once again that the UCI is petty, clueless and foolish.
It’s the same story with Greg Lemond. Cyclingnews reports today that the UCI has been trying to shut up LeMond for years without success. They sent their letters demanding a retraction and LeMond’s lawyers fired back with this clever legal tactic — “you would not have written your letter to Mr. LeMond and demanded the same unless it had value to your organization. Under United States’ law, threatening criminal prosecution in order to obtain “any money or other valuable thing” is a federal crime that under American law.” That’s why good lawyers get the big bucks.
Once upon a time, the UCI under Hein Verbruggan and later Mad Pat McQuaid was able to enforce the “Shuddup.” Now, the strategy has been revealed for what it is: vindictive intimidation.
On December 12th, cycling journalist and anti-doping crusader Paul Kimmage will walk into court in Switzerland with at least $50,000 in public financial support to fight the UCI. Even given the burdens of proof around defamation in Switzerland, it’s a case he has a good shot at winning.
No matter what happens, the party on trial isn’t Kimmage, its the UCI. After the kangaroo court for Landis, it promises to be fabulous comedy and further undermine any sense that the UCI is a professional organization capable of leadership.
Kimmage isn’t going to shuddup.
That’s the real story in this whole Landis-Armstrong-Hamilton-Kimmage-UCI mess. The days of Shuddup are over and very shortly that floodgate is going to open even wider. Like Hoover Dam floodgate style or maybe even Biblical.
When the USADA testimony goes public, there will be other voices and Shuddup will effectively die. We’ll be hearing from Christian Vande Velde, Levi Leipheimer, Dave Zabriskie and hopefully George Hincapie. The truth will out.
If the testimony indicates that the UCI covered up an EPO positive for Armstrong at the Tour of Switzerland, then that’s the final nail in the McQuaid coffin.