New UCI President David Lappartient went for an easy win and then fall into a dangerous trap.
First, he said the governing body of the sport would work harder to ensure that any mechanical doping would be uncovered with better equipment and greater focus on testing.
That’s an easy fix really, a non-brainer, about a thousand times more simple than tackling drugs or even getting tramadol on WADA’s banned list.
The mechanical doping issue is one you pick because you want to give yourself an easy win right out out of the gate. The PR-ready goal would show that unlike the glacially slow, low-energy, consensus-obsessed Brian Cookson, the Frenchman was a man of action. That’s good stuff, a smart move, get your presidency off to a successful start.
Then, however, Lappartient opened a can of worms that he will soon regret. He revived the dormant and contentious subject of race radios. This was an ugly battle and power struggle between teams and the UCI and ASO — and Lappartient should know better than most what a dangerous issue that is.
“And then you have something else with the earpieces, they make cycling very sensitive to online betting,” Lappartient told Het Laatste Nieuws. “You can communicate directly with the rider in the race. Officially, the connection goes from a team car to a rider. But technologically, there is nothing that prevents me or you from calling the wearer of the yellow jersey during a stage of the Tour, right? ”
Right, like I could call Chris Froome while he’s on the last five kilometers of a summit climb in the Alps, and say yo, Chris, and you knock it back 20 watts, I have some serious money on Quintana finishing in the top three and I don’t want him dropped.” I’m sure, he would take my wishes into consideration.
The last time the race radio debate was on fire was, what, around 2010? It seemed to symbolize and encapsulate much of what was wrong with pro cycling. The weakness of the riders unions, the lack of cohesion around team owners, the unwillingness of the governing body and A.S.O to share in the decision-making and stake-holding.
It was about rider safety and trying to inject more drama into the racing and the endless struggle of teams to have a greater measure of respect for their views. It was nasty and went on for several years and then just as mysteriously disappeared off the radar.
On short, it’s a very dangerous can of worms to open and dump out on the table in your first few months on the job. There’s no easy or quick solution and it seems like a debate that will go nowhere fast and piss off plenty of people.
On top of the worms, Lappartient then threw out some fresh gunpowder and a few matches that hadn’t been lite the first time around. Unaccountably and for no particular reason we can discern, he made the story of restricting race radios about illegal gambling. Which seemed to come wildly out of left field, to use a baseball analogy in cycling.
Now, either Lappartient knows a few things we don’t know (probably) or he’s trying a new strategy to reduce the use of radios (well, maybe) or he thinks he’s got power and backing from his friends at A.S.O (no question) or he just made a clueless move that’s sure to backfire.
But what do we know, we’re just a blogger from Northern California? Still, seems like dredging up the race radio debate is a highly questionable idea. Look, those worms are GLOWING!!!!!