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. This 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 [vimeo]http://vimeo.com/2108971[/vimeo]
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.