Because of certain actions by a choice few last week, if you conduct evil with a small “e” you have escaped my scrutiny thanks to some COLOSSAL acts of lunacy. So if you’re Jonathan Vaughters, you get a break from criticism on the women’s front. For this week. Only.
Here we go!
Best of the Week
This is just plain sad. Look, Ricco, your 15 minutes of cycling fame are up. If Alessandro Petacchi can’t get an Asian licence, then you’re up shite creek without a paddle, a boat, and a life preserver. I might even suggest some therapy, or an extended holiday on an island without bicycles or any technological connection with humanity. Take a break. Spend time with the family. Learn a skill. Like dishwashing. Or ditch digging.
So Bridie writes for us and she’s a panelist on the Hotstove. And she’s sharp, smart, and funny. Are we biased? Hell yes. But beyond that, she is an important voice for women’s cycling, and an advocate for fairness in the sport, not to mention society at large. We’re looking forward to her exploits with the new crew, and making her case for inclusion on the Australian Olympic Cycling Team. Vanderkitten is another shining example in the women’s peloton of providing outstanding support for their riders beyond the paycheque.
I would love to hear the real story on this. But I’ll leave it alone this week and say that I’m glad to see Pooley, Armitstead, and the rest of the ladies find a secure home in an Olympic year. We all know there’s a real story behind the public relations fluff, but we’ll just have to wait until 2013 for that to come out.
Now you all may be asking yourself why this is important, but please pay attention. Firstly, SHIFT Active Media has a strong understanding of cycling and the impact of “new media.” They represent some of the key players in the cycling industry and do savvy media buying, communications work, publishing, and creative. Their principals are some of the who’s who in the sport – including the ex-COO of Future Publishing, which owns cyclingnews.com and ProCycling Magazine. The also provide their services to 3T, Colnago, and fi’zi:k to name a few. They understand the importance of new media and social media, even though Stephen Farrand still has a reluctance to fully embrace Twitter. Sorry, Stephen, I’m still smarting over that unfollow last year. (chuckle) Savvy move by the folks at RCS, as they understand the impact of the changing playing field of brand awareness, as seen in our own @pedalingtheroad interview with Marco Gobbi Pansana. Be thankful, cycling fans – they could have picked a dinosaur agency that would put, say, the Tour Down Under on Channel 9 rather than keep the coverage on the innovative SBS.
Imagine you are a rising superstar who has come off a record-setting rookie performance. You pride yourself on being clean. You ride for a team that has a stellar reputation when it comes to anti-doping initiatives. Then, you turn on German TV to see that you’re linked to a “doping” scandal. Kittel was devastated. But you know what? His teammates rallied around him, all of them making phone calls to each other. The team spoke to Daniel Benson from cyclingnews.com right away to get the story out. But that wasn’t enough, they even put a detailed explanation of Kittel’s and teammate Patrick Gretsch’s involvement with the UV treatment on the team’s website. Plus, they even went so far as to note that John Degenkolb visited the doctor but didn’t receive the treatment. For a team that prides itself on anti-doping initiatives and transparency, it’s outstanding to see that they hold true to those ideals when crisis hits. That’s great leadership by Iwan Spekenbrink. In addition, the cycling twitterati jumped on the bandwagon to call out the ambulance chasers of the news realm and hold them accountable.
Worst of the Week
Is this a new trend in men’s elite racing? Just TTT to a win? It’s rather coincidental that the same thing happened at the road championships in Copenhagen. No matter. What’s the real story? Is it the Belgians taking full advantage of home sand, where they have expertise like no one else? Was it superior preparation to other nations? One thing is for sure, it certainly was an eyebrow-raising performance the likes of which has never been seen. However, on the plus side they had a phenomenal turnout of 62,000 people, something that the UCI attempted to limit to 42,000. Why? I just don’t know anymore. Nonetheless, if seven U.S. riders dominate next year, we pretty much know the answers to all of our questions – a home side win is good for business. The fix is in.
This would be just sad if it wasn’t so absolutely atrociously funny. As @fmk_RoI noted on Twitter, why would the UCI want to invest in their own Ponzi Scheme? However, “speaking to people of means” could be your local loan shark, or even worse, a Russian gas magnate who runs Russian cycling, is President of the European Cycling Federation, and sits on the UCI Management Committee. He’s a great one with all sorts of connections, including Ukranian mafia, but I won’t go there, no, @inrng has a cracker post coming up on that (keep your eyes peeled starting Thursday at inrng.com). No, you see, the ASO said no to investing in the Ponzi Scheme as they preferred to be paid as the technical service provider for the races that have already been set up – like the Tour of Beijing – rather than risk losing money as an investor. You see, the UCI has a bad habit of misusing, misplacing, or flat out losing money. Of course, conventional wisdom would say that the ASO are positioning themselves to be bought as they continue to divest of a variety of assets. Anyone remember how the GCP was set up? With funds borrowed from the ProTour fund, of course.
The UCI addition of the worst of the week continues with Bertine coming out publicly to voice her frustration in her dealings with the cycling governing body that resemble an accounting firm from a bad Monty Python sketch. No kidding. Losing points retroactively, and her federation files paperwork a couple of days late means that she may miss the Olympics? Due to a pencil pusher? It’s interesting to note that UCI rules have been bent and out right broken for many, especially if you have a brown envelope. In this case? Letter. Of. The. Law. However, is this more of a statement about federation politics? Bertine is a dual citizen, and she smartly saw an opportunity to go to the Olympics riding for a small nation rather than the United States. Could this be a politically motivated backlash? Heaven forbid a small nation sends one cycling athlete to the Olympics at the expense of another “cycling power.” Stranger things have happened in Aigle.
Levi Leipheimer wins Tour De San Luis
You all know why.
I have an idea. I’m a public figure, and I’m fair game for criticism. But in my world no one should have an opinion but me. Because apparently I’m all knowing. Now, I run a semi satire via twitter on the fine Irish gentleman, but I’m a fooking parody. He’s not supposed to mirror my attitude in real life. But he is. I mean, could you imagine Guardian commentator Patrick Wintour being sued by former RBS honcho Fred Goodwin for Wintour’s comments about him losing his knighthood? Of course not! However, as reality doesn’t exist for McQuaid, Verbruggen and the UCI, and they insist that the cycling world “Eat Fooking Cake,” they can pretty much do whatever the fook they want. I appreciate the fact that they picked on Kimmage, because the gent will fight back. In fact, this may galvanize the cycling journalists around the world to zero in on the UCI and their pattern of behaviour. You don’t pick on an award winning bloke who has a history of standing up, because then he becomes a M-A-R-T-Y-R for others to gain a backbone. Like Joe Lindsey. Looks like the line for journos’ collective mouths up the UCI’s arse like that centipede horror film has shrunk to almost zero. And it’s only January. Well folks, grab your popcorn, as we’re in for a long year of bullshite politics. It’s an Olympic year after all.