The awkwardness of Pat McQuaid and Brian Cookson, candidates for the forthcoming UCI Presidency, to each other’s proposals for the future of Cycling’s Anti-Doping unit, reminds this correspondent of the old Hamlet cigar commercials years ago.
The particular TV ads that spring to memory are the ones of the man having an intimate dinner date with a young lady and also the one of the comb-over hair-styled man in a photo booth trying to obtain a picture of himself smiling.
In both ads the men are let down by something. In the intimate dinner ad, after the man whispers something into the young lady’s ear, she smiles and brushes her hand through his hair only for his toupee to fall off. In the photo booth ad, after brushing his comb-over and posing with a smile and waiting for the flash, nothing happens. The man looks down at the instruction buttons and the photo machine flashes the top of his head. Annoyed, he re-positions himself again with another posed smile and waits for the flash, and again nothing. As he looks down with a confused expression to the photo machine it flashes again. He then repositions himself for the third flash, only for the chair to abruptly fall down showing just the top of his comb-over.
In both commercials a sad trombone sound followed by a piano sound strikes up and we see the bald-haired man at dinner, and the comb-over man, chin-high in the photo booth, each light up a Hamlet cigar and smile.
Pat McQuaid’s awkwardness comes from Brian Cookson’s proposal to outsource cycling’s anti-doping unit to an independent body outside of the UCI buildings in Aigle, Switzerland, where they presently reside. Pat feels the idea of outsourcing the anti-doping unit is unnecessary, as the present anti-doping unit is as independent as it could be and the idea of relocating it outside the UCI buildings is an extra unnecessary cost.
Brian’s awkwardness comes from Pat’s view that cycling’s anti-doping unit should remain where it is – in the UCI buildings. Brian feels it is necessary to make cycling’s anti-doping unit independent from the UCI in order to restore trust and credibility in cycling. One would imagine this trust & credibility (which Brian refers to) in the UCI has been eroded by watching the Cycling’s Anti-doping unit failing to catch Eufemiano Fuentes, the Spanish doctor who blood/drug-doped the Kelme cycling team along with other leading cyclists he worked with (he was caught by the Spanish Civil Guards in 2006); of their failure to catch Lance Armstrong, who admitted to systematic doping throughout his cycling career (he was caught by United States Anti-Doping Association [USADA] with their overwhelming evidence gathered); and more recently their failure to catch the top cyclists of the 1998 Tour de France (they were caught by the French authorities in 2004 by a retro blood testing of their 1998 blood samples and their names published by the French courts in 2013).
Pat’s trombone & piano moment would be to see the continuation of the Cycling’s anti-doping unit being managed at the UCI buildings in Aigle. Brian’s trombone & piano moment would be to see the introduction of an independent body managing cycling anti-doping unit outside of the UCI buildings.
A question this correspondent would like to ask those who vote in next week’s UCI Presidential election; whose Hamlet cigar-sounding moment would they wish to listen to in the future?