Pro Cycling News – Organization is Everything

Nov 16 2005

First topic today is the Giro split-stage. Or rather, the lack thereof. Yes, it’s just too hard for professionals to get up early, and work a super long day, even though their afternoon shift is really just a downhill coast into town. I just don’t know how all those USCF 4 and Collegiate C and D riders do it pretty much every freakin’ week. Oh, yeah, and they have to work instead of sleep when they’re not on bikes. Man, being a pro rider is tough. Oh, and hugs to VeloNews European Correspondant Andrew Hood for his brutal rip-off of this Cyclingnews report (scroll to “ProTour Council”); I give VeloNews more flack than they deserve, but plagarism this blantant rarely gets by without a lawsuit. Plus, both reports mentioned Tour of the Basque Country, but each forgot Criterium International, 3 Days of de Panne, and the Tour de Georgia, which all frequently feature split-stages.

If you ask me (and why would be reading this if you wouldn’t), I’d tell you that this is just another saga in the ongoing feud between the UCI, and well, everyone. By siding with the CPA on this issue, the UCI ingratiates itself to the riders, perhaps trying to gain an ally in their struggle against WADA, while at the same time tossing a big F.U. to the Grand Tour organizers, with whom the UCI is not exactly penpals. The decision to block the split-stage also directly advances the UCI’s own agenda; as the organization has shown, through its bowdlerization of cyclocross, its attempt to ban radios, and its President’s claim that only one RCS, Unipublic or ASO-organized non-grand tour race is interesting (from a list that includes Milan-San Remo, Paris-Nice, Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Paris-Tours, Tour of Lombardy and many others), that it would rather have 200 blindfolded, earplugged riders on trainers than an actual bike race.

Race organization has also been the center of a few storms in America recently. Seems the 20-year-old Philly Week system is changing. Now the American National Champion will be decided in an all-American (rather than the mixed American/rest of world format that gave the Stars and Stripes jersey to the first American finisher) race held in Greenville, NC in mid-September. This will give current title-holder Chris Wherry a nearly 16 months in the jersey, and prevent any American riders doing the Vuelta from competing. Frankly, I don’t care because the USPRO title hasn’t been meaningful since Lance Armstrong was the size of a school bus (and yes, that’s an unedited photo). Though many fear the changes may ruin the level of competition at the event, they should just be glad things are going better than they are in San Francisco. If someone as rich as Barclay’s still leaves you $90,000 in debt, there’s really no hope at solvency.

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