embattled, embittered, and inhabiting a house so burnt by scandal that there’s not much more left than the shaky foundations upon which it was built and a few glowing embers, the body that claims governance over pro racing within our sport has somehow managed to widen the ever-enlarging sinkhole into which it is a-tumbling.
what do you do when your back is to the wall? heck, kick and scratch and bite whoever is nearest, that’s what. and so the UCI has come out fighting, stating that it will enforce its hitherto mostly ignored Rule 1.2.019, which prevents UCI licensed riders from participating in non-sanctioned events.
the UCI has come under intense criticism for this change in attitude, but defended itself in a letter to the national federations by stating that:
‘The objective of this regulation is to protect the hard work and resources you pour into the development of your events at national level. It allows for a federative structure, something which is inherent in organised sport and which is essential to being a part of the Olympic movement.’
the problem with this logic though is that by enforcing this rule cycling will not evolve and grow, and riders will find themselves barred from taking part in countless events all over the world. what the UCI is in fact doing by implementing this rule is stifling the sport to protect its own coffers, offering yet another audacious example of poorly conceived strategy and a lack of – well, a sense of basic decency, even a basic humanity.
how else can you perceive a ruling that could potentially – and this is not hyperbole – kill off hundreds of MTB events across North America, not to mention putting further at risk thousands of cyclocross, time trial and local road races all over the world?
stop people riding & racing? to protect your own interests? this ruling is being resuscitated in large part because the UCI fears a breakaway of the top pro teams, who have been talking about forming a new sort of ‘premier league’ of racing which would be formed of new and existing races.
the result though is that the rank and file, the people like myself and possibly you and countless others, end up getting bent over and violated by a middle aged Irishman without so much as a thank you. no more Wednesday evening time trial for you, and best not bother entering that sportif you were going to ride with your family. it goes on. it’s senseless, unless you’re perception of the world is informed merely by cash and self-preservation – then it makes a lot of sense.
even then though, this is seriously myopic, as it will, if enforced strictly, lead to a narrowing of events and an eventual revolt.
by imposing this ruling the UCI strips you of your ability to choose what events to take part in, and for what? to be a part of a faction of the sport governed by a body that has allowed rampant drug-taking to proliferate, turned a blind eye to the most questionable practises, and accepted money from an athlete who had a vested interest in keeping the officials on his side?
and now they want to enforce this rule?
as a friend of mine said the other day, they are like stewards rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic. let it go boys, let it go. it’s all gone to pot.
it seems almost impossible to take the sheer joy of racing a bicycle out of the equation, but somehow, incredibly, the UCI manages to do just that with every turn.
good work, chaps…