Back to the ban again

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Yeah, this all totally makes sense.

USA Cycling on Tuesday reversed course and announced it would ban race radios at national level events, including National Racing Calendar and national championship events.

The organization said the decision was made “based on concerns raised by cycling’s international federation, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).”

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Just over a week after it lifted a radio ban for the National Racing Calendar (NRC) and national championship events, USA Cycling has today reversed its decision.

When USA Cycling made the decision to reintroduce radio contact between teams and their riders, board of directors president Bill Peterson said: “We have spent considerable time discussing this issue with many experienced racers, team managers and race organizers; we have yet to find anyone make a convincing case to eliminate race radios. Therefore we are allowing radios within the races we control, and I suspect many countries around the world will follow our lead.”

The UCI objected strongly to the decision, sending a letter of reprimand to USA Cycling

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About big jonny

The man, the legend. The guy who started it all back in the Year of Our Lord Beer, 2000, with a couple of pages worth of idiotic ranting hardcoded on some random porn site that would host anything you uploaded, a book called HTML for Dummies (which was completely appropriate), a bad attitude (which hasn’t much changed), and a Dell desktop running Win95 with 64 mgs of ram and a six gig hard drive. Those were the days. Then he went to law school. Go figure. Flagstaff, Arizona, USA

40 Replies to “Back to the ban again”

  1. Oh, dramatic. I should get ten thousand of my friends, and go to one of these races to see what the fuss is about.

  2. It is a rare thing to have anything in the bike industry go without turmoil. I read McQuaid’s rationale for the ban and I wholly support it.

    Waffles being what they are, I’m down for the re-ban stateside. Nevermind the embarrassment the USA Cycling makes of it.

  3. The UCI certainly isn’t making any friends by threatening riders, teams and now national federations. While the UCI needs to make some stands against certain technologies – like doping, recumbent bikes, etc – the fact that race radios have been allowed for years makes it hard to get rid of them. Most riders also seem to feel that the radios make them safer. Riders already protest some stage finishes that are too dangerous (like some of those sprint finishes in the Giro) and I don’t see the UCI stepping in to help them out there. Maybe if professional bike riders were allowed to have some input at the UCI, or if the UCI was simply more sensitive to their concerns, they wouldn’t feel so alienated and upset when the UCI makes a decision that they disagree with.

  4. The UCI are like FIFA, big sport mafia. We South Africans are a little sensitive about this crap, having just been shafted by FIFA in the 2010 soccer world cup. FUCIKERS.

  5. McQuaid’s letter to the peleton in case you missed it:

    Dear Riders,

    The discussions are heated concerning the progressive banning of earpieces during races. That is why I feel it is necessary to address you collectively to try to clarify some points in the debate that is unfortunately no longer calm and constructive.

    However, I would first of all like to congratulate most of you for your ability – up until now and despite your opinions – to remain reasonable faced with a situation that others have decided to render increasingly tense and therefore extremely difficult.

    Respect from both sides should always be at the basis of any conflict of ideas, and I can therefore assure you that the open letters that two of your colleagues (Grischa Niermann and Jens Voigt) recently published in the media have caught my attention.

    Although I in no way share their opinions, nor agree with their explanations – I’ll come back to this – I sincerely appreciate their willingness to contribute to this difficult phase of the debate, without losing sight of the fundamental principles of dialogue and the need to remain open to other opinions. It is for this reason that I will try to reply to them, all the while being conscious of the fact that , the threats of « drastic » actions and the ultimatums that have been laid down will lead nowhere and will just heat things up even more. It is no secret that over the last years our sport has been susceptible to wide criticism, and this attitude, which has unfortunately become almost chronic – to the point that we can almost wonder what will set off the next conflict after that of the earpieces , has always been extremely detrimental to cycling’s image.

    I begin by informing you that in 2008 I was convened to a meeting with the biggest producer of television images of cycling, France Television, and was told by senior executives clearly that if radios were retained in cycling and used as they were being used that the coverage of cycling on television would be reduced. I was given several examples of the reasons for this which I will go into later..

    Following that worrying conversation I had discussions with other media outlets and was given similar viewpoints. Indeed you will be well aware that German television has stopped broadcasting cycling. Doping was an element certainly but so were other issues. If the product was so interesting that people clamoured for it ARD and ZDF would not have killed the coverage.

    And so the UCI began a consultation process.

    A working group has studied the earpieces since 2008 and as part of that group riders have been sitting at the same table as the teams and the media :Cedric Vasseur and Dario Cioni were your representatives and Serge Parsani, Joxean Matxin and John Lelangue that of the teams. By reading the recent claims of different players in the world of cycling, we could be led to believe that the banning of earpieces was decided upon in a one-sided fashion and in haste: in reality, this project is the result of deep reflection over a period of two years. Your representatives should have informed you of this.

    I would also like to remind you that in 2008 and 2009, the CPA led an enquiry into the subject among its 865 members. The President of your association at the time, Mr Cédric Vasseur, will be able to confirm the very surprising fact that he only received 200 replies (less than one in four) with a very even distribution of opinions for and against.

    Over and beyond the worrying indifference that these figures show, another aspect raises my curiosity: although the general situation has not changed, it is claimed that 90% of you are convinced that the earpieces are essential . The UCI can only take note of this extremely surprising alleged change in trend – especially in the light of numerous declarations we have received from riders in the last few months in favour of the banning – and ask ourselves this question: what has happened within the peloton ? Have the riders been put under pressure? Are you really free to express your opinions?

    As for the reasons that pushed the UCI towards the progressive banning of earpieces, they are fairly obvious and above all well-known, so I will simply summarize them: return the rider to the centre of action, make him fully responsible for his strategy and evaluation of the situation during each phase of the race in order to avoid all outside control, which considerably reduces the unpredictable character of an event and therefore the thrill that our sport can offer to its millions of fans. Our sport is one of intelligence and physical ability with elements of chance thrown in.

    The support of the media – particularly television – for this readjustment is a demonstration of the necessity to intervene on this point: the course of too many races is now a foregone conclusion, and this limits enormously the large scale visibility of cycling.

    We don’t want to prove anything with this decision. We just want to make cycling more attractive to the general public, which in turn will increase its popularity and hopefully improve your working conditions. Keeping cycling attractive is also necessary for cyclist to be able to remain cyclists and for giving others the opportunity to become cyclists later.

    The comparison with F1 brought up in Jens’ letter is very interesting: with all my due respect for this sport, it is exactly what we want to avoid! The story of cycling is above all a story of people, and we want it to stay that way.

    As in a football match or any other sporting confrontation – including American professional leagues , the contact between those on the field and the coaches and members of the team’s technical staff on the sidelines, must be strictly regulated. There is no sport where the coaches and strategists are in constant communication with the athletes throughout the duration of play. Cycling cannot and does not want to be an exception to this fundamental principle of sport.

    Now to the question of security: I would ask you not, like Jens, to fall into the trap of rabble-rousing. An accident is an accident, and its consequences – especially when they are very serious – cannot be manipulated to try to turn the tables faced with a problem. Cycling wasn’t more dangerous before the arrival of earpieces. I can assure you that UCI is currently studying this point and discussing the possibilities with communication experts and I am prepared to allow any form of communication which will inform cyclists of safety issues, provided it is technically and economically feasible.

    The sporting aspects of the race can also be interpreted differently depending on the view of each person. Jens, if a rider loses a race in the last kilometres, his directeur sportif and his sponsor will most certainly be unhappy. However, somewhere in the line of cars following the event, there will be someone who is delighted; therefore allow me not to go back to this argument. It is swings and roundabouts: one day it is you and your team another day it is another. Except maybe to deduce that this point in your letter is probably the most meaningful to explain the enormous danger that hides behind this discussion, but which apparently you are not aware of: the denial of the fundamental values of sport.

    I would have preferred to leave doping out of this discussion, but I realise that I can’t resist pointing out a few facts on this subject, which is also used far too often as a scapegoat depending on the demands and the needs of the moment.

    The UCI is by far the most committed International Federation in this field, and cycling can be proud of its front-running position compared with other sports, which, increasingly acknowledge the quality of our efforts and use them as inspiration for their own initiatives. Despite the way in which the letters of Jens and Grisha could be perceived, I don’t think that the riders are in the best position to remind us of the seriousness and the urgency of certain situations: if doping still exists, it’s is only because there are still riders who dope! And if it is true and undeniable that the habits of a large number of you have changed, it is also true that we are still confronted with a fairly high number of cases, which, despite the remarkable progress of our anti-doping results, means we are constantly in an environment of suspicion and tension faced with the public opinion.

    But unfortunately, on this point, the riders too often tend to forget their role and their responsibilities: there are bigger problems in our sport which need your attention. I have never heard your riders association CPA nor teams association AIGCP showing similar indignation, mobilisation or militancy at the doping scandals which befall our sport. When it comes to raise the contribution to the fight against doping from the prize money, it is a flat refusal. This is where you should be addressing your open letters.

    To Grischa, Jens and all riders, it would be too easy for me to reply with the same somewhat naïve statements.. I could ask you to explain to the mother of a young rider why his models, or even his heroes, are weighed down by legal procedures, or why they seriously endanger their health, prompting a new-comer to take the same risks.

    But don’t worry, I won’t. On the other hand, I can’t stop myself noting, with some disappointment, that you haven’t hesitated in joining your directeurs sportifs in a fight that has become their own before it has become yours. I say this is their own because UCI fully believes that this is not a fight about radios but rather a fight for power and control. UCI is aware of steps being taken to set up a private league, World Cycling Tour, outside UCI, by certain team managers. I wonder will the financial benefits they are chasing benefit you, the riders. Somehow I think not! I quote Johan Bruyneel “I’ve been laying the framework for something great… But you’ll just have to wait and see…”.

    The feeling I get is that you have been falsely led to believe that the opinion of riders was never taken into consideration and that you were left out of the debate. This would naturally prompt a collective reaction of contempt on your part.. Yet when it comes to addressing the true issue at stake, I have trouble identifying a single and collective stance on the riders’ side. For every self-declared spokesperson for the riders decrying the ban on earpieces there is another self-effaced rider sending the UCI private letters of support. I can understand every rider, be he a sprinter, a GC contender, a climber or a Classics rider can put forward reasons to support the use of radio for personal reasons .And even if the numbers were on the side of those opposing the ban, would you really expect your International Federation to be run based on the outcomes of popularity contests or individual interests within one single stakeholder of cycling? Is that truly a desirable quality to be found in a governing body, or do you not find it more fitting and reassuring that it be guided by the general interest, sportsmanship values and long-term sustainability?

    I leave it with you and look forward to meeting up in the near future.

    Yours sincerely,
    Pat McQuaid UCI President


  6. I read the letter. If I was a pro cyclist I would think it’s rather demeaning. I guess he’s trying to delegitimize AIGCP and the CPA, by claiming they are probably oppressive, or at least not representative of “what cyclists really think”, and possibly complicit in doping, or at least not doing enough to combat doping?

    “And even if the numbers were on the side of those opposing the ban, would you really expect your International Federation to be run based on the outcomes of popularity contests or individual interests within one single stakeholder of cycling? Is that truly a desirable quality to be found in a governing body, or do you not find it more fitting and reassuring that it be guided by the general interest, sportsmanship values and long-term sustainability?”

    I wonder if Pat McQuaid has a better way to gauge the “general interest” of the cycling community then by simply listening to what the majority of that community says is the general interest. I wonder how we can be sure that our sportsmanship values and ideas of sustainability are correct if we’re willing to disregard and impugn what the majority of the community says they are.

  7. …quoteth mcquaid “The story of cycling is above all a story of people, and we want it to stay that way.”

    …the reality is that now, more than at any time in it’s history, cycling, ie: bicycle racing, is a big & growing business…

    …the union cycliste international is a corporation that actually does span the globe these days whereas in the past it was more that in name with 95% of their business centered in europe along with concerns every 4th year for the olympics & the occasional world championship forays into the americas & elsewhere to more or less ‘test the waters’

    …the promoters for the big races ran their shows, the teams that had the name riders & the budgets to compete in the big races were bound to get invitations because people want to see the best riders & sponsors want their exposure but basically it was “a sport”

    …in my opinion it started becoming this big business about the time our own ‘greg lemond’ influenced the pay structure within the riders ranks, which was in & of itself a good thing as regards the guys who put their lives on the line but the bottom line is that more money = more concerns…it speaks for itself…

    …fast forward…the uci organizes teams with a points ranking system which evolves into the ‘pro tour/world tour’ format wherein their rules define who races what…

    …major race organizers started aligning themselves with other organizers or race promotion companies were being bought & taken over & basically it’s evolved into a power struggle, one that mcquaid denies is happening because his contention is that the uci & only the uci controls the rules that govern the sport…

    …yet it would seem that he who curries favor with mcquaid, verbruggen & the uci stands a much better chance of being heard…ie: the aso…vaughters, bugno & the rider’s organizations aren’t currying any favors right now…

    …the riders suggest hell has broken out, mcquaid decries that & contends all is status quo…

    …my opinion…

    …better racing without tactical info via radios from director sportifs…

    …better racing without strategic favoritism by the uci…oh, & fuck you, contador…you deserve 2 years starting now…no retrograding…

  8. Being in the position of McQuaid, and nothing good comes at you. I can’t imagine being able to deal with that. Regardless of the tact, the lack of “respect” for riders, and whatever other emotional motivation there is to be against his logic, the bottom line is that the events are controlled largely by the Directors in the cars.

    Cycling rides the fence between being a human endeavor, and a race of machines. Auto racing has radios which are used to relay technical data and issues of safety – such as crashes on course, but it is the driver who controls the situation. Quarterback’s have radios so that they can be told what play to make. Marathon runners do not have radios. They again, are in control of their race. There’s a middle ground here that the UCI/USA Cycling will probably miss entirely.

  9. Radios? That’s what’s fuck up in cycling? Radios? McQuaid’s a long winded motherfucker isn’t he. I’m guessing he can’t figure out how the UCI could profit by “pinching” the communication company’s supplying radios to teams.

  10. …the logistics of starting a new ‘league’ would be a fucking nightmare but maybe that’s what johann bruyneel sees himself as doing (& i’m betting he’d be ‘the commish’) for the next bunch a’ years…

    …anyway, here’s a good time-line of the stuff i glossed over in the fight through the last 6 years & if you follow it you’ll note a lotta foes became friends & friends became foes n’ back again…

    …maybe they need a new organization, maybe they don’t, maybe they feel like with all the political machinations within the sport over the last few years that this is the only way they’ll be heard in the long run but christ almighty, with all the constant pissing & moaning, all the constant controversies over this issue, that issue & everybody pulling every which way, it’s amazing any of us give a fuck anymore…

    …than, along comes that great race, that great stage, maybe just that great 4-rider break & your heart is going “man…fucking beautiful…that was awesome…jeez, i love this sport !!!”

    …what a dichotomy…just sayin’…

  11. The organization said the decision was made “based on concerns raised by cycling’s international federation, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).”

    “concerns”??! Seriously? How about threats?

    The height of irrelevance, by and of both organizations. Two overgrown children playing hard and upping the ante until one goes crying home to momma would be more noteworthy than this spectacle.

  12. I still don’t buy the whole “safety” argument. The way you hear some people talk, you’d think the majority of riders are just puttering along looking for a fellow cyclist in need to help out with their trusty radio. Have these people actually met any bike racers?

    In most auto racing series, safety information is relayed to drivers primarily by a big yellow slow-the-fuck-down light on the dash. There’s no dicking around with trying to relay information through a bunch of two way radio channels. If the pack needs a heads up, a race marshal hits the button, and everyone gets the message.

    Besides, all of these bikes are already equipped with RF transponders. For less than the cost of a fresh cassette, they could be upgraded to GPS and used to report crashes real time.

  13. The motorsports analogy is an interesting one. I think the FIA has gone too far down the techy path. For a couple of seasons there, teams could remap engine ignition, fuel and intake geometry in “real time” as the car lapped the circuit. And after literally billions of dollars sunk into aerodynamics (the big teams run full-scale, full-speed, rolling-floor wind tunnels), the cars look like oragami toys, not cars. Meh.

    So yeah, maybe ditch the 2-way comms.

  14. Shit, aside from NPR I never get no good radio ’round here.
    I wanna hear what the shaversports get to listen to that’s got Pat’s nuts in a knot.
    It must be better than on shrooms to cause such a tizzy.

    Hell, ban team cars and put ’em all on fixies like the old days.
    Straighten that shit right out!

    I’m drunk and I rode a bike today.

  15. Kilgore— & shrooms would cancel each other out totally. Might as well watch TV.

  16. …wait a minute…you mean if i listen to authentic latin salsa music on THAT’S what patty mcquaid means by ‘race radio’ just ‘cuz i’m a white guy ???…holy sheesh…

    …i’ll never ‘river dance’ again just to spite that irish so n’ so…

  17. Maybe the race radio should be the same channel for all riders and DS (so they can use secret word “the carrots are raw, I repeat the carrots are raw, er, fuck ATTACK ATTACK ATTACK etc) and whowever won the previous stage gets to choose the music.

    People would be leaving their small intestine by the roadside to stop Zabrisky or Thor winning – even their teamates, especially their teamates…


  18. …finally the uci has appealed to cas as regards the farce of a ruling by that fucking spaniard contador’s home federation…

    …small mercies…

  19. Chris Owen wins. Fuck the radios.

    L.A. does not need the support of his gub’ment. He has the support of corporate america which wields more power anyway. The bonds trial is playing out before our eyes, and Nowitsky evidence gathered out of dumpsters is not being allowed. Will see how it plays out. Will prolly have a lot ot say about how LA’s trial plays out too, although Bonds did not ride on a gub’ment entity sponsored team….and shit.

  20. point being, Spanish gov overturned conviction (or whatever) for its top doper. We throw our top doper to the curb. Interesting jux is all I’m say’n.

  21. …all the legal pundits out here say the very worst case scenario for barry bonds is house arrest for a limited time…the precedent was already set by the same judge for several others involved…

    …now, his friend & trainer greg anderson is ‘doing time’ & won’t role over on him so the speculation is that there will be a nice pay-off for greg, somewhere down the road…

    …as far as the armstrong situation: they might make him or at least his lawyers ‘sweat’ for a while (despite his claims of non-concern) but he ain’t going to jail nor should he…

    …sorry to disappoint some of you but it ain’t gonna happen… channel a ‘chauncey gardiner’ theory: “…& while it takes stinky horse manure to grow a good rose garden, in the end, the bad smell fades & everything flourishes…”

    …while some people may look critically at mr armstrong when the full scope of the investigation comes to light, i’ll guarantee you that in the end, lance fucking armstrong will come out smelling like a rose…

  22. the anti-la sentiment doesn’t make any sense to me. I guess people are just offended that their is no more fairy tale. Dude has my vote just because he beat the system. He’ll be this system that is against him too, as you suggest, bgw.

  23. …& as far as spain is concerned ???…they definitely have a love affair with themselves…

    …maybe after years of living under franco it’s somewhat “understandable” but that doesn’t mean it should be accepted when it involves the outcome of a situation with international implications…

  24. difference btwn what bonds did and how he profited and what LA did and how and who he profited is night and day. I don’t recall Bonds turning a disease into a brand….for immense profits.

  25. …& popularity is popularity & both those guys are popular despite allegations directed at them…

    …the lance-ster has got the whole ‘world wide’ thingy going on & while bonds may get vilified in a lotta ball towns, it’s different here in the bay area…some a’ the locals might find that “the bloom is off the rose” but i highly doubt he’s paying for his own drinks unless he prefers to…

  26. Fraud is fraud true. My point is it is one thing to dupe people into believing you achieved sporting greatness on your own record breaking selfishness, it is another thing to then use that fraud to dupe people into supporting a a cancer foundation and a cancer “brand”. I believe that once you start fucking with people’s loved one’s hope on survival of cancer and once you you turn that hope into profits it becomes a whole new animal. If LA only took drugs to win then it is the same thing but in my opinion what LA did took sporting fraud to a whole different level with the whole Livestrong BS.

    Big picture Nowitsky and the gub’ment are not just taking on LA, the are taking on Nike and big Pharma corporate $…..

  27. well, I guess I concur to that extent. My bet however, is that when this whole thing concludes, nothing will have changed. Big Pharma is too big to be affected I’m guessing. Maybe L.A. will become the patsy.

  28. Armstrong’s win went beyond not only cycling, but sport
    itself; the universal dread of cancer and his triumph over
    it made him an inspiration and symbol of hope for
    millions around the world, showing there could not only
    be life after cancer, but a better life than before.There is
    no better evidence of this than the ubiquitous Livestrong
    bracelet, introduced in May 2004.Almost overnight, it
    became a cultural icon, and to date, more than 60 million
    have sold worldwide for at least $1 each or been given
    away with Nike merchandise.Imitation being the
    sincerest form of flattery, colored rubber bracelets are
    now a generic item, made for most any purpose.
    As his agent, Bill Stapleton explained, “In the beginning
    we had this brash brand of Texan…a phenomenon.Then
    you layered in cancer survivor, which broadened and
    deepened the brand, but even in 1998 there was very
    little corporate interest in Lance.Then he won the Tour
    de France, and the brand was complete.You layered in
    family man, hero, comeback of the century, all these
    things.And then everybody wanted him.”
    With a team of handlers to shape his image and guide his
    every move, Armstrong was ready for the ensuing deluge
    of multimillion dollar endorsements and media coverage…..”

  29. So Dude made mill’ns on hope? What about “hope” isn’t fraudulent anyway?

    This shit smells just like warm apple pie!

  30. …gianni, i’d agree that ‘hope can be fraud’ but then again hope can be a huge inspiration & help in defining ones willpower…

    …think about when you were recovering from the major body slam you took…weren’t there times when you felt so lousy that you had to use hope to bring yourself back around ???…maybe the thought of riding again was pretty fucking intense but i’ll bet you hoped you could get back out there on the bike despite what had happened…

    …personally, right after my major heart surgery whilst still in the hospital & literally feeling weaker than i had ever felt before in my entire life, i would look up at the top of mt tamalpais & i would say both to myself & the mountain – “i’ll be back, you wait & see”

    …initially, i could only walk ever so slowly holding a pillow to my chest for support but i had serious fucking hope to ride & feel free on a bike again…& with a lotta hard work, determination, focus, willpower & hope, before a year was up, a buddy & i rode to the top of that mountain on our cross bikes…

    …nothing wrong with hope if you’re an intelligent human being…banking on hope to solve ones problems might be stupid but using hope as a tool for direction can help work it’s own miracles…

    …just sayin’…

  31. So now we’re to the point that hope is inspiration. Millions gained willpower because of the inspiration that the L.A. machine has fraudulently provided. He should be commended for giving that to the unfortunate army of cancer victims, and not condemned. Hope is a dangerous thing.