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The VV View: The UCI is Always Right?


The UCI is Always Right?  Not for the first time, I’m confused by the actions of our sport’s governing body.

The UCI is Always Right

First, let me quote what World Track Championship scratch and madison animator Andreas Müller told me the other day regarding rulings by the commissairs in Melbourne;

“I ride a Ritchey stem which has tiny worlds bands on it – I’ve ridden with it for years, but the commissairs told my manager that I couldn’t ride with them on my bike or I would get fined.

And Franco Marvulli, [four times a world track champion, ed] had to cover up the worlds bands on his frame.”

I also heard that reigning world madison champion, Cameron Meyer received a warning for sporting worlds bands on his BT – and had to cover them up or risk a big fine.

Presumably these rulings are in the interests of preserving the value and dignity of the ‘arc-en-ciel’ as the ultimate symbol of achievement in cycling.

The UCI is Always Right
Cam’s seat cluster. Pretty trick, but not allowed at certain events!

These judgements may seem a tad extreme, but perhaps they’re understandable – after all, it makes me ‘tut’ and sigh when I see some guy who’s as fat as I am slog past in a rainbow jersey.

Dave would ‘gas them’ – but maybe that’s taking it a bit far.

But my befuddlement was complete when I read this on Cycling News, this morning:

“Cycling legend Erik Zabel will ride the first annual Berkshire Cycling Classic in Lenox, Massachusetts on May 6, 2012, event organiser Sparta Cycling announced on Thursday.

“The event is the American stop on the fifteen-event UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT) for 2012 through 2014. The rides are held as Cyclosportif (or Gran Fondo) event formats.

“The UWCT is a series of UCI-sanctioned Gran Fondo/Cyclosportif events that are held around the globe.

“The top 25 percent in each age group of the qualifiers will automatically have the right to compete in the UWCT Final and race for a UCI rainbow jersey.”

Let’s just clarify this – reigning world champions cannot sport worlds bands on their machines but ‘mass participation’ riders can vie for a rainbow jersey?

The UCI is Always Right
Eddie Merckx’s World Champion bands.

The same one which Reg Harris, Hugh Porter and Tom Simpson have worn.

And let’s not forget that there are no ‘controles’ in Fondos – Raimondas Rumsas was (and probably still is) a top man on the Italian Fondo scene.

As they say in Hollywood, let’s ‘cut to the chase’ – the only reason for this charade is money.

Any currency will do fine; Dollars, Euros or preferably, Chinese Yuan.

On the one hand the rainbow bands are sacrosanct, but a rainbow jersey for what I think we used to call ‘reliability trials’ is fine as long as there’s a buck in it for the UCi?

And we know now that as long as you come up with the hard currency your race can go straight to the World Tour – even if you have to blackmail the teams into participating.

What happened to ‘origin, history and palmares?’ – they’re irrelevant if you have the hard currency.

The UCI is Always Right
Napoleon and Squealer.

It’s becoming more Orwellian with each decision – I was reminded of the passage in Animal Farm which reads;

‘Without saying anything, she tugged gently at his mane and led him round to the end of the big barn, where the Seven Commandments were written.

For a minute or two they stood gazing at the tatted wall with its white lettering.

My sight is failing,” she said finally.

Even when I was young I could not have read what was written there. But it appears to me that that wall looks different. Are the Seven Commandments the same as they used to be, Benjamin?

For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall.

There was nothing there now except a single Commandment.

It ran:


The UCI is Always Right
The UCI’s Mr. McQuaid with his predecessor Mr. Verbruggen.