The UCI is UC-Less

Dec 1 2010

UPDATE 10 Feb 2015: the UCI—or more likely, their low-bid legal agents—have taken down the “UCI-Less” bumper sticker from Zazzle. Strangely, they seem not have have found the t-shirt. Can’t complain about that.

UCI-Less T-shirt anti-UCIAh, the UCI. Perhaps no governing body is held dear in the hearts of those it lords over, but is any so particularly unfit to lead as cycling’s?

From picking unnecessary fights with the organizers of the biggest races it manages, to failing utterly at the enforcement and transparency of its drug testing, the UCI is is remarkably consistent in its ability to fumble on the sports biggest issues. But what’s truly remarkable is how it’s able to carry this broad-picture ineptitude down to the tiniest minutiae of the sport.

Cyclocross has been a particularly egregious example. For years the UCI held out against disc brakes, only deigning to allow them in competition after the maximum width for tires was narrowed from 34 to 33mm. And now—though discussion on the USAICO newsgroup is still pretty opaque—it seems to be placing a punitive ban on UCI events that were part of non-UCI recognized series—such as the United State’s NACT and Verge NECCS events.

UCI-Less Bumper StickerI’m not saying the UCI does nothing for me/most of you as a fans and racers, but outside of producing decent educational videos, I’m having a hard time getting my head around how the UCI’s efforts benefit anyone but themselves.

Maybe some of you disagree, but if the Twitters are any indication, most of you don’t. So I’ve put together a t-shirt and a bumper sticker to share your feelings with the world.

(report this ad)

13 Responses to “The UCI is UC-Less”

  1. Jay Parkhill 1 December 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    They are all bad. FIFA officials appear to sell votes in exchange for contributions to national programs, the US baseball and football commissions refused even to discuss doping until athletes were in jail for actual criminal doping acts and from what I understand the the grandaddy of all sporting organizations, the IOC, is basically a smorgasbord of expensive gifts from hopeful sports and countries.

  2. Barry 2 December 2010 at 8:38 am #

    The UCI is no different than any other regulator these days, whether it is fisheries, finance or housing markets. People behind the scenes put muppets in charge and empower them because they do not want to be held accountable by those with enough sense to impose sanity on the situation at hand.

    Pat McQuaid is a great example of this. If Armstrong’s camp was bribing the past president as asserted by Landis then they had to make sure the next in line was cut from the moral fabric to keep these balls rolling. Hell, taking a donation from a rider and standing up to defend it reveals many aspects of character.

    It all stinks.

  3. benDE 2 December 2010 at 9:41 am #

    It’s a double edged sword, isn’t it? The UCI is charged with growing the sport. No one states this more often than P. McQuaid. Even if all accusations are true that people have been stating for years that there is a ‘mafia in cycling’ as Hamilton told Neil Rodgers in 2008 (read Armstrong, Johan, Pat), then look at the outcome today. Cycling during the reign of Armstrong, Ullrich, et al simply exploded. Ask any American and they will ask you Eddie who? Mention Armstrong and they will tell you about Ms. Crow, one ball, the cancer holy warrier, Texas, and on and on. For purists and more involved fans this is all aggrivating: Like Hollywood discovering your favorite IPA.

    But if you are in the sport to make a living then this is a big deal. You might have romantic visions of the way things were in a better time but the truth is a rising tide lifts all ships and Anglo/American interest in the sport certainly raises all ships. Americans camp out in front of closed shopping centers on a holiday to have the opportunity to be the first to spend money!! These suckers you WANT ON BOARD AT ANY PRICE.

    The after effects of this era have been unpleasant to say the least but even in its wake I like what I am seeing. The sport is becoming ever more international in events, participation, and fanbase. And all is not lost: there are teams that are participating at the highest levels with a sincere interest in morality and good management. And more on the way?

  4. dirty_juheesus! 3 December 2010 at 2:21 am #

    Cosmo,

    Adam Myerson and the other ‘cross series’ promoters are getting burned by USAC/UCI. The ruling is about events sanctioned as ‘series.’

    It’s 1/2 that Yankees having almost no business near the front of a World Cup field but are getting there on points collected in the U.S. at events that probably don’t meet all of the UCI’s rules. For example, there has to be an ‘International field’ and I doubt those series are meeting that requirement. The Contiental pros have a valid point.

    The other half is USAC/UCI are driving enthusiasts away… Again. USAC/UCI operate in perfect uniformity so the sh!t just rolls right down hill slaughtering promoters and competitive cycling enthusiasts. This is Weisel and Armstrong’s forte’. I think it’s a misguided sense of being deliberately obtuse and difficult in order to simulate ‘elite’ and ‘desirable.’ Instead, they just drive everyone away.

    to failing utterly at the enforcement and transparency of its drug testing

    Still missing the point on this issue. Pat doesn’t want any bad press with dead-from-PED’s riders. Go ahead and dope because it makes racing more spectacular. Just don’t kill anyone else.

  5. Sebastian 4 December 2010 at 2:08 pm #

    “Cycling during the reign of Armstrong, Ullrich, et al simply exploded. Ask any American and they will ask you Eddie who? Mention Armstrong and they will tell you about Ms. Crow, one ball, the cancer holy warrier, Texas, and on and on . . . You might have romantic visions of the way things were in a better time but the truth is a rising tide lifts all ships and Anglo/American interest in the sport certainly raises all ships.”

    This is because Americans like to watch other Americans win things. If Fausto Coppi had been from the Bronx, the sport would have “exploded” in the 1950s. I’m not sure what the UCI has to do with any of this.

  6. benDE 5 December 2010 at 11:29 am #

    Exactly!! I think we are saying the same things. UCI wanted to build a broader base, America being the biggest prize of all. Armstrong gave them that chance. And if the fine young man happens to have any ‘trouble’ along the way the UCI will be there to keep the rubber side down for him.

  7. dirty_juheesus! 10 December 2010 at 3:36 am #

    Sebastian,

    I was there in the U.S. in the Dopestrong/Ulrich era and it was a superbly obsure sport. Football/basketball was the order of the day. Cycling was an obscure sport then.

    It’s important to differentiate between Dopestrong’s 7x and competitive cycling in the U.S. Beyond the TdF wins, there’s no interest.

  8. mperrone 14 December 2010 at 9:38 am #

    …does it come with a UCI-approved sticker on it?

  9. dave 14 December 2010 at 4:17 pm #

    @dirty_juheesus! while most of your thought is correct (opinion up for debate, Johnson and Powers definitely belong at the front, imho), your example of a UCI infraction is incorrect. It is the verge series that is being punished, not the individual races; also, afaik only UCI C1 races need a specific number of international racers, when a race submits for a UCI C1 inscirption they have have to include this count; a majority of the races in the US are UCI C2. Specific issue to the New England Verge Series (all UCI C2) is that there were more than 8 races in the series.

    But that gets to the heart of this, the UCI doesn’t like that the top spots in the world rankings are going to Americans that stay home, the UCI wants to protect it’s World Cup properties as the top series of the world, look at the new rules with regards to C1 inscriptions: it used to be that no C1s on the day-of a World Cup race, now it’s no C1s on the weekend-of a World Cup race.

  10. Kim William 23 December 2010 at 4:48 pm #

    Sebastian, I was there in the U.S. in the Dopestrong/Ulrich era and it was a superbly obsure sport. Football/basketball was the order of the day. Cycling was an obscure sport then. It’s important to differentiate between Dopestrong’s 7x and competitive cycling in the U.S. Beyond the TdF wins, there’s no interest.

  11. Anonymous 23 December 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    Hey cosmo- i would be happy to see adds if it would mean more time on blog posts and less time on product development……

  12. Tom 6 January 2011 at 1:38 pm #

    I support your position for the reason that the UCI is trying to kill track racing.

  13. bike clothing 7 September 2011 at 2:44 am #

    HOO, it’s a great t-shirt. i like this color .
    Cycling was an obscure sport then.
    Cyclocross has been a particularly egregious example.

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