For the rest of today’s post, I’d like to go over an interesting little story that’s been brewing stateside this past week. It seems that one Tyler Hamilton was out racing this past weekend at a local, unsanctioned criterium in Boulder, Colorado. Yeah, he’s supposed to be suspended, but the UCI has no power over unsanctioned events, and Hamilton has done it before without causing problems. For some reason, though, the UCI decided that, this time, it’s not ok, and complained to USA Cycling; USA Cycling reacted by threatening to not exempt UCI License holders (generally Cat 1/Pro racers) at the event from a largely-ignored ban on unsanctioned racing. (UCI Rule 1.2.019). Bisceglia’s comments from a recent Velonews article are as follows:
“They contacted us and asked, â€˜What is Tyler Hamilton doing riding in a bike race with other UCI pros?’ We said it wasn’t sanctioned. They said, â€˜What are you doing allowing suspended riders in non-sanctioned races?’…Our practice is still to allow riders to participate in non-USA Cycling races…But we also have to recognize that we have to support the war on doping.”
With the same pathetic dependency that our President cites the “war on terror”, USA Cycling CEO Gerard Bisceglia has invoked the “war on doping” to try and justify kissing the UCI’s pinky ring in so shameless a fashion. Where was your war on dope last August? Or earlier this month (scroll to bottom)? Only when the UCI comes knocking do you start to care what events your racers do? Honestly, I’m at a loss for words that you’re so dutiful to your Swiss overlords that you’d threaten to suspend riders for competing in a meaningless tune-up criterium series, with apparently no prize money, and where a third of each entry fee goes to a charity, just because some guy who got caught cheating two years ago also happens to be on the start line. What are you gonna do for an encore, guys? Fish all of Hamilton’s dimes out of the Salvation Army bucket? How about you grow a backbone and tell those Euros to knob off and fix the ProTour, instead? After all, if the UCI is going to tell you how to boss us American riders around, why shouldn’t we just eliminate the middleman entirely?