Cycling's Civil War

News & Results

11/28/2011| 0 comments
by Neil Browne

Cycling's Civil War

The battle for ownership of professional cycling is heating up.

The battle for ownership of professional cycling is heating up.

Do you remember earlier this year when the ongoing Lance Armstrong investigation was going "full gas?" It seemed like every week we were getting leaked updates regarding the activity of federal investigator Jeff Novitzky. He was in Europe, he was questioning professional riders - Novitzky was everywhere!

To battle the onslaught of negative information aimed at Armstrong, public relations person Mark Fabiani, AKA the Master of Disaster, was brought onto Team Lance. In addition to helping the San Diego Chargers football team, he assisted with Goldman Sachs as they prepared for a congressional subcommittee meeting and even served as special council to President Clinton. Needless to say, when your public image is circling the drain, Fabiani is your guy.

In response to the damaging 60 Minutes television program Fabiani launched a web site called Facts for Lance. Its purpose was to debunk the episode which featured the interview with Tyler Hamilton, spilling the beans about his time on the United States Postal Service cycling team and the doping he claims was part of the squad. Unfortunately the website didn't quite go as planned.

Fabiani might have bought the FactsforLance.com, but he neglected to snap up the .org and .net. He also forgot, or perhaps hadn't heard of, the social media platform called Twitter and didn't claim the FactsforLance Twitter account. While Fabiani might have made that elementary mistake, someone else didn't. The hijacked FactsforLance Twitter passed itself off as a legitimate account but then started to make a mockery of the FactsforLance.com site by directing people to a porn site. Check and mate ...

While everyone sat back and laughed at Fabiani's public relations blunder the UCI obviously took note and was patient. Now fast forward and the greatest threat to the UCI is no longer a pissed off Floyd Landis going Rambo on them or team directors hopping mad about race radios being banned, but the possibility that the rumors of a breakaway cycling league might become a reality.

The financial group Rothschild put together a proposal to create their own professional cycling league. As reported by Cyclingnews.com, the Rothschild proposal was to put "teams at the heart of the event." This new proposed calendar had 40 days of racing but left room for the three Grand Tours because, as everyone knows, without them you have nothing. It's like college basketball without March Madness, NFL without the Superbowl, hockey without that cup thing they get excited about winning - you get the point.

To top it off they even had a proposed name for this calendar of races, "World Series Cycling." I'm not sure how Major League Baseball would feel about that title as they own the phrase, "World Series" for their championships. Ironically the series doesn't include any teams outside of North America - not truly a "World Series" but I digress.

To quote Carl Spackler, groundskeeper in the classic movie Caddyshack, "To kill, you must know your enemy." Wiser words related to warfare have only ever been said by

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