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.

Sun Tzu. The UCI must have been taking notes from the Fabiani faux pas because when they caught wind of the Rothschild group's proposed name, "World Series Cycling, " someone in Aigle quickly went on-line, whipped out the corporate UCI American Express black card and according to Cyclingnews bought the domain names worldseriescycling.com, .org, and .net. While the UCI hasn't learned from their own mistakes, they are certainly a quick study when it comes to the mistakes of others.

I have to say - that was a master move by the UCI to screw over an opponent. In this Internet age, a web site is a major piece of the public relations and media puzzle. Another example of a domain name already owned is tourofcolorado.com, which caused grief to the USA Pro Cycling Challenge - the wildly successful stage race in Colorado. But what does that name even mean? It makes me think of a "Fear Factor" type competition that requires professional cyclists to do stunts like jump their bike through a flaming hoop or in the case of the Schlecks ride a bike downhill. But the organizers of this Colorado stage race had their hands tied - someone owned the phrase, "Tour of Colorado" and they weren't about to give it up. I'm not sure why they didn't name their stage race the "Tour of the Rockies," but I'm guessing that had legal issues too? I'm just thankful that we didn't get "presented by Quiznos" tacked onto the end of that mouthful of a title.

So in cycling's civil war it looks like Rothschild made the first aggressive move of trying to storm the UCI castle. However, they made the strategic blunder of failing to do any reconnaissance on the target. Sure Rothschild made the psychological move by trying to win the hearts and minds of the principal players (owners and riders) by offering a percentage of the media revenues - something team owners would love to get their hands on. However, that only goes so far, and victory usual comes down to who has the biggest f'ing gun on the battlefield. So what is that BFG? It's the Grand Tours and they're part of the UCI calendar.

From here on out I predict the Rothschild proposal will continue to be a sore subject with the boys in Aigle. There will be more sniping from the bushes as team owners will continue to apply pressure. In return for following the UCI plan and not joining the rebel alliance there will be a relaxed stance on the race radio debate (remember that?) and the concept of charging teams for the biological passport program will fade away like a bad dream.

As mentioned this new WSC has room in the calendar for the three Grand Tours but doesn't name them explicitly. For this new proposed race calendar to become a true threat to the UCI regime it needs the ASO on board. The Grand Tours are the atomic bomb in this analogy. You can claim to have any type of breakaway league you

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