What direction will the winds of change take?
Is change in the wind or is it the sweet scent of revenge?
We can all agree that the UCI needs a complete overhaul from the top managerial level. To be clear: Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen must go.
Anyone who looks at the UCI’s history of intimidation of whistle blowers knows that McQuaid and Verbruggen are the major factors that have put the sport of professional cycling in its dire situation. Anyone who dared speak out about doping was threatened with lawsuits or maligned in press as “scum bags.”
In response Jaimie Fuller, head honcho at compression clothing company Skins, filed a lawsuit against the UCI for damages against his company claiming that McQuaid’s mismanagement of cycling damaged the brand reputation of Skins as they sponsor cycling teams and riders.
Some people scoffed at the lawsuit claiming it was nothing more than a publicity stunt. Others saw it as a legitimate and ballsy action against the sport’s governing body to enact change. From there Fuller’s plan of attack morphed into something called Change Cycling Now (CCN).
The Change Cycling Now group got together this past weekend in London to discuss how cycling can be changed. That irritated the former and now disgraced RadioShack team director Johan Bruyneel who called the group of people “douchebags” and recommended that Team Garmin-Sharp director Jonathan Vaughters should be a part of that group. Bruyneel must be psychic as indeed Vaughters was a surprise guest at the London meeting.
Bruyneel’s tactic is straight from the Lance Armstrong book of flaccid passive-aggressive attacks. What’s funny is this comment is coming from a person who is soon to be a cautionary tale in the annals of cycling. But I digress...
What and who is Change Cycling Now?
The group consists of several cycling luminaries such as journalists Paul Kimmage and David Walsh, Michael Ashenden, Jörg Jaksche, Jonathan Vaughters, Greg LeMond, Eric Boyer and of course Skins chairman Jaimie Fuller.
Rounding out the group was Professor John Hoberman from the University of Texas who according to Velonews “has dedicated nearly three decades of his life to studying doping in sport. Specifically, Hoberman has examined how performance- and image-enhancing drugs intersect with forces as large as international geopolitics and finance, and as mundane as our everyday human ambitions.” That seems like a good person to have as part of a group trying to wrestle with doping in professional sports.
Also attending was Richard Gorman, owner of Trois Etapes, Antoine Vayer – professor of sports and Andy Layhe – co-founder of Bike Pure.
In addition to former pro Vaughters, a couple of other former pro riders were sitting in: Gianni Bugno and Christophe Bassons.
Representing the fans of cycling were Scott O’Raw - co-founder of the Velocast podcast and Festinagirl – owner of an anonymous Twitter account who is a fan of cycling and described on the Change Cycling Now Web site as “social media mover.”
Reading from their “Charter of the Willing” the group believes a truth and reconciliation process needs to take place and “zero tolerance needs to be put on hold.” But it’s not all about holding hands and singing Kumbaya.