Friday, 20 February 2009

Remember when a bike looked like a bike?

UCI Rule 1.3.024, the famous 3:1 rule is giving me a headache. It's giving the pro teams a headache and it's giving the man at the local hardware store who sells tape measures a little extra profit.
So thank you Mr Vaughters, who has managed to calm down the UCI and thus enable the TT stage of the Tour de California to proceed as planned.

You will know, I'm sure, the famous saying 'rules are meant to be broken'. And nowhere is this more the case than in cycling. Of course, with us, there is a slight twist to the famous phrase. In cycling the phrase should read 'Rules are meant to be broken, but only by the UCI who draw them up, woe betide anyone else who breaks them, even if they have broken them before with the tacit approval of the UCI.' OK, I admit it's a bit of a mouthful (as the actress said to the vicar), but that is pretty much how the UCI seem to interpret any of their rules.

You may well remember Graham Obree. Graham broke records like there was no tomorrow, on bikes he designed himself, bikes that were designed to go fast, not it seems to correspond to the UCI rule book. Well that is until you actually looked at the UCI rule book at the time and realised there wasn't much in it that made Grahams bike illegal. But that didn't stop the UCI buggering Graham about. A bike that was OK yesterday was never gonna be OK today. If the UCI official woke up with a headache then Graham was in trouble, as he found that this bike contravened the 'spirit of cycling' or was hit by some other catch all argument that would stop him riding. Quite what this 'spirit of cycling' is was never made clear, although judging by the UCI's actions on doping it sure as hell don't include a serious attempt at stopping performance enhancing drugs or going after dope cheats.

Please don't knock on my door.

Meanwhile athletes from various sports are complaining about the whereabouts system. Now I pretty much know where I'll be most days, I have a routine. And guess what, if you're an athlete you will have a routine as well, training, rest and competition. It'll all be laid out for you on a week by week basis. If it isn't you should get a new coach.

IMHO athletes that whinge about having to tell the anti-doping authorities where they are for 1 hour a day are as good as dopers, you have a phone, you can text, you can email or your coach can do it for you if you're too stupid to press the enter key - apparently one of their 'genuine' concerns is that if they press the enter key incorrectly three times, it will constitute a failed drugs test. Well if that's a problem for you perhaps you should stop dragging your knuckles along the ground, stop complaining and do something else for a living.


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