Sunday, 8 March 2009

Eat yourself fitter.

Keeping up reputations is difficult, no matter who you are, no matter what the reputation is you have to work long and hard to make sure your name doesn't get soiled and shoddy.

So congratulations to the UCI and Uncle Pat. The UCI's reputation for glacial like responses to any crisis in the sport has been upheld. Their snappy response to Stefan Schumacher's doping violation has taken, oh, lets see, July, August, September, October, November, December, january, February, and a couple of spare days.

Still, Stefan, has, as you'd expect, started frothing at the mouth to an even grater extent than he normally does. Here we go: " Without explaining the irregularities. Without a hearing. And without listening to me at all."
I say, old chap, hang on just a cotton picking minute there...
What irregularities? The one that found CERA in your blood? That was pretty irregular, although come to think of it maybe Stefan has a point. During the 2008 Tour de France finding CERA in riders blood wasn't that irregular was it? So maybe Stefan has a point. But come on, not listening to you? FFS, since July it's been almost impossible not to listen to you, the regular updates stuffed down our throats from 'team' Steffan have been of blizzard proportions. Whilst the threats of legal action and the claims of innocence have surpassed anything seen in the insane world of the doper.
No Stefan, we've all been listening and I'll tell you what, we're all fed up to the back teeth with whinging and complaining, we're sick of threats and denials.
You may want to appeal to CAS, but they're gonna be the only people you do appeal to.

IMHO, the only down side to the two year ban is that it will end one day and then we'll have another ex-doper in denial about his past. The only hope then is that the teams actually take some sort of ethical stance and refuse to sign ex-dopers. Er, OK, OK, I know........ never gonna happen is it? Or maybe .... just maybe......

That's it you're banned, it's just you're not banned yet.

And don't worry about the UCI getting up to speed just yet. The proposed 15 day ban for anyone with a hematocrit level above 50, now almost a year in the making, is still inching it's way towards realaisation.
Apparently the UCI are a bit short of manpower, well you know how it is, how can you be expected to investigate riders blood levels when there canapes to eat and hands to be shaken.
Uncle Pat has said that they are concentrating on finding 'positive' cases and need 'world-renowned experts in this field' to do it. Now I must have the wrong end of the stick, cos I thought the whole point of having the 50 % rule was that it was going to be easy(ish) to manage. Get the 'A' sample tested, it's above 50%, the rider then gets a 15 day chance to go shopping, get the 'B' sample tested, it's above 50% there is further investigation and the UCI take three years to make a decision, they then apply a retrospective ban and you can race next week, or something like that.

There have been whispers of riders getting stopped for having levels above 50% for months, there has been talk of a 'list' of riders with questionable blood values and the number of riders mentioned has varied between 'none' and 'some'. But as yet there has despite what seems to be a considerable investment in time and resource not much to show for it.

Meanwhile on the Roads of the UK.

We're running out of races, well I say we, if you're at the level of average, poor or crap as I am, then there are events a plenty. If however you want to race the premier calendar you'd better look sharp cos events are dropping like flies.
The problem is, from what I can see, two fold, one finance. It costs a hell of a lot to fund a premier calendar event and for a sponsor there's not much return, oh sure you'll get coverage in Cycling Weekly and it will be talked about on various forums, but that's about it. The second is the insane way bike racing is organised in the UK, I'm not talking about the way clubs, regions or the BC put on events I'm talking about the laws of the land. A race can cross several county lines and as it moves from one county to another so it moves from the whims of one police chief constable to another. Something that was OK five kilometers down the road is now a questionable activity and the local boys in blue have been instructed to pull the race over and warn the riders about, oh, I don't know, too much swearing in the peloton, or whatever. Down the road you didn't have to pay for a police escort, but now you do, and if the lead commissaire doesn't have enough lose change in the glove compartment the race will soon enough be heading back to the changing room.

So what is to be done Well BC are trying to chip away to 'the powers that be' to get some sort of national strategy. This has been going on for a while, the problem seems to be that, it's government and as such moves at a speed even Uncle Pat would describe as 'bloody slow' and that until recently BC didn't carry much weight in Westminster. Well,I don't know if they do now, but they have a higher profile due to their Olympic success and we all know how politicians like to rub up against people more successful and famous than they are. (they also like to rub up against other people as well, but that's a matter for the courts, if you ask me).
Funny isn't it, if 10 years ago BC said they were talking to politicians to develop a national 'racing on the highway' strategy, I'd have said 'bollocks, it'll never happen', but now I'm more likely to say 'oh, good luck to em, I think they might just get somewhere'. Maybe I'm becoming less cynical, God, that's a depressing thought.


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