tuesday 14 December 2010 at 01h15

When the President of the International Cyling Union (UCI), Pat McQuaid, speaks to the media, that hardly ever happens without a bunch of discussions taking place afterwards. Whether he's talking about Contador's case or the conflict with the AFLD, his statements rarely remain unnoticed ... either by the main actors in the topics he's talking about or by cycling fans in general.

This was again the cas in the interview which was published today, Monday 13 December 2010, in the French sports newspaper L'Equipe ... From globalisation to reducing the length of the Giro and the Vuelta, let's have a quick look at this interview!

In a half-page interview with the title The world's getting smaller, Pat McQuaid today explained his views on 3 big topics in L'Equipe today: globalisation, the cycling sport in France and doping. On each of these topics his statements might hurt some people ...


Globalisation ... and the Giro and the Vuelta with a reduced length?!

Globalisation has been the main leitmotiv for the UCI and thus for Pat McQuaid since the Hein Verbruggen period.

When McQuaid is talking about it, you can see his passion for the globalisation of cycling. When talking about the recently recently anounced Tour of Beijing the UCI President said, without feeling ashamed towards Amaury Sport Organisation, the organisor of the Tour de France: I'm really not worried about the organisation. The two or three current races in China (it seems like he can't count them ... the interactive UCI cycling calendar on www.velowire.com would have told him there are 3 other races in China) are better organised than the Tour de France, according to the managers of the teams which participated in those races. The roads are completely closed to cars and there are thousands of police officers.

That's a nice starter for an interview with the newspaper which is part of the same group as ASO ... maybe he has heard that French races are currently being threatened by the rise in security costs (gendarmerie)?!

Union Cycliste InternationaleConcerning the new countries in the UCI cycling world, McQuaid mentions North-America (with the Grand Prix Cyclistes of Québec and of Montréal) and Oceania (with the Tour Down Under; strange because there are really not many races on the Oceania Tour!!) as inevitable, adding to this: South-America, we're working hard on it to prepare the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 (...) In Africa, the overall level has increased. But the most important place to be is Asia! Of cours, we were all waiting for that Tour of Beijing!

When the L'Equipe journalist tries to talk about the financial aspects of the globalisation, the Irish president immediately adopts a defensive attitude: That's not the reason why we're doing it. Just like we're not trying to kill European cycling as some people say. The history of cycling took place in Europe. Some races are over 100 years old. We'll respect them.
However, not much later he almost admits by saying We need races everywhere to be able to offer a global market to our sponsors. It's important for teams with international sponsors to be at the top level. Cycle manufacturers, which have a much more important role in the teams than before, are also looking for this global market. Would it be a coincidence that the UCI today announced a new homologation programme for products of these same manufacturers?

The Giro and the Vuelta reduced in length?
Just after having reconfirmed he will always respect the "historical" races he talks about the competition which was created between the Giro d'Italia and the Tour of California for 2011 (because of a change in the dates of the Tour of California in the 2011 UCI cycling calendar) and precises: I think we can reduce the Giro and the Vuelta to a few days less. The Tour will always last three weeks. We can not modify the Tour. It's the biggest race, our showcase. Not sure that RCS Sport (the organisor of the Giro) and UniPublic (the organisor of the Vuelta, 49% owned by ASO) think the same!

Doping ... and suspensions up to 4 years

The doping topic of the interview starts with a very intelligent answer by Pat McQuaid to the question The image of cycling is still being polluted by doping: By certain media which think that a cyclist can not do without doping indeed. Wow, at least that's been said!!

Concerning the riders who do cheat, the UCI President talks about the length of the suspensions: I'm in favor of longer suspensions. Those who use EPO should be suspended for four years. OK for longer suspensions but ... why specifically mention EPO?

Pat McQuaid continues: We should distinguish light products from heavy products. EPO, that's bad, that should equal to four years. Ventoline, for example, can be equal to six or nine months.

If we go that direction with different suspension lengths depending on the product being used, the UCI should really make sure to keep the list up-to-date!!


French cycling ... a bit soft!

Bernard HinaultWhen talking about the French teams disappearing from the first division of international cycling, the UCI President doesn't mince his words either: I think French riders are a bit soft. Bernard Hinault is not always nice with them. Well, I agree with him. I think the French teams are too conservative. How do you think to be able to participate at the highest international level when you have a national vision only? You probably remember Team Sky always said its goal is to have a British rider win the Tour de France in the 5 years following the creation of the team, right?!

As a reminder, AG2R-La Mondiale is the only French team on the list of UCI ProTeams in 2011.

Not sure the managers of FDJ and Cofidis will appreciate these statements. Fortunately Jean-René Bernaudeau is being spared: the new sponsor (...) is not (...) Europcar France but (...) Europcar International. Time was too short for him to get a first division licence in 2011. But he'll ask one next year and I think he will recruit some foreign riders. Yes, of course, he probably has to do so because I don't think the 2011 team listing for Europcar would have allowed the team to get a UCI ProTeam status based on their ranking on sports level ...

door Thomas Vergouwen
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7 comments | 16112 views

this publication is published in: UCI ProTour


There are 7 comments!
  1. Bonjour,

    Je souris à la suggestion de Pat Mc Quaid quant à la réduction du Giro (et de la Vuelta). J'ai déjà émis à plusieurs reprises l'idée, apparemment blasphématoire au regard des virulentes réactions qu'elle a suscitées auprès des blogueurs de Paris.thover, d'un Tour d'Italie à quinze étapes. Des considérations géographiques motivent ma requête: la superficie de la Botte ne représente que les trois-cinquièmes de l'Hexagone. Le Président de l'U.C.I. invoque le calendrier et le dispensable Tour de Californie. Par conséquent, nos avis divergent sur le fond.

    René HAMM

    | René HAMM | tuesday 14 December 2010 om 12h22

  2. Ja het is altijd weer lachen om McQuaid als hij de inmiddels klassieke machtsstrijd tussen de UCI en de grote rondes weer laat oplaaien!

    Ik zit helemaal niet te wachten op nog meer van die kleine (vaak niet zo veel voorstellende) rondjes van een week. Je krijgt dan net zoiets als bij het tennis waar elke week wel een klein ATP toernooitje ergens in een uithoek van de wereld is. Leuk voor de lokale sponsors, inderdaad wel goed voor de lokale promotie van de sport, maar internationaal juist negatieve promotie (veel landen zenden wel een derde week Giro of Vuelta op tv uit maar niet een lokaal rondje in Verweggiestan). En daarnaast stellen dit soort rondjes sportief gezien niet zoveel voor (vaak met maar 1 tijdrit en 1 'berg'etappe).

    De uithangborden van het wielrennen zijn (naast de klassiekers) de grote rondes (Net zoals de Grand Slams bij het tennis) en door deze uit te kleden verklein je de 'uithangborden'. Je zou wel kunnen overwegen om enkele gevestigde Europese rondjes te degraderen (Eneco Tour?, Tour de Romandie? Polska Tour?)en te vervangen voor internationale rondjes (Tour of Californie, Tour de Colombia, Tour of Beijing?) Maar dus geen EXTRA rondjes in de World Tour maar gewoon drie weken Giro, Tour en Vuelta!

    Mark Hink

    | Mark | Monday 20 December 2010 om 19h36

  3. @Mark : leuke analyse :-). "Je zou wel kunnen overwegen om enkele gevestigde Europese rondjes te degraderen (Eneco Tour?, Tour de Romandie? Polska Tour?)en te vervangen voor internationale rondjes (Tour of Californie, Tour de Colombia, Tour of Beijing?) Maar dus geen EXTRA rondjes in de World Tour maar gewoon drie weken Giro, Tour en Vuelta!" => helemaal mee eens! Overigens staat de Tour of Beijing officieel nog niet op de UCI wielerkalender voor 2011 maar normaal gesproken komt die daar uiteindelijk wel op te zijn als enige Aziatische nieuweling ...

    | Thomas Vergouwen | tuesday 21 December 2010 om 00h35

  4. Ja toen ik hoorde dat de Tour de Beijing zou worden opgenomen in de World Tour was ik wel wat verbaasd. Ik had gedacht dat ze dan wel een meer gerenomeerde koers als de Tour de Qinghai Lakes of de Tour de Langkawi (beiden 2.HC koersen)zouden gaan promoveren? Maar wellicht is de eerste te hoog (tussen de 1500-3500 meter hoogte) en de tweede in een commercieel minder interessant gebied?

    | Mark | tuesday 21 December 2010 om 18h36

  5. Bonjour, la traduction par Google ou Bing est mauvaise et approximative, c' est pourquoi je me demande si vous êtes partisan d' un Tour du monde en 3 semaines avec 1 semaine en Italie , 1 en France et 1 en Espagne? Ou bien pour le statu-quo actuel. Désolé c' est difficile à bien saisir le sens des contributions de nos amis néerlandophones.

    | pascal51 | Wednesday 12 January 2011 om 11h09

  6. C'est moi qui m'y colle alors ;-).

    Mark disait dans son message qu'il ne voit pas l'intérêt de la création d'une multitude de petits tours d'une semaine. Il précisait que les Grands Tours sont ce qui fait l'image du cyclisme en tant que sport (le grand public ne connaît que ça) et qu'en réduisant ces Grands Tours, on réduise donc de fait l'image du cyclisme.

    Il suggère éventuellement la dégradation de quelques petits tours européens (Eneco, Romandie, Tour de Pologne) pour les remplacer par des petits tours internationaux, évitant ainsi la création de plus de petits tours aux frais des Grands Tours.

    Voilà, j'espère que cette traduction est plus cohérente que celle de Google/Bing.

    | Thomas Vergouwen | Wednesday 12 January 2011 om 21h53

  7. Bonjour et merci, je suis donc d' accord avec Mark. J' ai essayé le logiciel Babylon, c' est pas mieux mais je ne désespère pas d' améliorer ma compréhension de ces langues.

    | pascal51 | Friday 14 January 2011 om 10h53

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