I’ll Make You Rich Part IV – LBL

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Thanks to Mark at www.zeitgeistimages.co.uk for allowing me to use the above image.  His cycling/art-deco inspired work is tremendous – click here to buy his Liege-Bastogne-Liege piece.  Follow Mark on Twitter @MrMarkFairhurst

When my 2 picks for Paris-Roubaix arrived in the velodrome in the leading group of 5, you could have forgiven me for whooping and a hollering.  I was imagining spending my winnings on not one but three new Castelli Gabba jackets.

So imagine the deafening silence in my head when they finished 3rd and 5th (Stannard and Bousson Hagen respectively).  I still made a profit but it’ll probably only cover a couple of brake blocks and it takes a lot to stop a big unit like me, so they won’t last long.

Onwards. More

Good Idea – Wrong Person

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So Sir Dave Brailsford has called on the UCI to require World Tour teams to publish their rider performance numbers in the interests of transparency, similar to what Chris Froome did last month.
It certainly appears positive that the head of the world’s best team (well, best resourced team) is making such a statement.
Team Sky has a well stated zero tolerance policy for doping which even includes zero tolerance for any of their non-riding staff who may have been implicated in past misdemeanours. We saw the moonlight flits of Bobby Julich, Steven de Jong and Sean Yates.
Furthermore, David Walsh, that bastion of integrity when it comes to outing the dopers concluded after spending a good while inside Team Sky that they’re doing it clean.
And Chris Froome’s numbers published in December kind of stack up too.
So what else can Sir Dave and the men in Rapha gear do?
Well to be honest Sir Dave shouldn’t be calling any shots at all. He and all his World Tour counterparts should be towing the line. It is the UCI which is responsible for anti-doping policy and they should be imposing whatever action they feel necessary to further enhance the credibility of top tier cycling.
Remember what happened with Lance Armstrong? He dictated the UCI anti-doping agenda which well suited him and his EPO infested comrades.
We’re supposed to jump for joy when no positive tests showed up in this year’s Tour De France (I exclude Luca Paulini as he was taking cocaine to dance better rather than ride faster) or the Vuelta but the dark clouds and mistrust of the Armstrong era still hang over the sport. It’s almost like the till balancing to the penny at the end of trading, desirable, but highly unlikely and an indicator of fraud.
I’m not a naysayer, I believe in this sport and I believe in the efforts being made throughout the peloton to deliver tremendous racing and therefore great entertainment. I believe in Sir Dave Brailsford, Jonathan Vaughters and Brian Smith.
I believe in Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana, Tom Dumoulin and Peter Sagan.
I can even just about believe in Alberto Contador and Alejandro Valverde.
But I don’t believe in Alexander Vinikourov, Bjarne Riis or Matt White and I don’t believe in the governing body’s anti-doping protocols being driven by the very people it may one day have to sanction for breaches of such protocols.
It’s because of these characters and Sir Dave’s so-called advice that the UCI needs to impose its authority by either getting them out of the sport or being creative in how it deals with the issues. European Law more or less discounts the former as an option so it’s the latter route that has to be pursued.
And to be fair, the UCI is trying to reform but it’s a slow process with many barriers including the owners of the Tour De France and the Vuelta (ASO), sponsors who may get scared off at the thought of longer term commitments and the general constipation usually experienced in Civil Service departments where inertia is the easy way out.
So what about a stage plan as follows:
1. Hand over responsibility for the anti-doping programme entirely to an independent body;
2. Have clear policies and legal standing so that the Astana debacle of late 2014/early 2015 doesn’t happen again; and
3. Change the structure of racing to enable more stability for riders, particularly those young riders who are trying to make a career in the sport without either forcing them out or forcing them down a road to ruin.
Anyway, who am I?
Viva pan y agua.

The Giant