Shaving my legs, so you don't have to!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Open Letters (St. Paddy's Day Hangover Special)

This little "nugget" of craziness dropped on the cycling world today and over the course of its audacious breadth I'm surprised the word "troll" wasn't utilized at least once by its author, UCI Supremo Pat McQuaid.  With tactics ripped directly from the pages of the Tiger's Blood Tactical Manual of PR Management, Mr. McQuaid wrote an "Open letter to the Riders," wherein he promptly stuck his virtual foot in his virtual mouth, placed his fingers in his ears, and started screaming, "I can't hear you! I'm not listening! I can't hear you!" over and over again.

Photo: © Sirotti
Pat McQuaid & his best friend, Johan Bruyneel 

This letter has gone viral in the cycling world like a bad rash irritates, or an equally well thought out ode regarding Friday as a day of the week infects.  Now don't get me wrong, personally I would like to see a reduction in the use of the radio as a tactical tool in the peloton:
  The safety argument is reasonable, especially when one considers a situation like Pedro Horrillo's at the Giro. What seems to be ignored by both sides of this argument is that these issues can be readily addressed with the use of different channels. Let riders have their earpieces and microphones so as to be able to speak with each-other and to their car, all the while listening to safety road condition updates from a neutral feed (could be provided by an ex-pro on a moto ahead of the race). Riders could notify car of a flat, an accident, need for bottles, food, etc. as they do now. They could communicate strategy amongst themselves, and they could warn of safety and/or unforeseen incidents. The riders on the road would be controlling their strategy and adjusting their team tactical situation (for good or bad) all by themselves on the road: Who follows which attack? Who's keeping track of the bib #s in a break? Are their interests threatened? Who should go on the attack? Who should protect who? And so on...
 All I want is to see is the immediate coaching from the car diminished... a well run team will know its roles and be prepared for many different scenarios on the fly, like a good jazz band with no need of a conductor. I'm interested to see how some teams respond to having their music notes taken away, because they haven't yet mastered all the tools of the trade. Take the microphone out of the team car...
 It's unfortunate that this issue has turned into the only FOR and only AGAINST rope on which the sport's politics currently choose to tug; a solution is readily available that would satisfy race organizers, fans, and TVs' concerns while equally allowing for the advancements in team communication (and safety) that have entered the peloton... 
-Me (commenting on Felix Hemsley's Blog "Cycling in the Crowd")

a "tactical tool"

Unfortunately McQuaid's letter most likely closes the door on compromise on this matter, and it seems to me, this is exactly what he wants, as his "Mirror Universe" counterpoint @UCI_Overlord (Not Pat McQuaid) so eloquently satirizes on

As others have pointed out, it takes a certain lack of insight to take on one of the fans' most beloved riders in such a pedantic and patronizing way, and I'll let Jens have his ear-piece because of it.  One tidbit McQuaid squeezes onto his steaming pile of sophistry warns of an equally dark future for fans of the sport:
UCI is aware of steps being taken to set up a private league, World Cycling Tour, outside UCI, by certain team managers. I wonder will the financial benefits they are chasing benefit you, the riders. Somehow I think not! I quote Johan Bruyneel “I've been laying the framework for something great… But you'll just have to wait and see…”
Open-wheeled car racing in the United States has yet to recover from the IRL vs. CART war (Car & Driver). If the UCI and a League of ExtraOrdinary Cyclists go head to head, Beljum Budder will have to formulate a special cream for the reaming us fans will be forced to take.

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