Thursday, April 12, 2007

Turmoil, and Another Proposal

The Hundred Years' War: well, the conflagration between UCI, the Grand Tours, and stomped-on offal Unibet continues, as in a pathetic bit of self-preservation UCI's Pat "Dick" McQuaid is now threatening to sue ASO and RCS for breaking the vaunted pre-Paris-Nice "peace deal" to let Unibet romp in their races, after ASO disses 'em again for Liege and Fleche-Wallone, citing legal barriers. Anyway, in a humble attempt to put this drama to rest once and for all, and let everyone get back to bike racing (remember that, you clowns?), I propose the following:

UCI: in addition to being generally loathesome, you acted like a pack of fascist knee-capping bullies in gratuitously jamming known unwanted additional ProTour licenses down the Grand Tour organizers' throats. So they want to invite Chocolade Jacques to the Tour de France, what's it to you? Apologize to them for your deliberate, petty, power-grabbing provocation, and give them a giant wad of cash to buy Unibet's inclusion in the major races (we know they're already letting in Astana.) Then, cut the ProTour license giveaways next season, and quit whining. While we're at it, shut the hell up with the leak-happy dope-fiend-rider slander til you've got concrete proof to back it up.

Grand Tours: you're entirely in the right to resent and despise the way the 3-year-old jailbait ProTour organization tried to hijack you and yours, the most beautiful bike races on the planet. However, you are entirely wussy for targeting helpless baby pawn Unibet for revenge instead of your true, and more formidable, prey UCI. Either sue UCI for interfering with your gigs, or don't. While we're at it, I know Baden Cooke is no Vinokorouv (not least because their roles are so different), but if your bar-none cutoff is really 18 ProTour squads, if you really respect the efforts of the riders--who after all are totally innocent in this--you'll show both some spine and some fair play and either ban both Astana and Unibet from your races, or concede your juvenile gamesmanship on this point and let 'em both in.

Unibet: face facts. UCI pimped you to ASO in the emergency agreement by knowingly acceding to unenforceable language "promising" to "favorably consider" you for their races, in order to protect older, more powerful teams. ASO/RCS' conduct towards you is certainly unfair, but UCI is the true cause of your misery. If they jacked you making promises they couldn't or just plain wouldn't keep, sue em for every damn cent you paid for that useless ProTour license and every damn cent it's cost you since. And next time--be more careful. You took 2 calculated risks: (1) that France and Belgium would keep not enforcing their gambling-advertising rules as they did before you got your license; and (2) that the race organizers would not only do so, too, but would not target you selectively. You lost. Them's the breaks. You did the right thing with those bitchin'-publicity-stunt question mark jerseys, but if that's not enough, and you have to give up the sponsorship, please do right by your riders, soigneurs, and directeur sportifs, and help them find new gigs for '08--don't disgustingly pull a Phonak and shove 'em all out the airplane without a parachute.

Now, shake hands, and go off to your separate rooms for a time-out until you've learned to control yourselves. I've had it with the lot of you, and anyhow it's time for Paris-Roubaix!

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