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  • muz

    Good shit, fuck off Verbruggen.

  • Cameron Harris

    These are the clowns the ASO are toying with? It’s kind of funny/sad right now, but it doesn’t give me any confidence that Brian ‘Uncle Fluffy’ Cookson is going to be able to negotiate and deliver an outcome for the good of the sport if he can’t negotiate an ironclad ‘shut up and go away’ with Verbruggen.

    • 900Aero

      I agree, cycling needs to get rid of this parasite and it would seem the only way is by the UCI lawyering-up, a Gentleman’s Agreement is never going to finish anything. Sort out a settlement which ends the whole pathetic circus and ensures Verbruggen never surfaces again, in any form including media comments or any other horseshit. Then bury the thing in a vault in Geneva if they have to. Something the Swiss are usually pretty good at. Could be done by Christmas if you’ve got the right person on the job.

      • Dave

        Dealing with the collapse of the WorldTour (I would give it no more than 40-60 chance of surviving even if the UCI acts now) is probably a more immediate priority – and the first step for that is for Cookson and his vice-presidents to take responsibility and resign immediately with an emergency meeting to elect new leadership no more than a fortnight later.

        The Verbruggen issue could be dealt with at the same emergency meeting – pass a resolution thanking him for his service and either discontinuing the honorary president position or announcing a new honorary president to succeed him.

    • jules

      fair go.. negotiating for someone to not exercise what most people would consider free speech is not a trivial matter. it looks like Cookson has acted in good faith (on behalf of the UCI and cycling) here and I support him in taking a hard line by declining to pay up to Hein when Hein hasn’t fulfilled his part of the bargain. Hein’s behaviour seems typical of an unrepentant bully who has a deep-seated belief he can strong arm his way over anyone and anything. I’ve known a few people like that in my time and I don’t like them. I support Cookson.

      • Cameron Harris

        Oh I agree with all your points, and I’ll agree Cookson seems like a nice guy, a lovely chap. Only problem is that Uncle Fluffy is not what cycling needs right now, given some of the assholes that someone in that role needs to deal with.

        • Dave

          He’s really good at spouting benign platitudes though – exactly the kind of thing which would make him the right man for the honorary president position!

        • jules

          I don’t think he’s being Uncle Fluffy. Cookson is being pragmatic by acknowledging that taking a hard line on Verbruggen is likely to just prolong the public drama and acrimony that is about all Verbruggen has left now. he gave Verbruggen a chance to show that he wouldn’t choose that course of action and predictably – Verbruggen declined. it neatly demonstrates Verbruggen’s true intentions while apparently not costing the UCI anything.

      • 900Aero

        I’m not anti Cookson. The point which I ( and I think Cameron too) am making is that its no time for nice friendly agreements and BC is not doing anyone any favours if he continues to allow Verbruggen oxygen. Shut it down and fast because as Dave writes above, there are more pressing things to be focused on- like ASO, reforms, WT etc.

        • jules

          Cookson can’t shut Verbruggen down. how can he do that? he offered a modest financial inducement to gain Verbruggen’s agreement to shut up, and it didn’t work. I have no doubt Cookson is trying to move on from Verbruggen but what can he do – hire a contract killer?

          • Dave

            Resign so he can be appointed the next ‘honorary president’ instead? The UCI could then benefit from the same amount of ‘work’ he does currently, but for free instead of AUD1300 a day.

          • 900Aero

            Nothing sinister at all.
            The std way is called a negotiated settlement under most law. Might have a different name in Switzerland. The parties come to agreement on various terms and capture it in a Deed of Settlement. Usual form is that VH would agree to shut up and go away and UCI agrees to pay for this convenience. Its done in confidence which means that no-one talks about it afterwards except to say that a settlement or agreement was reached. Disclosing beyond that is usually a breach of the settlement. That’s it, end. That’s how you shut it down. Happens all the time.
            (I’m not a lawyer but I’m no stranger to this area of law)

            • Dave

              Probably much easier if the UCI had somebody with private sector executive experience at the top, or at least national-level policy experience if it must be someone with a full prior career in the public sector.

        • Dave

          Maybe the WorldTour should be allowed to die, or privatised to give it new life?

          It was the creation of Hein Verbruggen after all.

          • 900Aero

            Euthenasing the WT has merit. Verbruggen is probably skimming a fee in there somehow too.

          • jules

            the WT is an artificial construct of little importance. what’s really at play here is the power distribution between ASO, UCI, pro teams and pro riders.

            the WT is a glass house built by the UCI to establish authority over pro cycling – “if you’re not in the WT, you’re not playing in the big league”. but that’s only true so long as it includes marquee events like the Tour and the participation of top riders.

            would anyone care if the top riders competed in a Tour that only had UCI x.x, or no UCI status? I doubt it – that would be a bureaucratic matter only.

            the relative strengths of each party are:
            1. ASO – controls the Tour and other big events that determine the commercial viability of pro cycling as it stands, and which top riders and teams need to target to achieve/retain elite status and keep/attract financial sponsors.
            2. UCI – has infrastructure (institutional arrangements) in place to govern pro cycling. has IOC affiliation – Olympics. breaking away from the UCI would cause massive disruption to the sport as inevitably a range of bodies would rush to fill the governance void – causing chaos, fragmentation and generally screwing everything up.
            3. pro riders – only the top pro riders have real power, they are the drawcards that attract the fans and revenue. at the domestique level, riders are more commodities who drift in and out of the WT and other lower levels of competition.
            4. pro teams – have little real power. in the absence of a league system (as CT covered a while back), pro teams can be dispensed with, dissolved, made irrelevant with relative ease. the only stabiliser for pro teams is their tentative WT status – but as this itself is under threat, that doesn’t leave them with much. sponsors and riders can easily desert a pro team – especially if they are no longer invited to top races.

            so power is practically shared between the ASO, UCI and to a lesser extent – top pro riders. the ASO and UCI need each other I reckon. but while in theory they should cooperate, the problem is that the current arrangement is really viable only for the ASO. the UCI – in its capacity as representative of riders, teams, fans and ensuring the sport is healthy – is on the rocks. this is because the sport is unhealthy (particularly in financial terms) and why it is risking pushing the nuclear button by disrupting the precarious arrangement it has with the ASO.

            I reckon the ASO needs to compromise more, but logic sometimes goes out the window when more tangible criteria like hard cash (which the current arrangement serves the ASO in spades) in the short term is at risk from any compromise. it seems like the ASO are bunkering down and hoping the UCI gives up on reform.

            • velocite

              Outstanding post, Jules. Good constructive analysis. The power axes are interesting. I would have thought that if the top riders have power, which of course they do, as major attractions, then that would be power that their teams, and Velon potentially, could use. I think a Tour with no top riders would be like the Moscow Olympics – a shadow. The problem I suppose is that teams only exist from year to year so they’re not motivated to take risks with next year for benefits further out.

  • bikefreek

    Why do the media still persist with giving this guy airtime and column inches, are we as cycling information consumers that desperate for a story in the off-season that we stoop to reading reports on the ramblings of a grumpy old man fighting his increasing irrelevance?
    Well I just read it and am now taking the time to comment so I guess I can answer my own question with a yes. Cant wait for Euro spring.

  • Nath

    Wow – lots of Cookson hate. Not sure why though. Anyone taking that role would have the same issues. UCI want to expand and stabalise the sport in general, ASO want to build their business empire without thought to the sport, Velon has some great ideas with no real will to use the leverege they have, other teams just want to survive and the riders ‘union’ will say yes to everyone…or no one…maybe.
    In an environment like that you have to be pragmatic not bullish and even then getting any concensus will be nigh on impossible. That said, this scenario has played out several times over the years and eventually everyone works themselves out and we get to watch some races. So take a bex and have a lie down…the man looks like he is doing all he can, and probably more than most.

  • tors

    Knocking down open doors.The honorary title is never been more than symbolic. VH has not had any functions within cycling since like a decade. Probably would have been smarter for CB not to say he would take it from VH (as he says it’s an empty tittle). But he did say so, and the fact he didnt or couldnt shows what a spineless tool he is. No chance for this man to lead the negotiations succesfully vs ASO.

  • Cycling

    Cookson is disgusting piece of sh..t.

    • Hughesdale

      I’m sure you mean Verbruggen

  • Dave

    Has this been sorted out yet?


    Timely commentary – I loved the information . Does someone know if I might get access to a sample a form document to complete ?

    • Eliezel

      Greetings WAN HEMPEL! my work colleague saw a fillable NY D75 version at this site http://goo.gl/sG8VPT you can get access to a sample a form document to complete


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