NasserBinHamad-1
  • H.E. Pennypacker

    Good read. And you had me until “claims must be proven false before any such team would be green lighted.” I struggle with that approach in general. The idea that someone should have the burden to prove an already-unproven allegation false elicits a visceral reaction from me. Not to mention being asked to prove a negative in a he-said/he-said situation.

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    • Dave

      I also find that viewpoint to be problematic.

      The Bahrain dispute cannot be understood properly if the propaganda about “human rights” or “pro-democracy protests” is swallowed whole.

      At the heart, it is primarily a Sunni/Shia dispute. The UCI needs to be careful to check for independent verification of claims before making any decision to punish the Prince’s team, to avoid choosing sides or being manoeuvred around as a pawn.

    • LaszloZoltan

      do you imagine such claims of torture have been made lightly ? do you realize each person making such a claim publically is doing so with a fear of reprisal, and that for each one who is brave enough and feels safe enough, there would be more who don’t ? do you suggest we turn a blind eye to these allegations, allow this team to come forward and join us- what happens when, after the claims are substantiated ? what do you say then ? whooops ?

      • Dave

        In the context of a grubby Sunni-Shia dispute (this is a different issue to the guest worker abuses in Qatar) the claims need to be questioned and verified rather than swallowed whole.

        It’s possible that the claims of torture are legitimate. It’s also possible that they are a pack of lies made up by the Shia faction which will do and say anything to get into power.

        I’m not aware of there having been any truly independent verification of the claims made a few years ago about torture in Bahrain. I don’t know either way, but my guess is you don’t either.

        • campirecord

          Why do we have to mention any kind of local geopolitical/racial exception to any suspension of torture. I don’t care who is at the giving or receiving end, torture is torture.

          • Dave

            It’s not about giving them an exception, but about nobody knowing if the alleged torture even exists.

            The allegation needs to be proven before you start thinking about how to respond to it.

      • Nick Clark

        All valid thoughts, and all missing the point. You can’t require someone to disprove an unproven allegation. The burden of proof lies with the accuser, not the accused.

    • I also find that problematic. Where I am from (UK/France) our justice system is built on one being innocent until proven guilty. As soon as the burden of proof is put on the accused then you are in trouble.

      Unfortunately, I do not have a doubt in my mind that he is at least complicit, if not out right guilty – but until he stands trial, and is found guilty by a jury, he is innocent.

      • campirecord

        Where you live, you have democracy…

    • VELOGUY

      I agree. They will and in fact should get the licence unless there is evidence of these claims. All else is hear say until then.
      It is a pity mind you, that the U.C.I ‘s moral high ground happens to be at the bottom of a very deep pit…….

  • toyboata

    we shall see but i am not optimistic about the UCI doing the right thing.

  • Nathan Hosking

    Truth be told, if the sporting world gave human rights the impact it deserves on the international stage, we wouldn’t actually be playing with anyone… Orica GreenEdge would be out thanks to our history with the Aborigines and thanks to the goings on in Guantanamo Bay for over a decade, so would Cannondale, Trek Racing, even the mighty American Olympic team and the Chinese (also torture and political imprisonment) wouldn’t have a soccer league to speak of. Many other examples exist which are far too long to list here…

    What I see in fact here is Western media bias used to knit pick against the perceived ‘enemy’, represented here as a Middle Eastern consortium trying to get a cycling team off the ground. It’s a perception of ‘trust’ (eg. ‘How can we trust the Muslims’) that’s been drummed into our brains by our News services for decades since 9/11.

    Everyone knows cycling is in financial do-do and could use any new team that comes along to help riders and other people just trying make a living. If that’s a Middle Easten team, then so be it.

    • RayG

      Not very good comparisons. Nobody is accusing Gerry Ryan of being directly involved in the stolen generation, etc.

      • Nathan Hosking

        Hmmm, fair call I missed that one re ‘directly involved’…. But doesn’t it all boil down to the Human Rights question?

        • RayG

          No, it boils down to what the possible team owner was directly involved in. As Neuron has pointed out, you could exclude anybody if you raised the bar to vague associations with the sins of someone else. This is about what the team owner has done in the recent past.

          • Nathan Hosking

            I see. 1 serving of humble pie for me then. With sauce.

            • Shane Stokes

              I think there is an argument that many teams have some sort of skeleton in the cupboard, but have a team owner accused of something as big as torture is a new level. I do accept it’s hard to prove; I also feel that if the team gets a green light, there is going to be a whole load of people wanting to know why the UCI did that. It’s a difficult situation.

            • MD

              Fair play to you. Wouldn’t it be refreshing if more people on public forums backed off when they realised they were wrong rather than instead going on the attack.

    • ummm…

      i appreciate your comment. I too think it is a bit xenophobic for the community to be SERIOUS about denying a tour license. Anyhow, cycling is a circus and loves it drama. This is just our morning helping.

  • Neuron1

    Whether or not to allow the license application of the Prince seems to have sparked quite an emotional outpouring. I don’t know anything about the guy other than what I read, so I checked into some of the other major players in the sport and their suppliers of equipment. Since most of the bikes and much of the equipment used is manufactured in China, a brief glance at its human rights record would be logical. They currently execute more prisoners than anyone in the world and have been known to do so for organ harvest as well as harvest living political prisoners organs, search “china execution organ harvest”. So, no more Chinese bikes. (Colnago and Time stock just went up) Next there are sponsors from Russia, most of whom are oligarchs. That knocks out Tinkoff and Katusha. Orica, as noted in the above post doesn’t have the most stellar record on human rights and the environment. Out goes OGE. Skoda (Volkswagen) is a huge sponsor of cycling, yet they were founded by Adolf Hitler, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/volkswagen-is-founded. Giant-Alpecin is therefore guilty by association. Honda moved in when Skoda backed out and we all know about the Japanese track record in World War II. So now the race officials can chase the riders around the course on foot or drive Peugots. The Swiss were shown to have been the bankers to the Nazis, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/35938.stm. Out goes BMC. We can toss Astana out, well, because they are Astana (Italian and Khazak and dopers, oh my) and many here just don’t like them. Lotto Soudal and Lotto Jumbo are both gambling consortiums and may promote gambling addiction as can be shown by academic research. Soudal makes silicone products and adhesives that pollute the environment. Two more teams gone. And to keep this relatively brief regarding Team Sky: They are owned by a guy many here don’t like (British oligarch?), run by a guy who ran British cycling and we now know about their sexism problem (human rights violation), and are based in the UK. History tells us they spent the last few centuries colonizing the world for their own benefit and sending all of their outcasts Down Under. Cannondale and Trek should be thrown out simply because they are American, and that makes them guilty of everything. Maybe if we all get on our high horse and drive everyone that is questionable out of the sport, FDJ could win a race or two on their pennyfarthings, while Valverde continues to clean up the points title (until he is 60) and the French will finally win the TDF again. I personally believe in, innocent until proven guilty (I’m American after all), not the lynch mob mentality that is so prevalent. Let us allow the UCI to get all the facts and make a reasoned decision.

    • ebbe

      If FDJ weren’t the French version of the Lotto, that is ;-)

      I’ll also take this opportunity to make your case on Lotto-Jumbo and Giant-Alpecin better: They’re both Dutch (Giant-Alpecin has a German license, but is effectively a Dutch team). The Dutch were the world’s largest slave traders, and we still celebrate this accomplishment every year by putting on blackface in December.

      • Dave

        The Netherlands is not even the centre of legal tax avoidance in the Benelux countries.

        • ebbe

          Yes we are. Indeed, these constructs often *also* run through Luxemburg and/or Ireland, or more exotic places when business gets shady. These constructs (such as the famous “Double Irish-Dutch Sandwich” – dismantled in 2015, but existing cases are allowed to continue until 2020) are mostly set up by the Dutch “trust sector”, which resides mostly at De ZuidAs (5 minutes from my house).

          80% to 90% of the worlds 100 largest companies run their taxes through the Netherlands in some way, mostly via “mailbox firms”. Starbucks, Apple, Coca Cola, Google, Microsoft, McDonalds, Walt Disney, IKEA, U2, Madonna, The Rolling Stones, and about 14.000 to 15.000 other companies have such a mailbox in the Netherlands, again mostly at De ZuidAs. All you need is a small rented room in some (office) building, with a potted plant in the room. Seriously, a potted plant.

    • Dave

      I notice that you are giving the French a pass. Do you *like* it when poor Pacific islands get blown up for nuclear tests?

      Perhaps they’ll let such an enthusiastic pro-nuclear mouthpiece like you have the thrill of pressing the big red button next time around.

      • Neuron1

        Heck no, not giving the French a pass, just got tired of typing. And hey, whats a few nukes among friends.
        I also forgot Dimension Data, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nipon Telephone and Telegraph based in South Africa which has been a paragon of virtue regarding human rights since thier rule by the Dutch and British. And sins of the past cannot be easily forgiven, since current wealth was procurred by ill gotten gains.

        • Dave

          > Heck no, not giving the French a pass, just got tired of typing.

          Ah, so you not only love nuking peaceful islanders but you’re lazy too. You bastard!

      • Neuron1

        I pine for the days when cycling was run by companies that made espresso machines, skin care and other innocuous products. Provided of course the coffe beans were fair trade, organically and sustainably harvested and the skin care products were not tested on cute furry animals. http://www.bikeraceinfo.com/riderhistories/sponsors-directory.html

        • Dave

          I wonder if the caffeine in Alpecin shampoo is fair trade?

      • Like the US are any better – Bikini Atoll? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_testing_at_Bikini_Atoll

        One could even make a strong case the Hiroshima and Nagasaki were nuclear tests too.

        And just so the UK don’t escape our wrath: We used both Christmas island and some place in mainland Australia

    • Shane Stokes

      I think there’s a difference between direct links (team owner being accused of human rights issues) and more indirect links to possible issues – ie a team sponsor potentially having done something in the past. I presume you are not serious when you suggest that a team owner allegedly linked to torture is the same as a manufacturer from a country that was on the opposing side back in WW2. That’s a little tenuous for a comparison.

      • Neuron1

        The comment started out tongue in cheek, meant to be poke fun at some of the too easily offended. The point is that if you are easily offended enough, nobody can sponsor a cycling team, except as I noted below, by espresso and facial cream makers, and our professional level sport would cease to exist. I was also going to title the post as “parody” but though it was obvious. However, in reality, doing business with China is really no different, maybe a few degrees removed, but still a totalitarian state with virtual slave labor and an abysmal human rights track record and one of the worlds largest polluters. I have trouble with the idea of wading into the Sunni/Shiite turf wars with the net result of deposing leaders which results in even worse carnage. See Syria, Libya and Egypt as examples. Accusations are just that, and need to be proved prior to acting. If he is guilty, deny the application, by all means. Prosecute him in the World Court, but that is beyond the purview of the UCI.

        I personally vote with my dollars and never buy products produced in China, or places with sweatshop labor if there is any reasonable alternative, regardless of cost difference. I would venture a guess that few here have taken a similar firm stand, inconsequential as it may be. And BTW a sincere thank you for the great job you guys do reporting on the cycling world and providing this forum.

  • nickwa

    Wonder why we do not hear of Oman, Bahrain, or Qatar for taking in some of the Syrian refugees? Seems like they have lots of spare cash but it may be better allocated. I like my cycling entertainment but it seems to me there are more pressing problems in the neighborhood. Or are they afraid of offending ISIS or Saudis?

  • Peter B

    Give him a license only if he promises not to torture anyone for the next two years.

    • Peter B

      PS surely Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen are a form of torture worse than anything this bloke has done?

  • Interesting article, Shane.

    Would the same logic apply to Astana?

    The Astana team is funded primarily by the Kazakh government which has a poor record on human rights in general and on torture in particular.

    In their most recent report Amnesty International wrote that “Impunity for torture and other ill-treatment by law enforcement officials remains commonplace in Kazakhstan’s criminal justice system.” https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/eur57/3345/2016/en/

    Human Rights Watch, too, note the problems with torture, as have the United Nations whose Committee Against Torture reprimanded Kazakhstan for torturing people. https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/kazakhstan#e4d0d6

    There’s no shortage of torture allegations against the government of Kazakhstan and some of the reports are truly sickening (The Diplomat extracts some from NGO reports here: http://thediplomat.com/2016/03/report-torture-in-kazakhstan-persists/

    You write – and I agree – that granting a license to the Bahraini prince in light of the allegations means that in “the battle between money and morality” we would be coming out in “favour the former, at the price of the latter.”

    But here’s Astana, a team backed by a torture-happy state, and we’re happy for them to pay the bills without bothering to ask too many questions about the regime pouring in the bucks. Why the double standard?

    • Larry @CycleItalia

      +1 And then there’s the RUSSIAN GLOBAL CYCLING PROJECT. Where were the critics when this and Astana were applying for licenses? Has the UCI ever denied a license under their “fit to run a cycling team” ethics requirement?

    • ebbe

      Same would go for USA Cycling: Backed by a state that to this very date has an appalling record concerning torture and death penalties… oh wait, we should call it “enhanced interrogation techniques”: https://www.hrw.org/news/2014/12/09/usa-and-torture-history-hypocrisy, http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/dec/09/cia-torture-methods-waterboarding-sleep-deprivation, etc.

      • Dave

        USA Cycling is not backed by the US government.

        • ebbe

          Really? I always onderstood it was a “national” thing.

          • Dave

            Being the national body as recognised by the UCI has nothing to do with whether they attract any funding from the national government.

            • ebbe

              There’s a difference between “funding” specifically and “backing” in general, at least in my dictionary ;-)

              • Dave

                They don’t have either. They are the national governing body for cycling in the USA because the UCI recognises them as such, not because the US government has put them in that position.

                The same position of not intervening in the running of sport governing bodies applies to other sports too, with the result being that US sports are prone to long-running turf wars and rebellions which would be relatively easy to resolve in other countries where national sporting bodies has its status endorsed by the national government.

                • ebbe

                  So what does USOC “backing” (sanctioning) USA Cycling mean? Basically nothing, since USOC is also a non-danctioned organisation? Then how can they call themselves the “national” Olympic body? This is all too confusing ;-)

                  • Dave

                    Because the IOC says they are.

                    • ebbe

                      Aha, so the “national” I was put off by is actually hollow? It’s “national” as in “we say we represent this country”, not “national” as in “this country says we represent this country”… Ok, something learned today ;-)

                    • Dave

                      No, it’s more a case of “the IOC says we represent this country.”

                    • ebbe

                      Got it ;-) I guess the good old Dutch tradition of having every possible group officially represented and at the table in a committee to talk about any and all issue of whichever size and importance is not prevalent everywhere ;-)

      • USA Cycling is not backed or funded by the US Government. It’s a private entity that’s actually in deep debt at the moment.

        • ebbe

          Same here: KNWU has to find their own budgets (and then get slack for getting money from an online betting agency…) But still KNWU is sanctioned by the government: in the investigation after organised Rabobank doping, the government backed KNWU as the only governing body for cycling. Is that different in the US?

          • Dave

            Yes. The US government doesn’t care who calls themselves a cycling governing body.

            The UCI does care though.

            • ebbe

              So who would the government work with in such a case? Nobody that’s actually from the cycling world I guess?

              • Dave

                Simple – nobody. Why on earth would the US government need to ‘work with’ any cycling body?

                It is a different issue for state and local governments, whose permission and practical support is needed to hold any major event. If someone comes to them with a proposal for a cycling race, they’ll be more interested if the proposal has support from USA Cycling and the UCI than if it is sanctioned by some other ‘cycling body’ which is really just an Amsterdam office with a pot plant.

                KNWU does still rely on government funds for a significant portion of their income, by the way.

                • ebbe

                  This says: subsidies from VWS (ministry of health and sports): 0

                  http://www.knwu.nl/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/Begroting-2016-Website.pdf

                  So that’s no direct funding from the government.

                  But I wouldn’t be surprised if (a portion of) the money still comes from the government via the Olympic committee NOC*NSF. That however I could be the same for the grants USA Cycling gets from USOC

                  • Dave

                    Looks like government funding.

                    The same does not apply to USA Cycling. No money that they receive from USOC (if they even get any?) would be US government money as USOC (unlike European countries with their state-aided sports bodies) does not receive US government money for either its own use or to pass on.

                    • ebbe

                      Yeah, that sounds familiar: European governments tend to give direct subsidies, while the US government does so indirectly by exempting “charity donations” from tax

                    • Dave

                      It’s a more democratic way to do it, don’t you think? People who like cycling can put their money into cycling, without the temptation to cheat on their tax return because they know some of it will support triathletes.

                    • ebbe

                      Sure, you could argue that way. But you could also easily argue that most Europeans are just not used to subsidising via individual grants, so the just won’t do it. Same goes for politics: no way a Dutch politician could ever raise millions that way, simply because we’re not used to donating to anything other than (very bluntly put) diseases and development aid (which we do a lot by the way). It’s also very possible we just love to complain about all the ways politicians keep wasting our tax euros ;-)

                • ebbe

                  Well, I can only answer that question with Dutch logic of course ;-) Which is: If you don’t work with them, they will criticise you and possibly block your decisions later on. “Creating buy in” is common practice for centuries here ;-)

                  Rabobank riders were questioned by a committee with the Secretary of sports, the anti doping agency, the KNWU, etc.

                  • Dave

                    So long as the organisation is operating within the law, why would the US government ever need to block decisions made by USA Cycling?

                    What’s wrong with the government focusing on issues of national priority such as defence, trade, economics, health and so on – while the governing of sports is left to the sports’ governing bodies?

                    • ebbe

                      Because the Dutch always question everything if they weren’t involved in the decision making ;-)

                      What’s the use of this? Why wouldn’t they just…? What’s wrong with…? I don’t know. It’s a cultural thing, that’s how it works here. You could ask similar questions the other way around: why would anybody accept a decision by just some committee? ;-)

                    • Dave

                      So, what you’re saying is that the national sport of the Netherlands is Sports Administration?

                      That would explain the Dutch fans at other sports. Once a long hard campaign has been fought and won in the back offices, they love to go and get absolutely sloshed at something simple like a bike race.

                    • ebbe

                      You could say that. But then you could also say that the American national sport is “screw you if nobody donates to your sport which happens to be unpopular or unknown with the (well off) public” ;-)

                      Guess which approach is more successful iin attaining “Olympic medals per capita” ;-)

                      (just kidding of course. I fully realise there’s plenty other causes to realisimg such stats)

                    • Dave

                      And if you go somewhere in the middle you find Australia, which usually places comfortably ahead of both on that measure.

                    • ebbe

                      In summer Olympics… Not so much in Winter ;-)

                      Overall all time best per capita seems to be Finland. A country that is – purely coincidentally – NOT plagued by recent allegations of torture by hands of a member of it’s royal family. Possibly because they haven’t had a King or Queen for almost 100 years. Nor do they have a World Tour cycling team… Just to bring it back on topic ;-)

                    • dsd74

                      To be fair, it’s hard to get sloshed drinking American beer.

                    • Dave

                      Hence an entire sport spawned from running black market moonshine.

    • maxfellu

      Have you ever visited Kazakhstan?
      What other torture in question?
      To start, learn what torture in Europe and the US…

      • I haven’t visited Kazakhstan but neither do I deny there is torture elsewhere in the world. That’s entirely the point, though. If the UCI is going to block a team from Bahrain because of links to torture it should take the same stand in all cases. Denying one license because of torture allegations while accepting others in similar (though not exactly the same) situation doesn’t make much of a point at all.

        • maxfellu

          Well, then write that. A does not separating one team or country.
          Torture in some countries even worse.
          Torture everywhere. This is reality.

          • That other countries torture, too, doesn’t make what happens in Kazakhstan right. That extent to which the Kazakh state abuses the human rights of its people is not lessened by the fact that there are other regimes that do the same. If you want to make the case that there’s torture in another country and thus it’s a problem for teams from that country – go ahead. But it doesn’t change the fact that the Kazakh state tortures its citizens while also funding a cycling team.

    • Shane Stokes

      Hey Dylan, Astana’s been around quite a few years and I think the human rights abuses in the country were less well known then – or, at least, less well highlighted. Those protesting the Bahrain team have certainly done a good job of putting a spotlight on what allegedly happened. I’d imagine if Astana was set up now there might be more publicity about the history.

      • I think you are probably right about why Astana could be set up without this sort of publicity. However, it would seem fairly hypocritical for the sport to deny a license to one team based on allegations of torture while continuing to offer a license to another because they managed to get into cycling without the same spotlight on their backers. Assessments of ethics shouldn’t be driven by whether something is in the news or not – it’s either wrong or it’s right. Unfortunately, I have a gut feeling that the UCI is going to come down on the side of the Prince and the petrodollars on this one.

  • roklando

    I will not be surprised if they get a licence, in fact that would be fairly consistent with past UCI/Pro Cycling behaviour. Let’s not forget – as you mention here – the Messiah himself, good old Eddy Merckx, is pushing events in Qatar, a country with proven human rights violations and no-one bats an eyelid. So let’s not kid ourselves.

  • snappydon

    Certainly ethics and morals are usually the first things kicked under the couch when a buck shows up, but there are a couple of separate issues being jumbled up here. One issue is the ethics of licence holders and the way they way they run their cycling teams. Rock racing, along with several current teams with dodgy doping records, being led by ex dopers, fit into this category. This is where the UCI have a firm mandate to clean up the Tour, and sadly don’t seem able to.
    This story is a separate issue about whether a licence holder or sponsor should be disqualified from the Pro Tour because of their standards outside the sport. We’ve heard protests about the business ethics of Orica, and there’s bound to be colorful stories around Oleg’s business dealings, but I’ve never heard that Tinkov or GreenEdge’s licences were threatened. Prince Nasser is unique because he isn’t a corporate figure, but a Royal ruler. (Perhaps Astana, being State sponsored is the closest example.)
    Allegations of torture are nasty, and while my gut usually goes with “smoke = fire” answer, the UCI surely can’t ban him unless the allegations prove to be true. As opposed to barring him until the claims are proved false. I’m not comfortable with a presumption of guilt stance.

  • ebbe

    How do other sports deal with this? F1, MotoGP, equestrian disciplines, etc.

    • dsd74

      I’m guessing that as F1 is run as a closely held private business, it’s possibly more a “I’ll do what I want” mentality. Cycling could be viewed differently as the spectators don’t have to pay to watch most events, so it can be considered more of a public event.

      I doubt there are many countries that can take the moral high road on human rights, depending on how far bal un history you go. So I guess the question is not what country is “clean”, but how far down the human rights pecking order does cycling want to go?

      • dsd74

        That’s how far back in history you, damn spellcheck switched to French for a second there!

      • ebbe

        That would mean F1-fans, human rights organisations and FIA (the UCI of motorsports) simply “expect less” from F1 than cycling fans, human rights organisations and possibly the UCI expect from World Tour cycling? Something like that? ;-)

        • dsd74

          Well given the many insinuations over time that those in charge of F1 are like dictators, you’d be correct!

        • dsd74

          Also, don’t forget that the fans that go to the events in Bahrain travel there willingly, so they may also be part of the “problem”. In cycling however the team would race mostly in Europe, where fans are at liberty to treat them with the same (or more) vitriol that they reserved for Sky at last year’s TdF. And they won’t be tortured for it (allegedly) ;)

          • ebbe

            Haha, true!

  • prog

    Yes, use the good name of cycling…

  • Stian Pollestad

    Heard rumors that Kim Jong-un will present the North-Korea Cycling Team at the end of this season. Busy times for the Ethics Committee.

    • Dave

      That would actually be a good thing, as every race they enter overseas would present a new opportunity for their riders to defect!

      • dsd74

        Nah, North Korea would demand that their riders be surrounded by motorcycles during the race to avoid having them veer off course and defect. Moto safety be damned!

        • Dave

          If Kim Jong-un is as good at cycling as he is at golf and basketball, the motos won’t be able to keep up.

          • dsd74

            Hmm, so he may be that elusive breed of cyclist who beats Greipel, Kittel, and Cav one day and then drops Quintana, Froome, and Nibali in the Alps the next day.

            • Dave

              No no no!

              A benevolent dictator like Kim wouldn’t drop Quintana, Froome and Nibali. He would pull them up the climb with a rope and win the stage as first in the group.

              • dsd74

                Rope??? Surely you meant a noose rather than a plain rope?

  • Derek Maher

    Bahrain a Kingdom run by a tiny Sunni elite and kept in power by the Saudi armed forces and the UK and US governments. The Shia majority who have called for a democratic government have been ruthlessly repressed. If you criticise the rulers on face book or twitter expect jail and torture for a reward. Anyway F1 have no problems running a GP every year so I guess the UCI will follow their lead ?.

  • zosim

    “Otherwise, the progress cycling has made in regaining some credibility would be knocked.” – Cycling has some sort of ethical credibility? Former riders already promote races in countries with dubious (at best) human rights records. Merckx (whose own ethical transgressions are taken for granted) is a leading light in promoting tours in developing nations whose populations are downtrodden but nobody blinks an eye. If you spend too long thinking about professional cycling your brain would collapse under the weight of hypocrisy and contrarian concepts being espoused at the same time. Cycling may be no worse than other sports but it’s akin to saying a nail hammered through your foot is no worse than one hammered through your hand; both are pretty shit.

  • campirecord

    I think we could go on and on about who’s the most caring Mother Theresa team owner. Debating about this owner’s legitimate actions is funny at best. Seriously Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa… Come on folks. The biggest problem again I see here is that cycling business’ model is broken there is absolutely no reason for this guy to brand his team, there is absolutely no reason to leave team licence bidding to this kind of non sense. Where is this leading us ? What do you think this makes community, state, national cycling image’s to legitimate corporate partner’s, at one point do we question investment in sport ? Here I am going to find funding for national development and my potential sponsors are gonna read this quacked out team and this wack owner. Is this really the kind of crap they want to remotely associate themselves with ? NO. I’ll take dandruff shampoo investment anytime, even if it means going to a cheap hotel now and then.

  • erkcyclisme

    Let’s keep Prince Nasser’s alleged assault on human rights in perspective. This is a guy living in the midst of political turmoil embroiling the Middle East. However onerous and complicit his involvement or dated ruling monarchies are, Nassar & Co. are angels compared to the Muslim extremism that could supplant them. If the guy wants to shower professional cycling with his fiscal largess, let him.

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