Omloop Het Nieuwsblad 2016 special
  • Arfy

    Oh sh*t. Good old Union Cheaters Internationale rears its ugly head again. Does the UCI have a Corporate Social Responsibility program, and do they require their employees to sign a CSR agreement? If not, they should, and ensure it is able to be prosecuted to recover damages from individuals. Or they could employ a certain Bahrainian prince to run their interrogation program …

    • ebbe

      UCI has a Code of Ethics, which applies (specifically) to UCI staff/officials/etc.

      • Arfy

        I missed that update, thanks for pointing out. I do wonder what the ramifications are though, possibly just a loss of job? It seems if you were getting good kickbacks that loss of job may not mean a lot.

        • ebbe

          Good point. I guess it all depends on how this plays out. If by some miracle the UCI official can maintain the he was only “helping out”, then they’ll possibly pin this on the supplier. Unless there really is a cover up conspiracy for something big going on here, in which case the supplier possibly holds leverage over the UCI, etc etc. If that’s the case, there will most likely be months of “investigation”, followed by some vague and general statement, but no further repercussions. We’ll have to wait and see I’m afraid ;-)

  • cthenn

    So they turn a blind eye to continuing, and ongoing rampant doping (sorry, let me clarify, “physiological doping”), and now they are covering up mechanical doping?! The UCI makes FIFA blush…

  • J Evans

    The thing about this is that not only are we not even surprised to read it, but it doesn’t even seem to be being reported on other sites.
    Still, Cookson seems like a really nice chap, so all is well.
    And soon we’ll have a known torturer owning a team.

  • Robert Merkel

    There’s another story doing the rounds of the Belgian media with a leaked letter from a UCI Vice President accusing Cookson of all manner of things.

    Cookson is up for reelection very soon.

    I have to wonder whether this coming to light now is also part of the campaign against Cookson.

    Not taking a position on whether the claims are accurate or not, or whether Cookson should be reelected or not, just wondering what the motives of the source are.

    • Dave

      Next September’s election is certainly wide open.

      I expect at least one candidate to come from the current upper ranks of the UCI, and also one endorsed by the CPA in an attempt to make it a referendum on rider safety.

    • ebbe

      But to be fair to Stade 2: They did give UCI every opportunity to respond *before* airing their previous piece, and take action following that airing. When the UCI refused to take action but in stead went with the good old ‘shoot the messenger’ route, I for one saw it coming from miles away that more material would follow. Now again, Stade 2 gave UCI every possibility to explain themselves.

      If this is indeed part of some (coordinated?) effort to undermine the position of Cookson, at least they’re doing it following the ethics of proper journalism, including adversarial principles… Which is much more than can be said for various other “news outlets”.

      • J Evans

        The only sight of any conspiracy is the likes of cyclingnews completely ignoring this.
        The list of Cookson’s failures is beyond lengthy.
        Like all politicians, he talks a good game, but look what he’s actually done.

        • ebbe

          So… According to currently prevalent logic, now it’s up to Cookson to prove your allegations wrong. Because “Surely such extraordinary allegation must be proven false before [we can continue]” ;-)

        • Dave

          CyclingNews had their stories on the issue up a couple of hours later than CyclingTips.

          However, they scooped CyclingTips on Christian Prudhomme’s comments which could well turn out to be an even bigger story than the weekly UCI scandal.

      • Robert Merkel

        Not criticising the journos for running the story – it’s a legit story.

        Just suspicious of the motives of the leakers.

        As others have noted, even if you think Cookson is bad news, it doesn’t mean those opposing him are necessarily the forces of light. By that logic, Pat McQuaid was opposed to Cookson, so he must have been OK.

        • ebbe

          True. All I’m saying is that – as far as we know – we can’t pin anything on for Stade 2 for
          1) Running the story (your point)
          2) The way they’ve run the story (my point – made because ethical norms in journalism are fading quickly these days)

          So whatever the motives of the leakers are… The story seems to be legit and ‘journaled’ properly. Just as you rightly argue that “A being a bad guy does not mean B is a good guy” this also works the other way around “B being a bad guy does not mean A is a good guy” ;-)

    • J Evans

      The people concerned haven’t denied it.
      When will people stop trusting Cookson? He is – at the very best – utterly incompetent.

      • Dave

        Also connected to Vladimir Putin.

        • J Evans

          Through Makarov?

          • Dave

            Yep.

            Important to remember that Makarov is the power pulling the strings of Cookson’s presidency, not just a random UCI personality.

            • J Evans

              Certainly, Cookson’s support of the Russian cycling federation supports that.

              • Dave

                It was Makarov who put Cookson on the throne in the first place, having swung his support when Pat McQuaid started to think for himself.

                • J Evans

                  Do you mean ‘Pat McQuaid started to think OF himself’?
                  That was always McQ’s main aim.
                  For me, it’s not a question of one or the other – they have both been terrible at their job (whatever the reasons are).
                  We either need complete change at the UCI (as Cookson suggested would happen) or – and it’s probably this – to get rid of the UCI.

                  • Dave

                    Makarov pulled the rug out from under Pat when Katusha lost their licence and had to go through CAS to get it back.

                    Regardless of his motivations, Pat McQuaid did actually start to do the right thing towards the end of his time. Without Makarov swinging it, the Cookson challenge would not have even gotten off the ground and McQuaid would have been comfortably re-elected.

    • Jon Cannings

      really? I’ve not seen this. do you have a link to the letter? thanks

  • J Evans

    Cookson’s list of failures (partial):
    Astana – Cookson says it’s serious and they’re going down. Nothing. At least have the sense to keep your mouth shut.
    CIRC – nothing.
    Ethics – nothing. E.g. not speaking out against the Bahrain idea.
    Kreuziger – same as Astana.
    Disc brakes – UCI introduces them despite loads of people saying they’ll cut open your legs.
    Motorbikes constantly hitting riders – does nothing until someone dies. Then says he’ll do something (as ever – placate the media). But nothing yet done.
    The new weather rules.
    Siding with Velon.
    The farce with ASO.
    How’s the biological passport getting along? That’s been quiet.
    Constantly suggesting cutting the Vuelta to two weeks so that the UCI can have more money-making Middle Eastern races.
    Still not banning tramadol – do it independently of WADA if needs be.
    Coming up with that first – really stupid – calendar idea.
    Motors in bikes and the UCI seemingly thwarting the French police investigation.
    Immediately – and whilst admitting to knowing nothing about it – dismissing that British doctor’s claims about doping athletes.
    19/11/15 “I’m confident that the people running the Russian Cycling Federation are trying to do the right thing and I’m sure that if there were any problems there, they would not want to cover them up at all.”

    • sir_velo

      The UCI seems to be a case of ‘simple on the outside’, but when you get into the detail, the real truth and power reveal themselves and things become far more complicated than they first appeared. I’m sure many people have experience of this in far more ‘regular’ organisations.

      I do believe the Cookson entered the race with the best of intentions (perhaps naively on both of our parts), but I think he’s found it far more complex than anticipated and am not sure where we’ve got to with him in charge – arguably, nowhere, as your list suggests.

    • Dorisdwise1
    • zosim

      The bio passport? You mean the one that led to Kreuziger, Tiernan-Locke and others being flagged and ending up before the UCI and/or WADA? in the case of the former, BTW, WADA dropped their case along with the UCI due to medical evidence received. I appreciate you may have hot inside info

      And disc brakes? Please. There is no evidence that the cuts were anything to do with the discs and, other than the initial hysterical response from a rider who admits he had no idea what he hit, nobody has come forward with any corroborating proof.

      • J Evans

        So, the UCI instigated disc brakes (without having any real reason to do so other than as a sop to the bike industry) and then – as you rightly say, without any real evidence – got rid of them as soon as there was any controversy.
        And that’s Cookson all in – it’s all about PR.
        The bio passport, I – like everyone else – don’t know what’s going on with it. But it’s not catching any big riders, so it’s either not working or they’re all clean.
        Yes, it ‘caught’ Kreuziger, but in the end, it didn’t, of course.
        My problem with Cookson’s part in the Kreuziger case, was that he came out and made prejudicial comments about it – before the case was heard (which the president of cycling clearly should never do – but, again, it’s all about looking good/tough in the media). And then, once again, was proven to be nothing but a blowhard.

  • ebbe
    • J Evans

      What a surprise.
      How does the UCI’s
      ‘The UCI has full confidence in its staff employed in this area. It will investigate whether emails sent in 2015 to an external consultant were passed on to a third party and used in a way that no-one intended.’
      sit with:
      ‘I’m sitting with French police who believe an engineer ‘Hungarian’ is visiting TDF today to sell a bike and visit teams, could this be your guy???”’

      • ebbe

        Not well.

        But, according to the UCI official in question, he was merely “providing information”. So there’s really no wrongdoing here [/sarcasm]

      • Dave

        Wow, that was pretty quick this time.

        It looks pretty panicked. Good time to invest in a document shredding company based out of Geneva or Lausanne.

  • ArthurVandelay

    Great journalism Shane thanks ! A very interesting read to be sure…

    • ebbe

      Great journalism by Stade 2, to be precise. Shane has (again) done nothing more than copy part of the Stade 2 content (the part that does not contradict his own previous articles) and hit the “publish” button.

      • Shane Stokes

        There is more to come, Ebbe. Don’t worry about that. Clearly you are still annoyed that Femke was sanctioned.

        • ebbe

          I’m annoyed about being called a “troll” when raising the point that journalism should be either based on confirmed investigated facts, or apply adversarial principles, or display a proper sense of reservation when uttering accusations. I’m still surprised you find neither necessary, Shane

          • Frank Kotter

            What do you see as the alternative? SS and CT simply publish a link to the Strada 2 video report without context of any kind? Ignore it completely? Repackage the entire report (as many other media outlets often do) to pass it off as their own original investigation and reporting? Look forward to your suggestions for improvement.

            • ebbe

              Why is there a need for an alternative? I’ve mentioned that the real investigative journalism here is done by Stade 2, and not Shane as could be read from the earlier comment. This is simply and plainly true. Can you present facts to the opposite? Or can you explain why CT would be wrong here and needs to change their ways?

              • Frank Kotter

                You made a critique of what is wrong – fair enough What is your suggestion for improvement? Again, what in the report of SS would you change?

                • ebbe

                  I’ve pointed out the reality of the situation. Why would you assume anything is wrong with that reality?

                  • Shane Stokes

                    The problem is that your response suggests I’ve cherrypicked bits and pieces of the Stade 2 information to suit some agenda. ‘(the part that does not contradict his own previous articles)’ That is utter nonsense.

                    • ebbe

                      You have certainly omitted parts that contradict with some of your previous publications. So no.

                      Additionally, you are now changing your attack on me from “you are just trolling because you’re frustrated about Femke” (which is not true – I’ve said many times that if a gun was put to my head I would have to *guess* the VDD family was knowingly preparing to cheat), to trying to divert the attention away by attacking me on a different, and minor, subject.

                      While all I’ve ever asked for from you – and I have never attacked you on anything other either – is that any journalist:
                      1) Covers real and confirmed facts, without passing his own judgement on those facts.
                      2) Applies adversarial principles. This means talking to both/all parties, and publishing both/all sides of the story as *equally plausible*, unless contradicted by (1).
                      3) If both (1) and (2) are (partially) not possible, is extremely cautious about who he accuses of what.

                      You have demonstrated multiple times that you care about neither of the three points above. Any attack or name calling towards me that you dream up, and does not cover these three points, is merely meant to divert attention away from the core, Shane.

                    • Shane Stokes

                      Actually, Ebbe, you are the one who repeatedly engages in unprovoked snide remarks in comment sections and then, when a response is written, get even more personal. Please stop.

                    • ebbe

                      Who called who a “troll”, and misrepresented their intentions? Please stop doing that, Shane ;-)

                      And who has never called the other anything bad *personally*, but only asked for proper journalism with regards to content?

                    • Shane Stokes

                      I’m not going to get into a back and forth with you. I’ve answered your comments in the past and the Van den Driessche outcome showed that what was initially reported was correct. If I’ve ever referred to you as a troll, it was in exasperation at continued nit picking beyond the kind of standard, reasoned debate we will engage with in the comments section.

                    • ebbe

                      You have not answered many questions, but I do not expect you to. I expect you to be a proper journalist, in which case most my questions would be mute to begin with. Now again, you are trying to divert attention by suggesting I’m frustrated about the ruling in the VDD case. I’ll repeat again: You are wrong, so stop suggesting so please.

                      Contrary to your own claim, you have indeed (verifiably) called me a troll when I had a well reasoned and decently formulated argument, which you have still not been able to refute. This is not decent of you Shane.
                      You can try to divert attention away from your own behaviour all you want, but that will not change the facts, no matter how badly you would like it to.

                      I have never called you any names, only posted arguments purely related to content and/or the process of truthfinding. No proper journalist would ever have a problem with arguments related to content, truthfinding, or even “nit picking”. “Nit picking” is what journalists do for a living, but they normally follow certain guidelines. I applaud several other writers at CT for following these guidelines and bringing us scoops.

                    • Shane Stokes

                      Very briefly, Ebbe: I’ve tried engaging with you in the past and you were not interested in reasoned debate. That’s why I’m not answering your points now, not because I am trying to evade anything.

                    • ebbe

                      I’ve just searched through all my Disq.us notifications and there were precisely zero from you (before 18 hours ago, of course). So again, a baseless claim and blatant attempt to misinform people, Shane. Maybe you can do some investigative work and produce any facts to substantiate your claims? Or… are you going to try to put the burden of proof on me?

                      The only other (one) time we’ve had a dialogue about anything is when I mentioned your Twitter handle. Clearly, I reached out to you, not the other way around as you are suggesting. After a few re: tweets in which I made a number of reasoned points and was overall not disrespectful towards you as a person, you refused to go into facts, and proceeded to flat out call me a troll. This is completely verifiable.

  • Larry @CycleItalia

    Well, anti-doping’s been sort of taken away from the UCI after years of being more interested in scandal management than cleaning up the mess, so why should anyone be surprised they’re doing the same with motorized bicycles? The waving of the laptop at bikes atop a team car is about as effective as the old “sink-testing” they used to do with urine samples. No team would be stupid enough to attach a motorized bike to a team car at the race start, they’d be hidden away and hauled out to the race course to be switched in (or out) only to vanish before detection. The thermo-camera scheme needs to be employed but NOT by the UCI, but instead a neutral body concerned with catching cheats rather than managing scandals. Do we need a new WADA, a World Anti-motorized Doping Agency?

    • Dave

      This issue is exactly the same as doping – the UCI has the correct technical methods, but they can’t be trusted to use them correctly.

      Anybody who has actually looked into the science will know that scanning for magnetic fields is a far better screening method than thermal cameras, only someone who doesn’t know the difference between magnetic fields and easily-shielded electromagnetic waves would think otherwise. Thermal cameras can be too easily defeated by insulation and well-hidden ventilation, they would primarily exist for the purpose of being a visible method of trying to convince the public that something is being done.

      I agree that an independent WADA-style body is needed, the UCI does not inspire trust. The first thing they should do is hire experienced scrutineers from the motorsport world to introduce a bike identification protocol, to assist the commissaires in controlling the prospect of a sneaky bike change out on the course.

      • Arfy

        You can shield magnetic waves, hard-drives all use the material. The issue is that to shield a motor with its powerful magnets you need a heap of the material, if it becomes magnetically saturated then you’ll get caught out. I’m not sure anyone could realistically do this.

      • J Evans

        UCI-supplied powermeters on all bikes. The riders should be able to see nothing – might help stop them riding like robots – but the UCI sees all the data. That way, if they used a motor it would be obvious. (Would also stop car-grabbing.)
        And/or just disallow any electronic equipment on a bike – keep it all mechanical.

  • Berne Shaw

    Chill out good grief! This may be absolutely nothing people!!! Hey, most likely nothing. Even if something, Brian Cookson did not do this folks. No good deed goes unpunished it seems. He is a very decent competent and honest guy. But one guy. He is trying to reform an entire organization, and the anarchistic monopolistic feudal cycling system of managers racers teams sponsors and yes ASO or Absolutely Stupid Organization that shoots everyone in the foot including themselves. Where were they during the whole Armstrong days, the years of phony steroid and speed drugs etc. NOWHERE!

    So this stuff is bound to happen. But wait!!!! ASO has a shill on the board of UCI folks remember that. He is there to whack Brian and get ASO in power. Wise up fans. It is a disgusting group out to control this industry.

    • Dom

      How can something be anarchistic, monopolistic and feudal at the same time? Bizarre comment.

      • J Evans

        +1. The entire comment seems to have been written by someone who has not the faintest clue as to what goes on in cycling.
        ‘most likely nothing’ – baseless.
        ‘Brian Cookson did not do this’ – baseless.
        ‘He is a very decent competent and honest guy.’ – baseless.
        Clearly, throughout the years (e.g. arranging their own – superior – drug-testing), ASO have done more against drugs than the UCI – although far from perfect.
        And how are they shooting themselves in the foot? They protect their races.
        And they’ve been in cycling for a century without seeking to seize control.
        Evidently someone who has bought Velon’s deceitful garbage about wanting to help cycling, rather than take it over.
        Written by someone who credulously believes the cyclingnews schtick about the poor old UCI standing up to the evil ASO.
        As I’ve listed below, Cookson’s failings do not show a competent person. An honest one? Don’t know is the most you could say in his favour.
        The suggestion seems to be that we should automatically trust the UCI (why would anyone do that?) and as this might not be dodgy (again, an odd assumption given that the UCI are warning people about police investigations), we should ignore it.

    • Frank Kotter

      If you are a professional and not able to get the job done, it is time to step down out of respect for yourself, your goals and the institution you took interest in improving.

      Other than presiding in the cycling boom in the UK not having any big name riders busted on his watch (make of that what you will), I personally feel he has nothing to show for his time at the helm.

      • Dave

        Busts of big name Russians have dried up recently too.

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