Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Forget racing, this politics stuff is waaay better! Flahute's rant du Jour.

Wow, why do they call this the off season?

There's been more action and maneuvering on world cycling's political front than we saw during the entire 2012 Tour de France.  Way better spectator sport than radio controlled cycling.   Certainly a better battle!

Where to begin, so many bones to pick, so little time... no wait, Flahute has all the time in the world.   Unleash the hund...and here goes.

Change Cycling Now.  First, a public service announcement.  Join the movement. Sign the petition.  Like it on Facebook.  And whether you like it or not, please support it.  And get those you ride with to support it too.

Do it. 
A new start doesn't need to be perfect.  It just needs to happen.  Now.

You're the ones who pay for this show.  Cycling belongs to you.  Not the suits.  Not the riders.  Not the teams.  To you the fans.  The participants.

Force their hand.   If you're disgusted and outraged, act.  You've got no voice now.  What do you have to lose?

Hey, you wanna watch ten more years of Tours de France being won in the courtroom?   You want to love a sport where participation requires getting plugged into a blood bag at night, and sneaking around like frat boys trying to smuggle beer into the dorms?   Or do you think a professional sport you support should reflect, and model a better set ideals.

If you think things will never change, and that it's OK the way it is, no worries.  Don't do anything.  Be a woos.

But if you're outraged at the way the Pro Cycling has evolved, do something about it.  Act.  Pass it on.   

Hey Jose... this one looks good.  Bring Alberto this one...
and tell him I'll have the Paella and Sangria ready when he returns... 
Where's the beef?   You've gotta love it when the guy who brought the - ahem -  'tainted' beef to Bertie in France, Jose Lopez Cerron, gets elected president of the Spanish cycling federation.

Perfect.  Keep up the good work hombres.

Spain.  Based on fond personal experience and memories, I always subscribed to Papa Hemingway's assertion that Spain is the 'Last good country left'.

Gotta admit, that belief's been shaken.

Reality slap:   Spain went from a backwater of cycling in two decades to a leading cycling nation, largely thanks (as we know now) to a combination of laxity, manana, corruption and indifference.   It's like Afghanistan: A safe-haven for scoundrels, an incubator for weird science.

All those blood transfusions must affect your logic.  Or maybe something got lost in the google translation of the USADA report.  First we have to listen to Sanchez, Valverde and Indurain try to sell us that Lance remains a great champion who's the 'poor victim' of a witch hunt.  Now they spike the ball with the Lopez-Cerron appointment gem.    Yeah, Lopez personal account of the steak-gate story is credible.  Sure.

If you believe that, I've got a great investment tip for you. Spanish banks. You can't lose.

Inside-Outside -  The ever politically astute David Millar somewhat cryptically said today regarding the 'Change Cycling Now' movement that "change has to come from the inside".   Implying that a group of 'outsiders' (whatever that means... all those guys in London are pretty 'inside' if you ask me) - would be incapable of changing the culture of the sport.

Sorry David.  You're wrong.  It's a nuance perhaps, but not a small one.  Yes, in organizations and institutions, it's generally accepted that cultural changes do indeed stick best when they flower and take root inside.  But in this situation, you're wrong.   For three reasons.

1. You lot ain't no culture Bunky:  World cycling (and by this I mean not just the pro sport, but the amateur federations that feed the whole machine) is neither an institution, nor an organization.  It's a movable playground, and a darwinian mosh-pit built on a shaky foundation of Omerta.  At the top level, it's been revealed to be a criminal enterprise.  USPS was not an exceptional case, it was the norm.

So to call it a 'culture' is flattery beyond the status this movable mosh pit has earned.  


2. E' tutto sbagliato รจ tutto da rifare.  Gino said it. It's all broken, and has to be done over.

Go ahead, tell us again David how it's really changed.  AaaaHA!  You're full of it!

Cycling can't wait for 'gradual cultural change'.  And such flattering, 'organizational behavior-speak' should hereby be deemed 'off-limits' to all professional cyclists.  It diminishes the problem.  Such high 'fallutin language should be reserved for educated leaders in real-world workplace cultures like hospitals, corporations, or the military.  

We're not talking about a hospital trying to improve its culture of safety, or a corporation trying instill norms to improve customer service... no... we're talking about trying to make a bunch of Goodfellas start behaving like Boy Scouts.  Sorry David, not gonna happen through 'cultural change initiatives'.  Not fast enough anyway.  That takes time.  And you clowns are out of time, because those of us on the outside - (the suckers who pay the bill for this show) - are out of patience.

And it's more than the coveted pro sport David.  The culture is worse in the U23 and amateur ranks.    And cost prohibitive to police there.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Gotta change more than the pro game.

You don't need 'cultural change'.  You lot need rehabilitation.

There's a proven and appropriate  'inside' cultural change program for 'special cultures' like world cycling's.   It's on the inside alright.... It's called Prison.   A place where cultural change is made pretty efficiently.  By those 'outside'.  By changing the rules, the environment overnight.  With leverage.  Which brings me to reason three.


3. Inside?  Outside?   What's the difference?:   More than most, David Millar, you should know from personal experience that the boundary delineating the inside from the outside of the movable feast that is pro cycling is as thin as the paper a one-year contract is written on; as temporal as form; and as opaque as a murky omerta-obscured truth.   In the currently ridiculous scenario we're forced to watch today, you're all just one tainted steak away from being on the outside.   And it's pretty dang evident that only sustained lies can keep you inside.  

The problem isn't a broken 'inside' pyramid top.  The problem is the whole pyramid.

'Inside the sport'.  Who do you think you're snowin'?  At any given moment, there's thousands of guys on the 'outside' perfectly capable of being on the 'inside'.   I can name lots of 'em.  Yup, plenty of riders as strong as the rest of you on a level playing field, so don't bullshit a bullshitter, and don't believe your own news clippings.   You guys all put your pants on one leg at a time too.  You're all replaceable.

 No shortage of boys out there who can pedal fast, suffer and smile for cameras.  And it's pretty easy to drive a car behind the boys, spend sponsor money, and make hotel reservations and motivational speeches too.  Beats working for a living.   So stop flattering yourselves, and kidding yourself.  

C'mon David.  The lot of you are bike riders, and ex-bike riders.  Oh, you've got secrets alright, but no secret knowledge. After all, there nothing proprietary about pedaling a bike, riding a race, or organizing one.  So cut the crap. Today you're inside.  Tomorrow you're driving a cab in Medellin, or tending bar in Oudenaarde.

'Inside the sport.'  See, that phrase encapsulates the real problem, and why you guys can't fix it without outside help.  Some of you have been mistakenly led to believe that once you hit pro status, you're 'inside'.  We'll, we're all uncomfortable that you guys look like you're getting just a little too comfortable.  Status that comes with pulling on a professional team jersey for pay, and riding in the monuments is an earned privilege that is, and probably should be, a little more temporal.

Reality Slap:  Cycling doesn't belong to those on the inside.  It belongs to those of us on the outside.  We outnumber you guys.  And we foot the bill, not you.   'We' means the public, the fans, the thousands of license holders, the sponsors, the organizers.  

And this time, 'we' intend to leverage real change.   Cycling needs radical surgery, and our money will be the leverage in a cry-uncle style headlock.  Someone standing on your necks till you get the message.

So David,  speaking sincerely with immense respect for your achievements, your found ethics, and passion for clean cycling -  on behalf of the faceless thousands, blessed perhaps with less oxygen uptake, but higher ethical standards and more aggregate passion -- the thousands who collectively comprise the majority of the skin in the game -- we've heard way too much of this holier than thou, 'we know better', 'change from inside' crap for decades now.

Time for half measures and talk is over.  You guys consistently either just implement policies with unintended consequences that make it worse (e.g. the 50% Hematocrit limit)..or work to preserve your 'inside status' and the status quo.    Every flippin time.  Basta cosi.

You're not inside.  You're offside

Hey... how about this for an novel idea.... How about if all the guys on the inside, suddenly get placed on the outside.   And cycling starts over, with a new generation.     (Jaysus, I'm starting to sound like Brailsford... quick Flahute!! get me a Guinness...)

Or how about some new leadership with less sketchy ethics.  Playing with maybe a little less money.  Bet some the sponsors might like that scenario better.


The Lazarus Award... hereby goes to... wait for it.... Greg LeMond!

Hey, why not Greg as UCI president?  Although I'd completely understand if the cycling world has had it w/Americans at this point...(I know some days I have..)

He got bigger lung capacity than the entire current leadership combined, and can probably drink Pat under the table!

Seriously, Greg's got enough life experience and perspective to be a needed voice of reason.  And he’s got some innovative, interesting ideas worthy of testing out.  Like monitoring ‘sudden unexplained power spikes’ w/SRM data for pros.  Not that crazy an idea really, they've all got one on the bike.  And wired telemetry and analytics is a lot cheaper than dope testing. Whole thing could be digitized. You put an SRM on the guys, and monitor the data. Guy suddenly shows ‘unnatural’ big increase over any prior performances, you test him.  

Beats playing whereabouts hide-and-seek at hotels and homes.  Cheaper than lab tests too...

Lance apologists:   While I'm on a good rant, if hear one more wishy-washy, in touch with himself, wide-eyed do-gooder lament about 'how much good Lance did'... and how therefore we should overlook the means by which he enriched himself and his offensively complicit corporate sponsors while making s mockery of the sport we all love, I swear, I think I'm going to lose it.

Here's another gem of progressive logic that illustrates pefectly what grinds my gears.   A pundit who predicts that 'forgiveness will be fast'

Not so fast Ms. Bettison: One little thing you're overlooking.   Last I heard, forgiveness requires an act of contrition first.  

So take off your yellow wristband, stop apologizing for bad behavior and go read Machiavelli's the Prince.  And Crime and Punishment.  Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.

Ah, wielersupporters.  Don't you miss those days when educated people could tell right from wrong, and had the stones to punish 'wrongs' without fear of being deemed insensitive or intolerant by the PC police?   So much spent on education in the country, so precious little wisdom.  For so many, all that tuition money just gets their moral compass all out of whack.

L: "Who are you, and why are you wearing my glasses?"R: "I'm the guy who rode up Ventoux faster than Charly Gaul and 
gets to wear whatever glasses I want to. You must be the other guy."  
Gentlemen: Evidence of the breed's death have been greatly exaggerated.   Great to see Jonathan Vaughters and Eric Boyer come together in London yesterday and resolve their differences like the mature intelligent gentlemen they both undoubtedly are.

What a breath of fresh air.   After those guys fix cycling, maybe they'll teach a thing or two to the US Congress.


JV: Person of interest.  Is it me, or is that guy on CBS' TV show "Person of Interest" styling himself after JV?

Then again, maybe it's just the occular jewerly thing...   Or the mutton chops.  Or the dandy duds.
Nah.  Gotta be a coincidence.  

People with a Twitter problem. Case #42:    Johan, Johan...just a suggestion jongen, but with the the mountain of published evidence and testimony compiled on your USPS team activities by now, and with the groundswell of public outrage...don't ya think it just might be prudent to keep your real sentiments off this newfangled 'interweb' thingee.  



Douches, eh?  You may be right Johan, but someone
probably said the same about the guys at this gathering ..
   
Douche?  That means shower right?

How's that water feelin' now jongen?  Pretty cold I bet.

And oh, yeah, you might also want to really rethink that 'going to arbitration' thing.  Not sure the suits at NIKE and TREK want to open themselves up to subpoena...


Order now, quantities are limited!   Ah, holiday ... no wait...make that Christmas.  Yup, that's right.  Christmas shopping time.   Always signaled in with the arrival of the 'basically-the-same-shite-every-time' World Cycling Productions catalog.

I know, I know, you think I'm being mean spirited.   Not so.  I do have a heart.  I understand that when you've got shelves stocked with decades worth of Lance TdF CD's, the temptation to rationalize everything and just move that inventory must be pretty strong.  

But sorry guys, after over a decade of reaping in high margin sales, driven by your close associate Phil Liggett aggressively propagating the 'myth' while the greenbacks rolled in...I'm calling time on the windfall boys...

...and calling owner Tim Grady out for a new all-time low in direct marketing copy spin / BS:



Rationalizing.   It's gone way, way...waaaay... too far.

Tim goes on in his 'nice holiday letter' to announce he's 'spending less time at WCP these days... off to greener greenback film-making pastures.   How perfect.

Just speaking for myself Tim (and, I'd wager, a sizable chunk of your mailing list) I'd be a heckuva lot more inclined to way over-pay for apparel this holiday season at your virtual establishment if you'd had the decency put in a picture of a Shred-it truck grinding the whole remaining lot of Lance era CD's into a pulp instead.

'Just sayin'.

Vote with your dollars and euros wielersupporters.  Vote with your dollars and euros. 

11 comments:

  1. +1 Enough is enough. Whilst I agree with all you say, until fat Pat and Hein V are long gone everything else is just wishing (or ranting)!

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  2. Why is no one mentioning Eddy Merckx to lead the UCI - he can single handidly foster more change in one year than a room full of former domestiques meeting in London - Eddy Merckx's assistant (vice president) should be Greg Lemond. Anything else is a bad compromise.

    I hear LA still using the Gulfstream IV paid for by the saps that donated money to Livestrong.

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  3. Please - don't mention Eddy - three times positive, and an apologist for cheats. Rumoured to be the person who advised LA to visit Dr F.

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    1. I love Eddy as much anybody, but like Lennon, Elvis and Brando a deeply flawed man. The worst thing about it is that I don't think in my heart that EM the fading ego wouldn't have used EPO as his career faded. His ego was too big. He was a Lance apologist and an apologist big time. As is "the voice of cycling" Philip 'Phil' Alexander Ligget.

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  4. Well done Edso. Thanks for the effort

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  5. Rumored and three times positive for what substance - you hiding under anonymous user name - why is that? Armchair expert?

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  6. Sorry Ted if you were not unaware of the above.

    Ferrari said in an interview with cyclingnews.com (2004). Eddy Merckx introduced him to Axel's then Motorola teammate Lance Armstrong, check LA response at recent (2005)SCA hearing. The link is made, therefore rumored consequences. I don't intend searching out all the literature references. If you have doubts about the veracity, they are all detailed in Dan Friebe's excellent book 'Eddy Merckz - The Cannibal', including the three official drug failures, starting at the 1968 Giro with fencamfamine, similar body response to amphetamines. As an interesting note of history repeating itself, the UCI board of directors on the 14th June 1968 decided amongst other things that they 'doubted that Merckx wanted to dope, gave him the benefit of the doubt and immediately lifted the suspension'.

    I am only interested in facts, which are sometimes very disapointing.

    I guess I am an 'armchair expert' but still ride the Flanders Sportive when I can climb out of the armchair, and was racing in Belgium (and France and Holland) when all this shit was going on.

    Oh, and I like being anonymous - are we not all in grand scheme of life !

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  7. A lot of heat. Not much light. Cycling has bad history because most sports are about finding the best man while cycling is about making the most money. The best bike athletes, today, generally don't win the grand tours. I'd prefer a one day grand prix of Europe with points like motor racing. Maybe unique, but that's how I feel.

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  8. Thank you for the nice follow-up - quite impressed with your first hand knowledge and your obvious culture. I am humbled by your response. - Ted

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  9. Larry writes: Great rant! BRAVO! Could not agree more. Grazie mille!

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  10. The more I hear LA bashing the more I wish the highlighted lines in WCP catalog were mine. Just watched Alp's stage of 2000 TDF video while on my trainer. What a race!!

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