Day three of the world championships was an interesting one. The German with the British name, Tony Martin, crushed the competition in the time trial. At about the halfway point it was obvious, barring a header into a barrier or crazed fan (loved how the Danish police went old-school with the rinse, lather, repeat method of detention on an interloper), the German was rolling over the favorites like a Panzer tank. Defending champion Fabian Cancellara lost second place with his NASCAR inspired “rubbing is racing” turning technique. Like a great NASCAR coach once said, “always remember, if you ain’t first, you’re last,” and Fabs wasn’t settling for anything but the top of the podium.
Day three of Worlds also revealed the venue for the 2015 championships. There were originally three contenders: Quebec, Canada; Muscat, Oman and Richmond, Virginia. Quebec pulled the plug on their bid in March siting the huge cost of hosting Worlds and instead is focusing on the Grand Prix of Quebec and Montreal. So there were two…
At this point it was between Mescat and Richmond. Well it looks like it didn’t have to come down to a committee vote after all as Oman pulled out for undisclosed reasons. However, the smart bets were on Richmond all along. Why Richmond? Well as it happens the current UCI president Pat McQuaid has a brother, Darach McQuaid, who is a principal at Shady Sports Marketing…er…Shadetree Sports Marketing. This is the same marketing company that organized the world championship bid to the UCI. Conflict of interest much?
According to older brother Pat, Darach was in no way going to get any preferential treatment. Darach himself told Cyclingnews.com, “My history with Richmond goes back to 1995-1996 before my brother Pat was even on the board of the UCI, when I was based in Richmond publishing the official guide for the Tour DuPont.” Who knew that publishing a guide book could come with such power?
To be honest I’m torn about this. The 2015 Worlds is just under a seven-hour drive from Browne Eye Media HQ. While I wasn’t a geography major in university, I know I can’t drive to Muscat (sidenote: wasn’t Muscat one of the Thunder Cats?) so I’ll gas up my Scion and head north. While I’m mentioning future World Championship venues – Louisville, Kentucky is the site of the 2013 cyclocross Worlds. Can I get a hup, hup?!?!
Let’s take a quick look at Shadetree Marketing. In addition to the the World’s bid, they were also the principals behind the Tour of Ireland. Although the race had been deemed a success, “due to significant commercial and public sector funding, current economic conditions have meant that the additional investment required to make the event viable has not been forthcoming in time for this (2010) season.” And that was with seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong’s participation in the ’09 edition. However, there seems to have been some confusion about Marco Pinotti getting paid his 2009 prize money. And by confusion I mean he hasn’t been. Pinotti took to Twitter earlier this year and that set off some serious finger-pointing about why he hadn’t been shown the money. Darach tossed Tour of Ireland race promoter Alan Rushton under the double-decker bus and said he was the reason for the lack of payment. At this point Pinotti still hasn’t been paid – but he thinks he will soon. Fingers crossed.
Regardless, while on one hand I’m happy the Worlds are returning to the States, I’m concerned about the possible nepotism that occurs when your little brother is promoting a race and you just happen to be the president of the whole organization. And let’s not forget Pat’s offsprings. David McQuaid is a race director and Andrew is a sports agent for several top cyclists. Can we really expect that when business comes up that could overlap with either his brother or sons he excuses himself from the table? I think anyone would have a hard time turning their back on a family member when their businesses are so intertwined.
Speaking of intertwined family businesses…Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera published detailed police documents accusing Armstrong of continuing to collaborate with banned for life Italian doctor Michele Ferrari up until his last Tour de France appearance. According to the paper there are taped phone conversations between Armstrong and Ferrari’s son.
Ironically the man who likes to go by the moniker, “Juan Pelota” used the code name Number 1 for the doctor in those recorded conversations. Yeah, that’s an undecipherable code name… I wonder if Ferrari’s code name for Armstrong was “Big Tex”?
If I was Armstrong I’d use “Landis” instead of Ferrari. Imagine the confusion on the faces of the investigators when they hear Armstrong asking for advice from “Landis.” Maybe throw in “Hamilton” as code for Bruyneel?
“Hey it’s me. I need a special training plan from ‘Landis.’ ‘Hamilton’ is all up my ass about how I need a good result at the ‘Ride for the Roses’. Call me back ASAP!”
Additionally Corriere della Sera says that up to 30 riders are being investigated for a laundry list of things from the obvious doping shenanigans, to money laundering and fraud. It goes on to say that American investigators want to take a look at what their Italian counterparts have dug up. So far paid mouthpiece Mark Fabiani or Mark Higgins have not commented. Number 1, cancer shields up to full strength and activated to full denial!