Friday, October 7, 2011

Pat McQuaid Lies

--Recently, it came out that the UCI attempted to pressure teams into not boycotting the Tour of Beijing. The reason for the proposed boycott was over the UCI's insistence on banning race radios. The teams did this in reaction to this stance by the UCI.

The UCI sent the following in a letter to one of the teams:

"The UCI World Tour is a very important part of the UCI calendar, your team is a member of that World Tour, and in recent years the UCI have been working on a strategy to globalise the UCI World Tour. This is for obvious reasons, to further develop our sport, bring it to a truly global audience and indeed to give a valuable return on investment for our sponsors.

I can also assure you that any team who does not take the start line in Beijing will be brought before the UCI Licence Commission at the end of the year and risks losing its licence and all the associated benefits. UCI doesn't like involving sponsors in the internal affairs of our sport but in this case we felt that as a sponsor of this team, it was felt important that you should be informed.

They [the Chinese organisers] will take this as an offence and it could have repercussions of a commercial nature. This event is being promoted by the City of Beijing under the direction of the Mayor of Beijing, Gou Jinlong and the word boycott has a very high resonance in the Chinese culture for different reasons and they will feel that as an insult to the Chinese people."

It's not just the teams it attempted to coerce into supporting the UCI's for-profit venture, it's the sponsors themselves. As you may know, putting on bike races is not in the UCI's knitting, nor in its charter. That's why it formed Global Cycling Promotions, the entity that is promoting the Beijing race. I'll set aside the issue of whether or not the UCI should have a for-profit venture for now, and just address the issue of it attempting to coerce team sponsors.

As if the UCI didn't do enough to drive sponsors from the sport, it's now threatening through some imagined power the sponsors' businesses themselves. The boycott "could have repercussions of a commercial nature." Oh, so if China puts on a bike race and say HTC's team doesn't show up to said bike race due to a dispute with cycling's governing body, China will take this as a personal offense and say punish the company for said offense? I get it. And I can see the serious "commercial" implications of Chinese ire toward a sponsor like Astana's Samruk-Kazyna National Welfare Fund or AG2R's La Mondiale.

It's all making sense now. And it's clear from the Chinese national team's hodge-podge of kits the country is serious about cycling:


Back to the issue of the the UCI having a for-profit venture. If the UCI's sole mission is to provide a just governing of the sport of cycling, why should there be any profit motive? After all, it's the teams which are for-profit, not the regulators. This is analgous to the SEC having a for-profit company, and then using its regulatory power to coerce all banks to use it's for-profit company. That's essentially what the UCI is doing.

In light of this, the root of the UCI's aggression becomes quite clear. The teams' boycott would severely hamper the profits of the UCI's profit-seeking arm. Since Pat McQuaid is one of the board of directors for this entity, it would likely interfere with Pat's profits.

Now all the posturing about race radios and the TT debacle at the Tour makes sense. McQuaid wasn't worried about the sport, he was worried about his kickbacks coming from Beijing via Global Cycling Promotions.

Generally, politicians fall into two categories. Those who have money and those who don't. The ones who don't make their money through kickbacks or favorable business decisions and sweetheart jobs after they leave office. McQuaid's in the second category. And the real money he's making isn't coming from the UCI, it's coming from Global Cycling Promotions.

So, dear cycling fan, the next time you hear McQuaid getting his panties in a twist over some issue with the teams, think "How's Patty getting paid off this?"

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