Revolution and the UCI

Revolution - McQuaid and Mubarak

I was thinking about McQuaid and Mubarak. One of them has ruled his domain with an iron hand, refused to implement democratic reforms, stood in the way of progress, suspended due process and generally dismissed the people he is supposed to serve. But enough about McQuaid.

Facebook, Tweet, take to the streets. There appears to be a greater chance of overthrowing an entrenched Egyptian despot than getting the UCI to embrace democracy in the affairs of cycling. The rider protest of the race radio ban in Mallorca was a start but the revolution has a long way to go before it secures a real voice in the governance of the sport. Perhaps it's time to start pulling up the pavement in case the UCI launches a camel charge, they've already invalidated race results and threatened to cancel elections, I mean races. Isn't it time the U.S. state department started putting diplomatic pressure on McQuaid to step down.

Elsewhere the revised version of the UCI approval protocol for frames and forks resurfaced with all the grace of a Mubarak concession speech. Oh, that's right, there wasn't one. Little has changed in the new document. It bears the same autocratic sense of a entitlement, but there's been nothing short of a miraculous reduction in the cost of scrutiny. Perhaps the Swiss government's willingness to freeze Mubarak's bank accounts caused the UCI to rethink the usurious sums they were trying to extort from manufacturers. For those that thought the original price structure was a naked money grab, I'd say the new fee structure confirms it.

The full approval process for monocoque frames requires a "contribution" of $6,200 instead of $12,000 and it only applies to time trial and track categories. Monocoque road frames are now subject to the intermediate procedure which means road frame approval has effectively been marked down from $12,000 to $3,800. Corporate bean counters take note, this is how to waterboard squeeze your suppliers. Apparently there was a significant amount of padding in the original lab fees. What a surprise.

There's even mention of tolerances between drawing and prototype for the first time. It's a shame there's no easy way to quantify intolerance because this regime has plenty of it and its high time professional cyclists get out the saddle and on to the barricades. It's not like they have to worry about tanks showing up at the official sign in... do they?

As events have shown us a lot can change in eighteen days. I like to picture McQuaid and Mubarak in retirement opening the charming M&M B&B in Sharm el-Sheikh complete with UCI-approved bike rentals that only a Saudi prince could afford. It's just a matter of time, I think the hieroglyphics are on the wall.

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