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The UCI encourages teams to dope - again.

BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
edited October 2011 in Pro race
Five teams have been named as not initially meeting the Union Cycliste Internationale's criteria set for 'sporting value' in the registration process for top-tier ProTeam status.

Ag2r La Mondiale, Geox-TMC, FDJ, Euskaltel-Euskadi and Europcar were all ranked outside the top 15 teams, according to the UCI's system which ranks teams based partly on their riders' sporting performances during the 2010 and 2011 seasons.
http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/lat ... teria.html

No wonder doping is still prevalent in the sport. The message appears to be 'All teams must be equally successful and if you get your censored kicked, even if this is because you are racing clean and so can't keep up with the dopers, then we won't let you ride with the "real pros" any more'...

This is much the same situation that Kimmage criticised years ago, when he pointed out that the need to accumulate UCI points, primarily in order to ensure that the team will get rides in the big events, encourages riders to dope in any event that carries points, so creating the notorious 'GP de Chaudieres'.

Perhaps the UCI has taken delivery of some large brown paper bags recently and is looking to replace the French teams with some dodgy outfits from China. Well, it worked for the Kierin...
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  • andypandyp Posts: 8,277
    Geox-TMC and Euskaltel are advocates for clean cycling? :shock: :lol:
  • Everybody know those Frenchies are all dirty cheats.

    GreenDregs, without a genuine stage race contender, make the cut?

    Of course.

    Indiana Jones couldn't uncover the UCI's selection "criteria".
    "Science is a tool for cheaters". An anonymous French PE teacher.
  • gsk82gsk82 Posts: 2,648
    i prefer to look at it that uci points encourage riders to get better, just like olympic medals encourage track riders to get better or the prospect of playing for man city encourages manyoo players to get better.
    "Unfortunately these days a lot of people don’t understand the real quality of a bike" Ernesto Colnago
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    andyp wrote:
    Geox-TMC and Euskaltel are advocates for clean cycling? :shock: :lol:
    I take your point but I was thinking more of the French teams who, in rankings based on the UCI's own 'suspicion of doping' ratings for riders, come out as being most likely the cleanest.

    It also seems crazy that teams like Europcar can have a rider perform like Voeckler did in this year's Tour, and yet risk being excluded from 'WorldTour' events because they didn't amass enough points in other races carrying UCI points. Perhaps the UCI is trying to ensure that no team will turn down the chance of amassing points, even when the event is some dodgy pet cause of the UCI, such as the Tour of Beijing...
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    gsk82 wrote:
    i prefer to look at it that uci points encourage riders to get better, just like olympic medals encourage track riders to get better or the prospect of playing for man city encourages manyoo players to get better.
    When you have 20 teams down for the 'WorldTour', isn't it reasonable to expect some to have more sucess than others. If 'relegation' is on the cards for teams like Europcar, who does the UCI have in mind as a replacement?

    What happens if you just can't seem to 'get better'? Do you pack it all in, or perhaps see what a good doping programme can do for you?

    P.s. in relation to the 'leaked' passport data for 2010, the 'team rankings', based on the totalled scores for each rider in the team were as follows, from the lowest suspicion of doping (Cofidis) to the highest (Radioshack).

    Cofidis
    BB Telecom
    FDJ
    AG2R
    Garmin
    Cervelo
    Footon-Servetto
    Rabobank
    Liquigas
    Sky
    Milram
    Saxo Bank
    Euskatel
    Katusha
    Lampre
    Quick Step
    Omega-Lotto
    HTC-Columbia
    BMC
    Caisse d'Epargne
    Astana
    RadioShack

    The mean scores for all riders of each nationality were as follows, with a score of 1 indicating no passport abnormality and a score above 5 being strongly indicative of doping.

    France 1.23
    Pays Bas 1.25
    Suisse 1.6
    Portugal 2
    Slovénié 2.25
    Etats-Unis 2.37
    Belgique 2.69
    Danemark 2.8
    Autriche 3
    Allemagne 3.27
    Australie 3.27
    Espagne 3.37
    Grande-Bret 3.37
    Italie 3.7
    Biélorussie 4
    Kazakhstan 4.33
    Ukraine 5.33
  • RichN95.RichN95. Posts: 23,900
    What system would you use then other than a meritocracy of some sort? There are many faults (and a couple of good points) about the current system, but surely any system of priority has to based on a meritocracy of some sort revolving around results.

    Europcar did have a great Tour, but the teams ahead of them can all point to their own triumphs. At least Europcar know that, being French, no matter how bad they get, they'll get an invite to the Tour which is the reason the other teams want a WT licence in the first place.
    Twitter: @RichN95
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,779
    Europcar also don't have much "depth"

    http://cqranking.com/men/asp/gen/team_p ... c&podium=1

    I guess if you only watch cycling in July, you must think they're some kind of super team.
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • LeicesterLadLeicesterLad Posts: 3,908
    iainf72 wrote:
    Europcar also don't have much "depth"

    http://cqranking.com/men/asp/gen/team_p ... c&podium=1

    I guess if you only watch cycling in July, you must think they're some kind of super team.

    Do you mean to say there is cycling outside of July? :shock:
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    A sports organization encouraging its participants to compete? Whatever next... :roll:
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    RichN95 wrote:
    What system would you use then other than a meritocracy of some sort?
    How about scrapping the UCI run 'WorldTour' and instead simply let the organisers choose the teams they want to ride their events?

    Of course this has all been gone through before, as when the UCI forced the Tour organisers to give Virenque a place in the Tour post-Festina, even though they didn't want him in the race, the Astana row and so forth.
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,779
    How about scrapping the UCI run 'WorldTour' and instead simply let the organisers choose the teams they want to ride their events?

    Based on what criteria? Why would sponsors throw money at something where you could be excluded on a whim?

    Something based on numbers is a lot fairer all round.
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    FJS wrote:
    A sports organization encouraging its participants to compete? Whatever next... :roll:
    And in doing so pressurising them to ride things like the Tour of Beijing and dope if they can't get the results they need to be guaranteed a place in the 'UCIs' events. The UCI does not own the Tour and other major events, even if has made a concerted effort to appropriate the TV rights to them, and should have no say in who gets to ride them.
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    iainf72 wrote:
    How about scrapping the UCI run 'WorldTour' and instead simply let the organisers choose the teams they want to ride their events?
    Based on what criteria? Why would sponsors throw money at something where you could be excluded on a whim?
    On the basis of whatever the organisers think is best for their event. For the most part this will mean inviting the biggest names / strongest teams, but the organisers should also be allowed to exclude those they don't want in the event, even if they have been given a 'WorldTour' licence by the corrupt jokers at the UCI, and should also be allowed to give extra places to 'home teams'. After all, it wasn't that long ago that the Tour de France was dominated by French teams, the Giro by Italian teams and so forth, and they seemed to be none the worse for it.
  • FJSFJS Posts: 4,820
    FJS wrote:
    A sports organization encouraging its participants to compete? Whatever next... :roll:
    And in doing so pressurising them to ride things like the Tour of Beijing and dope if they can't get the results they need to be guaranteed a place in the 'UCIs' events. The UCI does not own the Tour and other major events, even if has made a concerted effort to appropriate the TV rights to them, and should have no say in who gets to ride them.

    I agree with all that. It's just that in your original post seemed to be criticizing the use of sport performance criteria. You can legitimately question the whole World Tour, the limited role of 'cleanliness' in the criteria, UCI's motives and agenda, and I'd agree with all of that, but it seems strange to criticize using perfomance criteria in sport. Professional sport is about competition, and even though it has directly lead to doping in cycling, you can't take it away - it's no audax. If you would keep the World Tour without promotion/relegation based on results you end up with some US-style closed franchise system - not sure whether that's the best example of clean sport...
  • iainf72iainf72 Posts: 15,779
    After all, it wasn't that long ago that the Tour de France was dominated by French teams, the Giro by Italian teams and so forth, and they seemed to be none the worse for it.

    Wouldn't you have to judge that by the financial returns for the owners of the races? I'd suggest the Giro is better off now.
    Fckin' Quintana … that creep can roll, man.
  • andyracandyrac Posts: 467
    I always thought FIFA or ICC were the worst governing body in sport, maybe it’s the UCI. Successful teams losing sponsors – forcing ‘mergers’ isn’t the sign of a healthy sport, and needs to be addressed. What are they doing about these issues?
    They should govern the sport, and look for a global promoter for the top races..as happens in Motorsport.
    " He's flown down the Mountain like a missile...."




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    Canyon Grand Canyon 8.0
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,040 Lives Here
    The UCI aren't giving them the incentive to dope.

    The incentive already exists - i.e. beating everyone else = success - and usually gets rewarded.
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,408
    The UCI aren't giving them the incentive to dope.

    The incentive already exists - i.e. beating everyone else = success - and usually gets rewarded.

    Excactly what I was thinking. But worded better, obvs.
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  • hammeritehammerite Posts: 3,408
    prawny wrote:
    The UCI aren't giving them the incentive to dope.

    The incentive already exists - i.e. beating everyone else = success - and usually gets rewarded.

    Excactly what I was thinking. But worded better, obvs.

    I agree too.

    Perhaps these professional cyclists should just go out for a long ride with no winners at the end. After all if there were no races, there'd be no winners, there'd be no reason or system to give points to riders (style marks perhaps, best dressed?), and no ranking/points system to pass on to teams.

    I blame the whole idea of competition.
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    The UCI aren't giving them the incentive to dope.

    The incentive already exists - i.e. beating everyone else = success - and usually gets rewarded.
    But that is not the whole story. I recall that after the Festina scandal and the criminalisation of doping in France one of the French director sportifs said that they were going to race clean in full expectation of being hammered, and instead of simply looking to the results were aiming to make the most of the experience of racing for its own sake.

    Now that the UCI is targeting the French teams for 'under performance', those teams might not even get the chance to even ride the major events. Thus, as Kimmage pointed out long ago, the UCI are encouraging riders to dope because the option is not simply 'Dope and you might win', but rather 'If you don’t dope you may not get to ride the major events at all’.

    I can't help but wonder if McQuaid's well-documented Francophobia and hatred of 'The French' and the ASO has a part to play in all this.
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,040 Lives Here
    The UCI aren't giving them the incentive to dope.

    The incentive already exists - i.e. beating everyone else = success - and usually gets rewarded.
    But that is not the whole story. I recall that after the Festina scandal and the criminalisation of doping in France one of the French director sportifs said that they were going to race clean in full expectation of being hammered, and instead of simply looking to the results were aiming to make the most of the experience of racing for its own sake.

    Now that the UCI is targeting the French teams for 'under performance', those teams might not even get the chance to even ride the major events. Thus, as Kimmage pointed out long ago, the UCI are encouraging riders to dope because the option is not simply 'Dope and you might win', but rather 'If you don’t dope you may not get to ride the major events at all’.

    I can't help but wonder if McQuaid's well-documented Francophobia and hatred of 'The French' and the ASO has a part to play in all this.

    Festina was 13½ years ago, and you're making an awful lot of assumptions - the largest being that only the teams doing badly are dope free < if they even are.

    You can't base who gets involved in the big races and who doesn't by a hunch or perception. Unless you're catching guys or teams doping, either by catching them with the doping, liaising with banned doctors, or their riders testing positive, there's nothing you can do.

    The UCI has its problems, but saying the lowest performing teams can't race the most prestigious races isn't really one of them.
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    hammerite wrote:
    Perhaps these professional cyclists should just go out for a long ride with no winners at the end. After all if there were no races, there'd be no winners, there'd be no reason or system to give points to riders...
    There is nothing wrong with competition. What is wrong is the way the UCI have for years tried to make their rankings more important than the races themelves, with the ultimate aim of claiming 'ownership' of the whole sport under the UCI's 'ProTour' or 'WorldTour' branding.

    Anyhow, this is what Paul Kimmage had to say on the UCI's points system twenty-odd years ago:


    In 1983, in an effort to modernise the sport, the professional world cycling body, FCIP, established two new ranking tables. The first was for the riders as individuals. It was run along the same lines as the ATP ratings for tennis. Every event was awarded a set number of points to be given to the first, second, third, and so on - the number of points varying with the size of the event. The second ranking table was for teams. Too many teams wanted to ride the big events, and the massive bunches were making racing much too dangerous. Under the new system the points of the five best riders of each team were added, giving the team's total. The top twenty teams had automatic entry for all the classics and major tours. It was a good idea which had damaging repercussions. Sponsors of the weaker teams were not prepared to payout money to play in the 'second division'. Some pulled out and their teams folded. Others merged and suddenly a lot of professionals were without a job. The domestiques were in big trouble. There were no world-ranking points to be gained for helping someone else, and directeurs sportift were obliged to hire riders with points in order to survive. Riders became more selfish and it didn't take them long to cash in on the new system. The more points you had the more noughts you could put on the end of your salary. Points meant pounds.

    The relevance of all this to the system promoting drug-taking becomes clear on reading the list of races where points are awarded. Throughout this book I have talked about certain French classics that never have controls, the notorious Grand Prix des Chaudieres. Take just one of these, Mauleon-Moulin, as an example. To the uninformed it's a small race, worth a few paragraphs in L’Equipe and a nice trophy to the winner. Wrong: it's worth much more - world-ranking points. A win in Mauleon is worth the same number of points as being fifth in Paris-Roubaix, the queen of classics. And so the night before Mauleon, when the directeur sportif starts the pre-race meeting by stressing the points to be gained, and in the same breath reminds you that there are never any controls here, what do you do? Do you laugh with the rest, or do you cry? How can you win? And all of these races, the 'GP de Chaudieres', carry points. What a ridiculous system.
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    The UCI has its problems, but saying the lowest performing teams can't race the most prestigious races isn't really one of them.
    Personally, I thought that Europcar for one did well in last year's Tour and that the race would be much poorer if similar 'low performing' teams were excluded, as it is often these who animate the racing, having nothing to lose.

    Perhaps teams like Europcar need to start looking to those 'GP de Chaudieres', or the Tour of Beijing, in order to accrue the points needed to keep the UCI happy...
  • rick_chaseyrick_chasey Posts: 50,040 Lives Here
    The UCI has its problems, but saying the lowest performing teams can't race the most prestigious races isn't really one of them.
    Personally, I thought that Europcar for one did well in last year's Tour and that the race would be much poorer if similar 'low performing' teams were excluded, as it is often these who animate the racing, having nothing to lose.

    Perhaps teams like Europcar need to start looking to those 'GP de Chaudieres', or the Tour of Beijing, in order to accrue the points needed to keep the UCI happy...

    Look, I'm pretty sure most of us agree that the UCI Calendar and rating system is rubbish.

    But that then is the issue, not that the UCI 'encourages doping' by excluding teams that don't perform across the season into big races.
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,408
    But in 1983 there being no controls at that race meant you could take a load of amphetamines.

    It's a bit different now with the passport. Not perfect I grant you but it must be better than that.

    I think we're all in a agreement that doping 1983 isn;t the same as whats been going on since the late 80s
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  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    prawny wrote:
    But in 1983 there being no controls at that race meant you could take a load of amphetamines. It's a bit different now with the passport...
    The passport is able to indicate when a rider is using amphetamines? News to me, I must admit. I had thought that it was more focussed on blood doping and EPO use.
  • UCI is encouraging teams to dope..

    Really?? are you serious

    They are driving competition and encouraging teams to do better. The fact that there is relegation in football, rugby, cricket, tennis davis cup doesn't mean all the players are doped to the eyeballs it means they are striving to improve.

    If cycling teams decide to dope then that's their prerogative BUT they certainly aren't being encouraged to do so by the UCI.
  • prawnyprawny Posts: 5,408
    prawny wrote:
    But in 1983 there being no controls at that race meant you could take a load of amphetamines. It's a bit different now with the passport...
    The passport is able to indicate when a rider is using amphetamines? News to me, I must admit. I had thought that it was more focussed on blood doping and EPO use.

    That's not what I meant and you know it :P

    Does anyone actually use amphetamines in sport anymore? They'd end up going slower trying to talk to all the other riders in the bunch.

    Proper serious doping isn't going to be suddenly encouraged by the testers taking one day off.

    The points system does encourage teams to go to smaller races that they might otherwise not bother with, that's a good thing IMO. If the bigger teams only come to the TOB for points then fine, at least I get to see them up close once a year.
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  • ddraverddraver Posts: 20,362
    You re arguing with alot of people here Bernie, but you ve not yet said what system you think should be in place.

    Should the pick of teams for races be totally random? Should every Pro Team stat the TdF? How would you decide in a fair way?

    I'm no fan of the UCI either but I struggle to see how this system could be improved. The point of racing at all is to win so people will dope - that will never change - if there are specific races with no controls then controls need to be put in place on those races.

    It's a bit like the MP's expenses when they were caught pissing in the swimming pool - they re response was to blame the swimming pool and build a new one, not stop pissing in the swimming pool!
    We're in danger of confusing passion with incompetence
    - @ddraver
  • BikingBernieBikingBernie Posts: 2,163
    ddraver wrote:
    You re arguing with alot of people here Bernie, but you ve not yet said what system you think should be in place.

    Er....
    iainf72 wrote:
    How about scrapping the UCI run 'WorldTour' and instead simply let the organisers choose the teams they want to ride their events?
    Based on what criteria? Why would sponsors throw money at something where you could be excluded on a whim?
    On the basis of whatever the organisers think is best for their event. For the most part this will mean inviting the biggest names / strongest teams, but the organisers should also be allowed to exclude those they don't want in the event, even if they have been given a 'WorldTour' licence by the corrupt jokers at the UCI, and should also be allowed to give extra places to 'home teams'. After all, it wasn't that long ago that the Tour de France was dominated by French teams, the Giro by Italian teams and so forth, and they seemed to be none the worse for it.
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