Tomorrow we have the UCI presidential election. And nothing has changed, we still have a candidate who knows no shame and therefore cannot be slowed down by any type of logic.
Merely a week after the 2005 Verbruggen letter leaked which showed the Verbruggen/McQuaid camp clearly didn’t want a fair election but rather a coronation, we have the federation president of cycling powerhouse St. Lucia accusing Cookson of wanting a coronation and not an election.
This is the same clown who claims that McQuaid almost singlehandedly eradicated doping in cycling while conveniently forgetting the obstruction of USADA, the whistleblower-killing lawsuits against Kimmage and Landis and the bending of the rules in favor of Armstrong (for example for his early return in 2009).
Vaughters very clearly indicated why Cookson is the better choice in his op-ed piece this week. Whether this endorsement helps or hurts Cookson, I don’t know. Do the people who are voting tomorrow care what Vaughters thinks, do they not see him as an enemy of the state and therefore would rather do the opposite of what he suggests? We’ll soon know.
One of the more interesting bits in his piece may be the influence Verbruggen still wields – this is often whispered but rarely discussed with the outside world. But I can confirm it’s absolutely true.
At the start of 2010, we changed our banking arrangements and as a result, we wanted to exchange our old bank guarantee for the Cervelo TestTeam for a new one. So we sent the new guarantee, and the UCI sent back the old one. So far, so good (well, it wasn’t quite as straightforward as I describe here, things never are with the UCI).
But then the old bank wanted a letter to confirm that indeed the UCI relinquished their claim on the old bank guarantee. They did, after all they now had a new one, but for weeks and weeks we called and were told the letter would be sent, but it never was. Weeks turned into months, and still no letter. You have to understand, this was quite a pile of money tied up. As a Continental Pro team, you have to provide yearly bank guarantees for 15 months. So in the Spring of 2010 our old 2009 guarantee was still active (from Jan 1, 2009 until March 31, 2010, our new 2009 replacement guarantee was still active (also until March 31, 2010) and our new 2010 guarantee was already in place (Jan 1, 2010 until March 31, 2011).
After the umpteenth call to the UCI legal department and the umpteenth promise we didn’t believe, somebody had a stroke of genius and called Verbruggen. He said “I’ll take care of it” and the next day we had the letter from the UCI legal department.
We got a lot of love from Verbruggen that Spring, as our success while holding a Pro Continental status was ridiculing the value of a WorldTour license. So while the official UCI was trying to punish us with last-minute rule changes to increase the fees we had to pay for our license and anti-doping, Verbruggen was trying to charm us into turning WorldTour. While we weren’t nearly as important as Vaughters, his stories have a familiar ring to them. This combination of sucking and blowing didn’t lead to anything (doesn’t the saying explain you can’t suck and blow at the same time) as we didn’t want to be WorldTour and couldn’t afford it. By June the nastier stage of the process commenced. But that’s for another day.
For today, I will give my kiss-of-death UCI presidential race predictions.
- Cookson has obtained the 14 votes of the European delegates, but some of those delegates will not play by the rules and vote for McQuaid anyway.
- Asia-Pacific goes mostly to McQuaid, these are countries and people who have benefited from several UCI programs and they like how things are going for them. Why rock the boat?
- Africa is the same story, a significant portion if not all of it will go to McQuaid. Based on absolutely nothing other than status quo is good for these delegates.
- The Americas will be a mixed bag
With all 14 European votes going to Cookson, he would have a real shot at beating McQuaid. With several of those delegates going against the UEC vote and supporting McQuaid, it’s hard to see how Cookson can win.
P.S. Hopefully my kiss-of-death predictions will have the usual effect on those in the race. Boonen, Sagan and Cancellara can all testify to how difficult it is to overcome favorite status in my predictions. The curse of the rainbow jersey is nothing compared to the curse of the kiss-of-death predictions. I figured I may as well use it as a force for good!