AM I BANNED TOO?

I am in a quandary. I?ve entered the Tour of Flanders cyclo-sportive, which is part of the UCI?s Golden Bike series.

But I?ve also entered the Etape du Tour, which is organised by Vélo Magazine, owned by the publishing company Amary aka ASO.

And I?m worried.

What if the respective bodies find out? Will I be banned from all cyclo-sportive events? Will I be fined thousands of euros?

SILENCE IS DEAFENING

Meanwhile, I?m picturing tumbleweed blowing through the offices at UCI headquarters.

After a week of increasingly frenzied and high-pitched rhetoric from president Pat McQuaid there has been three days of silence.

At one point I imagined the UCI?s press office hiring a Dalek from BBC TV?s Doctor Who to read out McQuaid?s statements, such was the anger and intensity.

And now ? nothing.

McQuaid said he would wait and see what happened at Sunday?s Paris-Nice prologue before considering the UCI?s next move. Now he says he will not comment for the time being.

Either he?s crafting the angriest press statement ever or all the press officials have been roped in to lick envelopes as the governing body prepares to post out 160 suspension notices.

A CLUMSY RULE

Dick Pound, the former head of the World Anti-Doping Agency, has said that the British Olympic Association bylaw that bars Dwain Chambers from competing in the Games would not stand up to legal scrutiny.

The bylaw means any athlete that has been suspended for doping is barred from the British Olympic team for life.

Pound has legal expertise, having defended disgraced Olympic ?champion? Ben Johnson after his positive test at the 1988 Seoul Games, an experience that strengthened Pound?s resolve in the fight against doping.

And his comments would have encouraged David Millar who, as it stands is banned from the Olympics after admitting using EPO, but hopes that a legal challenge by Chambers will open the door for him to race in London in 2012.

By waiting for Chambers to make a move, Millar can stay out of the spotlight and avoid the negative publicity associated with challenging this BOA rule.

The problem is, Chambers is not flavour of the month in the mainstream British media. Chambers? shadow was cast over the BBC?s coverage of the recent World Indoor Athletics Championships. The ?Chambers situation? was the elephant in the room and the commentators seemed unable to put it in context or perspective.

Does Millar ? a man who is now making good on his commitment to fight the good, clean fight ? really want to draw attention to himself in the same way in four and a bit years? time?

Anyway, the BOA?s bylaw yet another example of woolly anti-doping thinking.

As tough as my own personal stance on cheats in sports is, you either have one rule for all or you don?t.

And if you eschew life bans for dopers, it does not make sense to apply a life ban to certain events but not others.

For David Millar?s reaction to Dick Pound?s comments and his future Olympic dreams, see Thursday?s Cycling Weekly

RADIO KILLED THE TACTICAL BRAIN

?This constant radio communication is damaging the dynamics of racing.?

The debate about the merits or otherwise of race radio systems is an old chestnut, and no mistake.

I wrote that sentence in Cycling Weekly seven years ago after the spring Classics, when the effect of earpiece radios on the racing could be ignored no longer.

I?d just seen Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where ONCE?s team manager Manolo Saiz dialled in his race tactics and set his riders ? in that case David Etxebarria and Laurent Jalabert ? on auto-pilot.

The team managers were all watching on television in the car and using the big picture to instruct their riders. It was killing the spontaneity of the racing, a trend that has continued ever since.

Now, the UCI has banned radios from under-23 races. It?s a promising start.

The argument from those in favour (the riders and team directors) is that radios make the racing safer because they can warn of dangers coming up on the route. This is clearly nonsense.

It?s no wonder the team directors are opposed because without their input they are reduced to little more than glorified car drivers.

But for the sake of the racing, let?s bring it on. A compromise measure would be to have one ?captain on the road? in each team who is wired up and can talk to the team manager. He could then relay instructions from the team manager to the other riders.

And the riders could again take control of their own destiny, making their own decisions and standing or falling by their own calculations.

PREVIOUS TUESDAY COMMENTS
March 4 ? Why Het Volk is the real deal
February 26 ? Pendleton Poses Nude and the Demise of the Archer
February 19 ? Let Levi Ride? Leave it out
February 12
February 5
January 29
January 22
January 15