Friday, March 9, 2007

UCI and ASO Agree...To Be Hypocritical

The UCI and ASO, the organizations primarily responsible for much of the recent conflict in the sport of professional cycling, held a joint press conference on Friday to announce their unanimous decision to remain consistently hypocritical in all matters from this point forward. The press conference also allowed the UCI to announce its “100% Against Doping” campaign which is the present incarnation of the former “About 50% Or So Against Doping…Give Or Take A Few…But Really Only If They Get Caught” project that has been in effect for the last fifty years or more.

Recently, as the two groups argued over “rights” and “rules” and all sorts of other noble sounding topics, there has been a growing sentiment among both the Pro Tour teams and the general public that neither organization is acting out of good faith toward the sport of cycling. Rather than continue the charade of altruism that has been preached by both sides, the two groups officially ended the standoff by admitting that they are really just concerned about money and power.
“We have been trying for quite some time now to create a sense that the UCI really is looking out for the best interest of the sport and the riders,” said UCI President Pat McQuaid on Friday. “But after awhile, it becomes pretty obvious that we’re just trying to protect our own financial interests and really hoping to get a piece of the broadcasting and media distribution rights for all professional cycling events in the future. That’s really our number one goal…but you didn’t hear that from me, okay?”

McQuaid’s statement was immediately followed by a reporter reminding him that the press conference had been called to effectively admit the UCI and ASO’s concern with the flow of money and operational control over everything else. “Oh yeah…sorry. I’m just so accustomed to doing everything in my power to cover this up and act like my concern is for the riders and not the UCI budget, that I forgot we are admitting this publicly,” said McQuaid as he gently caressed the keys to his Mercedes Benz and newly purchased villa in Switzerland.

“Regardless…we are not the bad guys here. The bad guys are the Grand Tour organizers like ASO who have built up their product over many years and strategically capitalized on the generated revenue and media interest more successfully than the UCI. These other groups that actually run themselves like a business and are concerned with maintaining some level of control over the events that they own and operate…now those are the real enemies of the UCI and cycling as a whole.”

The UCI President then left the podium to ASO President Patrice Clerc, but not before the two engaged in a short bout of chest-bumping and frenzied air-slapping, followed by a quick “Time Out” to clean up the money that had fallen out of their pockets and wipe the streaming flow of tears from their eyes.

Clerc then took the microphone and announced simply, “The ASO and other Grand Tour organizers have a right to use the most sacred events in all of cycling for our own selfish reasons and squeeze every last cent out of them that we can. Whether the best ‘UCI’ teams are in the race or not is irrelevant. We could run the Tour de France with amateur teams and we would still make tons of cash. What do we care who actually competes in the event? Well…as long as they don’t have a gambling sponsor like Because that’s illegal in France…well, whenever we want it to be at least. Which means...when we have other sponsors, like lotteries and horse racing associations breathing down our necks about it.”

Clerc then realized that he had not adequately explained the hypocrisy in his statement with regard to allowing the Francais des Jeux (French National Lottery) and Predictor-Lotto (Belgian National Lottery) teams to compete in ASO races and quickly followed up his earlier comment by saying, “You know…some people may find that our desire for FdJ and Lotto to compete in our events is somewhat hypocritical but…when you really look at it, you should quickly realize that this is nothing new and that we have been doing stuff like this for a long time. I mean…PMU controls horse racing in France and we have had them as the primary sponsor for the points competition in most of our bigger races for quite some time. So, you see…the precedent for hypocrisy was set a long time ago. This should come as a surprise to no one. It’s time we got beyond this petty concept of race equality and cooperation and just let us race organizers do whatever we want to with the sport.”

Clerc continued his plea for the public to overlook the contradictions of the ASO stance by recalling, “Not many people know this, but it was only a couple years ago that PMU threatened to pull their sponsorship of our races and we directly solicited Mr. Bookmaker (another gambling entity and a predecessor to Unibet) to help us get some badly needed cash. Thankfully, they were too busy supporting and growing their cycling team, getting results and paying their riders to kick down some dough for the race, because if they had chosen to help us out, we probably would be having a much harder time keeping them out of our races at this time. But hey…it all worked out and we’ve got our money and sponsors now so…Unibet gets nothing. A smaller, weaker French team will certainly add more to the quality of the races than a successful, motivated Pro Tour Team.”

McQuaid then rejoined Clerc on the stage for a joint question and answer session. However, shortly after the first question was posed by a French journalist, both men began to fight over the microphone and eventually came to blows. Other reports claim that there were actually no punches thrown and that the fight consisted mostly of hair pulling, scratching and biting.
Fittingly, not one person in attendance made any effort to break up the squabble and instead everyone just got up and exited the building, leaving McQuaid and Clerc alone to battle each other.

“Let ‘em fight to the death for all I care,” said one Belgian journalist as he departed the press conference. “Maybe if they kill each other by brawling like this, they won’t kill the sport of cycling with their constant haggling. Or maybe at the very least they’ll knock each other out and forget why they were arguing.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Still laughing. Tho it's really, really sad. It reminds me of so many organizations...sigh.
Keep on it. Truth resides deeply in comedy. Great piece!