Politics and Polymorphisms: What's Really Hurting the Sport

Here's a good question for next week's Trivia Monday: what color is the glass at UCI headquarters? Give up? The answer is "doping".

For much of 2006, the UCI has fiddled while the sport of cycling has burned, all in the name of stopping le dopage. In July, the AIGCP allied, under terms of questionable legality, to force riders out of the Tour de France, and later, into DNA testing.

The madman running WADA has called for ever more draconian doping punishments, even as many current anti-doping efforts haved turned out to be as flawed and corrupt as accused dopers insist. And the UCI has done nothing.  Nothing, that is, but keep the only man caught red-handed in Operacion Puerto in the ProTour, while being unable to agree on which excuse to use in keeping those barely implicated out.

If I ever end up in possession of a parrot, I'm gonna name it Pat McQuaid and teach it one word: dopage. Listening to the Irishman, you'd think that was the only threat cycling would ever face. Of course, this parrot would be much smarter than the real McQuaid - threatening to shorten the Vuelta and citing the poor, overworked teams.

Please. Any Psittacidae worth its plumage knows that's yet another attempt to undermine the power of the Grand Tour organizers. No one truly concerned about the state of cycling would clip the magesty of a Grand Tour in favor of yet another week-long ProTour event.

The next time the UCI gets the windows redone up in Aigle (I'd imagine holding in such a concentration of hot air wears them rapidly), someone ought to replace that dreary tint of doping with custom made, inward facing, mirrored panes. That way, the next time the governing body pondered what was really doing damage to their beloved sport, they'd have a clear and immediate answer.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no friend of the ASO oligarchs, or the good old boys of the AIGCP, but the UCI's recent inability to reign in and work with these groups has done far more damage to cycling than blood bags and syringes ever will.