I do most of my best thinking on my commuter rides, and when trying to come up with a good way to explain the endless war between the UCI and ASO/the Grand Tours to anyone lucky enough not to have any interest, it suddenly occurred to me that there's a ubiquitous American symbol for what's going on...
Yep, Spy Versus Spy. Think about it:
- Brain Power: Sprung from the Id of a nine-year-old boy, Spy vs. Spy anchored Mad Magazine firmly to its demographic. [Disclaimer: as a nine year old, my Id had a subscription to Mad.] Breast-obsessed, nonsensical low-grade cartoon violence. Minus the breasts and the oversized cherry bombs, I'd say the UCI-ASO spat isn't plotted too far away on the intellectual spectrum.
- Level Playing Field: How on Earth is anyone supposed to pick sides? In Spy vs. Spy, not only was there no reason to choose sides with one over the other, there wasn't even language to do so. What would you say, "I'm rooting for Spy"?
- Story Arc: Spy throws bomb at other spy, seemingly blowing him to smithereens. Other spy miraculously recovers, places stick of TNT in first spy's underpants, with devastating effect. First spy, enraged but OK, seeks to retaliate by cutting hole in bridge as second spy's car approaches. Lather, rinse, repeat.
- Approval Ratings: Another reason not to pick sides: why bother? Neither spy gave readers a reason to even think of liking them. Sound familiar? Seriously, the "organization" of Cycling seems to suffer from the same disease that afflicted the Red Sox management for my entire childhood: a belief that I was lucky to have them. Has Cycling ever hired a communications team? A PR firm? Has anyone ever been tasked with telling people in a calm and reasoned way what the hell is going on with the sport? Ah, nope. Instead, we're supposed to be satisfied by dueling, unintelligible hot air blasts. And if that's not good enough for us, well, I mean, why would a sport need a fan base?