You've seen the stage results, and the overall standings, but let's have a look at the over-overall standings following stage 1 of Paris-Nice:
- Riders, at 0.06
- Teams, s.t.
- Fans, at 0.22
- UCI, DNF
Well, they should be feeling satisfied, having apparently gotten away with their destructive, venal power play. Apparently an invite to the Tour de France does outweigh pretty much everything else. It's not just American fans who view the sport this way. But Prudhomme's statement is a complete lie.
The riders, meanwhile, are doing what they were born to do, which is nice, but surely everyone is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Fans are still presumably kept on edge as well, and have been treated to some pretty messy racing (weather-wise) in the process. But if nothing further happens, maybe, just maybe, the sport will simply carry on.
All of this of course means the UCI are suffering a complete rout. I've sort of been siding with them, on the hope that they can give more ballast to Cycling than ASO, an organization dedicated to advancing the interests of ASO. And it seemed like there was a way to victory early on, when McQuaid's more muted threats (the ones based on actual UCI licensing regulations) were convincing some DS's to send their top guys to Italy instead. Had that idea caught fire and Paris-Nice became a B-list affair, with Tirreno-Adriatico siphoning off all the big names, UCI would have scored a huge win. But either ASO leaned on teams, or McQuaid's ridiculous threats to have everyone killed drove the teams into ASO's arms. Lesson: when faced with a choice of fighting with innocent people everyone likes (the riders) and duplicitous, unlikeable villains (ASO), don't go after the former. Idiot.