HOW TO KICK ASO...
The reasons for this ongoing war between ASO (owners of the Tour de France, Paris–Roubaix and the Paris–Dakar road rally, amongst other sporting events) and the UCI (the Union Cycliste Internationale: world Federation for all cycling events), now part of modern sport History, will be dissected, after the corpse is retrieved.
A 'dead body' alert ought to be disseminated now. There exists an excruciatingly real chance that the parties who comprise the 'family' of professional cycling are being literally torn in thirds, or fourths, depending on your perspective. Whether the UCI offered a solution with its ProTour concept, or created a certified monster (if you're Patrice Clerc, managing director of Amaury Sport Organization, this is your sermon), a 'mutiny' for the Bounty has begun. Bounteous amounts of money pass hands in the world of cycling, sponsors for teams with annual budgets up to 40 million Euros, teams paying entry fees to event organizers, and those juicy, fat TV rights?
How are they contributing to this major sport implosion?
One other question, to mix into our recipe: Is France tactically advancing a national mission to 'return cycling to France'?
No matter what conspiracy, machination, nefarious alliance or business proposition exists, no matter how ASO tweaks the knobs that fine–tune certain teams and riders, and their associations, to an ASO 'frequency' (read: brainwashed or blackmailed), there's a way that the UCI could kick ASO butt.
(maybe 2009? And maybe "World Champions Tour" or...)
10 million Swiss francs to the one man who can ride three weeks, +/– 3600 km in nineteen days, London to Athens, or Prague, or both...
Over fourteen times the winner's purse. Performing a doping control on each and every participant, as a minimum, of once per two days.
No more 'we are better' chauvinism.
And, perhaps back it up with a Laboratory that actually can perform proper laboratory analysis, AND stay open without closing for vacation in the middle of one of its biggest annual contracted testing periods.
It's not yet been determined whether fans, and to be fair, we must only talk about NON–French cycling fans, are loyal to the Tour de France because the race is: a) French, b) the best in the world, c) both, or d) where the Money goes...
If a team, or its star, could win ten times the winnings at the Tour de France, would it be the greatest stage race any more?
The answer, my friends, depends on whether the 'best' racers in the world want to 'lose' money – earning opportunities.
Arrogance of ASO?
Kick 'em where it counts: in their wallet. If ASO thinks they as a Company, are more important that Cycling as a Sport, either Cycling acquiesces, or it takes the issues to a greater level.
This can happen...
The alternatives are not pretty.