Team RadioShack manager Johan Bruyneel has called for a shake-up in the running of professional cycling following his team’s exclusion from the Vuelta a España.
Bruyneel was angered that his team, co-owned by Lance Armstrong, did not receive one of the six wildcard places on offer from organisers Unipublic for the 22-team Spanish tour, despite moving up six places to eighth in the world rankings released on the same day as the list.
They also have the 11th- and 12th-ranked riders in the individual rankings: Janez Brajkovic, who rose 39 places from number 50 after winning the Criterium du Dauphiné Libéré on Sunday, and Christopher Horner, who won the Tour of the Basque Country. And Levi Leipheimer was victorious in the Tour of the Gila.
Bruyneel feels the time is now right for changes to the way the sport is run and that he is the man to take on the International Cycling Union (UCI).
"It is high time for professional cycling to become professional," he said. "The structure of our sport needs to change towards a model of other successful professional sports like soccer, tennis, formula one etc.
Look Johan … Team Radio Shack has a ProTour license, which carries “the right and obligation to participate in all UCI ProTour events,” which includes all three Grand Tours.
Do you know what an obligation is? Let’s check the definition:
ob·li·ga·tion: A social, legal, or moral requirement, such as a duty, contract, or promise that compels one to follow or avoid a particular course of action.
See those words “duty, contract, or promise”? By accepting a ProTour license, Team Radio Shack agreed to fulfill the terms of that license, which is a contract.
Team Radio Shack snubbed the Giro d’Italia, foregoing their obligation, and thus breaking the contract … so the team shouldn’t whine about being snubbed in return by the organizers of the Vuelta a España.
It’s a two-way street, and once the contract is broken … it’s broken, and in this case, the team is the party that broke the contract, not the organizers of the Vuelta.
But of course, the egos behind Team Radio Shack feel the rules and contracts should only apply selectively, depending on whether or not it’s to the team’s benefit, but that’s not the case.
Either commit to racing all the ProTour events, or race none of them. Personally, I think it would serve the team right if the UCI revoked their ProTour license, and the Tour de France rescinded the team’s invite to the Tour de France as well.
But alas, I doubt that will happen.