The International Cycling Union (UCI) wishes to announce that disciplinary proceedings will be opened against Team RadioShack, for breaching the regulations governing riders’ clothing.

The UCI regrets that an initiative for a cause as worthy as the fight against cancer was not coordinated beforehand with the Commissaires and organisers of the event. This could have been done whilst remaining within the rules.

Team RadioShack’s incorrect behaviour led to a 20-minute delay to the start of the final stage, which could have disrupted the televised coverage of the race, placing the Commissaires under the obligation to impose a fine on each rider and the team managers.

Team RadioShack subsequently breached the regulations by wearing an incorrect uniform on the podium for the protocol ceremony having been instructed not to.

The UCI also deplores the declarations made by Mr Johan Bruyneel who gravely offended all the Commissaires working in cycling. His remarks are utterly unacceptable, and Mr Bruyneel will be called upon to answer for his comments before the UCI Disciplinary Commission.

As the action of Team RadioShack was inspired by the desire to raise public awareness of the breadth of the global fight against cancer, the UCI has decided that any fines levied as a result of this matter would be donated to the Ligue suisse contre le cancer.

via Union Cycliste Internationale.

I have mixed feelings about this whole situation … part of me is saying, “What a joke! The UCI doesn’t have anything better to do?” and part of me is saying, “Finally, Team Radio Shack is being taken to task for their arrogance!”

Look, I’m not a big fan of Team Radio Shack (or rather, of Lance Armstrong and Johan Bruyneel), but this little imbroglio seems a bit ridiculous no matter how you look at it.

Image from VeloNews/Graham Watson, copyright © 2010. Used without permission.

What about all those years in which the US Postal Service team changed their kits for the final day’s ride into Paris? I don’t believe for a minute that those uniform changes were “coordinated beforehand with the Commissaires and organsisers”, especially not the retro grey U.S. Mail jerseys they wore on the final stage in 2003(?).

Why is the UCI choosing THIS year to get heavy-handed with this particular rule violation, instead of just handing out the fines on the spot like they have in the past?

On the other hand, Team Radio Shack (and the Astana/Discovery Channel/USPS teams before it) have always seemed to have this “the rules only apply if they are in our favor, and it’s okay to ignore them if they aren’t” attitude in the past.

This was really evident earlier this year when, despite being a ProTour registered team which carries an obligation to racing all three of the Grand Tours, Team Radio Shack opted before the season even really started to forego racing the Giro d’Italia … even going to far to emphasize that when the team selection was announced:

“Interesting 2 read that @teamradioshack not selected 4 the Giro,” said Armstrong on Twitter. “Unrelated – guess they got our letter Jan 23 saying we wouldn’t be coming.”

Then, after snubbing the Giro d’Italia organizers in a very public manner, the team got all hissy when the Vuelta organizers decided to snub them back “for sporting reasons”.

Team Radio Shack and its supporters tried to argue against that reasoning by pointing out that the team is one of the top-ranked squads in the rankings this year.

I guess they forgot that sportsmanship is also a “sporting reason” to invite or exclude a team from participation; and Team Radio Shack’s management and organization does not have a history of displaying good sportsmanship; not even within the team itself … and certainly not with regards to rules being enforced, as evidenced by Bruyneel’s mid-race tweet.

But Team Radio Shack’s lack of good sportsmanship within the team is fodder for another post altogether.