10 Wishes: UCI Overlord

UCI Overlord is a shadowy figure who lives on both sides of the pond, knows the ins and outs of the professional peloton and walks that fine line between optimism and despair at the state of cycling today. He’s good friends with our favourite Argonaut, Koen de Kort, and is a key member of Cyclismas. Let’s be honest – he is the PuppetMaster. Here are his ten wishes, complete with a musical interlude.

1. Bye bye Verbruggen

My top wish is a hope that the independent commission will remove an individual responsible for more damage to the sport of cycling than any other person in history. I’m hoping for Otton to physically pack Hein out of his office, which, I believe, is still located right next to Pat’s at UCI headquarters in Aigle.

2. A Classics victory for Koen de Kort

Wish 2: That Koen de Kort gets lots of hugs for great racing during the Classics

Wish 2: That Koen de Kort gets lots of hugs for great racing during the Classics

Koen is the nicest gent in the pro peloton and a friend. He was snake-bitten last year after a podium at Dwars door Vlaanderen. I’m hoping to see the lad on the top step some time this coming spring. Also looking forward to his lead-out of Degenkolb next year. Dynamic duo, those two.

3. Ripp Finklemann and Jonny Gunn at the Tour de France causing mayhem

The two lovable and occasionally comedic anchors of our videocast, CCNN-TV have a shot at taking their hi-jinx to France in July. Nothing would please me more than an Undercover Gunn at anti-doping control station.

4. Brailsford following through on his word

Wish 4: "This is the deal, boys: Wiggo, you take the Giro; Froome, you take the Tour. Unless I change my mind ..."

Wish 4: “This is the deal, boys: Wiggo, you take the Giro; Froome, you take the Tour. Unless I change my mind … which I probably will”

David Brailsford is notoriously self-serving in his soundbites. Let’s hope he keeps to his word with Wiggins at the Giro, and Froome as captain for the Tour. Somehow I have the sinking feeling that the Froome/Wiggins battle will merely replace the 2012 ‘battle’ between Cavendish and Wiggins.

5. McQuaid goes through an intense two-month PR training boot camp

I have to thank Pat McQuaid for giving me my start in the punditry business, but can the man just learn to stop making unfortunate comments and moves? I guess the independent commission will reveal just how deeply he followed his mentor down the path to the dark side.

6. Hook and Sumner patch things up

I’ve made quite a public display of my affection for New Order. I hope Hooky quits being Mister Passive-Aggressive/Mopey Bastardo and gets on with things. The quartet could still make great music and be my generation’s Rolling Stones. [We thought True Faith would be an appropriate song – Ed.]

7. Truth and Reconciliation happens

I hate the phrase and I’d like to slap the person who first said it. It has become the most nauseatingly repeated notion in 2012, surpassing ‘epic’ in the most-overused-words-in-cycling Hall of Fame. That said, I think it’s time everyone gets things off their chest and moves on.

8. Continued collaboration between drug manufacturers and WADA

Wish 9: Drug companies and WADA, why not work together and put some markers down?

Wish 9: Drug companies and WADA, why not work together and put some markers down?

Look, drug companies have the ability to put markers in their products. They have the ability to pass on the information to WADA for proper policing of the sport. The drug manufacturers’ association and WADA met this year and had a great start. This is probably the single easiest way to catch the cheats, rather than all this cloak and dagger shite. Simple solutions always have a problem being implemented, however.

9. Frank Schleck receives a conclusion to his plumbing troubles

You know, this simple little case has dragged on since July, which always indicates something rather ridiculous is happening behind the scenes. I hope Schleck’s positive test will hopefully have a resolution prior to the start of the season. I wouldn’t want to see a repeat of the Contador fiasco. But this is cycling after all, so what else can we expect?

10. Good health and happiness for all my cycling friends

I hope my extended cycling/Twitter/Cyclismas family (including VeloVoices) has a happy, enjoyable, and successful 2013. The Good Guys are starting to win again, and let’s hope it continues.

10 wishes for 2013

Kitty Fondue

Kiss My Panache

Sheree Whatley

Ant Beal

Tim Liew

Velocast’s Scott O’Raw

Maff Felstead

10 Wishes: Maff Felstead

Maff Felstead is a film editor at Loaded Dice in London but lives in Bishops Stortford, has been riding off and on for about 30 years and takes great pleasure in giving Kitty Fondue a hard time when she’s live-tweeting races for VeloVoices. He is also the founder member and chief blogger of Team Shake’n’Bake, the best cycling team you’ve never heard of. He loves cycling, boxing, American football, his wife and kids, Moam stripes, fig rolls and weekend bike rides. Last year he rode from London to Paris, this year he’s riding from Paris to Geneva (he’s training as we speak!) Here are his ten wishes.

1. Geraint Thomas wins a classic

2013 is surely the year when the chirpy faced Welshman steps out from Wiggins and Cavendish’s shadows and announces himself as a road cyclist to be reckoned with. He won the Junior Paris-Roubaix in 2004, Bayern-Rundfahrt in 2011 and was the British National Champion in 2010 so he has it in him. It’s time for Brailsford and his marginal gains to focus on Geraint.

2. A proper Tour de France drama

I’m not talking about ‘Schleck/Contador Chaingate’ or ‘Thomas Voeckler cycles through someone’s garden’ sort of drama. I’m talking about ‘Lemond/Fignon never more than a minute apart, eight-second gap, Champs-Elysees’ drama! Much as I loved seeing Sky control the Tour last year, it was only because Wiggins was the benefactor. Let’s have some proper racing please, not another yawnathon.

3. Cav to go second on the all-time Tour de France stage winners list

I love Mark Cavendish. I love his totally non-British “winning is all that matters” mentality. There is no finer sight in racing than Cav leaving the field for dead in a sprint finish.

The 2012 Tour wasn’t the same without it. This year, I’d like to see him cement his place as the greatest sprinter in history by overtaking Hinault and notching up 29 wins. I’d really like him to surpass everyone and go to the top of the list but I think 11 stage wins is too much even for Cav. I’ll save that for my 2014 wish list.

4. Better coverage of women’s cycling

The women’s Olympic road race proved that it’s not who’s on the bike that matters, it’s how they ride it. Marianne Vos and Lizzie Armitstead proved that female riders are every bit as aggressive and explosive as the men yet they just don’t get the exposure – in the press or on television. Better coverage would also double the amount of cycling on our screens and can that ever be a bad thing?

5. A higher profile for the Tour of Britain

Britain is in the middle of a cycling boom, so now’s the time to raise the profile of Tour of Britain from ‘colourful little sideshow’ to our own version of the Tour de France. Towns should turn stage starts into carnivals, the parcours should get even more challenging so top-end continental talent will turn up to race, not to wave at the crowds like royalty. Let’s make it happen!

6. Search and Rescue find Renshaw and reunite him with Cav

Ring ring! “G’day, Mark Renshaw speaking.”

“Mark, it’s Cav. Just wondered if you’d enjoyed your gap year and were ready to get back to pro bike riding? I’ve just had a year carrying bottles around and cycling on my own and I’m bursting to get out there and race again but it’s just not the same without you. Plus there’s this kid call Sagan who fancies himself a bit and you might need to stick the nut on him if he proves troublesome.”

“I’ll be right over, mate!”

7. BMC gives us back our God of Thunder

Thor Hushovd is my kind of rider. He can do this:

And I for one would like to see him do it a whole lot more in 2013. Enough of this ‘virus and muscle inflammation’ malarkey. Let’s have Thor back in the peloton eating up tarmac like it’s made of energy bars. [Watch this just for the commentators! No idea what they’re saying but they’re hilarious – Ed.]

8. Peter Sagan, Peter Sagan and more Peter Sagan

More than any other rider I think Sagan represents the golden era of cycling. The Merckx spirit of start-to-finish riding. Sprint finishes, one-day Classics, mountain stages, hill finishes, if Sagan fancies it he’ll give it a go. He won the Slovak cup on his sister’s bike – a supermarket bike with bad brakes and reduced gearing. Fingers crossed Cannondale give him free rein in 2013 because I would love to see him having a go at everything – Paris-Roubaix on a penny farthing, Tour de France on a unicycle … with Sagan you just never know.

9. Joaquim Rodriguez wins

Il Purito got his nickname by proving he can climb. He can climb as well as if not better than Contador. If he’d read Cycling Tactics for Dummies he’d have won the Vuelta this year instead of Contador. Hopefully someone has bought him the book for Christmas and we will see him fulfil his potential and win one of the big ones. [If he gets himself on a WorldTour team, that is! – Ed]

10. Drug-free year

We manage to go through a whole year of cycling with people talking about the riders, the riding and the racing without any mention of drugs. With Lance and his LiveWrong drama continuing to loom large, there is very little chance of it happening but we can hope.

10 wishes for 2013

Kitty Fondue

Kiss My Panache

Sheree Whatley

Ant Beal

Tim Liew

Velocast’s Scott O’Raw

10 wishes: Velocast’s Scott O’Raw

Scott O’Raw is Scottish and, as he’s not cooked, he’s raw so he really is what it says on the tin! He is also one of the duo who bring you the Velocast each week, he was in the room during the Change Cycling Now conference and is now best friends with Greg LeMond, much to the annoyance of his colleague, John. He is outspoken, has an intimidating vocabulary and is not afraid to wear a cravat, trendy specs and blue suede shoes – often all at the same time. Here are his wishes.

1. No more Lance stories

Seriously. Continuing to watch the festering corpse of Armstrong‘s career is about as appealing as gulping down a pint of milk that has been left on a radiator for a month.

2. An end to ‘Wiggo’

Wish 2: That the *real* Bradley Wiggins comes back

Wish 2: “One legacy to rule them ALL”

Of course, it’s not really his fault per se, but the Wiggo ‘character’ foisted upon Bradley Wiggins by the British press and taken to the great, unwashed heart of the hoi polloi is starting to resemble a Gollum/Sméagol-esque personality disorder. Hopefully the quiet, funny lad from the shire of Kilburn will win through, but I rather suspect Wiggo will come to a sticky end in pursuit of the ‘one legacy to rule them all’.

3. More TV time for Women’s Cycling


4. The Banning of Power Meters

Watching a rider, eyes glued to a nannying slab of plastic strapped to his stem, is to panache what a deep-fried Mars bar is to a healthy diet.

5. That we finally get an answer to the question: “What kind of rider is Edvald Boasson Hagen?”

Wish X: Would the Cannibal hold a teeny tiny little bear? Or would he crush it?

Wish 5: You can almost see him asking himself: “Would the Cannibal hold a teeny tiny little bear? Or would he crush it?” (Image courtesy of Danielle Haex)

In recent years he’s been touted as the ‘new Merckx’ but, unlike the Cannibal, the 21st-century Eddy seems to have as much desire to win as Frank ‘he ain’t heavy he’s my brother’ Schleck.

6. Change really happens

That the rumblings that there is genuine desire to turn around the Aigle oil tanker are true and that we see genuine reform in pro road cycling and the UCI.

7. Vino rides again (kind of)

That Alexandre Vinokourov be made to forego the Astana team car and follow races topless, riding a horse.

8. Katusha resolution now!

Wish 8: Time is a-tickin' ... Switzerland better be ready for The Katusha Maneuvre if that licence isn't in the post!

Wish 8: Time is a-tickin’ … Switzerland better be ready for The Katusha Manoeuvre if that licence isn’t in the post!

That a solution be found to the Katusha crisis before Vladimir Putin orders Russian forces to attack Switzerland. A defensive arsenal that amounts to nothing more than Swiss Army knives, cuckoo clocks and Toblerones would see Switzerland immediately overrun by the Russians – a bit like the fashionable bits of London are now.

9. Sagan gets his just rewards

Wish 9: "This is the life" (image courtesy of Panache)

Wish 9: “This is the life” (image courtesy of Panache)

It would seem only fitting that in 2013 Peter Sagan is finally granted his wish to be paid in podium girls.

10. And finally …

… That we look back on 2013 as a glorious vintage year full of drama, sporting conflict and superb bike racing. Too much to hope for? Hm.

10 wishes for 2013

Kitty Fondue

Kiss My Panache

Sheree Whatley

Ant Beal

Tim Liew