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CyclingNews210

Another UCI Grand Plan Fades Away
Dateline: 24-Aug-2013
UCIGolden1
For many years the UCI’s Golden Bike project has been the subject of criticism - but now it seems that even the UCI themselves have lost interest. When checked today the official web site had the latest news that there was now a ninth rider who had completed the task of riding all the events - but this was from February 2011. Despite this the Gold Rider web page did have twelve ambassadors listed up to 2012 - six of them from Britain. Then looking on the Events web page shows that just six rides were listed - all for 2012 - with nothing for 2013 shown nor as planned for 2014.

Quite how much the UCI has raised from ride organisers or from the 30 euros rider joining fee we will probably never know. But it seems unlikely that it will have been enough to cover the costs involved - even though you can still, it seems, get a nice Santini jersey for free by joining. So if you want one apply quickly as a much needed change of leadership at the UCI gets ever more likely. If it happens then perhaps this UCI vanity project will at last be consigned to the bin of history - along with the others.

Master Championships Revisited
Dateline: 12-Apr-2011
The UCI includes the Masters events in its Cycling for All category. And following their great success with cyclo-sportives [cynicism is a terrible burden] the UCI have decided to use their skills and experience to boost the Masters.
UWCT120So there is now a new programme of events for amateur riders. The aim is to create qualifiers for the Age Group World Championships. “The UCI World Cycling Tour (UWCT) is a series of UCI-sanctioned races that will be held all over the world. The UWCT will comprise a maximum of 15 qualifier events, leading to the UWCT Final, the former UCI Masters Road World Championships. The top 10% in each age group of the qualifier events will automatically have the right to compete in the UWCT Final and race for the coveted UCI rainbow jersey.”
This weekend sees the first event in the new programme - in Perth, Western Australia. The entry closing date was extended to last Friday so the final field is now around 270; split into three groups with ages that range from 17 to 71.

The rest of the 2011 programme is -
8-May-2011 Gran Fondo New York, USA (107 miles)
8-May-2011 Eddy Merckx Granfondo, Évora, Portugal (157 kms)
12-Jun-2011 Marathon Franja BTC City Musseeuw classic, Ljubljana, Slovenia (156 kms)
18-Jun-2011 Eddy Merckx Granfondo, Huy, Belgium (175 kms)
19 / 21-Aug-2011 Echelon Gran Fondo, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA (TT 28kms / RR 113 kms)
28-Aug-2011 Gruyère Cycling Tour, Bulle / Fribourg, Switzerland (125 kms)
9 / 11-Sep-2011 UWCT Finals, Stavelot, Belgium

The Gruyère Cycling Tour is interesting because it was previously in the Golden Bike programme and even the official UWCT web site says it still is! But the actual event web site is sure it is not - since there the Swiss Golden Bike slot is still marked as undecided [However the Gruyère Cycling Tour also has this on its web site - “qualifier event of the world shampionship”]

So the basic idea of time trial and road race qualifiers for the Worlds is fine. But the actual events chosen are an odd mixture with few events having the necessary TT / RR structure. So it looks like the UCI is repeating its earlier mistakes of just adding tags to existing events - rather than organising targeted qualifiers.
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Given Pat McQuaid has been both a rider and a team / event director - so we hoped for a good spell in command. But since 2006 things have been no better at the UCI. At first this could have been the legacy from the previous leader. But after 5 years it may be time to give someone else a chance. Not that this seems very likely given the terms of previous 3 UCI presidents - at 23, 19 and 14 years respectively. In fact Mr McQuaid is only the 9th president since the UCI was created in 1900!

Golden Bike 2011
Dateline: 7-Mar-2011

The UCI schedule for 2011 is now online - even though it is less than inspiring. The state of play today is -

1. South Africa - to be awarded
2. Belgium De Ronde van Vlaanderen 04 April 2011
3. Italy - to be awarded
4. Spain Quebrantahuesos 18 June 2011
5. France Cyclosportive l’Ariégeoise 25 June 2011
6. Switzerland - to be awarded
7. New Zealand Wattyl Lake Taupo Cylcle Challenge 26 November 2011

Since an event in South Africa did not materialise in 2010 it is a good bet that 2011 will be the same. The four confirmed events would be run, and have full fields, whether or not they were in the Golden Bike club. And it must be embarrassing for the UCI not have an event on home territory.
As you may have guessed I am not a fan of schemes that simply place themselves above existing, successful events. Ones that have actually been organised by others. They claim to “add value” - but often take much more than they give.
If the UCI had any real committment they would be running the Swiss leg themselves - and not out of UCI funds - but the same way as other event organisers; through sponsorship, volunteers and even some direct action by the 80+ UCI staff. Update 12-Apr-2011: The total number of competitors who have completed each of the events has gone up from 8 to 9 [that’s a 12.5% increase for those who like to abuse statistics!]

Golden Bike Revisited
Dateline: 24-Sep-2010

Well it’s still going - but now with just 6 events included for 2010; 5 in Europe plus 1 in New Zealand. And the “Gold Rider” awards - for riders who complete all events - have not exactly taken-off. The official results to date are - 3 riders completed the programme in 2006, 2 in 2007, 0 in 2008, 2 in 2009 and 1 this year. So just 8 riders have completed the challenge in 5 years - worldwide. It could have been easier (and possibly cheaper) for the UCI to hire a camper van to take a bunch of riders around all the events - instead of creating a Golden Bike “product” and web-site. But then I’m not paying for the UCI so why should I be critical?

In contrast the numbers taking part in mass-participation rides around the world has increased year-on-year. Taking just the UK situation alone, the change has been very noticeable - and even the mass media have not been able to ignore it. So the UCI has, I feel, misjudged its approach to this growing market segment. Tagging existing events does not increase participation - promoting events directly might. However they do still seem to be offering a free jersey with the 30 euros joining fee - so perhaps it could be worth it after all. Let’s see if 2011 reveals a new approach.

UCI Golden Bike and Cycling for All 2008

UCIGolden1
The Golden Bike brand was created in 1999 to “encourage cyclists to live their passion outside of their country and enable them to discover new horizons, in terms of both sport and culture.” Quite how successful branding existing events in this way has been is hard to assess - but my personal feeling is that it has added very little. Certainly if the UCI charged the event organisers for the Golden Bike tag then the organisers may feel that they should have got more than just a web site and a logo.

When I last checked the Golden Bike web site did not have any details for 2008 - even after the last 2007 event had been held. So this calendar was obtained from the main UCI site instead.

The 2008 Cycling for All calender with the UCI Golden Bike (GB) events highlighted -
9.3 Cape Argus Pick'n Pay Cycle Tour Cape Town RSA GB
30.3 Cheshire Cat Cyclosportive Knutsford, Cheshire GBR
5.4 Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres Bruges - Ninove BEL GB
6.4 Bilbao-Bilbao ESP
6.4 Marcha Cicloturista Internacional Sierra de la Pila Murcia ESP
19.4 Toerversie Amstel Gold Race Valkenburg NED GB
26.4 Marcha Cicloturista los Degollaos Gargallo ESP
1.5 La Roger Walkowiak Cusset FRA
3-4.5 Clássica Lisboa-Porto Lisboa - Porto POR
10.5 Ruta de los Faros de Menorca Mahon ESP
11.5 Marxa Cicloturista Terra de Remences St Esteve d'en Bas ESP
11.5 La Blé d'Or Lèves FRA
11.5 Gran Fondo Internazionale Felice Gimondi Bergamo ITA GB
17.5 Clasica Internacional Lagos de Covadonga Cangas de Onis - Lagos de Covadonga ESP
18.5 Brevet des Apennins Nove Colli - Marco Pantani Cesenatico ITA
24.5 Journée Lausannoise du Vélo Chalet à Gobet SUI
24.5 Marcha Cicloturista Puertos de la Ribagorza - Pirineos 200 Graus ESP
24-26.5 Tour of Wessex Hadspen House, Somerset GBR
24.5-1.6 Mini Volta a Portugal Portugal POR
25.5 Giro delle Valli Monregalesi Mondovi ITA
25.5 Ruta Cicloturista Batalla de Alarcos Ciudad Real ESP
31.5 Gran Fondo Serrania de Ronda - La Sufrida Ronda ESP
31.5 - 2.6 Gran Fondo del Friuli Buttrio - Crikvenica ITA
7.6 Marxa la Bonaigua La Pobla de Segur ESP
8.6 Highclere Castle Victor Ludorum Highclere Castle GBR
8.6 Gran Fondo Internazionale Vittorio Adorni Parma ITA
14 - 15.6 Maraton Franja Barcaffe - Festival kolesarstva Ljubljana SLO
15.6 Gran Fondo Internazionale Campagnolo Feltre ITA
15.6 Dragon Ride Wales Bridgend GBR
15.6 Kappa Marathon Rivoli ITA
21.6 Quebrantahuesos Sabiñanigo ESP GB
22.6 Gran Fondo Marco Pantani Aprica ITA
28.6 L'Ariégeoise Tarascon-sur-Ariège FRA GB
29.6 Maratona dles Dolomites Alta Badia ITA
5-6.7 Ediçao da Rota do Vinho do Porto Vila Real POR
20.7 La Jean de Gribaldy Montbéliard FRA
20.7 Gran Fondo Pinarello e della Marca Trevigiana Treviso ITA
20.7 La Fabio Casartelli Albese con Cassano ITA
27.7-2.8 Giro delle Dolomiti Bolzano ITA
9.8 Alpenbrevet Andermatt SUI
16.8 Kolesarski Skok na Roglo Zrece - Rogla SLO
30-31.8 Gruyère Cycling Tour Bulle SUI GB
6.9 Poli Maraton Ptuj SLO
7.9 La Lapébie Luchon FRA
13.9 Internationaler Radmarathon Rund um den Bodensee Altenrhein SUI
19-21.9 Rothaus Riderman Bad Dürrheim GER GB
21.9 Clásica los Puertos Esmeralda Nava ESP
21.10 Portfolio Partners Around the Bay in a Day Melbourne AUS
24-26.10 Volta Cicloturista Internacional a Menorca Mahon ESP
22.11 Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge Taupo NZL GB

The UCI Masters Championships are included in this category and their 2008 calendar is -
19.1 UCI World Master Cyclocross Championships Zilvermeer Mol, BEL
26-29.6 European Road Masters Championships Zdar nad Sazavou CZE
27-31.8 UCI World Masters Road Championships St Johann in Tirol AUT
5.10 Copa de Europa Masters Track Championships Palma de Mallorca ESP

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