Politics and Gravity... Red, White and Who?
Understandably an upset, surprised and disgruntled, Logan called our office yesterday and wanted to get some things off his chest. We were here to listen because, all story's have two sides.
According to Logan, up until yesterday he had never been contacted (email, phone, tweet, etc.) by USA Cycling or the UCI. It seems to us that a National Champ deserves at least a heads up regarding any kind of protest, dispute or issue regarding his title.
Here are some questions and answers from Logan:
decline: What are your first thoughts about this development with USA Cycling and the UCI?
Logan: Holding back some instinctual and blunt thoughts about the UCI we can start with these things.
- Why is this coming up now? Nine months and two World Cups later?
- Why wasn't this resolved the day of the event? How are rules not clearly laid out for these organizations so events can run smoothly?
- Does this mean any category is eligible for the title if they run the fastest time on the track? What if after the Women's class a storm comes in and rains the track out? Will UCI consider her to be Champion as she posted the fastest time?
- Don't you have to take a seeding run in the Elite class? In all other UCI events you must roll out of the gate for seeding or you can't race.
- Should Troy Brosnan also be the silver medalist at the 2011 World Champs as well as Jr. World Champ? His time was the second fastest wasn't it?
We did work with Neko on a recent TWR story for an upcoming issue since we have a Trek World Racing team column in the magazine and were very surprised when we read Neko's story for the first time several weeks ago. We knew instantly it would ruffle some feathers and create a stir in the bike world. As such we reached out in various ways to USA Cycling and did not get any responses until yesterday when our post went up. We wanted to fact check our story and ask USA Cycling what the issue was between them and the UCI.
When we did get a response from USAC they were helpful in clarifying some of our questions, but even they didn't have info on other concerns. For example, Neko raced in the Junior Men's for DH because he was not allowed by USAC to race in the Elite class. However, he raced Dual Slalom in the Elite class. It didn't make much sense as to why he would be eligible to race Elite in one category and not another. USAC speculated it had to do with team selections for the World's event but couldn't be certain.
What was clarified is who USA Cycling views as the United States National Champion. Logan Binggeli will go down in their record books as the Elite Men's Champion while Neko will be the Jr. Men's Champ. According to USA Cycling, the UCI does not recognize age categories and will award points to the fastest racer down the Elite track. Since the Jr. and Elite classes raced the same track, the points go to the fastest rider of the day. So in reality not much has changed aside from the fact that Neko will now get the honor of wearing the American Flag on his left sleeve for the remainder of the year. We can only imagine that this will make for a very fun and exciting race at this year's National Championships!
Logan did want to express that he has no hard feelings towards Neko and we know that Neko feels the same. It is a very unfortunate situation for both of these riders and we're sure neither of them wanted this muddled confusion. It seems as though we mountain bikers aren't immune from the same political confusion that fills the White House these days.
What do you think? Is there too much bureaucracy in cycling's governing bodies? Do the fat cats really not care about gravity or mountain bike racers? Or do you think this was an honest mistake and a lesson learned for improved future communication and policy?
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