Wednesday, 5 November 2014


July 2017

The Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a Espana organisers met UCI officials back in September 2016 at an undisclosed location in the Swiss Alps to draw up plans for a Mega Tour.
Fabian Cancellara's house (oops) provided the perfect backdrop for this momentous get together. The former cyclist (slipped disc from lifting too many cobble trophies) proved a great host, but he was asked never to address anyone in Fabianese as their interpreters' budget was already over the limit.
The reason for this meeting was the necessity to innovate and implement drastic changes. The cause? Oleg Tinkov.
The Russian maverick fuelled by a constant flow of vodka, after losing the last three Tours, decided to up the game and disband the current cycling system by announcing a new league comprising of 7 teams, all paid for by him, where Contador would be the leader on a rotational system. He promised to pour hundreds of millions of euros, rubles and dollars into the new set up, effectively ending UCI/ASO/RCS domination.
Something needed to be done.

After deciding on this new Mega Tour, which would span across Italy, France and Spain and a little bit beyond, they decided to send an ambassador to announce the proposals to the Russian millionaire and see if they could prevent the split. The short straw was drawn by the new ASO chief, French retired cyclist Thomas Voeckler. Unfortunately, due to unforseen circumstances, his neck sparked into a frenzy of random spasms, causing his sticky pink wagging tongue to repeatedly slap the frame of the door, thus impeding his progress out of the room.
So it was decided to send someone with a bit more spine, someone who could stand up to Tinkov, someone likeable yet adventurous enough to take on anything; someone whose motto had been "Shut up legs", which would hopefully turn into a "Shut up O..leg": Jens Voigt was thus made UCI ambassador on the spot and he promised he would deal with it in an hour or so.
Armed with his ever present smile he went to meet Mr Tinkov.
The Russian eccentric lives at the top of Mount Kilimajaro, so it took a while for Voigt to reach his destination, the hour attempt this time failed. At the summit was a newly built villa, surrounded by a moat filled with crocodiles, and a Tirolean band was playing at the gates to welcome any daring guests with the sounds from the Austrian Alps.
Oleg was found sprawling on the floor, barely holding on to an empty bottle of Smirnoff, and pictures of Contador, Quintana, Nibali and Froome were scattered everywhere.
Jens was not the first person to enter the scene as he was caught on the last 200 metres of the climb by a 15 year old guide, who, at the sight, screamed and left at such a speed that his descent would have been faster than any by Nibali without breaks.
Voigt was left alone to confront the drunken entrepreneur. With his trademark smile he splashed and slapped Oleg's face repeatedly, finally managing to get some sort of attention.
At hearing the proposals, the Russian perked up and very quickly sobered up, to the point of realising who was speaking to him and straight away reached for the mobile phone and take a ridiculous amount of selfies alongside the German and tweeting them with the ashtag #UCI #friends #MegaTour #MeMeMe. He then tweeted that he never meant to set up his own league and someone must have hacked into his brain and all would be well in the morning.

These are the rules and route of the 2017 Mega Tour:
  • The race starts at the top of Angliru and finishes at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.
  • The race is to be contended over 100 stages, with 20 teams of 20 riders each. No rest days.
  • Every day, the last 4 riders in GC are eliminated and will have to be part of the dwindling crowds, especially during Spanish stages. 
  • Any injured rider will undergo secretive recovery procedures and next day made ready to be the main contender for the podium.
  • Stage 1 is a Team Time Trial, downhill from atop the Angliru in night.
  • Stage 2 moves overnight to Moscow for an individual time trial solely for straight Russian riders.
  • No Ukrainian riders will be allowed to compete unless really shit.
  • Several type of bicycles will be allowed according to the terrain, so road bikes, MTB, even BMXs will be allowed (the latter will be used on stage 27 on the 150 laps inside Rome's Colosseum).
  • No sprinters are allowed to participate.
  • No former clean riders can join the race.
  • Riders can be swapped as long as the commissaires don't see it.
  • Only four riders count for the overall classification, Contador, Froome, Nibali, Quintana (the last three are currently suspended for doping in order to participate in July) 
  • Team Tinkov-Tinkoff will be allowed hotel stays while all other teams will share meals by the campfire and sleep in tents supplied by the Russian Army.
  • There will be 88 mountain top finishes (1 MTB), 1 BMX stage, 1 for Russians only (but other riders have to be on rollers for the duration), 10 downhill finishes (1 TTT). 
  • Stage 78 ends in the water off the cliffs of John O'Groats in the UK. 
  • 3 stages are outside hosting countries: Stage 77 is 1 lap of Red Square in Moscow, Russia; Stage 78 is Land's End to John O'Groats, UK, non-stop; Stage 100 ITT up Mount Kilimanjaro, Kenya, on MTBs). 
  • 1 stage will have cobbles but Team Tinkov-Tinkoff will be exempt and allocated the same time as the winner as their yellow kit is too difficult to get cleaned up afterwards.
Jonathan Vaughters is not happy about the format and repeatedly said he will do absolutely nothing about it.
David Brailsford was last seen entering a darkened room last August and is expected to come out of it before Christmas for some comments on a new bolt system for bike components, which will save at least 0.1seconds over 100 kms.
Alonso is said to be gathering a team together, he has the financial backing, the riders under contract but absolutely no intention to actually take part.
Velonews and Cyclingtips are fighting it out on who had the scoop first.

No comments:

Post a Comment