Cycling is traditionally a European sport . It is a majority sport in countries like France , Italy , Spain , Belgium , etc . People of these nations have all grown up with cycling and bike racing coursing through their veins . Times change quickly , however , and now it is English speaking nations who are the real power brokers of Global cycling . And the ones who hold sway at the very top of the cycling totem pole are two Irish men and an American .
The first is Pat McQuaid , president of cycling’s world governing body , the UCI . A man with a tough job who is trying to use the Formula 1 template and make cycling a truly global sport with a series of top races spread all over the globe . The McQuaid family are synonymous with Irish cycling as Pat and three of his brothers followed their father’s example and have represented Ireland at the highest level as have both of his own sons . Another brother , Darragh is organiser of The Tour of Ireland . The former school teacher now oversees the cycling world from the UCI headquarters in Switzerland .
Cycling is going through a state of evolution at present and if it is to survive the deciding factor will be the doping issue . In Germany races have been cancelled and sponsors have pulled out left , right and centre , all after doping controversies involving German riders . If this momentum were to spread globally there would be no more cycling . And this is where another Irishman comes into play . Love him or loath him , Paul Kimmage is at the forefront in the fight against doping . No other journalist has outlasted his crusade to expose the underbelly of the cycling world . There are many questions as to where he is coming from . Kimmage , much like McQuaid is from a real Irish cycling Family . His Father and brothers all raced , one brother , Kevin even won the Ras . However he does carry much resentment and bitterness towards the sport that he picked up whilst racing as a pro himself . No doubt he was disgusted at certain practices he saw taking place . Some will ask how much of the controversy that he promotes is solely directed at cleaning up the sport. The answer is not 100% clear , but the fact remains that he is now the Number 1 anti-doping cycling journalist in the world .
And then there’s the American , Lance Armstrong . The miracle man who takes cycling from the sports page and onto the front page . Every race organiser salivates at the thought of Lance riding their race . It guarantees global press coverage and massive crowds watching the race . Many people with no interest in cycling follow Lance . Why he is back racing is about more than just to promote his Livestrong cancer foundation , but that is a large part of it . On one hand he is the best thing to ever happen to cycling and causes it to grow internationally but his wishy washy attitude to doping gives the sceptics tons of ammunition .
Only time will tell how it will all pan out , but it sure is interesting watching the power struggles take place as can be seen below ;