I was in Oslo, Norway, last month, attending this year’s UCI meeting on rules and regulations governing international professional cycling. Say, what is it with these northern locales, when it comes to world committees, anyway? We all know Sicilian’s run these events! But seriously, last year’s ban on Cinelli’s Spinaci bars, and an impending possible ban on disc and composite spoke wheels, has drawn quite a stir from the cycling world at large, not to mention a few law suites. At this year’s meeting, the message from the top was a bit more subdued, as the overall tone had shifted from sweeping changes, to one of subtle refinement in the peloton.

First on the agenda was the mandatory use of cable-end crimps. In the UCI President’s 16 hour delivery on this topic, it became quite apparent that this little cycling faux pas is one of his major pet peeves. Fines of up to 10,000 Euros, 10 years imprisonment, or both, were established for first time offenders. The ruling was passed unanimously, with some of the strongest support coming from the riders themselves. Oslo sent out a strong message: Nobody likes the frizzies. Next on the agenda was the problematic issue of mismatching footwear (i.e. Northwave Italia). The UCI feels that this new look sends out a bad public image of professional bike racing. The President expressed concern that millionaire athletes shouldn’t look like indigents who’s shoe wardrobes were inherited from deceased clowns. After considerable general commotion (and a unicycle horn honk or two), Mario Cipollini took to the podium to present the opposing viewpoint. Unfortunately his black oxfords were both the same color, and with no point of reference, he confused his right foot with his left, and tumbled of the stage. The final item on the agenda was a question raised as to whether Iran shouldn’t ever be allowed to host part of the Tour de France course. The bill insisted that this was not racially or politically based. Its authors claimed to have never met the Ayahtola, or for that matter, any Muslim, but that they just felt the name could be misconstrued to make the world’s greatest cycling event appear to be a duathon. The authors then went on to proclaim the word duathon offensive, and that biathlon was the proper name for male athletes who liked to run with shaved legs... A motion was made, but it turned out to be someone needing a potty break. A second couldn’t be found and so it was decided that this item should be tabled until Iceland melted.

“Hello, Operator, I’d like the number of Vendela... No, I don’t have a last name... She lives somewhere in Norway... Some province where the native costume is the bikini... No, I’m not seeking the services of a 900 number... -Euro Freddie.

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Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie