Grischa Niermann: "Mr. McQuaid, please contact us cyclists"
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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Grischa Niermann: "Mr. McQuaid, please contact us cyclists"

by Bjorn Haake at 4:09 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
German Rabobank rider publishes open letter about radio affair

Grischa NiermannGrischa Niermann, who rides for the Rabobank team, this week published an open letter to Pat McQuaid, president of the International Cycling Union UCI. Niermann, like many of his colleagues, is not in agreement with the UCI over the radio ban in races that is in effect since this year.

The letter was published on Radsport News, addressing McQuaid directly. "I wanted to ask you what you are trying to accomplish with banning the radio connections between racers and sports directors? Do you really think this rule change will free cycling from its image problem?” he asked.

Niermann continued that the German public channels are stopping broadcasting the Tour because of the doping problems and not because the stages had gotten too boring due to the radio usage. "Cycling is in a very difficult situation. In my opinion, it would be very helpful if UCI, organization, teams, and racers would be on the same side, to make our sport more popular again."

Niermann said that the UCI's energy should be spent on resolving the Contador case and working towards preventing another Riccò affair. “Instead, with your radio ban you open up a secondary theatre of war, which is diving the cycling community once again." Niermann continued that McQuaid could be happy that the "immature" and remote controlled cyclists are concerned about their image that they have averted strikes so far. "…Because we are really mature and are very aware of the fact that in this current situation we don't want to deal cycling more damage."

Niermann ended the letter saying that perhaps there are good reasons for the radio ban, but he would like to hear them. He hopes that McQuaid will get in touch with the racers to explain his point of view. "So far this has not happened and especially because of this, the new rule appears arbitrary to us."

However the teams’ association AIGCP will meet the UCI tomorrow (Thursday), so this will perhaps see a more thorough debate being held.

Niermann started his professional career with Rabobank in 1999. Now in his 13th year with the Dutch team, he is the longest serving member of the squad in orange. Mostly serving as a very valuable domestique for his team, he hasn't been able to celebrate many of his own successes. His most valuable wins were the 1999 Regio Tour and the 2001 Niedersachsen-Rundfahrt.


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