So, right now Carbon Addiction is on the ground in Rome, Italy for an exclusive and entirely fictitious* interview with ex-UCI President Pat McQuaid at the start of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, aka the Grande Partenza. Only trouble, of course, is the race is actually starting in Belfast this year which apparently McQuaid didn’t realise. As we get started it becomes clear the polarising Irishman doesn’t see the delicious irony in the itinerary error. He’s madder than a Dubliner in a pub with no stout.
Carbon Addiction (CA): Top of the morning to you, Mr McQuaid. Lovely day to start the Giro…well, by all reports anyway.
Pat McQuaid (PMQ): I see what you did there.
CA: Excuse me?
PMQ: You’re trying to make me look like an eejut, me being Irish and the race starting in Belfast and all…nearly three #$%@ thousand kilometres away!
CA: No, not at all. But given you’ve brought it up, can I ask what happened?
PMQ: What happened?! What happened is ever since I got shafted at the Worlds last year by that British twat, Cookson, I have refused to read any of the cycling press. Have you seen how they all treat me now?!
CA: Right, we might get to that a bit later, but you’re saying you’ve avoided the news so well you didn’t know the world’s second biggest bike race starts in Ireland this time, the first three stages in fact?
PMQ: No idea at all. And let me just add my PA hates cycling so she had no idea either. She just thought Tour of Italy, probably starts in Italy, right? She figured Rome should work splendidly and booked the plane ticket. Mind you Hein Vebruggen did send me an email with a pink leprechaun in it a few days ago – but he’s a *%$@ Dutch eejut. Since that whole Lance thing I never pay any attention to his emails, he’s caused me enough trouble over the last few years, not that we’re talking about that, of course, that was clearly mentioned in the agreement you signed, remember?
CA: How could I forget with all those Post-it Notes pointing at it? Oh well, Rome’s still a lovely place to meet, I guess.
PMQ (sniggers): I hate the place.
PMQ: Always have, even before they shafted me in Florence last year. All the crazy $@&#s on their scooters and their poncy hair cuts and gold chains. It was the same when I was riding myself. Nut jobs the lot of ’em. And jaysus, what’s with all the pasta? The whole country smells like tomato base. That shyte gave me so much gas when I was riding. They called it the ‘smelloton’ when I was here. F%$#@s.
CA: Charming. How do you think Ireland will respond to having the Giro anyway?
MCQ: It’ll be just Grand, any excuse for a piss up. You know the Irish.
CA: Indeed, there’s also a fine tradition of cycling on the Emerald Isle, Kelly, Roche, yourself … and now Nicholas Roche and Dan Martin.
MCQ (interrupts): Oh, Dan @$#% Martin…that #@$% Panda better not show up, I tell ya!
CA: Not a fan?
MCQ: Freeloading charity publicity whores in animal suits, wouldn’t have happened in my day.
CA: Actually, I think it did the first time didn’t it? Liege-Bastogne-Liege in 2013. He was chasing Martin and Rodriguez towards the finish line. You were still in charge of the UCI then.
MCQ: Well, yes, perhaps technically I was, but to be sure it wasn’t my responsibility. Those useless muscle-munching mead-swilling Belgians, I had no knowledge of any of that whatsoever, and certainly couldn’t have done anything to stop it. Why isn’t everyone blaming Eddy Merckx?
CA: You honestly believe that?
MCQ: Look, you media types and bloggers are all the #@$% same, you’re one of Kimmage’s slimy little buddies aren’t you?! Doping. Bribes. Cover-ups. Panda bears. It’s always the boss’ fault, isn’t it? That’s it (stands up) I’m off … to the pub!
* Of course this is all completely bogus. That said, if Mr McQuaid would like to do a real interview we’d be very happy to hear from him. Even in Rome – if he’s pays for our flights!