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News comes in week Pat McQuaid insisted UCI has nothing to hide over Lance Armstrong

In a week when UCI president Pat McQuaid has insisted the governing body has nothing to hide in relation to the Lance Armstrong scandal, organisers of next year’s road world championships in Tuscany have unveiled the event’s mascot – Pinocchio, the toy made of wood who dreams of becoming a boy and whose nose grows each time he tells a lie.

With some believing that life president Hein Verbruggen, under heavy criticism as a result of the Armstrong affair, is still pulling the strings at the UCI, the choice of a puppet as the symbol of the event is a doubly unfortunate one, although organisers insist that it is other qualities of the fictional character that they are looking to highlight.

“Ours is a Pinocchio connected to his origins, happy, athletic and attentive,” says the description on the Toscana 2013 website. The character, best known outside Italy as a result of the 1940 Disney film, was created by the Florentine writer Carlo Collodi, who published his book The Adventures of Pinocchio in 1883.

“He is looking at the horizon, expressing an optimistic attitude versus the future. The expression of his face is smiling, happy, positive” – perhaps not the best choice of word in the current environment – “and at the same time astonished.”

Astonished at the scale of the doping revelations that have hit the sport over the past couple of weeks? Not at all, although looking at the length of his schnozz, you might be entitled to wonder what he’s hiding in his own past.

Nope, he’s “astonished by the beauty of what he sees in front of himself (because there is land and places that keep astonishing),” says the organising committee.

“This type of expression shall also be an invitation to the public to come discovering the beauty of this land. The upright standing Pinocchio with his right hand to his flank represents his happiness and pride.

“Our Pinocchio is happy that his land, Tuscany, has been chosen to host the World Championships of Cycling. The outline is athletic and slim,” they add, “just like a real driver” – that should be “rider,” a little lost in translation there, unless there’s a big change in UCI equipment regs we haven’t been told about yet.

Pinocchio, it turns out, also appears to be pro-helmet compulsion, although with a noggin made of wood you wouldn’t have thought he’d need one.

“This Pinocchio is also one who reminds us of the social message: Under his left arm he holds a helmet to “communicate”, to children and also to adults, that safety is necessary (at competitions and also if you drive [ride] just for fun).”
 

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

17 comments

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gazza_d [459 posts] 3 years ago
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You really could not make this shit up could you....

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theincrediblebike [40 posts] 3 years ago
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About sums it up. But after a couple of tough weeks for the UCI and pro cycling I am finally having a wee chuckle over this. I have just raised £150 for Help for Heroes and being a Vet it's time the UCI took stock, hey Mr President your not important THIS sport is. Please retire and let this sport of heroes flourish. Thank you and I hope your resignation is in the post Pat.oh and my Mothers from Munster and she is disgusted whilst lying in her hospital bed after knee surgery at 75. No Epo for her to get up the stairs.

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Gasman Jim [142 posts] 3 years ago
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Sudor [186 posts] 3 years ago
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 24

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Campag_10 [153 posts] 3 years ago
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Either someone at UCI has a great sense of humour or they are so detached it's not true.

Someone needs to check the spelling of the word 'mascot' though – two different tip fails on the home page!

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stevebull-01 [63 posts] 3 years ago
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Priceless.

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kie7077 [862 posts] 3 years ago
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I'm so glad there was none of this cycle helmet BS when I was a kid, I might never have learned to cycle on the hand-me-down bike I got.

CTC - Cycle helmets (the-evidence)

 44 44 Cycle helmets are very effective.  44 44

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petejuk [23 posts] 3 years ago
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Looking at the picture- Pinocchio swaps dunces cap for bike helmet. Or is that vice versa? Perhaps its based on a young Verbruggen or McQuaid?

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kie7077 [862 posts] 3 years ago
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edit, posts take time to turn up and I'm a grumpy ol git  9

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fatbeggaronabike [804 posts] 3 years ago
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In the UCI world it is the first of april "simples"  19

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seabass89 [212 posts] 3 years ago
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Nice that somebody takes the opportunity to pull out the helmet debate.

A helmet is another layer of protection before you start knocking on the skull. Helmets are used in other high speed sports (such as alpine skiing) where it has saved a few lives (See Aksel Lund Svindal crash Beaver Creek). No a helmet won't save you from a lorry. But I cannot see how people say it has "no effect".

Pull out the old pencil and paper and do some calculations. The only thing that is true about statistics is that they lie. May the reason why there are fewer deaths in the Netherlands be that they have dedicated cycleroads, while in the US the cars are bigger and cyclists less regarded?

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BigBear63 [80 posts] 3 years ago
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 24 24 I can hear the marketing bullshit that was spouted to get Pinnochio in the frame at the UCI board meeting.....
'No don't laugh, Pat, we're serious, Pinnochio is world famous. We thought long and hard about it for months.' says a marketing guy, trying not to succumb to smug laughter.
'Sure, to be sure, he is fella's but he's a little liar and that's what he's remembered for, isn't he?' retorts Pat, through a fit of the giggles.
'No, Pat, he's remembered for lots more than that. After all his lies were shown to be a bad thing and he learned his lesson. That's the message we should spin' says the marketing man.
'Ok Pinnochio's in' says Pat, as he bursts in to howls of hysterical laughter.
'I don't see what you are all laughing at. I simply refuse to believe Pinnochio was a liar. ...Where's the evidence?' says Hein, who has no sense of humour.
And they all lived happily ever after.
 24 24

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The Rumpo Kid [589 posts] 3 years ago
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Look on the bright side. They could have chosen Dopey.

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Simon_MacMichael [2449 posts] 3 years ago
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Not sure the UCI would have had anything to do with it, just the local organisers... I'd like to think they chose it knowing it was likely to provoke exactly this sort of reaction  3

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AWPeleton [3280 posts] 3 years ago
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Love it, i agree with Simon above, the locals must have picked it.

Cant help thinking there will be a lot of sour grapes coming out of the UCI over this, lol.

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BigBear63 [80 posts] 3 years ago
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I wouldn't be surprised if the irony never even occurred to Toscana but in any event it will definitely have been agreed with UCI; after all it is their championship and so anything Toscana do reflects on the UCI. If it was some naked Tuscan dolly bird you can bet your life the UCI would not have allowed it. But then again I wouldn't put it passed them. Though it was probably decided shortly after Tuscany were awarded the honour of being hosts so probably not much the UCI could do about it and events have simply overwhelmed them.

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wild man [297 posts] 3 years ago
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2013- just about gives Berlusconi time to get out of his current difficulties and make a comeback too.