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A real star arrives at the One Belt One Road Hungary race

A name of the Croatian Bruno Valcic may be familiar to many, because he was the UCI judge who ruled out Vincenzo Nibali on the second stage of the Vuelta a Espana in 2015, but he had to make a decision with Chris Froome in an ominous affair at the Tour de France in 2016.

Date: July 23, 2020
Bruno Valcic

The organizers of the One Belt One Road Hungary, the Visegrad 4 Kerekparverseny and the Visegrad 4 Juniors Nations’ Cup invited the well-known international UCI judge to take part in the Hungarian races. Valcic will be happy to accept the invitation.

Tell us a little about the man. What’s your story?

My name is Bruno Valcic. I am from Croatia. 54 years old, married, two children, son 23 years old, daughter 20 years old. International Commissaire in cycling from 1997.

How is the work of the commissaires organized?

There are different jobs for commissaires during the race, some of them are in the cars, some on motors, finishing judges, timekeepers. It is very important when you have good clima in Commissaires Panel, especially when you are few weeks together like in big Tours. Communication and understanding each other is very important.

Which problems have road cycling in general nowdays?

The biggest world problem for all sports now is coronavirus situation, it is big challenge for all of us. In cycling especially, we are on the road, with hugh number of spectators. I really hope that, in the second part of the season, the most of the races will be held. This is good to continue with tradition of many races. Once if you stop, it is difficult to restart.

Do you remember your first race?

I remember my first international race in 1998, World Masters Championships in St. Johann, Tirol Austria. Many riders, many disciplines, many races, difficult start with my career.

What was the most memorable race of your judging career?

Many excellent races, Tour de France 2 times (2013 and 2016), Vuelta a Espana (2015), Giro d’Italia 4 times (2003, 2010, 2018, 2019), Olympic Games London 2012, 8 World Championships (Road/Cyclocross/MTB) and many World Tour races…

How do you prepare for a race?

The Commissaire is always learning, you are never too experienced to say: „I know everything!” So, I am always checking the rules changes, looking at big races on TV, training myself and trying to think what should I do in some specific situations, this is my best preparation.

Bruno Valcic

Bruno Valcic (left)

Knowing your career, you had to make a decision in two cases that they received a lot of publicity in the media. Second stage of the Vuelta a Espana in 2015, disqualification of Vincenzo Nibali. Please tell us the story, how the decision was made?

It was not VAR in that season, so we didn’t know about the situation with Nibali immediately. It was big bunch crash at 30 km from the finish, many leaders involved, many small groups trying to come back to the bunch. Nibali came back to the bunch, no commissaire saw the situation when Nibali was hanging the team car. After the stage one journalist came to me with the film, and the Commissaires Panel decided to eliminate Nibali immediately. Hard decision, but positive reactions from cycling world.

One of the most memorable moments of cycling as Chris Froome is running on the Mount Ventoux on the Tour de France in 2016. What rules did you follow in this case?

There are some special situations when you cannot apply some article from UCI Regulations, but common sense, depending of the situation what happened. Froome was in breakaway group, increasing the gap from other leaders. The crash with moto and the crowd closing the road was the result of decision of day before to reduce the stage for 7 km because of strong wind on the top. The organiser couldn’t make it to put the barriers in last 3 km as normal, the incident happened at 1.2 km from the finish, no barriers around, so, regarding all this situations, we decided to take the gap at the finish what was in the moment of incident, 18 seconds between breakaways and other leaders. We practically neutralised the last 1.2 km. It was good decision, Froome was the strongest that year, later he won the race easily.

An unavoidable topic is the VAR system. Please explain this.

VAR is revolution in all sports. In cycling it helps a lot to make decision immediately during the race, not waiting till the finish. Also it helps a lot in final sprints, you can review many times with different cameras the situation.

The hungarian V4 races are a relatively new races. Where do you put these competitions on the Central European cycling map?

The races in Hungary are very similar like in my country, small races with excellent organisations. I always felt as member of the family in this kind of races. I think that the organiser is trying to achieve the best result, especially looking at financial difficulties in „small” cycling countries. I can see that, years passing, the cycling in „post comunist countries” is growing up a lot.

How much do you know about Hungarian cyclingsport?

I don’t know so much about Hungarian cycling, but, as I said, with lot of enthusiasm, good sponsors, and a little bit of luck, the cycling, like in Croatia, can go only up.

What do you think about Hungary?

I visited lot of World and European countries, but it is very strange that I was never in Hungary. I never received any designation from the UCI for Hungarian races. This will be great opportunity to visit your beautiful country. As you know, Hungary and Croatia were many years the same country so I think we have very similar tradition. I am sure I will enjoy my stay in Hungary.

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