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The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

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The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

01 Aug 2018 08:18

An un-named DS has recently been quoted as saying that “the problem in cycling isn’t doping anymore. It’s money.”

I’d argue that this is either incredibly naïve or deliberately disingenuous, since it’s historically well established that the one finances the other. But I do think this is a good catalyst for a discussion on the current state of the sport. I’m putting this in the Clinic because I don’t think you can have a full, frank review of pro cycling without including doping/anti-doping.

I’d say that the main issues are as follows:

Money – more specifically a significant financially imbalance in the sport between Sky and the rest, but also between the other top pro teams and the lower ones. This gives Sky access to the best riders, the best science and the best gear, probably including illegal products. QuikStep also obviously have a financial advantage when it comes to the classics, but the extent of this is much smaller.

One-team dominance and ‘boring’ racing – as a result of their financial and resource advantage, Sky have a stranglehold on most GTs they take seriously, particularly the Tour, the jewel in the cycling calendar. Because of the depth of their squad, coupled with the exceptional endurance of their riders, they can ride high tempo and en masse, nullifying most attacks and making the racing often dull and predictable. We rarely get to see the top contenders just go head to head. On top of this their chosen rider/s almost always win. Again, QuikStep do have a clear and noteworthy edge in the classics, but it’s much less than Sky’s, both for financial reasons and the fact that one-day races are much harder to control. One or more teams having superiority is hardly new in cycling, or in any pro-sport. It is sustainable, even normal, up to a point. But if the dominance becomes too great, continues for too long, or is felt to be propped up by underhand means, it becomes an issue. I’d argue that Sky are really pushing the boundaries on all three of these.

Doping – In around 2006-2008 there was a well-documented, at least halfway decent attempt to actually combat the rampant doping in pro cycling. It was having some reasonable success. Then Lance returned, the financial disadvantages of catching cheats became unpalatable, and it all fell apart. There is still a positive legacy from this era – the ABP and other measures mean riders can no longer blood dope or use EPO with impunity, and many more drugs are detectable than was once the case. But the ability, culture and will to dope are still there, albeit at a reduced level. There are two problems with this, apart from the ethical dimensions. Firstly doping further advantages teams with more money, resources and access to the best products and expertise, thereby exacerbating the divide between the rich teams and the poor ones. Secondly since the rise of EPO and everything that’s come after, in the realm of GT racing it advantages bigger, taller riders over small ones, since in very simply terms it’s easier for a bigger rider to lose weight and increase their endurance whilst retaining their natural power, than it is for a smaller one to gain power and muscle whilst keeping their natural climbing prowess. This ties back in to boring racing – the rich teams increase their advantage and dominance, and the traditional balance between TT/power riders gaining on the flat/bumpy stages and TTs vs the little mountain goats making hay on the climbs is broken. We just get the bigger guys too often steam-rolling both, which is dull, plus the appearance of riders winning due more to their response to performance enhancement and the ‘right’ preparation, rather than their natural ability and effort, which appears ‘unsporting’ and artificial.

Omerta and anti-doping – on top of the above, after the relative level of knowledge, revelations and positives discovered in 2006-2012, doping has gone underground again, and the traditional omerta is basically still in full effect. Because of this, and the fact that most teams are still compromised by their own doping activities, the will or ability to call out and make a stand against the doping advantages seemingly obtained by Sky and others is almost wholly lacking. Teams lack the resources to fight Sky on the road, and the willpower and moral integrity to do so off it, although the financial imbalance angle as a way to address this is starting to gain some traction. As for anti-doping efforts, they do retain some level of public confidence – I think most would accept that they’re better than they were 20 years ago – but I don’t think any but the die-hards truly believe that they’re completely effective, or indeed that they’re meant to be. They’re a limiter, not a total barrier. Basically no-one of importance is caught, and when they are the sanctions are often trivial or non-existent. They’ve now copped a further whack and loss of confidence through the miserable Froome affair, which among other things has again, as in the USPS days, raised the spectre of one team being in some ways above the law, in cahoots with the governance of the sport, or able to buy their way out of trouble.

Fans and sponsors – fan attendances and TV viewer figures are clearly down. The decline is probably notable but not yet disastrous, but still it must be acknowledged that perceptions of dominance, predictability and continued doping are all having a negative impact on the fan-base. As for sponsors it’s pretty desperate times. Apart from Sky, four of the other big teams are propped up by countries with very questionable human rights and freedom records, and for the rest it’s a constant struggle. Even relatively big and successful entities like BMC and QuikStep are up against it. Due to the sport being so tainted, marginalised, dull and lacking in a diversity of winners, this is hardly surprising. Again, I’d say the sponsor issue is not quite critical, but it must be a concern, plus again it only exacerbates the dominance of the one really big team.

Women’s cycling – continues to be marginalised and too often given token event status. Things have improved slightly here, but there’s still a long ways to go.

Governance – in brief, the UCI is weak, lacks vision and clear long-term policy, and remains susceptible to accusations of corruption.

Artificiality – cycling like all pro sports is these days a construct, rather than a pure competition. It is not a true test of who is best, but rather who is best within particular parameters in an uneven playing field. To a large extent this is inevitable, and not always a bad thing, but it is noteworthy and ever-relevant in considering the state of the sport.

Historical baggage – self-explanatory I would say.

There are definitively still positive or strong areas in the sport too – the classics, while no doubt still influenced by doping, and too often by timid riding, still generally provide interesting, less predictable racing with more balanced, one-on-one competition between riders, despite the strength of QS in particular. There are still some ridiculous performances, but the perceived connection between pure individual talent and results is closer here than in the GTs. It appears to still be fairly well attended, but I have no idea what the TV figures are like. Sprints are much the same – no doubt still tainted and shaped by doping, but largely a pretty even, interesting and balanced contest. Sagan’s stranglehold on green is boring, but more acceptable given it is largely just due to his own freak ability (enhanced or not). The one-week races continue to more or less tick along ok. The sport continues to reach out from Europe with small gains in the Middle-East, Asia and the Americas, although these are probably not as great as they could be – the vast majority of the pro peloton is still European, Australian, American or Columbian. The World Champs are a still a showpiece event and the Giro and the Vuelta, while troubled, do not yet suffer to the same extent from the malaises afflicting the Tour.

Summary – so what do we have? IMO the sport is still viable and not in critical trouble. For now, there is still enough money, interest and infrastructure to keep the whole thing going around. The current problems are nowhere near terminal. But I do think they are significant and will mostly be hard to fix – we have a financial imbalance in a historical and cultural context of doping and omerta and an age of advanced sports/medical science which is costing more to access and obtain, legal or otherwise. So doping and science exacerbate the advantage and reduce the type of potentially successful riders, and the resulting dominance and dullness simply make it even harder for others to obtain money and compete. The culture and prevalence of doping, weak governance, and limited anti-doping efforts, mean that cheats are not caught and riders and teams lack the willingness or support to swim against the tide and speak out, or to be successful whilst staying clean. The sport loses interest because it is viewed as either a charade, a farce, predictable, dull or unfair. Meanwhile lack of vision restricts development and diversification, and the sport seems doomed to repeating problems from its past – questionable/odd GT winners, anti-doping mismanagement, teams with bogus PR, and a silencing of any dissent.

Do people more or less agree with this assessment, and if not then why and on what points? Either way, is there a way forward and a need or means to address these and any other current issues/problems with the sport? Interested to hear different thoughts – Lappy has floated a couple in the last couple of days.

One final important note – I really don’t want this to just become a Sky bashing thread. I dislike them about as much as anybody, and clearly think that they’re a key part of the sport’s current issues. But they’re certainly not the only factor, nor did they start a lot of the general problems, and I’d like this discussion to be more constructive and wide-ranging, not just a blame game. Thank-you.
Mamil
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Re: The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

01 Aug 2018 09:01

Good post.

Others have touched upon Pro Cycling being a circus and I think that is a fair assessment having followed it for 30 years. When you look at it in a historical context in the early days riders were doing stupidly insane distance point to point races fueled on alcohol and drugs. L'Equipe (later ASO) ran the TDF and Paris Roubaix and they called the shots. However a lot of the names back in the day were eccentrics to say the least and I don't think that has changed - cycling attracts eccentrics - that is the nature of the sport.

However its easy to see Pro Cycling as 'Professional' with the veneer of shiny bikes, team cars, buses, sponsorship and all that but its governance is as 'unprofessional' as you can get. Having said that so is the traditions of the sport itself - for example we have riders complaining about safety but at the same time hanging onto cars or tailgating cars with their front wheel rubbing the bumper. Some of these 'customs' are peculiar to outsiders but perfectly normal in Pro Cycling. Are they professional? In a lot of cases most definitely not.

This to a certain extent is the dichotomy Cycling finds itself in. On the one hand it wants to reform and be sustainable but on the other hand it is stuck within a framework and roots in which cheating is the norm, 1 or 2 major stakeholders control it, and its beholden to traditions which in a lot of cases are a bit bizarre.

My own view is that 'chemicals' and 'chemistry experiments' done on riders under the guise of 'sports science' needs to be eliminated 100% from cycling legal or otherwise and a massive overhaul of this area conducted. Cycling has a historic and long term love affair with chemical manipulation of the human body and to truly make a break from its past that affair has to end.
B_Ugli
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01 Aug 2018 09:20

it's true on WT there is a huge difference in levels of funding but team sky are not the only big budget team

why can't WADA/UCI deliver on an independent doping control that observers trust

to myself the amount of team support for riders in races is getting out of hand marring what was a beautiful

race...from radios through incessant sticky bottles/drafting and more recently a plethora of team

personnel along the route for feeding

Mark L
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01 Aug 2018 10:02

The problem is not teams and riders or even doping, the problem is ASO owns over 50% of cycling's total infrastructure and various other race organisers own the other 50% including TV rights and where all financial benefits would need to be generated from to have a sport run like others where it benefits everyone, not just the race organiser. Add to this, the 50% control ASO have, primarily consists of the Tour de France which unfortunately is also cycling's World Cup and the only real money generator with a tappable global and French/Italian/Spanish audience for Teams sponsors and why the nonsense of the wildcard system exists to keep those teams on a knife edge with ASO. It's basically a racket for making ASO money from teams sponsors so desperate to be in tour de france, to not be means they basically see no ROI for sponsoring a team in the first place!

ASO will never relinquish their infrastructure for the financial benefit of the teams and UCI /sport, when they can tick along nicely with a racket earning their guaranteed 20 million form Tour de France TV rights and wildcards each year with no real incentive to develop the sport/brand to benefit anyone else in cycling.

Teams and UCI for that matter have no access to generate revenue and UCI have no control to allow them to either and this is the issue in pro cycling. It's parochial in both who control it and it seems with Lappartient too, he's clearly sucking ASO lollipops with his latest announcement trying to make it even more parochial.
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01 Aug 2018 10:57

Domination of the GC by one team for long periods is the norm in the tour, literally since trade teams were implemented. The national team period changed it a bit, but multiple wins were still common. It's more obvious with Sky as they have existed a single headline sponsor team with their main staff/winners over this period, similat to Banesto and US Postal. If Froome moved to a new team set up by BrandZ, took his best domestiques, staff and won 2 more tours in the same way I think people would argue this is a continuation of the same dominance. If we look at it like that, going back we have US Postal/Discovery/Astana, before this it was Banesto, before this it was Gitane-Campagnolo/Renaut-G-C/Renault-Elf/La Vie Claire, before this it was Faema/Molteni, before this it was Saint Raphael/France. Even pre WW2 where the idea of a team gets more complicated the race was dominated in blocks of 4-odd years by the same teams. During these periods we see the occasional win from a different team and in-between them we generally see a small period of different winners.

Even the way the wins are distributed isn't that uncommon. Wiggins, Froome, Thomas. Armstrong, Landis then Contador. Van Impe, Hinault, Fignon, Hinault, LeMond. Anquetil, Aimar.

Basically, all this furore over Sky dominating the GC in the TdF and attempts to "level the playing field" seems misplaced. Question the manner in which it's done, who it's done with etc. but a team winning multiple Tours in a row is exactly what we should be expecting.
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01 Aug 2018 11:44

Very good points. The artificiality is something that really annoys me. I don't like this globalized homogenic peloton. Always the same teams and basically the same riders that contest all the important races, most of which are made important only at random. Many beautiful smaller races in the historical haert of cycling folded or are extremely marginalised on the calendar. It's basically all or nothing.
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Re:

01 Aug 2018 11:46

King Boonen wrote:Domination of the GC by one team for long periods is the norm in the tour, literally since trade teams were implemented. The national team period changed it a bit, but multiple wins were still common. It's more obvious with Sky as they have existed a single headline sponsor team with their main staff/winners over this period, similat to Banesto and US Postal. If Froome moved to a new team set up by BrandZ, took his best domestiques, staff and won 2 more tours in the same way I think people would argue this is a continuation of the same dominance. If we look at it like that, going back we have US Postal/Discovery/Astana, before this it was Banesto, before this it was Gitane-Campagnolo/Renaut-G-C/Renault-Elf/La Vie Claire, before this it was Faema/Molteni, before this it was Saint Raphael/France. Even pre WW2 where the idea of a team gets more complicated the race was dominated in blocks of 4-odd years by the same teams. During these periods we see the occasional win from a different team and in-between them we generally see a small period of different winners.

Even the way the wins are distributed isn't that uncommon. Wiggins, Froome, Thomas. Armstrong, Landis then Contador. Van Impe, Hinault, Fignon, Hinault, LeMond. Anquetil, Aimar.

Basically, all this furore over Sky dominating the GC in the TdF and attempts to "level the playing field" seems misplaced. Question the manner in which it's done, who it's done with etc. but a team winning multiple Tours in a row is exactly what we should be expecting.
And it's not like they are dominating every GT, until recently they had never won the Giro and Vuelta. They've won just two monuments, and that's not because of a lack of trying. Yes, they have been dominant in the TdF, but they haven't ruined the sport at all.
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Re: The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

01 Aug 2018 15:27

Mamil wrote:An un-named DS has recently been quoted as saying that “the problem in cycling isn’t doping anymore. It’s money.”

.. It's like when football omertarists say "the problem football has isn't doping but match fixing"

As if accepting a lesser flaw makes you immune from doping accusations
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Re: The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

01 Aug 2018 15:56

This underlines my point

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/pro-riders-criticise-lappartient-over-race-reform-ideas/

Doping scandal after doping scandal = deafening silence from riders
Head of the UCI suggested some changes = social media outcry from riders

Which begs the question - what do the riders really want? - to maintain the status quo in some kind of dogmatic homage to the sport? or perhaps just perhaps try some things a little differently.

Don't get me wrong DL's motives for change might be questionable but the riders cant have their cake and eat it. They either want the sport to change or they don't. Throwing their toys out of the pram like prima donnas when at the suggestion of some tweaks being made does make you wonder what they really want.

Surely a better way would be to actually engage the UCI in meaningful and productive dialogue rather than taking to twitter.
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Re: The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

02 Aug 2018 01:08

B_Ugli wrote:This underlines my point

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/pro-riders-criticise-lappartient-over-race-reform-ideas/

Doping scandal after doping scandal = deafening silence from riders
Head of the UCI suggested some changes = social media outcry from riders

Which begs the question - what do the riders really want? - to maintain the status quo in some kind of dogmatic homage to the sport? or perhaps just perhaps try some things a little differently.

Don't get me wrong DL's motives for change might be questionable but the riders cant have their cake and eat it. They either want the sport to change or they don't. Throwing their toys out of the pram like prima donnas when at the suggestion of some tweaks being made does make you wonder what they really want.

Surely a better way would be to actually engage the UCI in meaningful and productive dialogue rather than taking to twitter.


Sometimes asking cyclists is the worst thing to do. The real problem here is the Tour and not so much the remainder of the calendar. For the much part Classics, one day races and Giro / Vuelta from a visual watching perspective haven’t been too bad. It’s really when Sky do as Sky do in GTs it turns what could be a visual spectacle into something very boring. The Tour globally outranks all other cycle racing by far so Lappartient is right to seek some form of reform. His job is is to promote the sport and that means changing the format to make the Tour more interesting from a TV watching perspective. Ratings we’re down by 10% post World Cup this across the board. He is right to set up a committee and look into the reasons why.

The riders will want to keep status quo, if anything salaries are up because of Sky, they don’t want things changing or money being capped off. However if they can’t promote the sport effectively and that means having a half interesting Tour to attract new fans then salaries will fall off. Sky really only catar for a UK market so they don’t really hold a interest in the global promotion. Yes they are a global company but they really only push for British success.

Changes have to come, another Tour like this year will slowly strangle off the sport back to a European niche participation event. The Giro and Vuelta will go the same way then there’s not a lot left.
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Re: The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

02 Aug 2018 11:08

B_Ugli wrote:This underlines my point

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/pro-riders-criticise-lappartient-over-race-reform-ideas/

Doping scandal after doping scandal = deafening silence from riders
Head of the UCI suggested some changes = social media outcry from riders

Which begs the question - what do the riders really want? - to maintain the status quo in some kind of dogmatic homage to the sport? or perhaps just perhaps try some things a little differently.

Don't get me wrong DL's motives for change might be questionable but the riders cant have their cake and eat it. They either want the sport to change or they don't. Throwing their toys out of the pram like prima donnas when at the suggestion of some tweaks being made does make you wonder what they really want.

Surely a better way would be to actually engage the UCI in meaningful and productive dialogue rather than taking to twitter.


I think the vast majority of riders don't know what they want. There's no credible riders' union and there really aren't any riders who seem either able or willing to take a lead in being a respected voice for the majority. Cancellara liked to pretend but it was mostly just about him indulging his self-importance.

In the absence of clear direction, most of them are simply just afraid of change. The idea of smaller teams scares them because it sounds like it means less jobs and less spots on GT squads, same with budget caps. Of course done properly this need not be the case, but all we're getting at the moment are a couple of snap reactions, which is about as much as we ever seem to get.

The sport just drifts, doing the same thing year in, year out, for which the UCI is ultimately the most culpable, but the teams and riders aren't much better. But it could do many things better. If Lappartient is serious, he should get the DSs, the race organisers and a cross-section of the riders together and thrash out some proper changes, determined with as much consensus as possible. And the language needs to change - putting it out there as trying to 'curb Sky' instantly makes it seem targeted and parochial. It's enough to say there are things that could be done better to improve the 'show' and the competition, so let's get on and do it.
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02 Aug 2018 11:29

The problems with pro cycling are not new, it's the bogus rigged races and stupid politics. It makes the events less entertaining to watch.

It's one thing when an organization like the WWE does it because we know it's supposed to be scripted entertainment. But it's different when pro cycling or tennis or NFL or football or NBA does it, because they're supposed to be selling elite competition. When we get the other garbage instead it just looks lame.
Last edited by DanielSong39 on 03 Aug 2018 01:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Re:

02 Aug 2018 11:30

King Boonen wrote:Domination of the GC by one team for long periods is the norm in the tour, literally since trade teams were implemented. The national team period changed it a bit, but multiple wins were still common. It's more obvious with Sky as they have existed a single headline sponsor team with their main staff/winners over this period, similat to Banesto and US Postal. If Froome moved to a new team set up by BrandZ, took his best domestiques, staff and won 2 more tours in the same way I think people would argue this is a continuation of the same dominance. If we look at it like that, going back we have US Postal/Discovery/Astana, before this it was Banesto, before this it was Gitane-Campagnolo/Renaut-G-C/Renault-Elf/La Vie Claire, before this it was Faema/Molteni, before this it was Saint Raphael/France. Even pre WW2 where the idea of a team gets more complicated the race was dominated in blocks of 4-odd years by the same teams. During these periods we see the occasional win from a different team and in-between them we generally see a small period of different winners.

Even the way the wins are distributed isn't that uncommon. Wiggins, Froome, Thomas. Armstrong, Landis then Contador. Van Impe, Hinault, Fignon, Hinault, LeMond. Anquetil, Aimar.

Basically, all this furore over Sky dominating the GC in the TdF and attempts to "level the playing field" seems misplaced. Question the manner in which it's done, who it's done with etc. but a team winning multiple Tours in a row is exactly what we should be expecting.


It is, and it's a point well made, but I'd still argue that Sky's current dominance is a little different to what has gone before due to three factors: 1) 3 different winners in 6 years is unusual, all the more so when they're all riders who haven't show the 'traditional' indicators of being GC contenders, and suggests a template for producing winners rather than them just having the best rider/s on their team. 2) the ultra-controlling, dull way that Sky ride has probably only previously been paralleled by USPS. 3) the Tour is now a semi-global TV event first and foremost, so it MUST be an entertaining product for hours for casual fans, not just for the die-hards, in the papers, and the brief moment when the riders go past the fans on the roadside. So dominance is now bad for business, particularly when that dominance is done in a boring manner, as Sky's mostly is.

There's plenty of proof in modern pro sport that too much dominance loses fans and money - Ferrari's return to the top in F1 in 2000 was a great story initially, but come 2004 people were well and truly over it and turning off in droves, all the more so because it was perceived that Schumacher's dominance was aided by financial advantage, a compliant no. 2 driver, and strong suspicions that Ferrari had the FIA in its pocket. Strong parallels with Sky there.

Dominance can be accepted but it has its limits - there has to be the perception that it will end, sooner rather than later. Already the numbers for cycling are down. I'd say 2 more years of Sky Tour dominance and the situation will be becoming dire indeed, all the more so if that dominance continues its creep into the other GTs too.

Of course, it's not up to Sky to address this - in terms of pure results they're just doing their job, though of course they could be much more appealing in how they go about it. But the UCI needs to have a good hard look at how things stand and what can be done to make things better. Not just to 'curb Sky', as I've said in another post, but to make things better, more competitive and more sustainable for everyone.
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02 Aug 2018 11:35

UCI has been fully complicit in the Sky dominance though. Wiggins has yet to be busted for the jiffy bag. Froome missed drug tests, abused TUEs, failed bio passport tests, and failed a drug test and has yet to be punished for any of these. Not to mention the motor bikes, peloton abuse, and ridiculous rulings from the racing jury.

Granted none of this is exactly new. The dominant teams of old did exactly the same stuff and they got away with it too. But at the end of the day the races became less entertaining to watch.

Then again maybe I'm missing the point. The point of pro cycling is to promote tourism so the racing doesn't matter that much anyway.
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Re:

02 Aug 2018 11:53

DanielSong39 wrote:UCI has been fully complicit in the Sky dominance though. Wiggins has yet to be busted for the jiffy bag. Froome missed drug tests, abused TUEs, failed bio passport tests, and failed a drug test and has yet to be punished for any of these. Not to mention the motor bikes, peloton abuse, and ridiculous rulings from the racing jury.

Granted none of this is exactly new. The dominant teams of old did exactly the same stuff and they got away with it too. But at the end of the day the races became less entertaining to watch.

Then again maybe I'm missing the point. The point of pro cycling is to promote tourism so the racing doesn't matter that much anyway.


The UCI under McQuaid and Cookson certainly were - the former as an opportunist, the latter through straight-up bias and conflict of interest. Lappartient came in and tried to take Froome down a peg or two, but botched it. He's still newish though, and French which should give him a better ability to work with the ASO, as the other big body in the sport, so the chance is still there to do something genuinely constructive. Probably wishful thinking, but we can dream right?
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Re: The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

02 Aug 2018 16:36

Doping has never really impacted the sport of cycling in terms of viewership. Since Cookson liked to pretend it didn’t exist th sport has lost some of its edge. Now when we see Sky do as Sky do there needs to be this absurd narrative to justify that’s not doping related. Probably some of the reason people are turning off. A doping scandal here and there was always good for the sport.
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02 Aug 2018 16:38

Money has always been the problem. Would anybody dope if there was no money involved. Probably not.
Comparing with another sport which has similar kind of issues is F1.
In F1 the budget is definitely linked to success as most of the money goes into research as Ferrari's budget 446 of 542 million euro shows. More research means faster car and more chances of winning. At one time during the LA era Ferrari and Schumacher were leading from start to finish and wining everything under the sun and it was pretty boring. At that time also the FIA could only tweak the rules. Domination of Ferrari didnot last but domination continued as some other guy named Vettel took over. Domination will happen with more money and is not an isolated phenomenon of cycling alone. Similarly the budget of the lowest ranked F1 team is more than 5 times lower than the top ranked team which is comparable with the 5-6 times for cycling.
The other thing is the industry on which a sport is based. The bicycle industry is 45$ billion in sales whereas the auto industry is 1700$ billion. When comparing the biggest company, Giant is at 1.8$ billion revenue whereas Toyota is at 264 $ billion. For teams Sky is at 35 Million Euro whereas Ferrari is at 570 Million. These are comparable ratios. The cycling industry is expected to grow @ 6% over the next 5 years. Donot expect the sport to grow more than that unless you have a Steve Jobs at the helm.
If ASO is the US, RCS is the UK then UCI is Russia and CPA is Iran/Turkey/Israel/etc. Consider Syria as the sport of cycling. Do you expect peace in Syria while these are at loggerheads??? So many big egos and so not willing to change
Most of the costs in cycling goes to the riders. Restrict the money and the cyclist earn less which why they are in arms about the restriction with budgets.
Revenue comes from city/towns and TV and this is limited, It is not possible to generate spectator revenue unless something radical is done which is beyond the current management of UCI/ASO as it requires a visionary.
Cricket also had periods of dominance by the West indies team and the Australian Team. A five day test match was extremely boring in the old days. There was a transition to one day cricket and now to T20 format. Quote from Wikipedia
"Cricketing authorities were looking to boost the game's popularity with the younger generation in response to dwindling crowds and reduced sponsorship. It was intended to deliver fast-paced, exciting cricket accessible to thousands of fans who were put off by the longer versions of the game" As a result the IPL came into being in 2008. This was not an original concept at all but now has a brand value of 6$ billion
A similar approach is needed for cycling. There is already a 1 hr approach for cyclocross. Unless it is made exciting for the duration of the race, it is unlikely to generate more revenue. The ways to do it is by tweaking the rules, changing the parcours, reducing the team size, increasing the number of prestigious races, reducing the length of stages etc. No need to implement the ideas directly to TDF. It can be tried out in PN/Dauphine /smaller races first.
Sky has the biggest budget. Yet they have never won the cobbled classics, they have won the Giro/Vuelta/Liege/MSR only once in the last 9 years. In 2014 when Froome crashed out, they did not win a single stage of the TDF. So when we talk about dominance, it is the dominance of one rider Froome in one race not the entirety of the calendar. This is not as bad as F1 and Lappartient comments actually show that he is trying to protect ASO's flagship TDF and that he is biased. In 2018 TDF itself, the Alpe d'Huez timing was 41 mins which was not very hard and Froome was the weakest. None of the climbers Quintana/Bardet/Landa could follow and were dropped early. This was their strength and they could not follow let alone attack in the last 200m. In 2017 TDF Uran didnot make a single attack and came 2nd. Their budget is much lower compared to other teams. So budget is not the single consideration for success.
This is a minority sport and the people governing it will always be mediocre at best unless a miracle happens.
IndianCyclist
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Re: The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

02 Aug 2018 19:36

Money is not a problem and mostly Sky/Murdoch is not a problem. This sport needs double digit number of Murdochs and complete manhaul eg. NFL style organizational structure/franchising model with holding companies, corporate sponsors, this all taken out of IOC. Teams doing drafts via weighted lottery that would up the competition to a completely new level. :Neutral:
memyselfandI
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Re: The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

02 Aug 2018 19:42

memyselfandI wrote:Money is not a problem and mostly Sky/Murdoch is not a problem. This sport needs double digit number of Murdochs and complete manhaul eg. NFL style organizational structure/franchising model with holding companies, corporate sponsors, this all taken out of IOC. Teams doing drafts via weighted lottery that would up the competition to a completely new level. :Neutral:


Drafts = not worth while as most teams don't even go after the same young riders. The sport does not need more Murdochs. It needs a totally DIFFERENT business model. The NFL has a HARD salary cap.
User avatar Koronin
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Re: The current state of pro cycling - an appraisal

02 Aug 2018 19:55

Koronin wrote:
memyselfandI wrote:Money is not a problem and mostly Sky/Murdoch is not a problem. This sport needs double digit number of Murdochs and complete manhaul eg. NFL style organizational structure/franchising model with holding companies, corporate sponsors, this all taken out of IOC. Teams doing drafts via weighted lottery that would up the competition to a completely new level. :Neutral:


Drafts = not worth while as most teams don't even go after the same young riders. The sport does not need more Murdochs. It needs a totally DIFFERENT business model. The NFL has a HARD salary cap.


doh.....NHL it is what I meant all the time.

Well anyways I completely disagree. :p Draft lottery doesn't mean G would be sold to somewhere down African conti team, team can and do play/trade their turns on lottery


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NHL_Entry_Draft
memyselfandI
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