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A question for those from the US

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Mar 18, 2009
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Point I think is being missed here:

Most Americans, save for the hard core cycling fans, have no access to cycling, but have easy access to Lance.

1. Cycling isn't really covered here. We have versus, but not much else. The entire concept of Cycling, beyond Lance/US Postal isn't really understood in the masses.
2. Lance made waves. He is/was popular, was in mass culture, commercials, and is/was a source of national pride.
3. If you came in because of Lance, then tried to follow easily beyond the TdF, you really wouldn't be able to. There is a massive jump between normal fan, who is willing to watch something if they see it on tv, and major even follow online a bit, and a real hardcore fan, who will search out streams online, and pay attention when cycling disappears from tv for weeks at a time.

*shrugs* I got interested because of Lance.
I saw his 6th tour win.

Now I watch whatever I can, when I can, and follow a bunch of different riders. I personally tend to like the Luxembourgish riders, just because I lived there for awhile, but that's just me.
 
Alpe d'Huez said:
As to Levi's "positive" it was when he was a junior. He was briefly suspended, then the suspension was overturned when he produced proof that the substance he tested positive for was in an allergy medication prescribed for him, and he was unaware that the prescription contained anything forbidden, and he should have produced the prescription pre-race. In the end it was more of an exoneration of Levi by the authorities than simply an overturning of the suspension. They believed he had been wrongly suspended in the first place. I believe this happened in 1993. If you'd like to interpret that to mean he's had a doped up career akin to Hamilton, then, well, I can't stop you.

We've heard that one before. Post-dated TUE. Nice.
 
Angliru said:
I'm in full agreement, if Simoni were to make the podium of the Giro this year my year would already be complete. Love Gibo!

+1 for all the shout outs for Simoni. I love that guy.

He is old now, and with all the TTing in this year's Giro he does not stand a chance of podiuming. More realistic will be for him to go for stage wins and forget about the GC.
 
We've heard that one before. Post-dated TUE. Nice.
Yeah, Lance and the skin cream, Gibo and the chocolates with cocoa in them (at least he allowed full testing though, including DNA matching). But give LL some credit here, he was probably about 19 years old, racing as a junior, and it's not like he popped positive for Micera, or had a FAX attached to his name listing two years and $30,000 worth of doping attached to him.

As to Gibo, I believe he said he'll try for stage wins, and to try to help Cunego on GC (believe it or not, apparently they are friends again).
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Major confession.....the ONLY reason I am on this forum and frequent Cyclingnews is due to Lance's return. I know, I see eyes rolling throughout the forum. :rolleyes: I started cycling back in 1988. I watched Lemond's wins at TdF. But as an average American recreational and fitness cyclist, never got into the other European races....never became the hardcore fan that frequents this forum and for whom I have great respect. I watched every stage of Lance's 7 TdF wins and have watched every stage of the TdF since then. Only recently has Versus Network given us Amercians a chance to see other races throughout the world.

With that said, there have been some excellent posts in this thread that nail down the reasons. I'll mention those and a few more:
-Lance is a winner and Americans like winners.
-Lance is a comeback story and Americans love a comeback story.
-Lance is confident and Americans like confidence. Yes, Lance can be cocky which turns many people off. But he has ALWAYS backed that confidence with results.
-Lance is a philanthropist. Like him or not, his Foundation has raised hundreds of millions to research and hopefully cure cancer. And everyone that frequents this forum has likely lost a loved one to cancer. Doped or not, cocky or not, how can you detest someone that is this unselfish? Sure he loves to be center-stage and have the cameras on him. But look at the RESULTS. Lives will be saved because of his philanthopic work. Is there another pro rider who can boast of the same?
-Lance achieved perfection in his sport. Americans appreciate the lifetime of effort that is required to do so, regardless of the sport or discipline. Look at our appreciation for Tiger Woods. Frankly, if he is not playing in a tournament, I will not watch it. People watch Tiger Woods because of the amazing shoots he can pull from his bag. You don't know when it's coming, but you know it's coming. Lance has the same effect on people. He has done some special things on the bike. And I'm one Amercian who hopes to see more of the same this year, but still have muted expectations.
-From my own perspective, I also appreciate Lance's riding style and ability. He is a climber and TT specialst. He excels (excelled?) in the two most painful disciplines in our sport. I have no love for sprinters who sit in the back of the peleton and wait for their 200-yard burst.

The fact is, cycling would get near zero press in the U.S. without Lance. I'm truly hopeful that Phinney or another rider will emerge from the young ranks of American riders and carry the torch so we continue to get the press coverage and see races on the tube. It was great to see Levi perform so well in the TOC. It was also great to see Lance towing him around.

What keeps some of us Americans interested in Lance RIGHT NOW is the fact that he is in better shape, in better form at this time of the year than in any of his previous years of his TdF wins. Yes he is 4 years older, and yes he looked rough in the TOC TT. But I can't help but think about what is possible. And if he goes regain his 2005 form, how much MORE money will he raise in the fight against cancer?

I'll step back now and take my ridicule. I'm not hardcore. Just wanted to post some thoughts. I have great admiration for all Pro riders. Don't think I'm a Lance-aholic. Ours is a great sport, and frankly I''m just glad to see it get more positive press, regardless of the reason. From my perspective, the 3 years without Lance in the peleton were years in which the press feasted on anything negative....doping scandal after doping scandal. I'm just glad something, ANYTHING positive is happening for our sport.

Keith
 
Mar 12, 2009
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Good post there Keith, thanks!
I applaud Lance's comeback, he is a very though guy and brings massive coverage to cycling, but I still hope Contador wins the Tour, he is the future of cycling, not Lance.
 
Jarvis said:
I wouldn't call "Bottle" the best American cyclist, I'd say other than Armstrong, VDV is next in line. "Bottle" is just a water-carrier now.

Lets not get ahead of ourselves. VdV hasn't shown near enough to consider him for that spot. One top 5 Tour isn't near enough, especially when Levi and Contador weren't even there. Levi is without a doubt the best American rider today. He's got multiple top 10 Tour finishes, 3 grand tour podiums, 3 ToC wins, finished 1st and 2nd at the Deutschland Tour, 1st and 3rd at the Dauphiné, and has several other wins, most of which have come in the last 3 years. I don't see how you could even consider anyone else for that title(leaving Lance out since he's been gone for awhile).
 
Mar 12, 2009
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180mmCrank said:
There is and always will be room enough in the sport of cycling for all enthusiasts. The more longstanding among us need to continue to exercise a little patience with folks that come and go from the sport. We like to think of it as our sport but really it belongs to everyone and so it should.

Good post Crank and so true. The elitist BS has got to go. If you love the sport you promote it at every turn and welcome others to join in. We were all new to the sport at one time.

I'm American and I dig riders of all nationalities including my own.
 
To answer the original question:

Most people hit the nail on the head when talking about the average US cycling fan. Most people don't follow the sport enough to be fans of US riders other than the ones who win "big" races or ones they've heard about(sadly, in the US, this basically means the TdF or the Tour of California :(

A few more thoughts:

Columbia - Despite their incredible win total from a year ago, I don't think many Americans have gravitated towards them because there just aren't that many Americans on the team and the vast majority of the wins are by non-Americans with whom they are not familiar

Garmin - I believe many American cycling fans are trying to become fans of this team and its riders, but frankly, they don't win enough for the average US fan. They also seem to subtly take shots at American riders from Astana and other teams who are often fan favorites. Also, with respect to more diehard, "serious" cycling fans, I don't think they've done themselves any favors with their seemingly "holier-than-thou" attitude toward doping. For me, I really hope all of their riders are clean but they sometimes come across as hypocritical in their criticism.

Fwiw, my favorite American rider is Horner.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Columbia - Despite their incredible win total from a year ago, I don't think many Americans have gravitated towards them because there just aren't that many Americans on the team and the vast majority of the wins are by non-Americans with whom they are not familiar
Therefore back to the nationalistic theory of support. Also people still probably see the team as German.

I don't think they've done themselves any favors with their seemingly "holier-than-thou" attitude toward doping.

This I don't understand. Why do people support a dubious team such as Astana, or most of the Italian and Spanish teams, yet dislike teams that actively take a stance against dopin? I guess you probably have the same feeling about the British team?

As for Bottle, there are far too many stories ciculating about him for me to even consider liking him. Besides the only reason he's won the ToC 3 times is that last year he knew he wouldn't be riding the Tour and this year he knows he won't have the chance to ride for himself at any other race. Astana rode for him there, knowing that he'll be riding for others for the rest of the year.
 
Mar 10, 2009
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BroDeal said:
There are a lot of U.S. "fans" who are not fans of cycling. They are Armstrong worshippers. Many started following cycling and/or riding after 1999, and they are not really interested in anything that is not connected to Armstrong. On English speaking cycling forums we have seen a huge influx of these people who left after Armstrong retired and have now come back, just as naive as ever.

FLandis, Hamilton, and such riders get the attention of these faux fan because they are former Postal riders.

Riders like Vandevelde, the Z-Man, and don't get the attention they should amongst the Armstrong crowd because they are viewed as traitors. The members of the old Paceline forum detested Slipstream because by saying their team was clean they were implicitly accusing Postal of not being clean.
Z Man and Vandeveld also rode for Postal
 
Mar 18, 2009
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My son and I..

are American. We are both huge cycling fans. I am 40 and he is 12. When watching and following cycling neither of us follows national lines. We like to follow riders who we admire...whether it be for their off bike personality, the way they ride, or their penache. That being said we really like Jens Voigt, Tom Boonen, Damiano Cunego, we are huge fans of the entire Skil-Shimano cycling team especially Kenny van Hummel, Sylvain Chavanel, and others. Actually there are very few riders who we don't like and admire. Some of those include Lance Armstrong, and Marc Cavendish. Why? Couldn't tell you. Actually, my son does not pick riders based on nationality, however, by default...he really admires and follows the "hard men of the north". If he could grow up and be a professional cyclist he would rather win Flanders than the TdF!! Just wanted to add my 2 cents.

Thanks.
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Ramblin said:
I have great admiration for all Pro riders. Don't think I'm a Lance-aholic. Ours is a great sport, and frankly I''m just glad to see it get more positive press, regardless of the reason. From my perspective, the 3 years without Lance in the peleton were years in which the press feasted on anything negative....doping scandal after doping scandal. I'm just glad something, ANYTHING positive is happening for our sport.

Keith

I could almost mirror Keith's entire post...but I'll spare ya. I do think he hits it on the head in his closing paragraph though. For the first time in 3 yrs we're seeing non-doping related news about cycling...for the most part. Short of coming to our usual newsfeeds (I personally read CN and VN more than the real news...my wife thinks I'm sad...), we're left with little to no cycling news in our (US) major sport rags. Like Keith, I took notice of cycling and specifically European cycling because of Lance. I've ridden for much longer than that, but had never had much interest in the racing scene before him. I guess you could say I have LA to thank for opening my eyes to racing in Europe and it just took off from there.

Sort of in line with alot of things already mentioned here that I thought interesting was when I opened SI.com today and saw that LA getting his hair tested in France was one of the headline stories...I can't remember a cycling story headlining with the likes of March Madness, MLB spring training, and the WBC taking place...not to mention the closing run to the NBA playoffs. At best, it rarely happens.

And it's not limited to the US...I live in Norway now, and watch the bulk of the races on Eurosport and SportN...both of which have regular pieces on LA's comeback. Eurosport even has a 5 minute "opening" program before all the televised races call Planet Armstrong...I couldn't believe it.

FWIW I'm a huge fan of Thor Hushovd...Boonen, Cav...absolutely loved watching Farrarr come around him the other day though. Insane.
 
Mar 17, 2009
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Oh lordy. I'm not sure where to start.

I'm just glad something, ANYTHING positive is happening for our sport.
I do think he hits it on the head in his closing paragraph though. For the first time in 3 yrs we're seeing non-doping related news about cycling
So in the last 3 years nothing positive has happened in our sport? You in the US certainly seem deprived of news, even those with access to the 'web. I can think of quite a few positive things that have happened in the last three years, here's a list:
1) Loads of riders have been caught cheating and have been banned
2) Pro-cyclists have been discussing doping, ratting on each other and ignoring the Omerta
3) Garmin, Columbia, CSC/Saxo Bank (seemingly) have led the way in promoting a clean sport at the top level.
4) The last Tour de France was to me, the most exciting since 1990 because there was a contest
5) The average speeds in the pro peloton have dropped

These are all good things, very positive. The problem is that the following will probably happen this year:
1) No-one - at least no big names - are likely to test positive at the Tour this year
2) No riders will discuss doping anymore - apparently this has already happened
3) Garmin and Columbia will not be as successful in stage races as last year
4) The Tour will be a dull procession

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not wishing this is the case, but I'm not too hopeful that I'll be wrong either.
 
flyor64 said:
For the first time in 3 yrs we're seeing non-doping related news about cycling...for the most part. .

This statement does a real disservice to all the journalist that have posted non-doping related cycling news over the past 3 years. The increase in doping related topics is due to the increase and advances in overall testing.

If all one reads is the local newspapers or even the national newspapers and publications in the U.S. then the only cycling news that you will read about are the rare American victory in the Tour, daily Tour updates if its in July, and the latest doping scandal because doping is news. Now if you're a fan of the sport, you seek out the sites, magazines and publications that cover the sport. You don't look for the latest cycling results of any race other than the Tour on ESPN or in Sports Illustrated because you won't find it.

I'm not sure where you go to find your cycling related news but it can't be pez, or cyclingnews.com, or velonews or any of the numerous publications and sites
that anything and everything about the sport.
 
Jarvis said:
So in the last 3 years nothing positive has happened in our sport? You in the US certainly seem deprived of news, even those with access to the 'web.

Please stop with the generalizations. Just because one person from the U.S. makes a statement that is ludicrous, and the beginning of that statement definitely was, doesn't mean that they're speaking for the entire country.
Maybe he/she mispoke because its beyond obvious that in the advent of the world wide web that access to cycling related news is virtually unlimited if you have a computer and internet access.
Of course this was an exaggeration of the facts to get their misguided point across, no offense intended to the OP.
 
A

Anonymous

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Jarvis said:
You in the US certainly seem deprived of news, even those with access to the 'web.

You know, Xenophobia is a sign of limited intelligence. Pin the tail on the moron anyone?
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Angliru said:
Please stop with the generalizations. Just because one person from the U.S. makes a statement that is ludicrous, and the beginning of that statement definitely was, doesn't mean that they're speaking for the entire country.
Maybe he/she mispoke because its beyond obvious that in the advent of the world wide web that access to cycling related news is virtually unlimited if you have a computer and internet access.
Of course this was an exaggeration of the facts to get their misguided point across, no offense intended to the OP.

I was actually a little shocked to open the thread and see that I've been thoroughly thrashed as ignorant, misguided, ludicrous (laughing as I think of ludicrous speed...from Spaceballs I believe).

I wasn't actually tying to disagree with anyone, counter anyone's points, or paint us Americans as ignorant. I was actually just trying offer what I thought might be a contributor to the lack of interest or knowledge in cycling in the US outside of Lance.

Well, after reading the responses and re-reading my post I can see where I went wrong. I was referring to mainstream news & mainstream sports news in the US, etc. Not in any way did I intend to imply that there has been ZERO positive news about cycling in the past three years.

Nor did I intend any slight to the multitude of responsible journalist's and their efforts these past three years. I agree completely with Angrilu's statement that the increase to doping related topics is due the increases and advances in overall testing. But I have also never seen that explained in the aforementioned mainstream articles...which, IMHO, adds to the uninformed perception of cycling from a casual observer. It's been my experience, albeit limited, that if you ask a casual observer in the US about cycling you get one of two responses....Lance or doping. For the record, I'm not sure "casual observer" is the best term here. So that I cause no more confusion, or dismay amongst the casual observers out there, I'm attempting to refer to people who don't follow cycling, haven't ridden a bike since junior high school, etc.

I also feel that cycling gets a bad wrap in mainstream media, considering our other professional sports and their apparent lack of concern over known dopers within their ranks. If anything, cycling is leading the charge against doping...but this is not the picture that is painted in mainstream media...again, in my opinion.

As I mentioned in my post, I do read CN and VN online regularly for the real cycling related news. I am, after all, posting to the CN forum, aren't I?
 
Mar 11, 2009
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I do see some differences between European-based fans and American ones. Of course, each group isn't distinct.

Armstrong offers a litmus test, a good example. The Texan seems to retain a large core of supporters in the US whereas many in Europe resent his presence. Of course you'll find some of his fans in Europe and doubters in the US but his presence is always a divisive issue.
 
Stani Kl&#233 said:
I do see some differences between European-based fans and American ones. Of course, each group isn't distinct.

Armstrong offers a litmus test, a good example. The Texan seems to retain a large core of supporters in the US whereas many in Europe resent his presence. Of course you'll find some of his fans in Europe and doubters in the US but his presence is always a divisive issue.

wtf do you get that bs from?
 
Mar 11, 2009
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Where did I get the idea that many in Europe are skeptical about Armstrong? Anywhere, from media to friends to colleagues, many would prefer that he continued to enjoy his retirement.

Like I say, many in the US seem excited about his return but in Europe people would rather look to the riders of the future than the past, his comeback is more akin to a circus show.
 
Stani Kléber said:
I do see some differences between European-based fans and American ones. Of course, each group isn't distinct.

I am not sure the difference is one of nationality - there will always be informed and uninformed opinion. This is not the preserve of one nation or another.

Not wanting to get too philosophical but...The more interesting question is the extent to which non edited media/commentary as found online (in chat rooms, forum, blogs etc) has made it easier or harder to discern the informed from the uninformed. Any of us who have been closely involved in any media reported events will have had the experience of seeing how misinformed and distorted reports of events can be. Has the opportunity for more of us to enter the dialogue improved the accuracy of how events are reported? Not sure - the jury is out on this one.

I do celebrate the diversity of opinion and the dialogue - bring it on! Let's just keep it respectful.
 

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