Breaking Away - "Top cycling teams explore creating new competitive league"

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Did anyone feel after the 18-stage Vuelta in 2020, I wish this had been 3 stages longer and it wasn't a proper grand tour?
hon, I've felt that about a lot of 21-stage races that the péloton has done its best to not race recently with whining about stage length, the péloton refusing to respect time cuts or to race the whole course, and then even if they do complete the whole course, refusing to engage in any actual competing. I'm sure Adam Hansen will be along shortly to tell us how reducing the length of every stage and race and not making people race when it's cold or rainy will create a better spectacle, so we can say goodbye to racing in places with questionable weather like Belgium or the Basque Country. 100km circuit races in the Arabian peninsula are the wave of the future, don'tchaknow.
 
Why didn't Plugge just accept the NEON sponsorship when he looks completely fine to get in bed with the Saudi's after all? I thought Visma and other sponsors didn't want to be associated? Doesn't matter if they just buy the whole sport and ruin it or what? As long as they are not on their shirts?
 
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hon, I've felt that about a lot of 21-stage races that the péloton has done its best to not race recently with whining about stage length, the péloton refusing to respect time cuts or to race the whole course, and then even if they do complete the whole course, refusing to engage in any actual competing. I'm sure Adam Hansen will be along shortly to tell us how reducing the length of every stage and race and not making people race when it's cold or rainy will create a better spectacle, so we can say goodbye to racing in places with questionable weather like Belgium or the Basque Country. 100km circuit races in the Arabian peninsula are the wave of the future, don'tchaknow.
I am 100% all for making individual stages harder. Just cut out a few sprint stages and when crappy breakaways gain 10 minutes. Noone wants to see some Eolo Kometa dude taking a shock win cause the peloton feel the route is not hard enough to cause time gaps. Have 15 stages but with 7 of them having 4500m+ of climbing and 2 TTs and 1 gravel/cobble stage and 1 stage with lots of short climbs to cause GC action, 1 with mega hard finish on short steep climb and 3 sprint stages. That would be good I think!
 
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I am 100% all for making individual stages harder. Just cut out a few sprint stages and when crappy breakaways gain 10 minutes. Noone wants to see some Eolo Kometa dude taking a shock win cause the peloton feel the route is not hard enough to cause time gaps. Have 15 stages but with 7 of them having 4500m+ of climbing and 2 TTs and 1 gravel/cobble stage and 1 stage with lots of short climbs to cause GC action, 1 with mega hard finish on short steep climb and 3 sprint stages. That would be good I think!
See the problem with that is that the biggest race is the Tour de France. Italy and Spain both have at least some mountain ranges throughout the country meaning you are only ever one stage away from a potential mountain stage, but France just isn't like that, and all the mountains are in a distinct area along the south and east of the country. Not only that, but the race tends to only use specific areas of those mountains where all the big name ascents are clustered together. And with the One Cycling branding, you know that they're going to lean hard on using those same climbs every year for marketing reasons. An additional problem, then, is that two of the most cycling-supportive regions in France - Brittany and the Vendée - are about as far away from any of those mountains as it's possible to get in mainland France.

The fact the Grand Tours last three weeks has been a reflection of the fact that they take place in France and Italy and then later on in Spain too. Three weeks is how long it takes to satisfactorily cover enough of those countries to say that you've legitimately 'toured' them, with enough variety of parcours to provide a genuine endurance challenge and vary the stages to give something for everyone while also reflecting the kind of distances and difficulties considered reasonable in modern cycling (no 18 hour stages with disqualifications for getting help operating the bellows while you're forging your own replacement forks anymore). It's why, if they rebuilt the calendar from scratch tomorrow, those three countries would still be the leading candidates to host Grand Tours.
 
I am 100% all for making individual stages harder. Just cut out a few sprint stages and when crappy breakaways gain 10 minutes. Noone wants to see some Eolo Kometa dude taking a shock win cause the peloton feel the route is not hard enough to cause time gaps. Have 15 stages but with 7 of them having 4500m+ of climbing and 2 TTs and 1 gravel/cobble stage and 1 stage with lots of short climbs to cause GC action, 1 with mega hard finish on short steep climb and 3 sprint stages. That would be good I think!
Sprint stages as such are fine. I don't mind watching only 10 min of a stage (or have the stream running in the background) for a few days during a 3-week race, especially since those 10 min are usually very intense, and a proper bunch sprint is a great payoff.
 
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Yet another sport ruined by rich executives desperate to discard their actual audience in the pursuit of a hypothetical one.

I do tend to agree with Plugge that it's a rather unsustainable model. That is if arguably the best team in the peloton has difficulties securing a sponsor. Said that they did it in the end. Things like working together, the teams and with race organizers, to get some additional possibilities beyond sponsors.

Why not.

But that is one thing. A whole different thing is lets take money from Saudi Arabia, lets make some closed competition, lets change everything in regards to races themself ... Lets basically run it as a company. All the talks to be held in secret ... this same structures then having a say in everything.

It's in my opinion not in touch with reality. At beast some new "cycling league" can came out of this and in my opinion it would take decades, to get to the level of cycling as we know it now. If ever. No company can survive that.
 
I do tend to agree with Plugge that it's a rather unsustainable model. That is if arguably the best team in the peloton has difficulties securing a sponsor. Said that they did it in the end. Things like working together, the teams and with race organizers, to get some additional possibilities beyond sponsors.

Why not.

But that is one thing. A whole different thing is lets take money from Saudi Arabia, lets make some closed competition, lets change everything in regards to races themself ... Lets basically run it as a company. All the talks to be held in secret ... this same structures then having a say in everything.

It's in my opinion not in touch with reality. At beast some new "cycling league" can came out of this and in my opinion it would take decades, to get to the level of cycling as we know it now. If ever. No company can survive that.
It's not that they had difficulties securing a sponsor, it's that they had trouble securing enough money to continue to run at the level they are at and paying all the legal fees to get away with poaching riders from other teams.

Team owners, or at least the richest ones (that's the irony, the ones that complain are the ones that can best survive it) might get frustrated with the current model giving more money to the organisers, but they have to stop seeing the race organisers as the adversary because without races being organised, they have no spectacle to provide. Race organisers might make less money from having other riders, but without races to enter a team is totally DOA, just look at what happened to Unibet. Just saying "well, we'll just have our own World Tour, with blackjack and hookers!" only works inasmuch as actually providing the races. What's the most that the teams' own shady cabal has had to offer so far? The Hammer Series? And yes, ASO make a lot of money off the Tour de France and the teams would like to grab some of it - but much of that same money goes towards organising Paris-Nice, and the Dauphiné, and Paris-Roubaix, and Flèche Wallonne, and Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and Paris-Tours, and then there's the other ASO-backed ventures to move cycling into other countries, like the Tour of Oman, the Tour de Yorkshire, the Arctic Race of Norway, the revived Deutschlandtour... it's not just "ASO makes money off the Tour and doesn't give us any".

Not to mention also that they are also now much more willing to expand their horizons, now that their loss-making pet project, the Dakar Rally, is able to break even again (ironically enough, thanks to Saudi sportswashing money). It's just that in recent years that has manifest itself in expanding their women's cycling portfolio massively. I've been very critical of ASO's efforts toward women's cycling over the years, so this has been most welcome, but of course Plugge and his cartel aren't getting more races to bogart the prize money from if the money is put towards women's cycling, so they just see that they aren't being given money and think they're getting screwed.

And, as I mention, the other problem is that those races with history, they can protect their trademarks. If ASO really want to put their foot down, they can bar any rebel organisation from having a yellow leaders' jersey, or polka dot mountains jerseys, or combativity prizes, far more aggressively than they do at present, and they can blacklist any town or city that hosts the rebel race from future editions of the Tour as well. And the same would go for any other organiser not on board.
 
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Here’s a novel idea. Why don’t the saudis start buying struggling races ie Tour of Britain? Smaller poorly funded races and turn them into jewels? And resurrecting old defunct races (lots of them). And build a portfolio?
 
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I do tend to agree with Plugge that it's a rather unsustainable model. That is if arguably the best team in the peloton has difficulties securing a sponsor. Said that they did it in the end. Things like working together, the teams and with race organizers, to get some additional possibilities beyond sponsors.

Why not.

But that is one thing. A whole different thing is lets take money from Saudi Arabia, lets make some closed competition, lets change everything in regards to races themself ... Lets basically run it as a company. All the talks to be held in secret ... this same structures then having a say in everything.

It's in my opinion not in touch with reality. At beast some new "cycling league" can came out of this and in my opinion it would take decades, to get to the level of cycling as we know it now. If ever. No company can survive that.
Yep, listen to assholes like Plugge who tell you this thing is so UNSUSTAINABLE!
Its been sustained for 100+ years
riders salary WAY UP the last decadesl
but yeah, UNSUSTAINABLE
meanwhile he makes millions, has all kinds of sports scientisits, wind tunnel testing and money to pay youtubers a salary also

poor *** guy

Guess what. Pro cyclicing is *** AWESOME as it is
 
Okay this may seem like a take very unlike Red Rick, but looking at the numbers I don't think we should be all that worried?

The money numbers thrown around don't make all that much sense, plus in cycling, where the Tour is everything, it should be near impossible to create a true breakaway unless you outright buy the Tour de France. The economical model without the Tour is stone dead on arrival, and if teams can no longer parcipate in UCI races, I'd think all contracts are voided and thus need to be renegotiated.
 
The money numbers thrown around don't make all that much sense, plus in cycling, where the Tour is everything, it should be near impossible to create a true breakaway unless you outright buy the Tour de France. The economical model without the Tour is stone dead on arrival, and if teams can no longer parcipate in UCI races, I'd think all contracts are voided and thus need to be renegotiated.
Tells you that we definitely need a change
 
Tells you that we definitely need a change

Not really.

I'm totally fine with the power in cycling resting in the hands of the race organizers, broadcasters & most of all the actual sponsors funding the operation.

This idea which certain individuals in the milieu are attempting to spread whereby big teams should earn big money & have big power doesn't appeal to me at all. We've seen over the decades that the 'actors' of this sport can be some of the biggest assh*les in town, i.e. I also do not forget the actual race venues are the main attraction.

The Tour de France is the biggest race, i.e. people don't turn on their tv's in France just to watch Visma smash everything with a billion watts, they watch for the road trip & cultural, natural & historical significance of it all. That's the part which totally differentiates cycling from most other sports. Who watches tennis for the scenery? No one. Football? No one. Motor racing? Well maybe... but they're driving around in circles. But loads of people watch cycling for the locales.

I'm also fine with the economic structure being what it is, i.e. dependent on the goodwill of sponsor investment. It means if a sponsor wants to build a team, they can. As long as there's 180 riders to populate the pro peloton, all is good as far as the 'spectacle' is concerned (let's also not forget a bike race can be entertaining as along as there's a battle, i.e. rider power output doesn't = entertainment value, unlike the superhuman 'exploits' of footballers or tennis players).
 
Not really.

I'm totally fine with the power in cycling resting in the hands of the race organizers, broadcasters & most of all the actual sponsors funding the operation.

This idea which certain individuals in the milieu are attempting to spread whereby big teams should earn big money & have big power doesn't appeal to me at all. We've seen over the decades that the 'actors' of this sport can be some of the biggest assh*les in town, i.e. I also do not forget the actual race venues are the main attraction.

The Tour de France is the biggest race, i.e. people don't turn on their tv's in France just to watch Visma smash everything with a billion watts, they watch for the road trip & cultural, natural & historical significance of it all. That's the part which totally differentiates cycling from most other sports. Who watches tennis for the scenery? No one. Football? No one. Motor racing? Well maybe... but they're driving around in circles. But loads of people watch cycling for the locales.

I'm also fine with the economic structure being what it is, i.e. dependent on the goodwill of sponsor investment. It means if a sponsor wants to build a team, they can. As long as there's 180 riders to populate the pro peloton, all is good as far as the 'spectacle' is concerned (let's also not forget a bike race can be entertaining as along as there's a battle, i.e. rider power output doesn't = entertainment value, unlike the superhuman 'exploits' of footballers or tennis players).
I’m not fine with what you are saying at all. Power should lie with the teams and riders imo.
 
Thankfully, most power resides with those with long-term interests. ASO will still be the biggest player in 30 years.
Lol, the company that does everything to protect their own paycheck and make it bigger at the costs of teams and riders? Longterm and shortterm they only think about themselves, it’s a company not a charity. So they obviously would love to keep the status quo since it earns them the most.
 
Lol, the company that does everything to protect their own paycheck and make it bigger at the costs of teams and riders? Longterm and shortterm they only think about themselves, it’s a company not a charity. So they obviously would love to keep the status quo since it earns them the most.
And the same goes for the proposed super league, only they will also strangle variety out of the sport, and are willing to kill off racing at lower levels to make it an only-game-in-town cartel too.

As mentioned, a lot of ASO's Tour profit goes to... organising a lot of other races, and what is a bike racing series without races to enter?
 
And the same goes for the proposed super league, only they will also strangle variety out of the sport, and are willing to kill off racing at lower levels to make it an only-game-in-town cartel too.

As mentioned, a lot of ASO's Tour profit goes to... organising a lot of other races, and what is a bike racing series without races to enter?
I’m not a fan of the rumoured league with no possibility of relegation or promotion. I also don’t see why that would be necessary for a more sustainable business model. But we also don’t know what the actual plans are, so I keep an open mind. I dislike ASO, and I dislike the current business model, so I’m all for a change when it comes to that.
 
I’m not a fan of the rumoured league with no possibility of relegation or promotion. I also don’t see why that would be necessary for a more sustainable business model. But we also don’t know what the actual plans are, so I keep an open mind. I dislike ASO, and I dislike the current business model, so I’m all for a change when it comes to that.
It would be a change to the business model to host all races on a closed stretch of autobahn distributing all of the income profits to currywurst vendors who would pick a slip of paper that would dictate the team that got their share of the pot out of a clown shoe, but that doesn't mean that we should embrace that change.
The plan is likely for some franchise system with all the entry barriers to go with it as far as teams go.

One doesn't need a signed confirmation from Plugge to see that.
Even if it doesn't place entry barriers and prevent promotion/relegation, locking teams out of all the big races and bogarting all the funding into those top teams will have the effect of killing teams outside of that tier. It'd be like when F1 allowed in those new teams, but then put restrictions on them to make sure they could never be competitive, so we got all those teams like HRT, Manor and Caterham who would potter around at the back, do nothing of relevance, and then go bust because they couldn't be competitive leaving us with the same 10 teams we had beforehand.
 
It would be a change to the business model to host all races on a closed stretch of autobahn distributing all of the income profits to currywurst vendors who would pick a slip of paper that would dictate the team that got their share of the pot out of a clown shoe, but that doesn't mean that we should embrace that change.
Where did I say that? You are just making a ridiculous statement and assume I’m all for it. I’m merely saying that the current business model doesn’t work, ASO is too powerful, and something needs to change. A new competition with new rules might change this. If ASO doesn’t want to follow, that’s their choice. They’ve been using their power for their own profit since forever.
 
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Where did I say that? You are just making a ridiculous statement and assume I’m all for it. I’m merely saying that the current business model doesn’t work, ASO is too powerful, and something needs to change. A new competition with new rules might change this. If ASO doesn’t want to follow, that’s their choice. They’ve been using their power for their own profit since forever.
You stated that you disliked ASO and the current business model so would be all in favour of change. I used a reductio ad absurdum argument to point out that embracing change just because it's change isn't a good stance to have. I think that Plugge's cronies' proposal is worse than the status quo because it will not improve cycling at the top level (in fact, without measures for parity enforcement like they have in US sports with the draft and salary caps, it will probably become a lot more boring, being a closed shop enabling the richest teams to bogart all the results even more than they do now because there's less competition) and will drastically worsen cycling at the .Pro and continental tour levels, therefore while the current status quo is flawed, I see no benefit in supporting a proposal that actively worsens the spectacle of the sport (while broadcasting to the world that because you will see the best in every race it will improve it, as though 0-0 draws don't happen at the highest level of football) and reduces the amount of cycling at our disposal. Some of us like that the biggest names aren't at every race, and sometimes races overlap because it means we get multiple different spectacles and we can enjoy a good race for what it is, not say, "yes, there was 70km of high quality action in that stage of the Vuelta a Asturias or the Tour Alsace or what have you... but it would have been way better if Jonas Vingegaard had been there and Jumbo had controlled everything in a mountain train and then he won by six minutes".

Richard Plugge here is the equivalent of Florentino Pérez trying to set up the Super League because he can't afford to buy Kylian Mbappé and he might have to forgo some Galácticos and compete on an even playing field with teams that are subject to the vagaries of everyday financing for the first time in his life.
 
You stated that you disliked ASO and the current business model so would be all in favour of change. I used a reductio ad absurdum argument to point out that embracing change just because it's change isn't a good stance to have. I think that Plugge's cronies' proposal is worse than the status quo because it will not improve cycling at the top level.

Richard Plugge here is the equivalent of Florentino Pérez trying to set up the Super League because he can't afford to buy Kylian Mbappé and he might have to forgo some Galácticos and compete on an even playing field with teams that are subject to the vagaries of everyday financing for the first time in his life.
You don't even know the plan yet. They are still working it out, and need to present it. You are acting as if it's clear how it all works.

I wouldn't compare Plugge to Pérez at all. It's not about being able to buy Mbappé, it's about a more sustainable model so you don't have to beg people for money the whole time. That if 1 person decides he doesn't want to go through with sponsoring that you have to lay awake at night for 6 months finding someone new or else the team will disband and all riders and staff will lose their job.