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Clash of Cultures...Do Europeans Think Differently About Doping Than Americans?

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ravens said:
Don't ever stick your crack pipe in someone's spokes. The shards could cause a puncture, and then you've broken your crack pipe.

It was a frame pump if I remember correctly, and it was a dirty, dastardly move by those evil Italians!
 
Jun 27, 2009
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David Suro said:
Ludwig,

Any person who thinks there is such a thing as a 'typical American fan' is mistaken.

Us Colonialists here in the united States are a diversified and educated group of people. There are over 300,000,000 of us. Each of us has their own opinion. Many of those opinions are based on rational thought.

Please spare me and my countrymen the disrespect of declaring that there is a 'typical American fan'. Please spare youself the embarrasment of broadcasting your ignorance and bigotry.

Perhaps I should say "majority" of American fans.

Either way there was no intention to indulge in stereotyping. I think there is some truth to the generalizations made by the author, but that is a limited truth, and as I mentioned the very fact that SI published this article indicates the case was overstated.
 
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SirLes said:
I also think the increased commercial success which is based on a huge number of new fans for whom drug taking is unacceptable is of course another big reason. (I'm not sure the nationality is)

I'm sure Pro Cycling would love to be an "increased commercial success." Some numbers:

US ML Baseball teams had a combined 2009 payroll of $2.7 B (~800 players) with $7 B in revenue. NFL 2009 payroll totaled $3.4 B (~1,700 players) with ~$14 B in revenue. NBA salaries are $2 B (450 players) with $4 B in revenue. English Premier League salary is ~900 M Pounds (2005-6 was 850 M, ~800 players) with ~2 B Pounds of revenues.

The combined total PT team budgets total about 150 M euros (~500 riders). So, based on the above, the total possible PT "take" by promoters et Al is only 300-500 M euros. As far as the “state of the league” goes, Saxo, Caisse, Bouygues are pulling out after 2010, Lampre is on as temporary, Cofidis moved down, and only BMC and maybe Skil appear to want in. Without The Shack, Sky, and Footon, things would look pretty bad. It remains a beggar’s market, not foretelling systematic salary increases.

According to NBDA, the entire US cycling industry in the US was $6 B (I'm guessing Europe is at least equal to this, but can't find a reliable #). According to SGMA, US equipment for baseball/softball totaled $602 M; basketball $356 M; and soccer $304 M (American football was smaller than these "top three"). Add to this Team Uniforms totaling $1.2 B billion in 2008 (five largest categories for team uniforms were football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball).

If you're wondering about golf, 280 PGA professionals chased ~$300 M in PGA purses last year. This was up from $66 M in 1996 BT (Before Tiger). Now that’s systematic increase! This supported $3 B in US equipment sales (SGMA) and a total US industry greater than $60 B. The last $1B TV deal aimed to bring purses by 2012 to $600 M annually BTM (Before Tiger’s Mistresses). They are at least doing far better than cyclists.

So, people effectively spend more watching the top team sports (vote with eyeballs), while in cycling they spend more on cycling. Most manufacturers, fans, and many others it would seem get a virtual free ride on the backs of pro teams and riders who promote and prove new products, scramble and beg for sponsorship, often get $crewed over on transfers or contracts, while they get paid 1-3% of the total industry size versus up to 50% in other team sports. And for all that, riders have the sword of Damocles over their heads if they get caught doping by a governing body that’s proven itself incompetent in many circumstances. Mama’s, don’t let your babies grow up to be cyclists.

No excuses of forgiveness for doping here, but I think some context of riders' place in the industry is important to highlight. Also, no suggestion that more money means less doping, although it may not hurt since most riders actually can probably make more painting houses. Finally, forget the “In the States we're not much for shades of gray in our heroes.” Yankee fans had no problem watching A-Rod make $20 M and hit .365 with 4 home runs and 18 RBIs during their 27th World Series victory after he admitted past steroid use at the beginning of 2009.
 
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Psalmon said:
I'm sure Pro Cycling would love to be an "increased commercial success."
No excuses of forgiveness for doping here, but I think some context of riders' place in the industry is important to highlight. Also, no suggestion that more money means less doping, although it may not hurt since most riders actually can probably make more painting houses. Finally, forget the “In the States we're not much for shades of gray in our heroes.” Yankee fans had no problem watching A-Rod make $20 M and hit .365 with 4 home runs and 18 RBIs during their 27th World Series victory after he admitted past steroid use at the beginning of 2009.

Didn't mean to dice your quote but agree wholeheartedly. The sponsor departures due to doping exposes' are largely not directly affiliated with your identified profit stream ie: banks, insurance, hi-tech, etc-sponsors. They can't stomach the negative exposure. Their reluctance to provide add dollars most likely is the biggest impact in the US as the equipment sponsors just won't kick in enough to make cycling a big league competitor. At least not now. That's where LA is the only game in town, good or bad for the US market at this point. At the same time you have Lindsay Vonn absolutely killing the speed skiing community and is known largely as being "cute" in the US. In Europe she is likely a deity. The Euro crowds respectfully acknowledge Bodie Miller (especially the Swiss and Austrians) while the US market sees him as a failed product. And A Rod makes....
 
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usedtobefast said:
i have a belgian buddy, who despises cycling as a drug ridden, low class sport.
kind of like 'pro wrestling'. it is not an unknown attitude, he tells me.

Isn't that why most Yanks like college basketball better than pro ball now? Less attitude-more fun? I'd hate to ever think Avery Brundage was right about anything.
 
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Psalmon said:
I'm sure Pro Cycling would love to be an "increased commercial success." Some numbers:

These numbers are pretty misleading.

Cycling is a mass participation activity with several sports (road, MTB, track etc.) loosely attached. It is hard to compare cycling with many other sports for this reason.

Most US sports are actually incredibly low participation, i.e. mostly viewed as something your average american might watch rather than something they would actually "do". Which is how we arrive at the incredible figure that 50% of a sport's turnover goes to the top players. This makes US sports hard to compare with other sports (for the opposite reason).

Overall comparisons between US sports and cycling are of limited value as a result I think.
 
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galaxy1 said:
These numbers are pretty misleading.

Cycling is a mass participation activity with several sports (road, MTB, track etc.) loosely attached. It is hard to compare cycling with many other sports for this reason.

Most US sports are actually incredibly low participation, i.e. mostly viewed as something your average american might watch rather than something they would actually "do". Which is how we arrive at the incredible figure that 50% of a sport's turnover goes to the top players. This makes US sports hard to compare with other sports (for the opposite reason).

Overall comparisons between US sports and cycling are of limited value as a result I think.

There is nothing misleading about the "numbers" it's all about TV and merchandise. Other major sports define themselves and race against,play against one another in a defined season that can be hyped,filmed and sold. Look at lots of these threads, Cav not racing because of rotten teeth, Armstrong decides after publishing schedule that he wants do one race over another. The UCI 1st needs to list who are the pro's and who are not and then give a 30 race schedule and a crown and prize for the winner of the battery of races.F1,Nascar,NFL,NBA,BL,. They would only need minimal TV coverage and news updates as to where a rider stands in world ranking,and make the ranking worth lots of money. If LA didn't do the Giro US TV would have skipped it and ToC,TDF would have been all of their cycling coverage in 2 shots. The fact that the Shack says they may skip the Giro is the problem, there is nothing to hype/promote if top contenders can take rest weeks in order to achieve a sub-goal for the season. It's probably why people do watch videos of beehives on TV, lots of work and activity,most people are interested in the honey. These clowns can't even figure who should do the **** tests for the TDF. If cricket was run like this they would pick fans to call a Boxing Day test match the night before at a pub. Go the way of football,have an A div,crappiest team gets relegated.
 

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Oldman said:
Isn't that why most Yanks like college basketball better than pro ball now? Less attitude-more fun? I'd hate to ever think Avery Brundage was right about anything.

The NBA is on the upswing again (relative to itself) it was getting really marginal for a few years. But your central point is correct. It's a different game and stars in college often fail at the pro's. The college game is more team sport and pure in my opinion. NBA has more of a showboat feel.
 

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fatandfast said:
There is nothing misleading about the "numbers" it's all about TV and merchandise. Other major sports define themselves and race against,play against one another in a defined season that can be hyped,filmed and sold. ...The UCI 1st needs to list who are the pro's and who are not and then give a 30 race schedule and a crown and prize for the winner of the battery of races.F1,Nascar,NFL,NBA,BL,. They would only need minimal TV coverage and news updates as to where a rider stands in world ranking,and make the ranking worth lots of money.

Good post. It really smacks of a serious upper management problem. They don't even take themselves seriously. It's sad/laughable.

Your plan would not result in overnight success but would form a basis to build on, but what they have right now is a flaming failure. Wouldn't it be intersesting to at least assign points to sprinters and climbers that would carry forward from race to race? Something! There's no continuity.
 
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ravens said:
Good post. It really smacks of a serious upper management problem. They don't even take themselves seriously. It's sad/laughable.

Your plan would not result in overnight success but would form a basis to build on, but what they have right now is a flaming failure. Wouldn't it be intersesting to at least assign points to sprinters and climbers that would carry forward from race to race? Something! There's no continuity.

That's likely to continue as long as entrenched promoters "own" the premier events and guard them like medieval fiefdoms. Add to the mix is the various national events of pride and the pressure for teams to attend isn't necessarily businesslike. The US scene has tried again and again to promote a TV based event schedule which, as I noted before; requires more mainstream market advertisers. They get really itchy at the prospect of promoting a dirty event.
 
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fatandfast said:
There is nothing misleading about the "numbers" it's all about TV and merchandise. Other major sports define themselves and race against,play against one another in a defined season that can be hyped,filmed and sold. Look at lots of these threads, Cav not racing because of rotten teeth, Armstrong decides after publishing schedule that he wants do one race over another. The UCI 1st needs to list who are the pro's and who are not and then give a 30 race schedule and a crown and prize for the winner of the battery of races.F1,Nascar,NFL,NBA,BL,. They would only need minimal TV coverage and news updates as to where a rider stands in world ranking,and make the ranking worth lots of money. Go the way of football,have an A div,crappiest team gets relegated.

Isn't that what the pro tour tried to do?

The difference with cycling compared to the other sports mentioned is that there is one owner in those whereas in cycling, as the UCI found to it's cost, different people own different events and it is the individual events that currently have the marketability.

Golf has the order of merit and tennis the rankings but Colin Montgomery never got as much recognition because he never won a major and Andy Murray may be No4 in the tennis ranking (I think) but until he wins a major he will be considered a failure.

If there was promotion and relegation of cycling teams the pressure on riders to dope would be even greater as well.
 
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SirLes said:
Isn't that what the pro tour tried to do?

The difference with cycling compared to the other sports mentioned is that there is one owner in those whereas in cycling, as the UCI found to it's cost, different people own different events and it is the individual events that currently have the marketability.

Golf has the order of merit and tennis the rankings but Colin Montgomery never got as much recognition because he never won a major and Andy Murray may be No4 in the tennis ranking (I think) but until he wins a major he will be considered a failure.

If there was promotion and relegation of cycling teams the pressure on riders to dope would be even greater as well.

I personally agree with 99%. Cadel or Colin failures because they never won the "big one" is wrong in my eyes. Both great assets to their sports. That is kind of what the pro tour tried to do. If 10 or 15 big races can't get together to create some trophy or title or cup for a collective accomplishment that's too bad. The sport will be marginalized even further. Saul Rasin, Phinney,Stetina all need the media to stoke their popularity or cycling's fire in the US is going to go on the slow burn after the Texan and his huge back story are gone. When track events are out of the summer games the chance of creating any new big interest in US cycling will be a magical feat. Snowboarding understands that their tiny little sport with it's couple of 100 pros needs to cross dress for every occasion. American pro cycling never gets it, There are 10k's, half marathons, state fairs with big crowds that would love to look at a train wreck of a pro race. You could even have 99% of the race someplace else and tell people to look up at the Jumbotron and have the Tour of Dallas world championship do 1 lap and finish inside Cowboys stadium. More people see surfing and Xgames on TV than cycling. A story on 60 minutes about Liz Hatch or Evelyn Stevens may also help.
 
fatandfast said:
I personally agree with 99%. Cadel or Colin failures because they never won the "big one" is wrong in my eyes. Both great assets to their sports. That is kind of what the pro tour tried to do. If 10 or 15 big races can't get together to create some trophy or title or cup for a collective accomplishment that's too bad. The sport will be marginalized even further. Saul Rasin, Phinney,Stetina all need the media to stoke their popularity or cycling's fire in the US is going to go on the slow burn after the Texan and his huge back story are gone. When track events are out of the summer games the chance of creating any new big interest in US cycling will be a magical feat. Snowboarding understands that their tiny little sport with it's couple of 100 pros needs to cross dress for every occasion. American pro cycling never gets it, There are 10k's, half marathons, state fairs with big crowds that would love to look at a train wreck of a pro race. You could even have 99% of the race someplace else and tell people to look up at the Jumbotron and have the Tour of Dallas world championship do 1 lap and finish inside Cowboys stadium. More people see surfing and Xgames on TV than cycling. A story on 60 minutes about Liz Hatch or Evelyn Stevens may also help.

I agree that the future of cycling in the USA is looking very grim right now. Domestic US racing was bigger than it is now 10 years ago. Part of that probably has something to do with the economy as we were in the tech bubble back then so we had lots more marketing Dollars floating around that teams could glom onto.

But even after the Uniballer's fairy tale story Domestic USA racing has shrunk a lot since he left. I blame USA Cycling. They are just as bad as the UCI if not worse because they don't really do anything. They don't really promote and market the sport in any meaningful way.
 
usedtobefast said:
i have a belgian buddy, who despises cycling as a drug ridden, low class sport.
kind of like 'pro wrestling'. it is not an unknown attitude, he tells me.
That is a really common attitude, despite it being completely irrational. I am 99% certain, that almost all other sports, including tennis, football etc, have about as many or even more dopers than cycling has at the moment.

It is just that in cycling, there are actually people getting caught...
 
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maltiv said:
That is a really common attitude, despite it being completely irrational. I am 99% certain, that almost all other sports, including tennis, football etc, have about as many or even more dopers than cycling has at the moment.

It is just that in cycling, there are actually people getting caught...

They are not trying to catch theirs it's bad for the product. Big money sports want to handle the problem before the police do it for them. How many heads rolled after Andre Agassi's book? I came up positive and made a phone call. If cycling did their own laundry you would have a riders rep from the union talking instead of skinny jacked punks trying to get cash after the DS/consultant jobs fell through.The mafia thing only works when you kill the singing rats.Other wise it's just a tell all book every 3 or 4 years.The punishments from other sports allow the person to get beaten with dignity.It's a baby with the bathwater thing that cycling doesn't get.(wink) they can't make the punishments less severe but they wish they could.
 
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laziali said:
Well, the Sports Illustrated article puts it perfectly (yes, yes Chris E, there are a few factual confusions, but it's been over 20 years).

The eye-opening of the New World neo-pro is exactly right - experienced it personally when I arrived in Belgium to race with an amateur team a long time ago and found out the truth pretty quick.

So, there's a lesson in this for all us CN forum folk:

1. If you're a fairytale believing Lance-is-clean zealot - OPEN YOUR EYES

2. If your a cynical Lance-has-always-doped zealot - LOSE THE CYNICISM AND JUST ACCEPT THAT DOPING IS NORMAL

Either way, enough said.

Well put .
 
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maltiv said:
It is just that in cycling, there are actually people getting caught...

It seems when a cyclist gets caught there is more media coverage about it. Except to a certain extent baseball gets lots of coverage due to HR records being demolished. But other American sports like football and basketball seems to get little or no fanfare or rather outcry from fans for a cleaner sport. (Cover up?)

They almost seem protected even though we all "know" they are riddled with PED's. You get some doping stories once in a while but they quickly get brushed under the carpet and fade away after the player gets a slap on the wrist.

And on a side note, just because the PED's that the "legends" took may not have been illegal it was done to enhance their performance. So even the greats can be viewed as cheats. LA just gets a majority of the coverage about doping because he is a recent sports figure and can't shut his big pie hole. Whereas the general fan may not know much about Anquetil, Merckx, et al. Plus you watch the highlight films of those riders and they romanticise them and don't even speak of doping... Omerta? So LA, Landis and Hamilton are easy to rag on because many American's like myself were not immersed in the Classics, World's, etc. All we ever saw on ESPN was the TdF. Otherwise, cycling was a mostly Euro thing and just a passing fancy that happened once in July. In other words, we really missed out.

So yes, their is a huge clash of cultures.
 
Jun 15, 2009
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Original Q,

answer: Yes, americans behave VERY different on cheating/doping issues. I mean they still discuss if McGwire is a HOFer. Funny country ...

Now i know why Epo-Lance is still a hero there. USA citizens love cheaters and/or are blindfolded 24 hours a day.
 
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FoxxyBrown1111 said:
Original Q,

answer: Yes, americans behave VERY different on cheating/doping issues. I mean they still discuss if McGwire is a HOFer. Funny country ...

Now i know why Epo-Lance is still a hero there. USA citizens love cheaters and/or are blindfolded 24 hours a day.

Pretty much a trolling response. As an American I can't find any immediate citizens that match your characterization.
 
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on espn.com 50% trolls vote for McGwire to be a HOFer. A true doper who is still lying in his confessions ("the dope was for health only". what a mess). And he gets 50%. Wow, says alot about USA.
 
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FoxxyBrown1111 said:
on espn.com 50% trolls vote for McGwire to be a HOFer. A true doper who is still lying in his confessions ("the dope was for health only". what a mess). And he gets 50%. Wow, says alot about USA.
No it doesn't. It says something about the constiuency of espn.com. That is the website for fantasy league followers.
If I were to get a response soleyfrom Dresden residents about complicity in Nazi activities what percentage do you think would admit that? Would that say alot about all Germans?
 
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actually i am born in dresden, but left in 1986. Anway, not much would vote for nazis there. Not even close to 10%...

Back to the topic:
Even sportswriters who are allowed to vote for the HOF are pro McGwire. A-Rod gets a big contract, Bonds is still in the record books, the NFL is employing cheaters like Beli-Cheat etc. etc.

AND NO ONE CARES. It´s like a big Kindergarten over there. Sorry, but the truth hurts.
 
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FoxxyBrown1111 said:
actually i am born in dresden, but left in 1986. Anway, not much would vote for nazis there. Not even close to 10%...

Back to the topic:
Even sportswriters who are allowed to vote for the HOF are pro McGwire. A-Rod gets a big contract, Bonds is still in the record books, the NFL is employing cheaters like Beli-Cheat etc. etc.

AND NO ONE CARES. It´s like a big Kindergarten over there. Sorry, but the truth hurts.

Learn to read. I said admit complicity...
My point is that you characterize a nation on the response of fans of a specific site.
As for the sportswriters and the inequity of baseball contracts you will get no argument from me.
They don't represent the attitude of America any more than your suggestion our nation is a Kindergarten is intelligent. While the media plays to the wishes of sponsors and their investment in the highly paid heroes; Tiger Woods would say you're wrong. Americans don't tolerate anything of sports heroes. Except possibly Posh's unbelievably enhanced lips.
 

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