If you were handing out Pro Tour Licenses

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Jan 11, 2010
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Arnout said:
It seems every rider with a bit of talents in the "new" countries get a place in a PT team because talent is so scarce, resulting in many teams that participate, but don't add anything. They only add anything because they, there you have it, also have Italians, Belgians, Spanish riders in their teams.
I'd argue that the level of the average American/Aussie pro is higher than the average Spanish/Italian/French pro, so which riders/teams are you talking about?
 
Nov 17, 2009
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This will probably **** a lot of people off...

But there should only be one factor. How much money is spent on riders.



The point of a governing body for cycling is to "grow the sport". All of the stuff about competition and fair play and keeping out doping is merely the means to that end.

The things that make cycling grow are all related to sponsors. How much money do sponsors pay the teams? How much money do sponsors pay the races. That is the only way actual income comes in.

So if that's your source of income... and your goal is to increase that income... then you should reward teams that actually attract sponsors that bring in more income.

For the UCI, if you have an existing pro-tour team who pays a million euros a year in salaries... and a new team comes in who is willing to pay 10 million euros a year in rider salaries if they are in the pro tour... YOU WANT THEM IN THE PRO TOUR. Kick out the 1 million a year guy if that's what it takes. You can't ignore growth in favor of fairness or tradition.
 
kurtinsc said:
This will probably **** a lot of people off...

But there should only be one factor. How much money is spent on riders.



The point of a governing body for cycling is to "grow the sport". All of the stuff about competition and fair play and keeping out doping is merely the means to that end.

The things that make cycling grow are all related to sponsors. How much money do sponsors pay the teams? How much money do sponsors pay the races. That is the only way actual income comes in.

So if that's your source of income... and your goal is to increase that income... then you should reward teams that actually attract sponsors that bring in more income.

For the UCI, if you have an existing pro-tour team who pays a million euros a year in salaries... and a new team comes in who is willing to pay 10 million euros a year in rider salaries if they are in the pro tour... YOU WANT THEM IN THE PRO TOUR. Kick out the 1 million a year guy if that's what it takes. You can't ignore growth in favor of fairness or tradition.
Really? Do we want that? If that will be the future of cycling, I am out. How can quick money ever exchange for history and tradition? If you want to kill of cycling, do it this way. Doping is peanuts compared to this attitude.

And what if next year a sponsor wants to pay 15 million? Kick the 10 million sponsor out? Nice, that 10 million sponsor will figure that out before and not join in the first place. Hey, that way it becomes a battle for money and a toy for rich multinationals instead of a way for companies that really are involved in cycling long term, like we see now with several sponsors. Do we really want Red Bull instead of Lotto, do we want Gazprom instead of Euskaltel? Why? Riders won't ride any faster uphill (not taking into account the extra money for doping research). And do you think it will attract more and better riders? Don't think so. You need passion and love for cycling, because you'll have to train every day and suffer every race. Your ability to suffer doesn't increase with money (at least not in the medium or long term).

Of course money is an important determinant, because teams with more money will be able to attract the better riders. That's why you generally see the teams with money in the ProTour. But come on, this proposal is ridiculous.
 
theyoungest said:
I'd argue that the level of the average American/Aussie pro is higher than the average Spanish/Italian/French pro, so which riders/teams are you talking about?
At the moment, possibly (though I don't see it to be honest and my thoughts are confirmed by the CQRanking). Only the Aussies are doing really good at the moment with a relatively solid field of riders.

Coincidentally, they are also the only new country that doesn't scream that they know better this and that they developed new techniques that. Come on, we've been in the sport for 100 years. Sometimes a new perspective is a good thing, but don't expect that you can overrun 100 years of experience with some money.

But the Aussies too with the Pegasus project are overestimating themselves. Why not make a good ProContinental team that can be a step up for the best riders in a strong domestic circuit? These ProConti guys can do smaller races, score a wildcard here and there and learn. But throwing a bunch of talents in a new ProTour team is not the way to go. ProTour is supposed to be the platform where the best riders race and compete and is not supposed to be some high level training ground.

ingsve said:
Well, I guess we have a fundamental difference of opinion. I have a deep dislike for right wing xenophobia and that's almost what this reminds me of.

I think we just have to agree to disagree.
Nothing to do with right wing. All races are in Europe, all teams were based in Europe. Now, its great when you come and join us, but please behave if you do. The way they are behaving now is beyond proportions, making their own rules and shouting that they know better. Sounds like a spoiled boy who wants to have it all. And sorry, that's not possible, as the new countries are still... new.
 
Jan 11, 2010
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Arnout said:
At the moment, possibly (though I don't see it to be honest and my thoughts are confirmed by the CQRanking). Only the Aussies are doing really good at the moment with a relatively solid field of riders.
If you look at the CQranking by nation, of course Spain is rated higher, because the best ten riders per country are used for that ranking. But on average I'm not so sure, because no matter what you say, the chances for a below-average Spanish rider to get a pro contract are still bigger than those for his American equivalent in mediocrity.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Arnout said:
Really? Do we want that? If that will be the future of cycling, I am out. How can quick money ever exchange for history and tradition? If you want to kill of cycling, do it this way. Doping is peanuts compared to this attitude.

And what if next year a sponsor wants to pay 15 million? Kick the 10 million sponsor out? Nice, that 10 million sponsor will figure that out before and not join in the first place. Hey, that way it becomes a battle for money and a toy for rich multinationals instead of a way for companies that really are involved in cycling long term, like we see now with several sponsors. Do we really want Red Bull instead of Lotto, do we want Gazprom instead of Euskaltel? Why? Riders won't ride any faster uphill (not taking into account the extra money for doping research). And do you think it will attract more and better riders? Don't think so. You need passion and love for cycling, because you'll have to train every day and suffer every race. Your ability to suffer doesn't increase with money (at least not in the medium or long term).

Of course money is an important determinant, because teams with more money will be able to attract the better riders. That's why you generally see the teams with money in the ProTour. But come on, this proposal is ridiculous.
You kick out the low man on the totem pole.

Or if you prefer, you just use that on teams seeking new pro-tour licenses. A team getting a 3 year license will have it for 3 years... but when it runs out if there are 5 open slots they need to have one of the 5 highest payrolls.

I think you'd find sponsors would actually PREFER this. Right now most have no idea what will ensure they keep a pro-tour slot. It's completely unpredictable. Basing it on pure dollars will allow them to predict it much easier then basing it off results on the bike.

I think the unpredictability of race invitations is one of the biggest DETRIMENTS to attracting more sponsorships. I think you'd find many more sponsors willing to throw big dollars at cycling teams if they could know with 100% certainty that their logo would end up at the races that are most visible in the areas they are trying to operate in. A US sponsor who knows they'll get their logo shown at the Tour is much more likely to invest in a sponsorship then one who is only hoping for a Tour invite, regardless of the cost. Ideally for the sport, all the races would need to be controlled by a single central organization as well... but that obviously won't happen.
 
kurtinsc said:
You kick out the low man on the totem pole.

Or if you prefer, you just use that on teams seeking new pro-tour licenses. A team getting a 3 year license will have it for 3 years... but when it runs out if there are 5 open slots they need to have one of the 5 highest payrolls.

I think you'd find sponsors would actually PREFER this. Right now most have no idea what will ensure they keep a pro-tour slot. It's completely unpredictable. Basing it on pure dollars will allow them to predict it much easier then basing it off results on the bike.

I think the unpredictability of race invitations is one of the biggest DETRIMENTS to attracting more sponsorships. I think you'd find many more sponsors willing to throw big dollars at cycling teams if they could know with 100% certainty that their logo would end up at the races that are most visible in the areas they are trying to operate in. A US sponsor who knows they'll get their logo shown at the Tour is much more likely to invest in a sponsorship then one who is only hoping for a Tour invite, regardless of the cost. Ideally for the sport, all the races would need to be controlled by a single central organization as well... but that obviously won't happen.
Once again, money shouldn't determine an invitation. It is sport, not a game of who gets the best sponsor.

Your reasoning is not watertight either. When a sponsor has a certain amount of cash to spend, but knows they can be thrown out of the races any minute by a bigger company, why invest in the first place? You'll create an enormous discrepancy between the big teams with lots of money and a sponsor able to back them whatever the amount (within limit) and smaller, possibly more involved sponsors (after all, if your only goal is to get some exposure in le Tour and you don't give a toss about the rest, how good is that for cycling?) that will have no incentive to stay anymore or to guide cyclists into the peloton.

And seeing the trend of the recent new teams, they don't care about youth teams the way older teams do. The philosophy (and I don't regard Garmin as a new team, they're pretty well established) of the big money teams is to throw in some money, buy some big riders to get invites and then back out after a few years. Cervelo is the first example. How is that good for cycling?

The criterium should not be money, but involvement. Short term money is fun, but eventually doing things gradually will pay off (look at the banking crisis for a worked example).
 
If we hold up the examples of the biggest sports, and see how they do it, we should be wary of the pitfalls of globalisation.

Soccer: big money has come in, and now the Champions' League is the most hateful tournament in the world, a prissy old boys' club where the same teams compete every year, because they've got more money than anyone else. All the while second and third division teams go out of business because they can't operate at a loss like the moneyed teams. I remember the days when Barcelona or Manchester United would fear an away tie at IFK Gothenburg. Not any more.

NFL: Amount of money has spiralled beyond the ludicrous. Salary caps have had to be brought in, limiting teams from just buying up the top talent.

F1: The big manufacturer's era has led to budgets spiralling out of control. Historic and traditional teams like Lotus, Brabham and Minardi have gone to the wall, and budget restricting measures are being phased in to prevent similar happening to the likes of Williams and Sauber.

If you are American, and your teams stand to benefit from making money the only criterion, then of course you think money should be the most important factor. Pat McQuaid applauds your capitalistic heart. But in Europe, we believe in social democracy. Europe is the home of cycling. Always has been, and always will be. It's where all the big races are, and where everybody wants to race because it's where they saw their heroes race.

You can throw in all the budget you like, but if you have no soul, the fans won't care. Look at how the fans have turned on Sky, and Radioshack. They've divided audiences. The casual fan they've brought in is transient; their interest will wane when Lance retires, when Bradley retires, when somebody starts to outpace Cav. The hardcore fans, they're divided on teams like that. Some are in favour, some are against. Plucky underdog teams who bring excitement to races have a certain joie de vivre that, no matter what, the big teams lack. I liked Tinkoff more than Katyusha. I like Vacansoleil more than Rabobank. I like ISD more than Liquigas. I like the French teams. These are the teams that make cycling what it is. Not the big HTCs and Garmins of the world; if they had their way every single stage would be a bunch sprint.

What's more, absolutely because they are the traditional homes of cycling, places like France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy... they have more of those hardcore fans, who'll still be watching in ten years when Cav's being outpaced by some brand new thing, Lance is but a memory, and Tejay van Garderen has either done a Danielson or brought a new generation of squealing US kids to the sport who'll forget it even exists the second they cross the line on the Champs Elysées. That's why they can sustain successful national calendars - because more fans will line the roadside to see the riders there. The budget isn't extreme, by any stretch of the imagination, but it brings the sport to the people who care about it. And as we learnt from the Tour of California, you can throw money at a problem but you can't make the people - or the riders - care. I'd be very surprised if there weren't as many people on the side of the Alto del Acebo, watching the Vuelta a Asturias in the wilderness outside Cangas de Narcea, as there were on the climb to Big Bear.

On another thread, I suggested that the Tour of California's biggest failing was that it didn't try to create its own identity, rather it tried to ape another race (the Tour de France) and transplant that into America. I suggested that races with history have developed something unique about themselves that makes them appealing. Now the Tour is noticeably less French than the Giro is Italian, or the Vuelta is Spanish, but it has something unique about it. The regionalism and the small teams often give the races that character, that level of interest. I suggested that because of this, the Tour of California should perhaps try to make itself more attractive by providing something uniquely American, making it different from every other race on the calendar.

Perhaps thinking that throwing money out there regardless of the parcours and shouting loud about its own importance would solve all of its problems was that uniquely American factor it was bringing to the table.

Now I know that not all Americans are like that, and we have plenty on this forum who are eminently sensible and would be upset by me making a slightly xenophobic joke like that. But a sport that wilfully bites the hand that feeds, as a plan like the one to make budget the sole defining characteristic undoubtedly is (at what point do you think the ASO, RCS, Unipublic and all the big organisers get upset? When there are 0 Belgian teams in the Ronde van Vlaanderen? When the only Italian teams in the Giro are there on wildcards?), is not something that I or in fact anybody else - even those advocating it - can honestly support. At best, it brings about another UCI/ASO turf war, and at worst it destroys the entire sport.

If budget was the defining factor in the ProTour, then you can bet your bottom dollar (that dollar which is so important to you) that all the big events will drop any agreement on inviting PT teams, and it'll be like 2007-8 all over again, only with about 10 different Unibets.
 
jaylew said:
Agreed. A rather ugly post, imo.
Read my reply, I explained it.

Come on, how can not inviting foreign teams be right wing? It is not inviting foreign teams that I don't like because of their behavior. When I am invited to a party, I am grateful and I don't come in shouting that the party can be better this and that I demand an invitation to the next party that. That will follow when I behave nicely.
 
Arnout said:
Read my reply, I explained it.

Come on, how can not inviting foreign teams be right wing? It is not inviting foreign teams that I don't like because of their behavior. When I am invited to a party, I am grateful and I don't come in shouting that the party can be better this and that I demand an invitation to the next party that. That will follow when I behave nicely.
Yes, when you explained it I could relate to it better. Your problem isn't really with foreign riders but rather with the attitude of some of the new teams that have been started in the last few years.

I'm not necessarily in favor of every nation having their own PT team. All I've said is that I want to make it easier for riders who don't have their own "national" PT team to get a fair chance of getting a contract.

As for the right wing comment. If the motivation behind not inviting foreign teams is nationalism and xenophobia then it would be right wing but that does not seem to be your motivation so it's irrelevant to this discussion.
 
ingsve said:
I'm not necessarily in favor of every nation having their own PT team. All I've said is that I want to make it easier for riders who don't have their own "national" PT team to get a fair chance of getting a contract.
That's what the new nations should achieve by designing a decent national circuit. What you see in Spain, Italy etcetera is that there are many youth races and that the best riders are selected to ride for teams like Orbea, Andalucia and Colnago. Only when they show good results and good progress there is a chance they get a contract with a ProTour team. I mean, a guy like Mikel Nieve, winner of the queen stage of the Vuelta this year, was still riding with Orbea when he was 24. Its not that easy to get a contract, its just that there are more riders.

Once again, you cannot create a ProTourteam because you wanna give some youngsters a chance. When youngsters emerge and show talent and progress, a ProTourteam is a possibility (although they will be picked up by other teams as well, which will again be easier with a good domestic calender), not the other way around. Establish a base for cycling to feed ProTourteams, that's the correct way. Only then cycling in a new country is sustainable.

I mean, look at Germany. 10 years ago they were booming, with Zabel, Ullrich, Kessler, Klöden, you name them. There wasn't a decent base though, and now all they have is an (exceptional) talent in Tony Martin and some decent riders, while the home teams are all gone. That's what I expect to happen in new countries as well when they continue with only pouring money in on ProTour level by attracting some big guns.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Libertine Seguros said:
If we hold up the examples of the biggest sports, and see how they do it, we should be wary of the pitfalls of globalisation.

Soccer: big money has come in, and now the Champions' League is the most hateful tournament in the world, a prissy old boys' club where the same teams compete every year, because they've got more money than anyone else. All the while second and third division teams go out of business because they can't operate at a loss like the moneyed teams. I remember the days when Barcelona or Manchester United would fear an away tie at IFK Gothenburg. Not any more.

NFL: Amount of money has spiralled beyond the ludicrous. Salary caps have had to be brought in, limiting teams from just buying up the top talent.

F1: The big manufacturer's era has led to budgets spiralling out of control. Historic and traditional teams like Lotus, Brabham and Minardi have gone to the wall, and budget restricting measures are being phased in to prevent similar happening to the likes of Williams and Sauber.

If you are American, and your teams stand to benefit from making money the only criterion, then of course you think money should be the most important factor. Pat McQuaid applauds your capitalistic heart. But in Europe, we believe in social democracy. Europe is the home of cycling. Always has been, and always will be. It's where all the big races are, and where everybody wants to race because it's where they saw their heroes race.

You can throw in all the budget you like, but if you have no soul, the fans won't care. Look at how the fans have turned on Sky, and Radioshack. They've divided audiences. The casual fan they've brought in is transient; their interest will wane when Lance retires, when Bradley retires, when somebody starts to outpace Cav. The hardcore fans, they're divided on teams like that. Some are in favour, some are against. Plucky underdog teams who bring excitement to races have a certain joie de vivre that, no matter what, the big teams lack. I liked Tinkoff more than Katyusha. I like Vacansoleil more than Rabobank. I like ISD more than Liquigas. I like the French teams. These are the teams that make cycling what it is. Not the big HTCs and Garmins of the world; if they had their way every single stage would be a bunch sprint.

What's more, absolutely because they are the traditional homes of cycling, places like France, Belgium, Spain, the Netherlands, Italy... they have more of those hardcore fans, who'll still be watching in ten years when Cav's being outpaced by some brand new thing, Lance is but a memory, and Tejay van Garderen has either done a Danielson or brought a new generation of squealing US kids to the sport who'll forget it even exists the second they cross the line on the Champs Elysées. That's why they can sustain successful national calendars - because more fans will line the roadside to see the riders there. The budget isn't extreme, by any stretch of the imagination, but it brings the sport to the people who care about it. And as we learnt from the Tour of California, you can throw money at a problem but you can't make the people - or the riders - care. I'd be very surprised if there weren't as many people on the side of the Alto del Acebo, watching the Vuelta a Asturias in the wilderness outside Cangas de Narcea, as there were on the climb to Big Bear.

On another thread, I suggested that the Tour of California's biggest failing was that it didn't try to create its own identity, rather it tried to ape another race (the Tour de France) and transplant that into America. I suggested that races with history have developed something unique about themselves that makes them appealing. Now the Tour is noticeably less French than the Giro is Italian, or the Vuelta is Spanish, but it has something unique about it. The regionalism and the small teams often give the races that character, that level of interest. I suggested that because of this, the Tour of California should perhaps try to make itself more attractive by providing something uniquely American, making it different from every other race on the calendar.

Perhaps thinking that throwing money out there regardless of the parcours and shouting loud about its own importance would solve all of its problems was that uniquely American factor it was bringing to the table.

Now I know that not all Americans are like that, and we have plenty on this forum who are eminently sensible and would be upset by me making a slightly xenophobic joke like that. But a sport that wilfully bites the hand that feeds, as a plan like the one to make budget the sole defining characteristic undoubtedly is (at what point do you think the ASO, RCS, Unipublic and all the big organisers get upset? When there are 0 Belgian teams in the Ronde van Vlaanderen? When the only Italian teams in the Giro are there on wildcards?), is not something that I or in fact anybody else - even those advocating it - can honestly support. At best, it brings about another UCI/ASO turf war, and at worst it destroys the entire sport.

If budget was the defining factor in the ProTour, then you can bet your bottom dollar (that dollar which is so important to you) that all the big events will drop any agreement on inviting PT teams, and it'll be like 2007-8 all over again, only with about 10 different Unibets.
Your argument suggests that there shouldn't be a pro tour.

Either we have the UCI organizing a bike racing "league" of some kind, who's goal is to promote the sport... or we don't.

You measure successful promotion in any industry by dollars. If that is the goal of the UCI (and their constitution suggest that it most definitely is), then money IS the primary thing they should be looking at. Their decisions should be based on asking "How does this improve the longterm financial success of the sport of cycling?"

What you seem to be advocating is that they shouldn't be involved at all... just have individual teams and individual races inviting what teams they want. The UCI can issue suspensions and put on the world championships... but none of the classification of races in different levels or classification of teams in different levels should exist.
 
kurtinsc said:
Your argument suggests that there shouldn't be a pro tour.

Either we have the UCI organizing a bike racing "league" of some kind, who's goal is to promote the sport... or we don't.

You measure successful promotion in any industry by dollars. If that is the goal of the UCI (and their constitution suggest that it most definitely is), then money IS the primary thing they should be looking at. Their decisions should be based on asking "How does this improve the longterm financial success of the sport of cycling?"

What you seem to be advocating is that they shouldn't be involved at all... just have individual teams and individual races inviting what teams they want. The UCI can issue suspensions and put on the world championships... but none of the classification of races in different levels or classification of teams in different levels should exist.
More money doesn't mean long term, that's the whole point. My belief is that more money will destroy cycling, and I explained why (and LS did it as well, only better).

I mean, a team like Euskaltel is around for ages (16 years to be precise). Still, its a small sponsor (5 million as opposed to the 15 million giants which seems to be the norm these days). Does that mean they're not long term? History has proven otherwise. And you cannot say they would've done better with more money.
 
Jul 29, 2009
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imo the Pro Tour must be seen as a meritocracy.

It should be global as if you are trying to provide a platform to the best riders then the wider the talent pool the better the quality. It also increases the number and size of potential sponsors and so securing the future of the sport as well as benefitting the current riders as they should be able to command higher salaries and have greater job security.

So I would first look at financial security: are the main sponsors solvent!, how much are they putting into the sport and for how long.

Second is the quality of their squad and here I would only be interested in year round racing teams with strength in depth. One or two big names are not enough.

Finally, but still vital, would be image. A team with a doping connotations has to be a no no if you're trying to build the sport.

As for composition of the team It wouldn't be a factor unless I was having to choose between two equal teams based on the earlier criteria when i might base the final decision on how many other teams there were from that country.

Wild cards can be used to invite the smaller "local" teams or the teams with a particular specialist for that event.

If I were a DS I would want to have a team with an international flavour on the basis that I could then attract a wider range of sponsors and a wider fan base.

The idea of going back to small European teams just goes against my idea of what true competitive sport is about. By limiting the potential talent pool you are reducing the value of a victory. If someone has the talent and dedication to succeed they should have the chance. A "closed shop" of nations is anti competitive. One should welcome competition from all corners.

The comment about Football/soccer is interesting. The Champions league may be dominated by a smaller number of teams BUT a much wider group of players! It matters far less where you come from. Talent and dedication are what matters. A fact that appears lost on many English players!
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Arnout said:
More money doesn't mean long term, that's the whole point. My belief is that more money will destroy cycling, and I explained why (and LS did it as well, only better).

I mean, a team like Euskaltel is around for ages (16 years to be precise). Still, its a small sponsor (5 million as opposed to the 15 million giants which seems to be the norm these days). Does that mean they're not long term? History has proven otherwise. And you cannot say they would've done better with more money.
But the point of the UCI having a "pro tour" is to increase money. It's a promotional tool where by attempting to make sure the "top" teams get into the bigger races, they can get those teams more sponsorship money.

Obviously the ASO and other GT organizers aren't fully playing along... but that's the only reason the Pro-Tour is there. To increase money coming in to cycling.

They should be taking a long term approach obviously... a team offering 10 million for 1 year may not be better then one offering 7 million for 5-6 years. But the fact of the matter is that if you have a team with a sponsor willing to make a 3-5 year commitment for 15 million a year in salaries, they should get precedence over one who's making a 3-5 year commitment for 5 million a year.

I think it comes down to choosing one of two ways. Either it's about the money, or it's not.

If it's not... the UCI really has no business messing around with different levels of races or race teams... all of that is in place for financial reasons and to increase sponsorship.
 
SirLes said:
imo the Pro Tour must be seen as a meritocracy.

It should be global as if you are trying to provide a platform to the best riders then the wider the talent pool the better the quality. It also increases the number and size of potential sponsors and so securing the future of the sport as well as benefitting the current riders as they should be able to command higher salaries and have greater job security.

So I would first look at financial security: are the main sponsors solvent!, how much are they putting into the sport and for how long.

Second is the quality of their squad and here I would only be interested in year round racing teams with strength in depth. One or two big names are not enough.

Finally, but still vital, would be image. A team with a doping connotations has to be a no no if you're trying to build the sport.

As for composition of the team It wouldn't be a factor unless I was having to choose between two equal teams based on the earlier criteria when i might base the final decision on how many other teams there were from that country.

Wild cards can be used to invite the smaller "local" teams or the teams with a particular specialist for that event.

If I were a DS I would want to have a team with an international flavour on the basis that I could then attract a wider range of sponsors and a wider fan base.

The idea of going back to small European teams just goes against my idea of what true competitive sport is about. By limiting the potential talent pool you are reducing the value of a victory. If someone has the talent and dedication to succeed they should have the chance. A "closed shop" of nations is anti competitive. One should welcome competition from all corners.

The comment about Football/soccer is interesting. The Champions league may be dominated by a smaller number of teams BUT a much wider group of players! It matters far less where you come from. Talent and dedication are what matters. A fact that appears lost on many English players!
We're afraid of the CL effect. That's the whole point. What happened to the English players is a continuous stream of money, thus forgetting about the old players and about own youth, because it was not deemed necessary anymore. Its exactly what's happening in cycling, though to a lesser extent. New teams entering the market, buying riders while forgetting about youth development, coming in place of traditional European teams who care about youth development (look at Bouygues, they will stop and together with Bouygues their youth team, Vendee U. That's sad, and that's exactly what I'm afraid for. Look at the Spanish teams, they're in difficulties. Still, they are determined to stay alive and even start new programs, Movistar now in South America. That's another difference. Cervelo didn't like their toy anymore because it was too expensive and they couldn't give a toss anymore, leaving all the riders and staff behind. You won't see that happening with old teams, partly because of the structure (DS is often not assigned by the sponsor) but also because they care.

So what's happening is big money coming in, destroying to an extent the old teams and then they pull out again because they in fact can't give a damn about cycling. Result is that all structure is gone.

And of course new riders are welcome. I mean, a certain Texan (don't like him) won the Tour 7 times, a certain Mark (I do like him) is the best sprinter of the world. Of course they're welcome. But that doesn't mean that more money or more globalization is always welcome.
 
kurtinsc said:
But the point of the UCI having a "pro tour" is to increase money. It's a promotional tool where by attempting to make sure the "top" teams get into the bigger races, they can get those teams more sponsorship money.

Obviously the ASO and other GT organizers aren't fully playing along... but that's the only reason the Pro-Tour is there. To increase money coming in to cycling.

They should be taking a long term approach obviously... a team offering 10 million for 1 year may not be better then one offering 7 million for 5-6 years. But the fact of the matter is that if you have a team with a sponsor willing to make a 3-5 year commitment for 15 million a year in salaries, they should get precedence over one who's making a 3-5 year commitment for 5 million a year.

I think it comes down to choosing one of two ways. Either it's about the money, or it's not.

If it's not... the UCI really has no business messing around with different levels of races or race teams... all of that is in place for financial reasons and to increase sponsorship.
Well, that's the reason I don't like the UCI.

But in fact I see the ProTour as a platform where the best riders are guaranteed of a starting spot and the sponsors know their money will be visible in big races. It is the quality of the team that defines the right to participate in the big races and not the amount of money. Often they come together, but not always. I mean, I rather see Cofidis in the Vuelta than RadioShack, despite the money.
 
Nov 17, 2009
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Arnout said:
Well, that's the reason I don't like the UCI.

But in fact I see the ProTour as a platform where the best riders are guaranteed of a starting spot and the sponsors know their money will be visible in big races. It is the quality of the team that defines the right to participate in the big races and not the amount of money. Often they come together, but not always. I mean, I rather see Cofidis in the Vuelta than RadioShack, despite the money.
I simply don't think this works in a sponsor driven sport.

This isn't a franchise based league like the NFL or MLB. In those cases, I would agree that it's all about merit.

Cycling is based on sponsors. Sponsors want visibility in particular races (it really depends based on the sponsor). The more certainty you give them about what races their riders will appear in, the more money they'll be willing to commit. It comes down to advertising for them remember.

If you want to develop long term sponsors... they need long term commitments about what their advertising dollars will bring. The more risk involved... the less money they'll invest. It's not really about the sport... it's about the business side.


And I think your Cofidis/Radioshack example for the Vuelta is flawed. I know many don't like Radioshack, but I'm not aware of any performance based ranking that shows Cofidis ahead of Radioshack. Using Sky and Vacansoleil might work better. For the most part it seems that the more money a team has for rider salaries, the better their results. It's not 100% true... but in general it seems to be.
 
kurtinsc said:
I simply don't think this works in a sponsor driven sport.

This isn't a franchise based league like the NFL or MLB. In those cases, I would agree that it's all about merit.

Cycling is based on sponsors. Sponsors want visibility in particular races (it really depends based on the sponsor). The more certainty you give them about what races their riders will appear in, the more money they'll be willing to commit. It comes down to advertising for them remember.

If you want to develop long term sponsors... they need long term commitments about what their advertising dollars will bring. The more risk involved... the less money they'll invest. It's not really about the sport... it's about the business side.


And I think your Cofidis/Radioshack example for the Vuelta is flawed. I know many don't like Radioshack, but I'm not aware of any performance based ranking that shows Cofidis ahead of Radioshack. Using Sky and Vacansoleil might work better. For the most part it seems that the more money a team has for rider salaries, the better their results. It's not 100% true... but in general it seems to be.
Like I said, performance is good, but not all that matters. Respecting the way cycling is in continental Europe belongs to this. Now, this may be an entirely subjective view, I concede, but that's the way I (and lots of people with me) think.

Once again, we managed 100 years without the big money. I think there's no reason why we can't for the next 2 (after all we're all dead in two years anyway ;) ).

And why is money a good indicator? I mean, we all know Britain and especially the USA have way more rich firms queuing to invest in whatever sport, but we lack those funds in continental Europe (also because we have to rule out Germany, the only country able to compete). Money should thus never be a key indicator, because it will create bias (no, I am no communist. Actually, I am quite liberal).

About doping being important for ProTourplaces: Why? After all we've been through the last 15 years viewing figures are sky rocketing. People just don't care. Of course, as long as doping is forbidden it should be taken into account, but it is not as important as one may think.

To be short, I want cycling the way it is/was, the way I enjoyed it. Races are increasingly boring and that's because of the stakes involved. Look at the Tour as opposed to other races. Noone dares to attack because of the risk to fail.

More money is not always better.

I think I said all I wanted to say. Unless new points pop up, I will keep my mouth shut for a while in this topic :)
 
old timers should always have priority over those 2 years big money investments.

i can't see the peloton without teams like lampre(older team in current peloton? with the same name ofc) rabobank, euskaltel, lotto, quick-step and others.

teams like failshack, cervelo and many others should stay and procontinental and if they do have good cyclists just be invited.

but lets face it. . . don't the most of riders prefer to be on a team that can offer them a garantee of a contract next year? thats why old timers still have the best riders.
 
Jul 29, 2009
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Arnout said:
We're afraid of the CL effect. That's the whole point. What happened to the English players is a continuous stream of money, thus forgetting about the old players and about own youth, because it was not deemed necessary anymore. Its exactly what's happening in cycling, though to a lesser extent. New teams entering the market, buying riders while forgetting about youth development, coming in place of traditional European teams who care about youth development (look at Bouygues, they will stop and together with Bouygues their youth team, Vendee U. That's sad, and that's exactly what I'm afraid for. Look at the Spanish teams, they're in difficulties. Still, they are determined to stay alive and even start new programs, Movistar now in South America. That's another difference. Cervelo didn't like their toy anymore because it was too expensive and they couldn't give a toss anymore, leaving all the riders and staff behind. You won't see that happening with old teams, partly because of the structure (DS is often not assigned by the sponsor) but also because they care.

So what's happening is big money coming in, destroying to an extent the old teams and then they pull out again because they in fact can't give a damn about cycling. Result is that all structure is gone.

And of course new riders are welcome. I mean, a certain Texan (don't like him) won the Tour 7 times, a certain Mark (I do like him) is the best sprinter of the world. Of course they're welcome. But that doesn't mean that more money or more globalization is always welcome.
Smaller budget teams should still be able to flourish and I would never suggest the removal of the wild card system but if a big company wants to put in a lot of money into the sport it is fair enough that they should be able to get some guarantees regarding publicity. Likewise a smaller low budget team with a regional or national sponsor does not want or need to be saddled with the responsibility of having to take part in races 1000s of miles from their home territory. Indeed that could cause them to pull out as they wouldn't be able to afford it anyway.

Youth development is certainly an interesting criteria but if standards increase (like football) the youth with the necessary talent will be spread over a wider number of countries. It is unrealistic to expect there to be that many naturally talented individuals to come from just one area or country. I don't think that football teams have abandoned youth development it's just that only a tiny percentage actually have the necessary talent when in competition with the millions of potential players around the world.

Part of the reason for the debate is that many fans don't agree with some of the choices made by the UCI regarding who gets Pro tour licenses.

I suppose the next question becomes "Which of the current teams would you give licenses to if the choice was yours?"
 
Arnout said:
That's what the new nations should achieve by designing a decent national circuit. What you see in Spain, Italy etcetera is that there are many youth races and that the best riders are selected to ride for teams like Orbea, Andalucia and Colnago. Only when they show good results and good progress there is a chance they get a contract with a ProTour team. I mean, a guy like Mikel Nieve, winner of the queen stage of the Vuelta this year, was still riding with Orbea when he was 24. Its not that easy to get a contract, its just that there are more riders.

Once again, you cannot create a ProTourteam because you wanna give some youngsters a chance. When youngsters emerge and show talent and progress, a ProTourteam is a possibility (although they will be picked up by other teams as well, which will again be easier with a good domestic calender), not the other way around. Establish a base for cycling to feed ProTourteams, that's the correct way. Only then cycling in a new country is sustainable.

I mean, look at Germany. 10 years ago they were booming, with Zabel, Ullrich, Kessler, Klöden, you name them. There wasn't a decent base though, and now all they have is an (exceptional) talent in Tony Martin and some decent riders, while the home teams are all gone. That's what I expect to happen in new countries as well when they continue with only pouring money in on ProTour level by attracting some big guns.
I'm all in favor of nations developing strong national circuits but there are problems with that approach as well. First of all not all countries have the rider base to make a decent national circuit. That's why for these countries it's important for their riders to have a chance of getting seen so that interest in cycling is sparked in the country. Only then will more kids start riding and a good base can be formed. Then it's up to the national federations to support their domestic races so that they can take advantage of the increased interest in cycling. I'm not sure what happened in Germany but I can imagine that the reaction to all the doping with sponsors dropping out and the main TV channels losing interest had a lot to do with the fact that they lost a lot of ground that they had built up in the 90s.

I'm not saying that PT teams should lower their standards to force more nationalities into the teams. I just want a tiny nudge to help nations that don't already have a good solid program to get started a little better by getting some decent riders into better races. This doesn't also have to apply specifically to the PT. Even getting more nationalities into the top continental teams and eventually into the pro conti teams would help here. Even nations that has a working national calender has problems getting riders into teams riding international 2.2 races.
 
ingsve said:
Even nations that has a working national calender has problems getting riders into teams riding international 2.2 races.
Which?

Once again (sorry to start again), you can't start with a PT team. I understand the argument that you need a star to have publicity. Doubt the interest in cycling is sustainable that way (what if he is caught, what if he stops?), but yes, it certainly works that way.

But then there are many existing teams that will give a good rider a chance (think of Rabobank, Garmin, HTC to an extent, Liquigas and Katusha for Eastern Europe, Movistar now for South America). That's the correct way. But spawning a cycling team and fill it up with foreign stars and the occasional talent, no, don't like that.
 

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