Yes Hitch, I think we know you despise the British, you don't have to keep telling us in every other post
For the record I am British (its one of my nationalities anyway).
Its just unlike you I don't believe people from any country are superior or inferior to people from another country.
Nationality means nothing.
And in the same spirit, I think the British people know little about cycling, not because I hate them (if i did hate british people and myself, why would it manifest itself in something so trivial) but because of the very small role cycling has in the sporting culture and especially in the sporting media.
To be fair hitch I think the British cycling fans are starting to get into it a little more.
Quintana has been given a great reception by the crowds so far in this Tour. I suppose the casual cycling fan will always stick to the stereotypical British patriotism and root only for British riders. However most new cycling fans who are becoming passionate about the sport have much more knowledge than you give them credit for.[/QUOTE]
I was on Box Hill at the olympics.
To get there one needed to wake up early on a weekday months earlier to buy tickets (long before wiggins won the tdf, and cycling got mentioned in the news), in the few minutes available before they sold out, pay the 30 squid, then wake up at 3 am or some such on the Friday to get to the middle of nowhere by 8.30 then wait 2 hours for the peloton to arrive, watch them go past 8 times, then another god knows how many hours home.
In short far more dedication and determination, and interest, than is required to get to a tour of Britain stage. Also it required people to have some interest in cycling before July 2012.
Yet everyone was absolutely cluelless. I spent the day with 100's of different fans. No one had a clue who Gilbert was, this group of Belgian guys had to gently explain that this was the guy who "won everything last year" since "liege bastogne liege" would mean nothing. Jack Bauer's name was then greeted with unanimous wtf's and laughter (hah, that dude from 24 is riding).
Then on the train home someone with internet found out this fella who came 2nd rides for Sky, announced it to the rest of the carriage and everyone cheered. And so on and so on.
So from my experience and the fact that the British media even after its recent successes has devoted no more attention than usual to cycling, I may be wrong, but my gut tells me the average fan at a Tour of Britain event will continue to be someone who comes along for the spectacle, rather than someone who knows their stuff.
The fact that Horner's win in the Vuelta didn't even make the sport section of many national newspapers, and only made a 3 inch side comment in many others, is demonstrative of the wider fact that the % of people who care about the sport in Britain, is still very small.
As it is in many countries. I don't want it to sound like I am saying only Britain is like that but at the moment it probably does have the worst- success in cycling vs popularity of the sport ratio. Previously Russia and before that US.