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So what's the future of road racing in the USA?

Assuming LA gets nailed.

Of course we get a quieter life here on the forums, so that's one good side.

But the general interest in road racing in the US will decline. And with that, any associated interest in cycle sport in general.

What will be the result on the road racing and general road riding scene in the US?

As it is, cyclists are pretty much a persecuted minority who maybe hounded, harassed, injured and even killed with just "oh it was an accident" as an absolute defence.

If the whole sport of cycling collapses in the US, then maybe all this is a case of "be careful what you wish for".

Discus (IYCBA obviously)
 

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Animal said:
Assuming LA gets nailed.

Of course we get a quieter life here on the forums, so that's one good side.

But the general interest in road racing in the US will decline. And with that, any associated interest in cycle sport in general.

What will be the result on the road racing and general road riding scene in the US?

As it is, cyclists are pretty much a persecuted minority who maybe hounded, harassed, injured and even killed with just "oh it was an accident" as an absolute defence.

If the whole sport of cycling collapses in the US, then maybe all this is a case of "be careful what you wish for".

Discus (IYCBA obviously)

If a sport - any sport - declines because one athlete gets busted for PED's then the question isn't how it fell, it is how it was built in the first place.


As long as there are bikes people will ride and race them.
 
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Much will depend on the emerging version of USA Cycling. Out West many areas went rogue some time ago and exist independently of USAC to represent the interests of local cyclists. There hasn't been any drop off of new cyclists coming into the sport but the LA affect can't be discounted.
That said; National level events would probably suffer from any credibility damage that would come from this. Major sponsors could be shy of the kind of overwhelming press that comes to the sport in scandal. The level of that press interest will be a product of LA's defense and how it plays out.
 
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Animal said:
Assuming LA gets nailed.

But the general interest in road racing in the US will decline. And with that, any associated interest in cycle sport in general.

I don't see that happening at all. If LA gets nailed (which I really think is a big if, personally I think it will all come to naught), there may be a disillusioned few who give it up, but road cycling and racing will be just fine. Cycling in many ways is the new golf/running. Our roads are packed with cyclists of all ages and racing categories are growing.

I think you also have the fact that the general public (in my opinion) are much more willing to accept that their sports stars are imperfect and that doping, if everyone is doing it, is just part of the sport. Yeah Barry Bonds was vilified by many, but that was probably due to the fact that he wasn't really well liked before that.
 
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The sport will not collapse. Just like Golf did not collapsed when we all found out that Tiger was "Captain Get It". Baseball attendance grew even though it became clear that the stars of the sport were dopers.

The Sport will be fine. The Armstrong groupies will move on to their next hobby and the fixie riding hipsters will continue to buy bikes. While Lance takes credit for every bike purchased in America the fact is the sport is experiencing a broad base of support

The sport is much bigger then one man.
 
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Race Radio said:
The sport will not collapse. Just like Golf did not collapsed when we all found out that Tiger was "Captain Get It". Baseball attendance grew even though it became clear that the stars of the sport were dopers.

The Sport will be fine. The Armstrong groupies will move on to their next hobby and the fixie riding hipsters will continue to buy bikes. While Lance takes credit for every bike purchased in America the fact is the sport is experiencing a broad base of support

The sport is much bigger then one man.

Thankfully. I ride because it's the closest thing to flying. Freedom as a kid, freedom as an adult.
 
Which sponsors has Armstrong brought to the sport anyway? All I can see is Radioshack, and if they want to give their money to Armstrong, The Hog and their band of fl(j?)unkies then that's not money benefitting the sport anyway. The hordes of "fans" people claim LA brings in also only seem to make Livestrong richer rather than supporting the cycling community as a whole. Good riddance to him and his followers.

Besides, the future of US cycling is in good hands with Phinney, van garderen etc, provided they make the right career choices. Phinney is already making a few questionable decisions, however.
 
JayZee said:
I don't see that happening at all. If LA gets nailed (which I really think is a big if, personally I think it will all come to naught), there may be a disillusioned few who give it up, but road cycling and racing will be just fine. Cycling in many ways is the new golf/running. Our roads are packed with cyclists of all ages and racing categories are growing.

Well, I'm glad to hear such positive replies.

Cycling really does seem to be the new golf.

Just yesterday I conjured up a mate from the old days while browsing Facebook. I haven't seen him since we were both mad keen rock climbers back in the early 90s. He was always better at that than me.

He's since married, had a family etc. The first photo I saw on his site was him on a fully kitted out road bike, doing a training camp somewhere in the Med.

It seems to be something that if you are serious about sport, but have little time, you can get a lot of rewards from.
 
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I guess I have a different viewpoint. I think cycling is a fringe sport in America, and the foothold it currently has is tenuous at best. I should say I am speaking of professional cycling, not grass roots racing. If this proceeds in the worst possible way (don't read into that an Armstrong bias) for the sport, we will most likely lose the ToC, and it will be a long while until we get close to anything like it again. Forget any TV coverage of bike racing, be it the TdF or Paris-Roubaix, let alone any of the "lesser" races. Sponsors do not come easy now in America and they will be harder to find if the biggest name in US cycling (again, to the casual fan, not cyclists) is found to have been a liar and cheat (I know, he already has been found, but most US fans don't believe it). I think Conti teams in the US will have a harder go and our sport will become more of a laughingstock, if that is even possible.

Disclaimer: This post is based on the average American fan. I truly hope I am wrong.
 
Roland Rat said:
Which sponsors has Armstrong brought to the sport anyway? All I can see is Radioshack, and if they want to give their money to Armstrong, The Hog and their band of fl(j?)unkies then that's not money benefitting the sport anyway. The hordes of "fans" people claim LA brings in also only seem to make Livestrong richer rather than supporting the cycling community as a whole. Good riddance to him and his followers.

Besides, the future of US cycling is in good hands with Phinney, van garderen etc, provided they make the right career choices. Phinney is already making a few questionable decisions, however.

LA's success has led to increased interest in the TdF in the US. 3-4 teams (rs,garmin,htc,bmc) that are american or arguably american have a realistic shot at participation in the TdF because american eyeballs are more focused on it. many more sponsors than just radioshack are trying to exploit the TdF for exposure. that's the armstrong effect and it's powerful. he's not solely responsible for this but you can't say he hasn't been influential. it's impossible to quantify but it's been significant. emphasis on "been", past tense!

i don't think his participation or influence is too terribly important anymore. armstrong is relevant for 3 weeks a year and only barely. ironically, one of the places where attention to LA is most disproportionate is these forums. if public perception of LA shifts as i suspect it soon will, casual fans will dissappear but racing in the US won't change a whole lot.

it's a chicken/egg situation. LA is no longer a bankable quantity in july and i can't imagine him riding it in 2011 under any circumstances. fewer people are willing to stick their neck out to protect him. he can't threaten to stop talking or freeze out journalists and media members for writing negatively about him anymore either. they don't care because he's not even the main attraction and they know he'll soon be gone completely. he's got little to no leverage left. even now, the best way to use LA's name to sell a paper is to link it to new landis info. it looks like the end of a mob movie. you can exploit your power and influence only so far before everyone who has been bullied gets tired of it. eventually you over-estimate your influence and then they start to view an uncertain future as more desirable than a irritating present.
 
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slowoldman said:
I guess I have a different viewpoint. I think cycling is a fringe sport in America, and the foothold it currently has is tenuous at best. I should say I am speaking of professional cycling, not grass roots racing. If this proceeds in the worst possible way (don't read into that an Armstrong bias) for the sport, we will most likely lose the ToC, and it will be a long while until we get close to anything like it again. Forget any TV coverage of bike racing, be it the TdF or Paris-Roubaix, let alone any of the "lesser" races. Sponsors do not come easy now in America and they will be harder to find if the biggest name in US cycling (again, to the casual fan, not cyclists) is found to have been a liar and cheat (I know, he already has been found, but most US fans don't believe it). I think Conti teams in the US will have a harder go and our sport will become more of a laughingstock, if that is even possible.

Disclaimer: This post is based on the average American fan. I truly hope I am wrong.

Good point. I think a distinction should be made between amateur racing and the U.S. professional scene. Amateur racing is doing fine and keeps getting new participants every year. The U.S. pro scene on the other hand depends on sponsorship dollars for both teams and races. Armstrong may have an impact in that arena, but I also think the sad state of the economy has a bigger impact. As recreational cycling grows and the economy hopefully recovers the corporations should have an increased interest in targeting their advertising to those individuals, so I think the growth of the recreational/amateur side should help the Pro side.

I also think that USA Cycling really needs to step up its efforts to improve Junior racing. I would guess most of the growth in race participation is in the over 30 categories.
 
USA Cycling?

It's important to note nothing really changed for America competitive cycling with Armstrong either. I just came back to the sport after being gone for a decade and find the same number of races and older racers.

I think the reason local/regional racing will keep happening is because it exists regardless of how much USA Cycling neglects it in favor of being the UCI's American cuckhold. We don't need the UCI or USA Cycling. Check out the OBRA sometime. They seem to be doing good things.

More people are riding bikes in my area now, but I'd say that it's 99.9% non-competitive with no competitive aspirations. That's a positive development!
 
JayZee said:
Good point. I think a distinction should be made between amateur racing and the U.S. professional scene. Amateur racing is doing fine and keeps getting new participants every year.

Not in my area. Same number of races with bigger Master's fields. Smaller entry-level fields and same dismal Junior turnout.


JayZee said:
I also think that USA Cycling really needs to step up its efforts to improve Junior racing.

The Weisel-lead executives over at USAC would come to the swift conclusion this would take time and energy away from their Armstrong cult worshiping activities.

Seriously, they don't need Juniors because they are all too young to worship Armstrong. If the parents won't pay, and pay, and pay, so their kid can play in the Armstrong cult, what's the point?
 
Race Radio said:
The sport will not collapse. Just like Golf did not collapsed when we all found out that Tiger was "Captain Get It". Baseball attendance grew even though it became clear that the stars of the sport were dopers.
The difference is that those sports do not rely on 1 player to get media-attention and fans. Cycling in the usa does. If armstrong goes down he will take his team and most of the us top-cyclist with him since they are allready alos implicated in this. A sport without it's one star-player, no other us players and the negative impact of the doping-case will be a big problem imo.
 
JayZee said:
I don't see that happening at all. If LA gets nailed (which I really think is a big if, personally I think it will all come to naught), there may be a disillusioned few who give it up, but road cycling and racing will be just fine. Cycling in many ways is the new golf/running. Our roads are packed with cyclists of all ages and racing categories are growing.

I think you also have the fact that the general public (in my opinion) are much more willing to accept that their sports stars are imperfect and that doping, if everyone is doing it, is just part of the sport. Yeah Barry Bonds was vilified by many, but that was probably due to the fact that he wasn't really well liked before that.

This. Frankly many of us racers are guilty of over-estimating our "importance." And what I mean by that is that the vast majority of cyclists are not racers, they are people who ride recreationally for fun and fitness.

For example a couple of weeks ago over Memorial day weekend when I was out doing my training here in the Bay Area there were more riders out than I have ever seen before, and only 2 or 3 of them were other racers. The vast majority are folks out for a nice spin to enjoy the weather. I don't think these folks could care less what happens to Armstrong and a buch of prima-donnas in tights; they will head out to ride for their health regardless and some of them will get addicted to the endorphin dump that riding hard brings and will try out a race now and then.
 
slowoldman said:
I guess I have a different viewpoint. I think cycling is a fringe sport in America, and the foothold it currently has is tenuous at best. I should say I am speaking of professional cycling, not grass roots racing. If this proceeds in the worst possible way (don't read into that an Armstrong bias) for the sport, we will most likely lose the ToC, and it will be a long while until we get close to anything like it again. Forget any TV coverage of bike racing, be it the TdF or Paris-Roubaix, let alone any of the "lesser" races. Sponsors do not come easy now in America and they will be harder to find if the biggest name in US cycling (again, to the casual fan, not cyclists) is found to have been a liar and cheat (I know, he already has been found, but most US fans don't believe it). I think Conti teams in the US will have a harder go and our sport will become more of a laughingstock, if that is even possible.

Disclaimer: This post is based on the average American fan. I truly hope I am wrong.

First off, who cares about the cable networks; if you want to watch cycling you watch it streaming over the internet. Just buy a good DSL connection and cancel your cable TV, problem solved. The sports market is saturated in America and cycling is probably never going to break into the big time. It's not going to become a part of our culture for many many years if ever. Face it. And therefore, our Domestic "pro" scene is going to remain a fringe sport regardless of what goes down with Lord Pharmstrong.
 
DirtyWorks said:
More people are riding bikes in my area now, but I'd say that it's 99.9% non-competitive with no competitive aspirations. That's a positive development!

This is the reason why I do not buy into the "Lance effect." The biggest growth has been recreational cycling. That is the segment that is buying the vast majority of medium to high end gear. Most of that growth seems to be upper middle class/lower upper class middle agers who have little interest in the pro side of the sport. If Versus' TdF coverage ends, I don't think it would affect their involvement in the sport one bit.

I maintain that one of the largest causes of growth is the MS150 and its concentration on corporate involvement. I constantly run into people who started cycling because of this. When I occasionally go to an MS150 event I am blown away by the number of $5K+ bikes ridden by people with XXL bibs. These are guys who have never raced and never will. I would not call them hardcore, yet they are putting lots of money into the sport.

Ultimately the children of the current crop of recreational cyclists will form the next wave of U.S. pros.
 
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first off this isn't the only time Armstrong has been tried. The french hate him and if there was something out there it would have come to the surface already. Nothing will change. If he is covicted the only thing that will change is how many people show-up or watch the TDF. With Armstong's 2 million+ army it's a lot of eyes to lose. Plus it will not be Armstong by himself it will include george, levi, dave....ect.
 
fabramowski said:
first off this isn't the only time Armstrong has been tried. The french hate him and if there was something out there it would have come to the surface already.

Oh the old french hate bullsh!t...and it's combined with another fairy tale about being tried before. Uh, yeah.

It already did come to the surface. He tested positive for EPO six times.
 
A

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Oldman said:
Thankfully. I ride because it's the closest thing to flying. Freedom as a kid, freedom as an adult.

+1

Except when I'm riding uphill, then one could hardly compare that to flying.
 
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BroDeal said:
..... Ultimately the children of the current crop of recreational cyclists will form the next wave of U.S. pros.


Excellent point. I think we are seeing the beginning of that trend here already. They (the parents) also don’t seem to be shy about forking over the big bucks for top-end bikes (and even coaching) for their kids.
 
fabramowski said:
If he is covicted the only thing that will change is how many people show-up or watch the TDF.

With all due respect, The Tour de France was a big event before Lance, it was a big event between Lance stints, and it will be a big event after Lance. So the US audience won't be so big. So what? Apart from Pat McQuaid, who cares? There will still be Frenchmen lining the road. The Basque country will still be a sea of orange and Basque flags. The Dutch will still make their pilgrimage to Alpe d'Huez. Lance wasn't at the Giro in 2005, did you see the crowds on the Colle delle Finestre? Or on Zoncolán just a few weeks ago?

The sport, and the spectacle, sells the events in traditional cycling homelands. The riders only sell it in countries where the sport is a minority concern. They are more easily replaced.
 
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Animal said:
Assuming LA gets nailed.....What will be the result on the road racing and general road riding scene in the US?

As far as road riding, I don't see it having any impact whatsoever. It's not like I got cut off by more drivers when LA was retired...

As far as road racing in the US is concerned, I think that there will be short-term pain in exchange for the potential of long-term gain. The potential for long-term positive change could happen if the current Weisel-dominated power structure of USAC goes down with LA.

USAC, from its mission statement to its actions, has been focused on a top-down strategy for growing the sport. It's put a lot of money in the pockets of a few, but it really hasn't helped the long-term growth of the sport.

Events like the Tour of California are great. They provide visibility for the sport and have the potential to inspire some kids and get them into the sport. Then what? If they don't have anywhere to race, all the inspiration in the world won't do much.

I got into cycling after visiting my brother who was living in Philly. When I saw the Philly race, I said "I wanna do that!". Of course, luckily I was splitting time between NorCal and the Pacific NW, so I actually had local organizations putting on races. It seems that USAC would rather spend a bunch of money on 4 juniors and fly them all over the place rather than develop the sport at a local level. It's pretty telling that some of the best local racing occurs in places that aren't even governed by USAC.

Lastly, while it's cool when LA shows up to an event like Gila, one rider is not what makes a classic race. For instance, look at Philly. They don't pay out the huge extort...err....appearance fees to get LA at the race, but the race is healthier than ever. Even non-cycling fans who live or lived in Philly know about it. It's even had an economic impact on the key area which the race goes through (Manayunk), according to some of the locals. In other words, the race has developed a tradition, history and aura that transcends one rider. Cycling in the US needs more of that, and less of "let's hope we can get Lance to show up and save our race".
 
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BroDeal said:
This is the reason why I do not buy into the "Lance effect." The biggest growth has been recreational cycling. That is the segment that is buying the vast majority of medium to high end gear. Most of that growth seems to be upper middle class/lower upper class middle agers who have little interest in the pro side of the sport. If Versus' TdF coverage ends, I don't think it would affect their involvement in the sport one bit.

I maintain that one of the largest causes of growth is the MS150 and its concentration on corporate involvement. I constantly run into people who started cycling because of this. When I occasionally go to an MS150 event I am blown away by the number of $5K+ bikes ridden by people with XXL bibs. These are guys who have never raced and never will. I would not call them hardcore, yet they are putting lots of money into the sport.

Ultimately the children of the current crop of recreational cyclists will form the next wave of U.S. pros.

We're already seeing it in the NW. The Cat 4/5 Men's and Women's fields are huge. Masters fields are growing and those guys are bringing their kids into the sport. I do have to admit that many ask about the likelyhood of charges against LA which would mean they consider it important. Hopefully that would also mean the emphasis on fair play is important as well. It's good to see lots of new faces and the roads/trails active.