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United Kingdom | 6 TDF Wins in 10 Years?

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Jul 24, 2015
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I think sky may be doping on a small scale or gaming the rules, but not any more than other teams. I agree with the post above about how much of a turn off it is to watch them dominate races the way they do. Hoovering up the best talent to use as disposable super domestiques is a luxury no other cycling team can afford. It's ruined the race for me.

But the anti-brit stuff is all a bit silly. It's clear that even with 'help', it's a stretch to take someone without any natural ability and turn them into a grand tour winner. Its also very clear that Brailsford (who I despise) is not wrong in his methodology of taking good track cyclists and getting them to physically transform into skeletal, tunnel-visioned freaks. It's also worth considering that much like the NFL, cycling as a sport is heavily reliant on physiology that can be moulded to fit the purpose, so expanding the pool of potential cyclists as happened around 2000 in Britain (there has been a big push in schools since then) was always liable to yield results.

Put it this way, I was in a minority at school in the 90s cycling. There was very little visible success to emulate and events weren't televised. Now there are cycling tv shows and coverage of track events, every grand tour etc.

I guess from outside it probably looks worse, but I strongly believe you could do the same in pretty much any reasonably developed country and over 10-20 years get a return. The tour wins are 90% down to sky working out a formula to protect their lead guys.

Anyway, as someone also mentioned, the rank hypocrisy of people talking about this from France leaves as bitter a taste in my mouth as if anything. Virenque, Cofidis and Festina (with a huge French contingent) were the people I looked up to as a naive youngster. They were some of the people who truly destroyed the sport.

On Thomas, there seems to be a bit of an attempt to ignore his past performances and the context, eg: the crashes and injuries when in good form. The guy has more pedigree than most, and this has been a weak tour. Froome is off the asthma and there is no natural big opponent now. Dumoulin maybe, but everyone else is just not good enough to beat the soul destroying sky train.
 
The disgust that many cycling fans feel for Team Skybutamol has nothing to do with being anti-British. I have nothing against Pippa Middleton, John Cleese or Elton John. I liked Robert Millar and Chris Boardman, I can even appreciate the Yates brothers. I do however detest Team Sky, because I see them as a bunch of protected doping users who have ruined what used to be the greatest sporting event in the world since 2012.

In the days of US Postal cycling fans were accused of being anti-American; today they're accused of being anti-British. This is nonsense. It's like saying someone is anti-Canadian if he dislikes Ben Johnson. We're sick of Team Sky because of their hypocrisy, their arrogance and because of the preferential treatment they receive as the richest team; not because of their nationality.
 
Jul 24, 2015
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This is a thread about British cycling though, it's not about team sky, hence my response referring specifically to anti-brit comments. It's not like this is a unique theme on here.

As for 'the greatest sporting event in the world until 2012' - you must be insane mate. US Postal, Festina and chumps like Landis had brought the sport to it's knees long before then. Contador won the tour in 07 after being doped to the gills. This rose tinted approach to the past is bizarre.
 
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argel said:
On Thomas, there seems to be a bit of an attempt to ignore his past performances and the context, eg: the crashes and injuries when in good form. The guy has more pedigree than most, and this has been a weak tour. Froome is off the asthma and there is no natural big opponent now. Dumoulin maybe, but everyone else is just not good enough to beat the soul destroying sky train.
But why is it always Brits that rise to the top, the ones with the potential to morph seamlessly into Tour de France winners? Why not Kwiatkowski for example? He showed far, far more potential as a GT winner and had far more impressive road performances in his early career. Why not make the smaller leap to GT winner with him, than the huge jump with Thomas?

Is it only Brits who have the ability to super-respond to the training programme and diet? Or is it that the formula only works on guys with really high absolute power? Like bulky track riders. Then you find a way to maintain the power, while losing the weight (the holy grail in cycling) and you can transform a 470w at threshold track guy into a 470w at threshold climber.
 
Re: Re:

DFA123 said:
argel said:
On Thomas, there seems to be a bit of an attempt to ignore his past performances and the context, eg: the crashes and injuries when in good form. The guy has more pedigree than most, and this has been a weak tour. Froome is off the asthma and there is no natural big opponent now. Dumoulin maybe, but everyone else is just not good enough to beat the soul destroying sky train.
But why is it always Brits that rise to the top, the ones with the potential to morph seamlessly into Tour de France winners? Why not Kwiatkowski for example? He showed far, far more potential as a GT winner and had far more impressive road performances in his early career. Why not make the smaller leap to GT winner with him, than the huge jump with Thomas?

Is it only Brits who have the ability to super-respond to the training programme and diet? Or is it that the formula only works on guys with really high absolute power? Like bulky track riders. Then you find a way to maintain the power, while losing the weight (the holy grail in cycling) and you can transform a 470w at threshold track guy into a 470w at threshold climber.
To be fair, I don’t think Sky have made any secret of their goals being to achieve Tour success with British riders, I guess this is/was important to the sponsorship model. So whatever the ‘key’ has been to this success it’s no surprise it’s been most focused on Brits so far....

Is this about to change with the recruitment of Bernal? Maybe so
 
Jul 24, 2015
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DFA123 said:
argel said:
On Thomas, there seems to be a bit of an attempt to ignore his past performances and the context, eg: the crashes and injuries when in good form. The guy has more pedigree than most, and this has been a weak tour. Froome is off the asthma and there is no natural big opponent now. Dumoulin maybe, but everyone else is just not good enough to beat the soul destroying sky train.
But why is it always Brits that rise to the top, the ones with the potential to morph seamlessly into Tour de France winners? Why not Kwiatkowski for example? He showed far, far more potential as a GT winner and had far more impressive road performances in his early career. Why not make the smaller leap to GT winner with him, than the huge jump with Thomas?

Is it only Brits who have the ability to super-respond to the training programme and diet? Or is it that the formula only works on guys with really high absolute power? Like bulky track riders. Then you find a way to maintain the power, while losing the weight (the holy grail in cycling) and you can transform a 470w at threshold track guy into a 470w at threshold climber.
I'm not sure but I have a feeling that it's a lot to do with finding people who are willing to undergo the most brutal of regimes in order to fit what sky want. They don't even get that from many Brits who've been there. I mean we all can recognise traits in Froome that are 'on the spectrum' yes? I'm not saying he's autistic but he is not a normal personality type.

Kwiatkowski always comes across as someone who is happy to focus on the classics. That might change in future, but yeah, the rider has to want to transform their body and probably push every boundary legal and illegal to do so. Not going to be for everyone.
 
spalco said:
TubularBills said:
After none over the last 100+ years?
Producing three different individual winners is much more surprising.

The next Eddy Merckx could be sitting on a bicycle for the first time right now, and a mega talent who wins 5 Tours in a row can come from anywhere. But having three different guys win Tour de Frances in such a short amount of time?

When no Frenchman has won the Tour in 30 years, no Dutch no Belgian in 40, only two different Italians in 50 years, only one German ever?
I mean, potential Tour de France winners are really rare...
Exactly, exactly, exactly: the rarity of potential tour winners is precisely the point. History gives us that.

And history also gives us this: where potential tour winners start popping up left, right and centre in the same place/team - the reason is unambiguous. One thinks of Armstrong....+ Hamilton, Landis.
 
Re: Re:

brownbobby said:
DFA123 said:
argel said:
On Thomas, there seems to be a bit of an attempt to ignore his past performances and the context, eg: the crashes and injuries when in good form. The guy has more pedigree than most, and this has been a weak tour. Froome is off the asthma and there is no natural big opponent now. Dumoulin maybe, but everyone else is just not good enough to beat the soul destroying sky train.
But why is it always Brits that rise to the top, the ones with the potential to morph seamlessly into Tour de France winners? Why not Kwiatkowski for example? He showed far, far more potential as a GT winner and had far more impressive road performances in his early career. Why not make the smaller leap to GT winner with him, than the huge jump with Thomas?

Is it only Brits who have the ability to super-respond to the training programme and diet? Or is it that the formula only works on guys with really high absolute power? Like bulky track riders. Then you find a way to maintain the power, while losing the weight (the holy grail in cycling) and you can transform a 470w at threshold track guy into a 470w at threshold climber.
To be fair, I don’t think Sky have made any secret of their goals being to achieve Tour success with British riders, I guess this is/was important to the sponsorship model. So whatever the ‘key’ has been to this success it’s no surprise it’s been most focused on Brits so far....

Is this about to change with the recruitment of Bernal? Maybe so
But why not focus it on everyone in the team? Then they could dominate every other GT each year with various riders? If they have a formula to take massive guys with big power, and enable them to lose enough weight to become elite climbers - without sacrificing any power - why not do it with all of the rouleurs / domestiques as well? Unless of course, they are achieving it through nefarious means and want to keep it a closed shop.
 
Re: Re:

DFA123 said:
argel said:
On Thomas, there seems to be a bit of an attempt to ignore his past performances and the context, eg: the crashes and injuries when in good form. The guy has more pedigree than most, and this has been a weak tour. Froome is off the asthma and there is no natural big opponent now. Dumoulin maybe, but everyone else is just not good enough to beat the soul destroying sky train.
But why is it always Brits that rise to the top, the ones with the potential to morph seamlessly into Tour de France winners? Why not Kwiatkowski for example? He showed far, far more potential as a GT winner and had far more impressive road performances in his early career. Why not make the smaller leap to GT winner with him, than the huge jump with Thomas?

Is it only Brits who have the ability to super-respond to the training programme and diet? Or is it that the formula only works on guys with really high absolute power? Like bulky track riders. Then you find a way to maintain the power, while losing the weight (the holy grail in cycling) and you can transform a 470w at threshold track guy into a 470w at threshold climber.
The product is British media, and the hook to get British attention for this product must be a British person in yellow at the tour. That's the foundational predicate underpinning Sky - its only true purpose.
 
I'm not sure Sky sponsorship of team Sky is really requiring a British winner anymore. The last boom in UK cycling happened in 2012.
End of the day Sky PLC spend £7 Billion to broadcast football to see around £14 Billion revenue. Team Skys gives them £0.5 Billion return off £40 million which is a fantastic return but a tiny blip in their revenue to need a British winner.
 
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argel said:
I think sky may be doping on a small scale or gaming the rules, but not any more than other teams. I agree with the post above about how much of a turn off it is to watch them dominate races the way they do. Hoovering up the best talent to use as disposable super domestiques is a luxury no other cycling team can afford. It's ruined the race for me.
.
That's just a lie. They sign wiggins froome porte and Rodgers and suddenly those four are in the top ten best climbers in the world when before none of them were, except wiggins for one race in 2009. That's not even mentioning Thomas who they also signed for cheap since he was obviously not tdf material.

To claim their success comes from buying the best riders when all theirb gt winners come from above seems to me to be a deliberate lie pushed dishonestly.
 
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Dekker_Tifosi said:
i remember laughing when Sky announced they wanted to win the Tour with a British rider in 5 years time.

It seemed so far fetched with the talent they had at their disposal at that time (climbing wise especially). Now look who's laughing. They now won the Tour with 3 british riders. 2 of them ex-track olympic champions as well. And 1 freak of nature.

Wonder who's next.
Tao?
Stephen Williams?
Or good ol Harry Tanfield?
All three of those have shown some talent on the road, so no. Has to be a left field choice that nobody can expect, somebody who has shown nothing and will show nothing in terms of climbing talent until the age of 26 or 27, then win.
 
Aug 15, 2016
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The Hitch said:
argel said:
I think sky may be doping on a small scale or gaming the rules, but not any more than other teams. I agree with the post above about how much of a turn off it is to watch them dominate races the way they do. Hoovering up the best talent to use as disposable super domestiques is a luxury no other cycling team can afford. It's ruined the race for me.
.
That's just a lie. They sign wiggins froome porte and Rodgers and suddenly those four are in the top ten best climbers in the world when before none of them were, except wiggins for one race in 2009. That's not even mentioning Thomas who they also signed for cheap since he was obviously not tdf material.

To claim their success comes from buying the best riders when all theirb gt winners come from above seems to me to be a deliberate lie pushed dishonestly.
Yes and no. Regardless of how they turned some bizarre outlying figures into GT winners, they have still, at various times, brought in a lot of talented riders over time - not all to use as domestiques, but that is gradually the way it has become with Poels, Kwiatkowski, Bernal, Landa last year...

Further back, you can see the huge amount of talent they have had on their roster at one time or another. They have always spent a lot of money bringing in a combination of experienced pros and some of the best young talent. I keep forgetting they even had Cavendish for a year. There's no doubting they have been able to put together one of the best all-round squads every year for the last few years, and there's no question that comes from having the biggest budget
 
Re:

samhocking said:
I'm not sure Sky sponsorship of team Sky is really requiring a British winner anymore. The last boom in UK cycling happened in 2012.
End of the day Sky PLC spend £7 Billion to broadcast football to see around £14 Billion revenue. Team Skys gives them £0.5 Billion return off £40 million which is a fantastic return but a tiny blip in their revenue to need a British winner.
You give the both the argument and conclusion -quite impeccably - in your own response. It's certainly not about cycling per se. It is simply about an excellent return on a small investment. When all is said and done - here in the clinic, above, in the press and on the roads themselves, this is the reason, cause and telos. It is the ontology: the sheer existence of Sky.

But clearly, they do need a British winner to maintain that return. Or if not winner, then at least contender or at worst, someone capable of generating drama/theater.
 
I think what I'm getting at is their revenue is £14.5b with Team Sky sponsorship, £14.0b without it. As with other teams they are at least going to get the basic return which is around 4-5x their investment regardless of winning Tour with any riderr Nationality they do it with. So would still see around £0.2b not winning Tour. So the reality for Sky PLC is they gain around £300 million more for a British Tour de France winner, off £40 million they spend. Team Sky isn't important to Sky UK when £14b comes from football.
 
Sky is a team with a strong A-squad/B-squad dynamic. Their budget does allow them to sign talented superdomestiques, most of whom I don't think perform at a much different level at Sky, and put them to work for their dudes, the worthy and trustworthy ones: a series of GT contenders fabricated in a lab, and their closest allies and domestiques. This dynamic allows them to both dominate races and to obfuscate by claiming it's all down to their signing of talent.

Members of the B-squad probably dope on their own terms with supervision from Sky doctors, like in most teams. They can switch teams and keep doing their thing. I suspect Thomas was part of this squad back when he focused on the classics, and that he didn't make it to the A-squad until 2015 or so. Initially I thought Porte was part of the A-squad, but his subsequent performance and his Australianness has made me revise this hypothesis.

Funny how so many talented foreigners didn't achieve much while at Sky. Remember Löfkvist? No marginal gains for him.
 
spalco said:
TubularBills said:
After none over the last 100+ years?
Producing three different individual winners is much more surprising.

The next Eddy Merckx could be sitting on a bicycle for the first time right now, and a mega talent who wins 5 Tours in a row can come from anywhere. But having three different guys win Tour de Frances in such a short amount of time?

When no Frenchman has won the Tour in 30 years, no Dutch no Belgian in 40, only two different Italians in 50 years, only one German ever?
I mean, potential Tour de France winners are really rare...
That's the key.
 
Re:

PremierAndrew said:
Could say the same about the likes of Gerrans, EBH and co. Massive underachievers while at Sky
Oh, I don't think Gerrans underperformed at Sky, at least in his second season. He just magically improved massively and became a world-class monument-winning rider upon joining Orica at 32.
 
Re:

argel said:
This is a thread about British cycling though, it's not about team sky, hence my response referring specifically to anti-brit comments. It's not like this is a unique theme on here.

As for 'the greatest sporting event in the world until 2012' - you must be insane mate. US Postal, Festina and chumps like Landis had brought the sport to it's knees long before then. Contador won the tour in 07 after being doped to the gills. This rose tinted approach to the past is bizarre.
Yes but you mentioned the anti Britt sentiment which is not true. He was trying to explain the difference.
 
Re: Re:

Brullnux said:
Dekker_Tifosi said:
i remember laughing when Sky announced they wanted to win the Tour with a British rider in 5 years time.

It seemed so far fetched with the talent they had at their disposal at that time (climbing wise especially). Now look who's laughing. They now won the Tour with 3 british riders. 2 of them ex-track olympic champions as well. And 1 freak of nature.

Wonder who's next.
Tao?
Stephen Williams?
Or good ol Harry Tanfield?
All three of those have shown some talent on the road, so no. Has to be a left field choice that nobody can expect, somebody who has shown nothing and will show nothing in terms of climbing talent until the age of 26 or 27, then win.
Luke Rowe. Plus, he was a climber in previous PCM's winning mountain stages so he always had the talent. :lol:
 
Re: Re:

brownbobby said:
DFA123 said:
argel said:
To be fair, I don’t think Sky have made any secret of their goals being to achieve Tour success with British riders, I guess this is/was important to the sponsorship model. So whatever the ‘key’ has been to this success it’s no surprise it’s been most focused on Brits so far....

Is this about to change with the recruitment of Bernal? Maybe so
I have my reservations about it, on the basis that right from the outset they acquired the services of two Colombian supertalents, in Urán and Henao. Henao had just won the Vuelta a Colombia, the youngest winner of it in over 20 years (since Oliverio Rincón in 1989, for the record) and was seen as the next big thing, but he's carved out a very good niche with Sky but never become a GT leader. The way they have treated the likes of Mikel Landa may be the future of Bernal, because the fact of the matter is that the Tour is so much above the rest of the GTs in its global outreach that Sky will always be more interested in the British leader at the Tour, so I would expect Bernal to get palmed off with the other two GTs for the foreseeable future, unless he goes elsewhere; Sky aren't really a team that does the 'free role' for a leading option like a "1b" - just look at the 2013 Giro where they pulled Urán and Henao back to ride with Wiggins when he lost his nerve; they could easily have left one forward and pulled one back, a bit like Caisse d'Epargne when Valverde lost time into Suancés in 2008, when they pulled everybody but Joaquím Rodríguez back, because they knew with the flat chrono already done and mountains to come, Purito would be another hand they could play in the GC.

Now, this is Bernal's first pro contract, and he's shown himself to be sensible and loyal thus far, which I will admit was always an issue with Landa, as there was always the threat of the volatile Basque 'going rogue' (and indeed I know a lot of fans played on that in the desperate hope that if nobody on other teams could cause Froome any problems, at least one of his teammates might). But even Richie Porte, who was a loyal and well-behaved helper to both Wiggins and Froome, got palmed off with secondary races, and I can't really see Bernal not outgrowing that role unless he stagnates horribly (and let's face it, there have been a few talented riders who stagnated at Sky, but on this year's evidence thus far Bernal is not one of these).

However, I cannot see any real circumstances that would arise where Egan Bernal leads Team Sky at the Tour de France, unless there are significant injury issues. Giro, sure. Vuelta, maybe (Sky seem much more keen on the Vuelta than the Giro, but perhaps that's more because of Froome's historic determination to win it, or perhaps because of the ability to use Tour success to market it to the British TV audience due to the Tour's higher outreach, which is harder to do with the Giro). However, Tour, no. They're much more likely to sacrifice him to turn Tao Geogeghan Hart or Owain Doull into a winner in l'Hexagone, I would anticipate.
 

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