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Echoes, you write "of course" in your reply as if everyone does, or should, agree with you, but--respectfully--I don't. Raising the overall standard of professional cycling is hardly an unreasonable goal. I'd think that this would be the goal for any professional sport. In my opinion, the more elite the top level of a sport becomes, the more value it has. As long as the promotion/relegation piece is well thought out and fair, how could this actually harm professional cycling?
 
saunaking said:
Its only about increasing the value of the teams.
NBA teams are worth 100s of millions of dollars


A cycling team will never be that, but this is a huge win for the teams even if it values them in the tens of millions of dollars.

Why?

The system is working, right? Cycling is a sport, it's there to provide entertainment and inspiration. It's doing that, more so than it will if it is commercialized which will only result in a large disparity between big and small teams and subsequently more controlled and defensive racing.
 
This is here to create a Premier League-type system. It is pure Supply Side Jesus. "Average income is going up!" while all the money is concentrated into the hands of a few teams, and we end up with a system where only a small number can win and everybody else is there to make numbers up, except instead of being in sports with long-standing club- or franchise-histories and loyalties, it's in a sport where a sponsor deciding it's not worth it will kill a team stone cold.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
This is here to create a Premier League-type system. It is pure Supply Side Jesus. "Average income is going up!" while all the money is concentrated into the hands of a few teams, and we end up with a system where only a small number can win and everybody else is there to make numbers up, except instead of being in sports with long-standing club- or franchise-histories and loyalties, it's in a sport where a sponsor deciding it's not worth it will kill a team stone cold.

Right. As we know thanks to mr Piketty trickle-down effect isn't working as well as we're being told and I'd wager to say real life is more equal than sports.
 
Arnout said:
Why?

The system is working, right? Cycling is a sport, it's there to provide entertainment and inspiration. It's doing that, more so than it will if it is commercialized which will only result in a large disparity between big and small teams and subsequently more controlled and defensive racing.

Working? I think it's working the same way a dysfunctional family works--maybe. But that is just my opinion.

I started this thread because it seems obvious to me that professional cycling needs a more solid foundation and long-term development/growth plan (rather than the constant expanding and contracting it is prone to now on the whim of wealthy individuals or corporations). When you look at the big picture and with an eye to the future, professional cycling needs to get out of its own way to find more success than it already has.

I would find it particularly interesting if all the teams at the top had the same budget. Then you'd see the real talent of the management and the parity of the teams would create much more exciting racing. The way it is now, all you need is a big checkbook and half a brain.

Again, this is only my opinion. I actually like reading different points of view, which is another reason why I started this thread. So, thank you to everyone for contributing to the debate.
 
Choocher said:
Working? I think it's working the same way a dysfunctional family works--maybe. But that is just my opinion.

I started this thread because it seems obvious to me that professional cycling needs a more solid foundation and long-term development/growth plan (rather than the constant expanding and contracting it is prone to now on the whim of wealthy individuals or corporations). When you look at the big picture and with an eye to the future, professional cycling needs to get out of its own way to find more success than it already has.

I would find it particularly interesting if all the teams at the top had the same budget. Then you'd see the real talent of the management and the parity of the teams would create much more exciting racing. The way it is now, all you need is a big checkbook and half a brain.

Again, this is only my opinion. I actually like reading different points of view, which is another reason why I started this thread. So, thank you to everyone for contributing to the debate.

It has always been like this. By nature cycling is a messy sport. No fixed locations, changing teams, changing everything. From a fans perspective do I care if the kit is blue one year and yellow the other? Do I care whether teams have 10 or 20 million at their disposal?

As long as I know that no people are being exploited (and this is not the case for the top tier of cycling as long as you're ignoring clinic issues which won't be solved by this initiative anyway) I can happily ignore economic issues. Cycling will never go away, it will never reach mass popularity either. No reason to pander to the mainstream who will not be interested in the long run. Look at how that worked out for Formula 1. The teams have a say in that sport and almost every decision they make is backfiring on them because these decisions are made out of petty self-interest.
 
Choocher said:
I would find it particularly interesting if all the teams at the top had the same budget. Then you'd see the real talent of the management and the parity of the teams would create much more exciting racing. The way it is now, all you need is a big checkbook and half a brain.

Again, this is only my opinion. I actually like reading different points of view, which is another reason why I started this thread. So, thank you to everyone for contributing to the debate.

Welcome to most sports, I'm afraid. The US sports have their parity rules to try to prevent this kind of issue, in the draft system and implementing a salary cap, but in football (soccer), motorsports et al., having the most money enables you to buy the best players/drivers/riders etc. and it becomes a combination of skill and wallet that wins the championships.

The US model has its own flaws, however, that make it nigh on impossible to fully implement in most European sports that have utilized the free-for-all system for decades. The US model is a closed shop; there is no promotion and relegation, and therefore all leagues but the top one serve as nothing but feeders for the big one, so athletes who reach draft age and go undrafted are left with either hawking their wares around and hoping to get there by another means, or quitting entirely. This is less the case for hockey because it's big elsewhere on the planet and you can get some good salaries in e.g. the KHL, and baseball has Japan and basketball has the Euro leagues, but especially American Football offers few opportunities for unsuccessful NFL prospects. And those athletes do not get the opportunity to play against the best and get themselves spotted like you see in European sports, where for example a 2nd-tier team can get a wildcard invitation to a World Tour race, or a Serie C team can get a Coppa Italia match against one of the big Serie A teams and showcase what they can do.

The problem with implementing a US-style system in already-established sporting systems like that of cycling is manifold.
- locking off the wildcard system would kill off the ProContinental level to a great extent. Teams like Androni attract sponsors because they can get enough exposure with the Giro, Tirreno-Adriatico, Lombardia and so on to justify the expenditure; if the team can no longer get wildcards, the reason to spend that money is removed. And setting up a new team when you will have no chance of getting to the biggest races for several years? Forget about it - there would be a lot of bureaucracy around expansion franchises - there already is in the sports where two teams face each other at a time, let alone in a sport where everybody races against each other, after all there's only so much space in the races.
- if they no longer have the chance of having World Tour teams show up and increase the interest, a lot of smaller races on the national calendars are likely to die off. Ever look at the difference in TV coverage between first and third division soccer in your country?
- if there is no draft system, or even if there is, there may result in a situation like the NHL where each team has a feeder as well, where draftees are sent to hone their craft. If the top teams have to bankroll a feeder as well, the financial commitment becomes bigger.
- if there is a closed shop at the top (and if there were several teams with locked positions at the top, this would quickly become the case) who's interested in starting a team?
- how do you decide who's draft eligible? End of the U23s? What of somebody like Sagan who went pro at 19 then? Or what happens to somebody like Vino, who got into cycling late and turned pro at 25? What about distant cycling scenes in other regions of the world?

I don't like either reform plan. I don't disagree that there are problems that could be resolved by reform, I just don't think that the problems the reforms are bent on resolving are the ones that are the most pressing concern, nor do I think that the reforms proposed would actually resolve those problems without creating a whole host of bigger ones.
 
Arnout said:
It has always been like this. By nature cycling is a messy sport. No fixed locations, changing teams, changing everything. From a fans perspective do I care if the kit is blue one year and yellow the other? Do I care whether teams have 10 or 20 million at their disposal?

As long as I know that no people are being exploited (and this is not the case for the top tier of cycling as long as you're ignoring clinic issues which won't be solved by this initiative anyway) I can happily ignore economic issues. Cycling will never go away, it will never reach mass popularity either. No reason to pander to the mainstream who will not be interested in the long run. Look at how that worked out for Formula 1. The teams have a say in that sport and almost every decision they make is backfiring on them because these decisions are made out of petty self-interest.

I see your point about it always having been like this, but that, to me, proves that there is even more of a need for change.

As for the issue of exploitation--when economic instability exists, there will always be some people, and in this case usually the riders, who will be exploited.

I don't know anything about Formula 1, so I can't really comment with any confidence on your comparison. What I do know is that there are other sports that weren't as successful as they are now. They made changes and grew up. Cycling can, and should, do the same. Mistakes can and will be made, but I don't buy the laissez-faire approach at all, and continuing on with something that is dysfunctional for the mere fact that it's tradition seems awfully fatalistic.
 
Libertine Seguros said:
Welcome to most sports, I'm afraid. The US sports have their parity rules to try to prevent this kind of issue, in the draft system and implementing a salary cap, but in football (soccer), motorsports et al., having the most money enables you to buy the best players/drivers/riders etc. and it becomes a combination of skill and wallet that wins the championships.

The US model has its own flaws, however, that make it nigh on impossible to fully implement in most European sports that have utilized the free-for-all system for decades. The US model is a closed shop; there is no promotion and relegation, and therefore all leagues but the top one serve as nothing but feeders for the big one, so athletes who reach draft age and go undrafted are left with either hawking their wares around and hoping to get there by another means, or quitting entirely. This is less the case for hockey because it's big elsewhere on the planet and you can get some good salaries in e.g. the KHL, and baseball has Japan and basketball has the Euro leagues, but especially American Football offers few opportunities for unsuccessful NFL prospects. And those athletes do not get the opportunity to play against the best and get themselves spotted like you see in European sports, where for example a 2nd-tier team can get a wildcard invitation to a World Tour race, or a Serie C team can get a Coppa Italia match against one of the big Serie A teams and showcase what they can do.

The problem with implementing a US-style system in already-established sporting systems like that of cycling is manifold.
- locking off the wildcard system would kill off the ProContinental level to a great extent. Teams like Androni attract sponsors because they can get enough exposure with the Giro, Tirreno-Adriatico, Lombardia and so on to justify the expenditure; if the team can no longer get wildcards, the reason to spend that money is removed. And setting up a new team when you will have no chance of getting to the biggest races for several years? Forget about it - there would be a lot of bureaucracy around expansion franchises - there already is in the sports where two teams face each other at a time, let alone in a sport where everybody races against each other, after all there's only so much space in the races.
- if they no longer have the chance of having World Tour teams show up and increase the interest, a lot of smaller races on the national calendars are likely to die off. Ever look at the difference in TV coverage between first and third division soccer in your country?
- if there is no draft system, or even if there is, there may result in a situation like the NHL where each team has a feeder as well, where draftees are sent to hone their craft. If the top teams have to bankroll a feeder as well, the financial commitment becomes bigger.
- if there is a closed shop at the top (and if there were several teams with locked positions at the top, this would quickly become the case) who's interested in starting a team?
- how do you decide who's draft eligible? End of the U23s? What of somebody like Sagan who went pro at 19 then? Or what happens to somebody like Vino, who got into cycling late and turned pro at 25? What about distant cycling scenes in other regions of the world?

I don't like either reform plan. I don't disagree that there are problems that could be resolved by reform, I just don't think that the problems the reforms are bent on resolving are the ones that are the most pressing concern, nor do I think that the reforms proposed would actually resolve those problems without creating a whole host of bigger ones.

Excellent points--thank you.
 
Arnout said:
Why?

The system is working, right? Cycling is a sport, it's there to provide entertainment and inspiration. It's doing that, more so than it will if it is commercialized which will only result in a large disparity between big and small teams and subsequently more controlled and defensive racing.

I agree its working and i like it the way it is. I don't think its a good thing if the teams necessarily get more power.

I am just saying the reason the teams are doing this is to increase their bottom line. They don't give a **** about the fans, the history or the organizers. They want to make more $$$. Its the ONLY reason they are in it.
 
Couldn't find a more recent Velon thread so here it goes: though they're trying, which is a good thing, Velon isn't doing the onboard thing quite right, IMHO. They have two of Gaviria's winning sprints from China, yet we're only getting about 5 seconds' worth of footage combined.

I can't be only one who would love to see the last two minutes of a sprint from onboard the winner's bike, can I? And if by chance I am, they might as well shut the whole experiment down.
 
Re:

carton said:
Couldn't find a more recent Velon thread so here it goes: though they're trying, which is a good thing, Velon isn't doing the onboard thing quite right, IMHO. They have two of Gaviria's winning sprints from China, yet we're only getting about 5 seconds' worth of footage combined.

I can't be only one who would love to see the last two minutes of a sprint from onboard the winner's bike, can I? And if by chance I am, they might as well shut the whole experiment down.

I'm actually quite surprised that any team would allow a camera on the "man of the day" 's bike. Thought the idea of "marginal gains" were so ingrained that even the - ever so slight - weight of an onboard camera would be seen as an issue.
But of course, in this case it might be a case of making it marginally more fair to the other riders.

(Also, wouldn't wanna see live footage from an onboard camera during a sprint... the replay right afterwards, perhaps, but not as it's happening.)