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Will there even BE a TdF this year?

Mar 10, 2009
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We all would like to believe our "picture postcard" world is immune from the various dis-eases that plague our global economic community, but alas, we may find that our unsustainable "life-styles" are about to change dramatically, whether we care to hear this or not.

Economic instability is a subject that is gaining more press coverage in the cycling community, of late, as races are getting canceled, bike shops are shutting down, sponsors are going bankrupt and teams are folding. This of course is disappointing to fans and racers alike, but what gives greater rise for concern is what we might begin to see on the open road where pelotons have little safety from; the insatiable appetites of rabid fans desiring to express their "attitudes" towards specific riders/teams (case in point regarding attitudes: look at some of the verbal exchanges we see here on the various threads, even posters on this thread); protesters striking for loss of jobs or low wages; political/social factions desiring revolt through potential sabotaging of events; massive security laws being implemented creating an Orwellian atmosphere; the soaring social unrest growing on a global scale that can influence a "continental" race, the list goes on and on. Our world is quickly becoming a war zone and finding a safe haven to "ride" out the potential storm is not an easy task, whether it be in ones own community or while exposed to various "elements" riding a 15 pound vehicle up Mont Ventoux.

Historically the French are not afraid to take to the streets to express their feelings about any form of injustice. The Tour is a very big race having global exposure. The perfect setting for getting one's message out or creating a "false flag?"

The potential for a very volatile summer, in the "land of the Franks" come this July, is very real. Personally, I hope the race goes on without any discomfort for anyone, because there is nothing more beautiful than a Grand Tour, especially the TdF. But with a spiraling downward global economy leading up to July or if Lance is leading in that final week, it's clear, more than ever before in our recent history, anything is possible.

As someone said in another thread, "Watch your back, Lance." The reality, as I see it here, is rather than watching our own backs we need to watch out for each other. Until we make that adjustment in our lives, the potholes will just get bigger and eventually the road we are riding on goes off a cliff.

<http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/19/france-second-wave-strikes>
 
Mar 12, 2009
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No doubt that the Tour will go ahead. The only times it hasn't is when some of the choice routes were upset by some wars that happened to be going on at the time. At all other times the Tour rolled on.

Perhaps I am the eternal optimist but given this "crisis" is of our own doing I see no reason why it can't be undone.

Churchill gave a speech during the Great Depression with words to effect of that there was no real reason to have the Depression, there was no great war, famine, flood, or act of God, it was entirely of our doing and hence we could undo it.

If anything a bit of pinch in finances means the bicycle is more of an sensible option for more people than ever before. Maybe not a 10k speed machine but a bike none-the-less.

P.S. Go Lance. Better?
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Drama and controversy has been a part of bike racing since the very beginning, and history is most definitely made by a selective recreation of the past. It's why we're all so enthralled. You know the French call it the Grand Spectacle for a reason. I think it's going to be a great year for bike racing no matter all the B.S. going on these days.
 
Not a chance that it gets cancelled. The Tour is an institution of France.

I remember reading that before the recent flurry of interest in the U.S. that there was a significant percent of viewers of the old World Wide Sports coverage of the Tour that just watched to see pics of the french countryside and picturesque towns. I think it might still be that way in other places because coverage used to include almost travelogue type sections about wine or some other touristy thing. The video coverage that comes from France will often linger over castles and such because they want to showcase the country and attract tourists.
 
Mar 11, 2009
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There may have been a day of protest in France yesterday but estimates suggest 1.5% of the population were on the street. Plenty of people but remember most were at work yesterday.

As for the Tour, of course it will go ahead. Some races might be run as businesses opportunities and yes the Tour is run by ASO but for it's such a strong race economically that it won't be for a lack of money.

But above all, the Tour is part of France. When the sun is shining in July, the Tour is always there, on the radio and TV. It is part of social and cultural heritage and therefore no bank collapse can stop it.

PS: unless there's a very big doping scandal. Each time in the wake of Festina, the Astana and Rasmussen bust, Tour organisers reflected on cancelling the race.
 
Apart from anything else, France has thusfar avoided the worst of the global recession. In fact, they had a slight growth in their economy, last quarter.

If you want to see the recession in action, look no further than Spain.
Next week's Castilla y Leon only just made it to the start line, even with the presence of Lance Bertie and Valverde.

So far, this season, the following races have been economically "frozen"
(off the top of my head)
Tour of Valencia
Catalan Week
Tour of Aragon
Bicicleta Vasca
Tour of Cataluyna (formerly a Pro Tour stage race)

....there are others...

Same in Germany.
What of the US? Will Georgia return, with a sponsor in 2010?

The Tour of France would be the last race to fall.