Yet Another Cycling Forum

General Category => Freewheeling => Racing => Topic started by: Exit Stage Left on October 19, 2012, 10:15:06 am

Title: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Exit Stage Left on October 19, 2012, 10:15:06 am
With the departure of Rabobank we have to wonder where pro-cycling is going. I'd say that Sky and Katusha provide the model. They are essentially the national cycling bodies dressed up in the sponsor's colours and employing a group of established international pros to bolster home-grown talent. Orica Green Edge is similar, in that it has an agreement with Jayco AIS as a feeder team. There have been periods in the past where national teams have been the norm in the Tour.
I'd not want to go to far down the road of nationalism, cycling has long had an internationalist aspect, but that can also be seen as buccaneering.

Quote
A hundred years before the French Revolution, the buccaneer companies were run on lines in which liberty, equality and fraternity were the rule,[citation needed]. In a buccaneer camp, the captain was elected and could be deposed by the votes of the crew. The crew, and not the captain, decided whether to attack a particular ship, or a fleet of ships.
 
Spoils were evenly divided into shares; the captain received an agreed amount for the ship, plus a portion of the share of the prize money, usually five or six shares.[5] Crews generally had no regular wages, being paid only from their shares of the plunder, a system called "no purchase, no pay" by Modyford or "no prey, no pay" by Exquemelin. There was a strong esprit among buccaneers. This, combined with overwhelming numbers, allowed them to win battles and raids. There was also, for some time, a social insurance system guaranteeing compensation for battle wounds at a worked-out scale.[6]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buccaneer

There seems to be an appetite for more control of economic matters at a state level, and cycling seems to be moving in the direction of a patriotic pursuit. Quite how that blends with its piratical roots I'll be interested to see.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Seineseeker on October 19, 2012, 03:40:10 pm
Well I suppose there will also be a plethora of french teams, many of which will ride the tour each year. Not sure if I watch cycling for the racing any more, I just for the scenery and wanting to ride those roads myself one day.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: hubner on October 19, 2012, 03:56:25 pm
IIRC for a few years the Tour de France had national teams, but it's only one race in the season and riders rode in their normal trade teams for the rest of the year.

Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on October 19, 2012, 06:25:36 pm
I think perhaps a third of TdFs have had national teams. The world championships and Olympics are national teams.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Exit Stage Left on October 19, 2012, 07:15:44 pm
Three nations have two pro-tour teams, the USA, France and Italy.
We thought that the USA had a good record, their last win TdF may be pushed back to 1990. France last won in 1985, Italy in 1998 if we count Pantani. There may be some attraction in loosely linking the national team to a pro team as in Sky and Katusha, so that the IOC protocols apply.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: hubner on October 19, 2012, 08:09:08 pm
Quote
Three nations have two pro-tour teams, the USA, France and Italy.
We thought that the USA had a good record, their last win TdF may be pushed back to 1990. France last won in 1985, Italy in 1998 if we count Pantani. There may be some attraction in loosely linking the national team to a pro team as in Sky and Katusha, so that the IOC protocols apply.

Do you mean the last American, French, Italian winners were in 1990, 1985, 1998 respectively?

I must be weird, if a French/UK/Italian rider won I never think of France/UK/Italy winning the race.


I think perhaps a third of TdFs have had national teams. The world championships and Olympics are national teams.

More like a quarter, early 30s to 1961 with 1940-1946 not raced. But the TdF 'national ' teams are not the usual type of national teams you find in most sports. There were regional French teams, and mixed teams made up of eg Luxemburg and German riders.

The Olympics are of no consequence as far as pro cycling is concerned.

Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Exit Stage Left on October 19, 2012, 08:51:03 pm

Do you mean the last American, French, Italian winners were in 1990, 1985, 1998 respectively?

I must be weird, if a French/UK/Italian rider won I never think of France/UK/Italy winning the race.



I did say that I'd not be keen on pro-cycling losing its internationalist quality, but there's a shift to linking that with globalisation and an almost piratical and feral capitalism, win at all costs and never mind the shame.
Dave Beresford essentially set forth a nationalistic prospectus with his vision of a British rider winning the Tour within five years. Combine that with the success of the Olympics, especially for the French, and it's possible to discern a shift. For the French one of the roots of patriotism is Amour Propre. Propre is also the term for 'clean' as in drug-free.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: mzjo on October 19, 2012, 09:33:23 pm
I have thought for some time that there is actually a place for a "formule libre" in cycle racing where riders were permitted everything, were uncontrolled and were assumed to dope to their eyeballs. All riders, managers etc. would be assumed responsible for their own welfare (requiring private medical insurance to pay for everything, including for a long period after their retirement from racing) and would be forbidden from the "clean" competition for 10 years after quitting uncontrolled competition. At the same time riders even suspected of doping in clean competition could be banned for life or until proven clean (or they could transfer to uncontrolled racing). I think people would still be thrilled by the "superhuman" exploits of doped riders.
Of course doped riders would have to take full responsibility for their eventual ill-health or death. Their choice, their problem.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Toady on October 20, 2012, 10:07:02 am
From what I've read on the history of le Tour the period of national teams originated in Henri Desgrange's dislike and distrust of the sponsored teams.  In fact he only grudgingly accepted the concept of teams at all, his vision of the race being individuals suffering terribly on their own.  With no gears.  Preferably on fixies. 

Once derailleurs were allowed the slide into drugged up softies eating ice cream in luxury coaches with flush toilets was inevitable.

Perhaps the Tour should go back to its roots.  Although I find it hard to imagine a rider finding a modern day blacksmiths where he could fix his carbon forks - with no outside assistance. 
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: LittleWheelsandBig on October 20, 2012, 12:18:02 pm
I think perhaps a third of TdFs have had national teams. The world championships and Olympics are national teams.

More like a quarter, early 30s to 1961 with 1940-1946 not raced. But the TdF 'national ' teams are not the usual type of national teams you find in most sports. There were regional French teams, and mixed teams made up of eg Luxemburg and German riders.

The Olympics are of no consequence as far as pro cycling is concerned.

'67 and '68 had national teams too, from memory.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: andrew_s on October 20, 2012, 12:48:18 pm
I have thought for some time that there is actually a place for a "formule libre" in cycle racing where riders were permitted everything, were uncontrolled and were assumed to dope to their eyeballs.
Cloud cuckoo land.

How do you propose to keep management and suppliers out of prison when someone dies?
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: mzjo on October 20, 2012, 01:42:16 pm
I have thought for some time that there is actually a place for a "formule libre" in cycle racing where riders were permitted everything, were uncontrolled and were assumed to dope to their eyeballs.
Cloud cuckoo land.

How do you propose to keep management and suppliers out of prison when someone dies?

What happens now? If there is no need to hide doping it will be much easier to catch managers, doctors and suppliers who cause death. I don't particularly want to keep them out of jail. They will have to live with their individual responsibilities just like the riders, but one would hope without a wall of silence to protect them. Contract lawyers could have a field day though!!
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Bledlow on October 20, 2012, 01:55:11 pm
Three nations have two pro-tour teams, the USA, France and Italy.
We thought that the USA had a good record, their last win TdF may be pushed back to 1990. France last won in 1985, Italy in 1998 if we count Pantani. There may be some attraction in loosely linking the national team to a pro team as in Sky and Katusha, so that the IOC protocols apply.
What about Spain (though one can argue that one team is Basque, not Spanish), the Netherlands & Belgium?  And I thought the USA had three. Or have things changed in the last few months?
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Exit Stage Left on October 20, 2012, 06:59:26 pm
Three nations have two pro-tour teams, the USA, France and Italy.
We thought that the USA had a good record, their last win TdF may be pushed back to 1990. France last won in 1985, Italy in 1998 if we count Pantani. There may be some attraction in loosely linking the national team to a pro team as in Sky and Katusha, so that the IOC protocols apply.
What about Spain (though one can argue that one team is Basque, not Spanish), the Netherlands & Belgium?  And I thought the USA had three. Or have things changed in the last few months?

You're right about Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UCI_ProTour#List_of_current_UCI_ProTeams

We also see wild card teams from the lower divisions at the TdF.

Germany is the obvious absentee from the list of nations with a Pro Tour Team. HTC Highroad were the last remnant of the German cycling boom. Most of the German cyclists you might immediately think of were from the former East Germany. Christian Knees is an exception, he's from Bonn.
It's surprising that Denmark still has a team and that Riis is still in charge of it.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Cudzoziemiec on October 20, 2012, 10:09:07 pm
National teams would make management of personalities and alignment of goals much more important. There would be nowhere for Cav to move to if he doesn't feel he's getting enough support at the green jersey. I suppose those intra-team clashes would help spice up the racing and more so the interest beyond the actual racing, along the lines of Bartali and Coppi or Anquetil and Poulidor.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: mzjo on October 20, 2012, 10:30:47 pm
National teams would make management of personalities and alignment of goals much more important. There would be nowhere for Cav to move to if he doesn't feel he's getting enough support at the green jersey. I suppose those intra-team clashes would help spice up the racing and more so the interest beyond the actual racing, along the lines of Bartali and Coppi or Anquetil and Poulidor.

But these intra-team clashes couldn't occurr! They only happened before because existing trade team rivalries were transerred to the national teams for the duration of the TdF. It also gave the ridiculous situation where the 1948 Italian national team were using IIRC three different makes of transmissions between Bartalists and Coppists (+ another one for the junior team) for the TdF
I think on the whole that teams organised on non-national lines are better for the riders, giving more options to avoid personality clashes that could distract attention from the actual racing.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Bledlow on October 20, 2012, 10:59:47 pm
It's surprising that Denmark still has a team and that Riis is still in charge of it.
Came clean, didn't he? Owned up & promised to be good. AFAIK he never gave an outright denial, resorting to a studied ambiguity, & I've never heard of him bullying or threatening in the way Armstrong is reported to have done. He also pre-empted the withdrawal of his TdF win. Very un-Armstrong-like behaviour.

Riis bought the team & propped it up with his own money when it lacked a sponsor. It would have folded but for him.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Rhys W on October 21, 2012, 12:01:01 am
It's surprising that Denmark still has a team and that Riis is still in charge of it.
Came clean, didn't he? Owned up & promised to be good.

Huh? Have you read Tyler Hamilton's book?

Riis is the classic example of the doped rider turned blind-eyed DS.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Jakob on October 21, 2012, 04:09:54 am
It's surprising that Denmark still has a team and that Riis is still in charge of it.
Came clean, didn't he? Owned up & promised to be good.

Huh? Have you read Tyler Hamilton's book?

Riis is the classic example of the doped rider turned blind-eyed DS.

Riis didn't admit to doping until 2007, after Hamilton had left CSC.
He (Riis) did however promote CSC's whereabouts system, stating that they were the most dilligent anti-doping team on the pro-tour...not unlike Team Sky.

I just finished Hamilton's book this week and it was quite good...it also left me with no doubt that the pro's are still doping and just haven't been caught yet.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Justin(e) on October 21, 2012, 06:46:42 am
I just finished Hamilton's book this week and it was quite good...it also left me with no doubt that the pro's are still doping and just haven't been caught yet.

This is a quote from Mike Ashenden who has been mentioned in several reports as the world's leading anti doping scientist.  He notes that there are several doping methods for which there are no tests.

Quote
MIKE ASHENDEN, SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY AGAINST BLOOD DOPING: The whole point of blood doping is to increase the number of red cells in your circulation. The blood transfusions have the advantage of not being detectable. Even today, we don't have a foolproof method of establishing when an athlete has re-infused their own blood.

QUENTIN MCDERMOTT: So does that mean that athletes now, and cyclists now, are transfusing their own blood back into themselves?

MIKE ASHENDEN: There's no doubt. There's no doubt that's happening.

From ABC 4 corners program (http://www.abc.net.au/4corners/stories/2012/10/11/3608613.htm)
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Exit Stage Left on October 21, 2012, 09:48:44 am
I don't anticipate national teams, in the sense of riders all from one nation. I'm just looking at Sky, Katusha and Orica Greenedge as possible models. Australia pioneered the Institute of Sports concept, which bridges the gap between amateur and professional.
What we have seen in the last two decades has been a fusion of the soigneur culture of pro cycling pre 92 , and the systematic doping of the old Eastern Bloc sports institutes.
The dissolution of the East German sports institute was the opening of a Pandora's box, all the expertise inherent in that body was dispersed around the world. We need to contain that part of sporting culure within appropriate structures, it's our only hope.
Sky, Katusha and Orica Greenadge are quasi-autonomous offshoots of the national cycling bodies. That works for nations with a certain type of cycling culture, It would work for Germany. It would work for smaller nations if they combined, so a Scandanavian team might be viable, or at a regional level, a Breton Team for instance.
There will always be freelance riders from the likes of Canada or Slovenia, and they will probably find slots as domestiques or sprinters. But the thrust of the teams will be to find and develop domestic GC and Classics riders.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Tewdric on October 24, 2012, 02:29:02 pm
One interesting phenomena to attempt to track is the slow change in pro cycling culture from soigneurs and inherited folklore, to embracing sports science and evidence based performance management.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Exit Stage Left on October 24, 2012, 02:39:04 pm
One interesting phenomena to attempt to track is the slow change in pro cycling culture from soigneurs and inherited folklore, to embracing sports science and evidence based performance management.

I explored this on the Lance thread. Charlie Walsh, was a key figure.
Quote
1982. Gained an F.I.A.C./U.C.I. International Cycling Coaches Diploma in East Germany
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charlie_Walsh

On the collapse of the Berlin Wall he was supposed to have bought up the DDR's cycling training records, then there was Heiko Salzwedel.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heiko_Salzwedel
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on October 24, 2012, 02:43:19 pm
MIKE ASHENDEN: There's no doubt. There's no doubt that's happening.
[/quote]

Does he really call himself a scientist?

If that's an accurate quote, then I, for one, have no respect for him whatsoever.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: Justin(e) on October 25, 2012, 08:42:56 am
MIKE ASHENDEN: There's no doubt. There's no doubt that's happening.

Does he really call himself a scientist?

If that's an accurate quote, then I, for one, have no respect for him whatsoever.

It is an accurate quote because I watched the 4-corners program where the video of him saying this was played.  (4 corners is the ABC equivalent of Panorama).  Link posted upstream is you want to verify it yourself.

What is the problem with the statement?  This guy regularly talks to elite athletes and may have heard directly from them or seen it directly himself.  Everything else about him comes across as extremely credible.  You should read his polemic against scientists who claim to have discovered physiological differences in Armstrong - elegant and powerful.  He is balanced and thoughtful for the way ahead - in simplistic language, I really think he is one of the good guys.  Of course, you are entitled to your opinions and YMMV.

Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: mrcharly-YHT on October 25, 2012, 09:04:41 am
For a scientist to say "there is no doubt" requires a higher level of proof than a bit of hearsay and some personal feelings.

I've read the full transcript of one interview with him and he justifies some of his statements by saying things like "I don't believe LA is that tall, he's 5'6" at the most".

Erm, how about going from measurements?  Besides, 5'6" is very short for a man, so if LA was that height it would be very obvious in photos.

Nope, I don't have any respect for this guy. He may be right, but to me he comes across as a publicity-seeker, not a professional.
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: henshaw11 on October 25, 2012, 05:45:54 pm
For a scientist to say "there is no doubt" requires a higher level of proof than a bit of hearsay and some personal feelings.

I've read the full transcript of one interview with him and he justifies some of his statements by saying things like "I don't believe LA is that tall, he's 5'6" at the most".

Erm, how about going from measurements?  Besides, 5'6" is very short for a man, so if LA was that height it would be very obvious in photos.

Nope, I don't have any respect for this guy. He may be right, but to me he comes across as a publicity-seeker, not a professional.

Simply because if there's a scheme which is undetectable, past experience (not to mention the statements of various riders that have doped, whether or not they were caught) would indicate that the probability of someone doping in that situation is a virtual certainty - and maybe he knows more than that.

Of course, you could argue it that a virtual certainty isn't the same as 'no doubt', in the same way I could argue that this forum is a figment of my fevered imagination, as someone swings Schroedinger's cat around the room by it's tail..
Title: Re: The future of pro cycling.
Post by: David Martin on October 26, 2012, 11:02:45 am
Wikipedia gives armstrong's height as 5' 9 1/2"

5' 6" is a perfect height for a man :)