The Irish playwright Samuel Beckett is famous Waiting for Godot, a play where two characters spend an age waiting for the unknown Godot to turn up. I can’t help feel the same is happening for the Bbox lot, the wait goes on for something that might never happen.
Beckett originally wrote the play in French and it is apparently linked to cycling. The cyclist Roger Godeau was the last rider to enter the velodrome one year in Paris-Roubaix and a dwindling crowd sat in anticipation of the final rider. The wait for Godeau inspired Beckett, although the playwright always entertained myths here, not wanting to give too precise a meaning to his work.
Still, Estragon and Vladimir, the two characters in Beckett’s play, didn’t have to contend with the UCI. Rather than waiting forever, the governing body has a deadline of 1 October for registering a team for 2011. So this week really is crucial, having announced that he’s on the verge of making an announcement many times, team boss Jean-René Bernaudeau just can’t delay any longer. But rather than the usual practice of saying you’re ironing out details, L’Equipe reports Bernaudeau is waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting.
The team currently sits in 19th place in the UCI rankings but many of the good riders with points like Vogondy, Fedrigo, Vogondy, Chainel, Bonnet and Tschopp are on their way out, meaning any sponsor will inherit a team likely to be way down the rankings. If the team is saved there’s every chance it gets blanked by the Tour organisers next July because the roster is too light.
It’s testimony to Bernaudeau and the team culture he’s got that so many riders have agreed to wait rather than jump to another team. But loyalty might have its price. Having just signed J-C Péraud, Ag2r-La Mondiale have announced there’s no money to hire anyone else; meanwhile Cofidis are in contact with Thomas Voeckler but don’t have room to rescue many others.
As ever, the longer this goes on, the worse it gets. Beckett’s play is partly about hope, how people might wait in vain for something thanks to hope of something brighter sustaining them. Sadly the future of the Bbox team isn’t on stage, it’s about real jobs and a clean-living team.