Race and relaxation

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Shangri-La

Fans might flick off the TV after watching a stage race but for the riders there are still struggles to overcome. A weak shower on the team bus followed by a long journey and more often than not, a drab hotel with boring food.

Hotel accommodation can vary. Even the Tour de France sees teams make do with some questionable places, especially when more remote areas are visited and beds are hard to find. You can get a glimpse of this from Radioshack’s Andreas Kloeden. Here’s one photo of a hotel room from last July, via twitter.

Kloeden hotel

Sweet dreams

The German also expressed frustration with other establishments and it’s not a rant from an overpaid sports star, getting  a good night’s rest is vital in a stage race, especially since one team could be posted in a grimy motel whilst others enjoy a prestigious hostelry. Kloeden also took the time to thank the race organisers for a better hotel. ASO has a policy of trying to even out the experience over the three weeks.

Five Star Advertising
Right now the riders probably have it as good as it gets. Both the Tour of Qatar and the Tour of Oman involve luxury five-star hotels. But that is half the point, the Oman race exists largely exists to promote the country as a tourist destination. Twitter is already full of riders praising Oman’s hospitality (again and again). Exactly what the organisers want.

The riders will love this. There are no transfers, after each stage the riders return to their hotel. This might mean a cramped car journey but the bonus is not having to pack the suitcase every day. Above all this looks like the finest hotel any rider can expect during the entire season. Plus it’s not just the riders, journalists are also staying in same place as guests of the race, a taste of luxury that most media expense accounts would normally deny.

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{ 6 comments }

Pedaling the road February 13, 2011 at 4:56 pm

That is why I never fly business and first class, knowing that it would ruin everyone of my future flights completely… (there is also a small element of price involved but that doesn’t count…)

The hotels in Europe is of a somewhat different standard, that is for sure. Hope Klöden gets his air condition this year.

Anon February 13, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Hotel? You might find more roomy jail cells.

bikecellar February 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

Once stayed in a monastery, mid 70s can’t remember the name of the race but started in Lorient visited Rennes and St Briec. May have been The Tour de Ile et Villaine I think thats right, anyway this monastery had a clock tower and every hour the bells chimed ! So not a lot of sleep, there were showers, I remember sitting in the cubicle so shattered I could not stand just letting the hot water pour over me and my shorts which i had soiled during the stage (diarrhoea) I also remember not getting a massage because i was too far down the team pecking order. Happy days! Yes rest and a good overnight are crucial in any stage race.

michael February 13, 2011 at 9:13 pm

The two ProTour races held in Quebec City and Montreal were also stellar on the accomodations and logistics front. The teams were housed in Quebec City at the Chateau Frontenac, only THe most identifiable landmark in all of Quebec City and right in the heart of the old colonial part of town (400 years old. A pittance in Euro standards but as old as it gets on this side of the Atlantic!).

Chartered jet travel to Canada, chartered train between Quebec City-Montreal, chartered travel back to Europe. THAT is how a modern sport should be run.

The Inner Ring February 13, 2011 at 10:42 pm

Pedaling the road: I guess it’s like the saying that you can’t tell what kind of hotel you’re in when you’re asleep. That said, with a short bed and no air con, getting some rest on Kloeden’s “cell” (thanks Anon!) is hard.

bikecellar: glamorous, this sport. At least they didn’t make you get up for morning prayers.

michael: yes, that’s a good point. I’d heard about that. But note that organiser Serge Arsenault sits on a big loss. Loose change for Qatar or Oman but as an independent promoter, Arsenault needs to make ends meet.

michael February 15, 2011 at 3:53 am

Yes, about $1million and change or so for this first go around. He has all 3 levels of government here in Canada backing him however, and given he is a TV station owner/operator as well as the event having been first class all the way through (as well as both exciting races!)

I think that the broadcast rights and associated advertising revenues will expand sufficiently to cover the events over the next couple of years. I also believe that more sponsors will jump onboard with Arseneault, starting this very year. All the better to keep paying for that chartered jet ;)

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