100 days until 2012 season

Friday, 7 October 2011

Tour Down Under

There’s 100 days until the 2012 cycling season starts with the Tour Down Under on Sunday 15 January 2012. It’s just a round number but us humans seem to like them.

The 2011 season has yet to finish, indeed this Sunday’s Paris-Tours and the upcoming races in Italy like the Gran Piemonte and especially the Giro di Lombardia are some of the best races in the season.

Nevertheless the new season is fast approaching and two days ago Cadel Evans stated he won’t do the Tour Down Under, a sign that it’s not far away. The Aussie race itself expects to offer a modified format thanks to the inclusion of a small “summit” finish on Willunga Hill.

But oddly if some riders are planning their calendar already, there are still many uncertainties for next year. One reader emailed to express concern that Mark Cavendish was World Champion but still could not find a team for next year; in reality he has the luxury of picking a team and shouldn’t be unemployed. The deadline for team transfers is 20 October.

Talking of teams we don’t know which squads are in place for the next season either. Several teams want to ride the World Tour and start with the Aussie race but can’t make plans yet. Indeed some might not know until November or even December if they’re flying out which isn’t helpful. There’s still more to plan for next year. We don’t know of Alberto Contador will be riding for example.

Longer term I can’t help wonder if the idea of a cycling season is redundant? Up to now winter in Europe meant racing stopped but with the sport spreading, this could change. Tennis for example happens all year round. Obviously cycling can be far more tiring but riders could be free to have breaks throughout the year rather than being on duty from January to October. There’s talk of new events coming in South America and India.

Either way if the season is coming to an end, the new one isn’t that far away and there’s plenty to watch over the winter.

Starr October 7, 2011 at 4:03 pm

South American events are big in Nov/Dec
Heck, the Vuelta a Costa Rica happens for 12 days over Xmas

Mauro Figueira October 7, 2011 at 9:45 pm

Volta Ciclistica São Paulo Internacional is held next week. In October, 9-23 and 956km accumulated route. 13 teams and a 104 riders peloton will cover the countryside roads of São Paulo state.

TotheBillyoh October 8, 2011 at 12:20 am

The rise of a mass consumer class in the ‘third world’ and their desire for leisure activities is fueling a major shift in many sports. Formula1 is but one example. It is easy to see a number of scenarios arising for world cycling, including an Ecclestone type take-over, depending how the UCI meets the challenges. Advertising dollars will drive it and I can easily see the European federations and European events becoming marginalised by new players.

The Tour Down Under comes at a terrible time for riders trying to dose their energies over a year in order to be competitive in Europe for the big money events. However were it part of an Asian focused circuit that may all change.

Sinai October 8, 2011 at 2:26 am

An off-season is also important for the fans. It gives us a chance to “miss” cycling and it builds expectation for next year.

Larry T. October 9, 2011 at 3:51 pm

And the tennis pros are complaining about the endless season. It’s like football (soccer) here in Italy, it NEVER seems to end. I like an off-season for the reasons Sinai described.

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