The French say riding your first grand tour is worth an extra tooth, un dent de plus. The idea is that you come out stronger from the race and can turn over a bigger gear, shift one sprocket. FDJ’s Laurent Pichon has gone about things a different way, he crashed hard yesterday in the opening stage of the Giro and knocked two teeth out of his mouth. Emergency dental work done, he started the team time trial with two brand new teeth. Here’s hoping he gets a third tooth in Brescia, this time on the cassette rather than the gums.
If Pichon’s jaw isn’t too sore he might be able to sing along to the Giro’s official song, Mezza Estate or midsummer. The Giro always always has a song these days. It’s not the most profound piece but that’s the point, it’s designed to be light and catchy.
BBC Pantani Discussion
British radio gave half an hour to discussion Marco Pantani. You can listen to the show here and find cycling writers Matt Rendell, Daniel Friebe and Enzo Vicennati discuss the rider, the man and his career and each brings a different approach.
Giro Revenue Sharing
The excellent Sports Pro magazine hosts a blog and James Emmet has collated some thoughts on the business side of the Giro. In particular he mentions the revenue-sharing project:
When asked for his view on a TV revenue sharing model, RCS Sport chief executive Giacomo Catano recently told SportsPro: “I am in favour. We submitted a proposal in October that was not accepted by the teams. The teams today are not willing to share projects and commitments in the long term. We are not interested to do a short term deal about this very important issue. If we can get long-term guarantees from the teams then we can talk about this.” Essentially RCS is looking for firm guarantees from the teams that their best riders will come to RCS-organised events.
It’s an interesting strategy where RCS is looking to pay teams and their riders a share of TV money if they come to the event. Consider it an investment because money spent can be recouped by greater audience figures. More stars mean more viewers and with a diverse range of teams coming the Giro can raise the price of its TV rights to foreign broadcasters.
But this marks a shift in the power structure of the sport. Sure races have paid appearance money before but a race paying teams money to take part with certain riders changes the concept of the World Tour. It’ll be interesting to see what effect this has on the teams too, because they can hire a star rider and then recoup some of the salary cost by renting him out to RCS but it means teams with fewer stars can’t recover as much money. The rich get richer?
Talking of money, there’s still confusion over the Paul Kimmage Defence Fund. It was outrageous that the UCI was suing Paul Kimmage, especially on a personal basis rather than the newspapers that printed his interviews. The fund raising initiative was worth supporting and encouraged people to donate. However it seems if the fund raising was a success, the fund management is something else. Having promoted this, I thought about writing about it but the story is still ongoing, Velonation probably has the most comprehensive account of things but there are still more questions than answers. The main thing people want to know is that every cent of the money raised can be accounted for and that it’s still available for Paul Kimmage.