Team Sky is part of the Murdoch/NewsCorp media empire which is trying out an internet paywall on many of its sites. But it seems the concept of sticking up a wall around your assets isn’t reserved for the internet.
That’s the Team Sky bus, but notice the wall. It’s put up so riders can warm-up on their turbo trainers before a race without the pesky public being able to watch.
I really, really don’t like this. Why? Well for starters anyone wanting to warm up on a turbo trainer can do it without a lot of distraction: start riding, pick up the pace and there’s not much more to it, even watching the heart rate and wattage is easy. But above all it is literally putting a wall between riders and the public. One of the most charming aspects of the sport is the way participants and public can mix, it’s rare for other sports to have this. So when I see Sky’s wall, a wistful sigh appears, the way the team doesn’t want to be close to the fans isn’t quite right.
The team would reply that it’s after every gain possible and allowing riders to focus is a benefit but perhaps sometimes what’s good for a rider isn’t good for the sport.
Sky are also missing a marketing opportunity, gawkers get to see the turbo trainers in use and the shiny TT bikes are visible to the public and photographers alike. Indeed according to cyclismag.com, at the Dauphiné prologue Saxo Bank put a tongue in cheek warning near the bikes warning the public not to get too close: “don’t touch, danger of electrocution” said the sign. A nice way to make light of the electric bike controversy.