Sunday Shorts

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?

Kimmage Fund
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.

14 thoughts on “Sunday Shorts”

  1. I learned that the Univ of Ferarra was using Marco as “test pilot”. I learned that even tho he doped,
    he suffered on the bike, showing more emotion than what we see and have seen in the past 10 years or so.
    I learned that Marco was quite humble and ‘blue collar’ about most things related to training.
    Frankly, it is the emotion and suffereing that draws me into the sport. If someone races too calculated
    I could care less about his/her result. All of that is for playing chess, not racing bikes.
    The Italian guest makes an interesting statement at the conclusion to the segment, saying
    that he tells your riders to try and see the positive attributes of Marco’s training style; (shunning
    technological gadgetry and data) and to have the fire to attack more when they race.
    He says that bike racing is very technologically advanced now, but cycling is not a “sharp” sport
    and we need more riders who can show fire on the bike.

    • Agreed! Other competitors shake their heads and smile in a condescending when they ask
      me about my training numbers/data and I reply that I did not switch my bike computer on,
      but just rode according to intention and feeling my body’s reactions!

      • Having crashed my bike last Sunday and lost three teeth I’m still waiting on stitches to be removed before they can even tackle my missing teeth! I can only presume that his was a “clean” crash and the teeth came straight out with little damage elsewhere.

  2. The revenue sharing deal might be good for Giro and teams but what of others races? Will Tour of California not have money so it gets the small names only ?

    • It was the “Amgen” (now there’s a sponsor made for cycling!) Tour of California’s decision to go up against the Giro. I suspect they thought their “markets” would ensure bigger names than the giro but thankfully, even if that’s been the case the world of cycling has still focused on the more historically significant race.

      I’m sure they’d still get reasonably good riders – the sprinters in Turkey were better than those in Romandy. Regardless of money being paid to teams certain riders will still have certain objectives that won’t fit.

  3. So in this ‘revenue sharing’ idea, what happens if the Giro pays a lot of money to Sky to bring Wiggins again next year, and he rides at half pace because he’s focusing on the Tour again?

  4. To me, RCS’ plan is one of shared risk with the teams over time. The next question is if this is the direction the sport wants to grow in. I think it will be beneficial to all parties to insure the survivability of the major races and allow the major teams to survive as well. It is okay with me if ‘the rich get richer’ so long as they are playing by the same rules that apply to everyone – it encourages risk taking on all parties. This leads to better and more exciting venues.

  5. As far as the Kimmage Fund is concerned – and having donated myself – yes, I want the money accounted for as I don’t want to see it mis-appropriated. However, I also want to know the current position of the UCI’s legal action. If there is no longer a lawsuit to defend then the money should be refunded or given to a charity.

    I donated to fund the defence against an unjust personal attack on journalism and free-speech. I did not donate toa Paul Kimmage Slush Fund

    • Same here. But from what I gathered, Kimmage is not the issue. He doesn’t have access to the funds himself.

      The issue seems to be with the guys that setup the fund, and how they have transfered/managed/appropriated it.

  6. Check RaceRadio’s twitter feed – links to audio with Aaron not sounding too trustable regarding the usage of the Kimmage money. I really hope it’s been taken out of context but it doesn’t look good.

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