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Friday Shorts


Richie Porte wants to ride the Tour de France and Olympics. “I didn’t leave Team Sky for BMC just to target the Giro d’Italia” he tells cyclingnews.com. This has always been the plan and it seems the idea is to keep Tejay van Garderen on his toes, to provide internal competition for him as well as one of the most well-funded teams in the sport simply being able to buy a strong leader like this. Rohan Dennis has to fit into this too.

Porte became an internet buzz for his Giro wheel change and motorhome but the real story should have been his overall wins in the Volta ao Algarve, Paris-Nice, Catalonia and Trentino, an invincible streak from February to April which made him the world’s No.1 ranked rider for the first third of the season. These intra-team rivalries are always interesting in part because they’re exercises in linguistic gymnastics, riders try to stake their claims while also hoping to come across as harmonious. Expect a van Garderen rebuttal interview with Velonews in the coming days.

Dimension Data could well be in the World Tour for 2016. They were on the list of Pro Conti teams but have since secured more sponsorship and in an interview with cyclingtips the team owner Doug Ryder says they can move up. Oddly he’s waiting for a phone call from the UCI, saying “They [the UCI] will probably give us a call” rather than asking for the upgrade but it makes sense for everyone especially as here’s a team with some huge corporate names that don’t like to play in the second division. Di Data have green and black corporate branding so will it mark the end of the black and white kit?

Marcel Kittel has moved to Etixx-Quickstep. A clever transfer by Patrick Lefevere who’s surely got the Germany sprinter for a good price. People have asked about his sprint train and this looks to be the weak point but Etixx-Quickstep as a whole won’t mind, he is not the team’s central rider so if he picks off a few wins in the year helped by a smaller train, whether the Scheldeprijs or a Tour de France stage, then it’ll all work out fine for everyone. The transfer also helps Giant-Alpecin who’d been worried about being able to meet the bill for win bonuses in the past.

Deserted: There have been several emails and tweets asking about the Abu Dhabi Tour. Watching it yesterday you saw the 5km to go banner and felt relief rather than excitement, the hope that it would all end. In Qatar teams are doing drills for the sprint classics and keen to test their form but by now everyone looks tired. Still, let’s wait until the end of the race before reviewing it, cycling fans are a conservative bunch there were probably people slating the Tour de France when it was launched because it was new and excessive. Saturday’s stage around the Yas motor circuit promises a small first with images from the onboard bike cameras set to form part of the live broadcast output. There’ll be a closer look at the race in the coming days.

Ciao! Abu Dhabi is owned by RCS Sport, owners of the Giro. RCS Sport is in turn part of RCS Media, a large Italian media conglomerate. It’s suffering, the stock price looks the the profile of a downhill time trial and has just cratered to a new low. Compounding this the boss Pietro Scott Jovane has just walk out. Pushed or jumped? It doesn’t mean much for cycling for now, as much as we might think the Giro is huge, it’s only a tiny niche of RCS’s media empire.

Gains Marginaux, Part I
From firing to hiring Ag2r La Mondiale have recruited another coach according to French website Direct Velo. Samuel Bellenoue will specialise in nutrition and altitude training camps and joins a staff of three other coaches already. It’s all part of the team’s drive to invest in performance and support.

Gains Marginaux, Part II
It was touched on in the Lombardia review but FDJ will stop sponsoring their cyclo-cross specialist Francis Mourey. He’s landed on his feet with a contract from Fortuneo-Vital Concept, the new name for Bretagne-Séché in 2016 and has been almost invincible in French CX races although he’s 34 now and Clément Venturini of Cofidis is starting to get the better of him. Team boss Marc Madiot loves his cyclo-cross, part of his empiricism that goes like this: “I did CX and won Paris-Roubaix so you should do CX“. The money saved on Mourey is being ploughed into windtunnel sessions, altitude training camps and stage race recons and it’s not just Mourey’s wage bill, there’s the cost of a soigneur and mechanic for him plus the vehicles to keep him on the road, a camper van and a supply truck.

Both cases show the French team playing catch-up and it’s still a long way from Team Sky who can afford to hire staff like Robby Ketchell as data analysts.

Night time testing
A quick briefing on night time anti-doping tests in France. They can now happen in France but as ever it’s all about the details and these new tests come with beaucoup strings attached. First is the sine qua non that the testers must have “serious and specific suspicions” meaning they cannot blanket test riders but have demonstrate grounds for the test. Next athletes have to consent to them, for those in France they must sign up for this at least once every six months while foreign athletes visiting France can sign up this way or by accepting the rules as part of a race, eg the Tour de France requires riders to agree and requests a signature. Athletes may say “no” to it all but the testers can still return if they have a warrant from a judge after pleading their case to the judiciary.

Last chance
This Sunday’s Paris-Tours is the last race on TV this year and often with a thrilling finish. There will be a preview here in due course.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • MinorinUltras Friday, 9 October 2015, 11:38 am

    Small correction, Porte didn’t win the Volta ao Algarve this year- Thomas did. Porte won the queen stage.

    Thanks for the article & your great work as always.

  • Lanterne Verte Friday, 9 October 2015, 12:10 pm

    I thought you might mention the Riis comeback rumours, perhaps they are still too vague to merit inclusion here. Team Tinkoff do seem to be a bit slow on the uptake regarding rider recruitment announcements though, could that indicate something going on with the future of the team? Only Trufimov and Blythe declared as joining so far and an otherwise ageing team with seven riders confirmed as leaving and Basso retiring, it doesn’t look great compared with the increasing strength of Sky in particular. I do wonder if further announcements are being delayed pending a big decision on ownership/sponsorship/mamagement. I know that many teams still have spaces to fill for next year and it is relatively early days but I would have thought a team with Contador, Sagan and especially Tinkov involved would be making more noise in the media about new signings.

  • Chris Friday, 9 October 2015, 12:16 pm

    I think you mean “intRA-team” rivalries?

    🙂

  • Special Eyes Friday, 9 October 2015, 12:30 pm

    The night-time drug testing ; do you know at this point if this to be woven in to the MPCC’S voluntary code ?

  • J Evans Friday, 9 October 2015, 12:40 pm

    Is BMC’s aim really going to be two potential top fives at the Tour?
    If I was either rider, I’d want to try to win the Giro, knowing that that was my only hope of victory (and not a huge one at that).
    Is Porte aware of his grand tour palmares? He’s a proven stage race rider, but a lot of the biggest riders aren’t really trying to win those races – and they’re only a week long.
    If I was their boss, I’d put both of them in the Giro and hope they could get something.
    Whilst we’re on the subject of possibly over-rated anglo riders, does anyone know why Talansky was so woeful this season?

    • CM Friday, 9 October 2015, 1:41 pm

      Re Porte’s ambition: it might seem he is deluded but presumably he has a pretty good knowledge of whether he can hang with and beat Froome at least.

      • Anonymous Friday, 9 October 2015, 4:24 pm

        I just don’t think he’s got a chance against Froome. If he did, there would not even be a discussion of sharing with van Garderen. Teejay’s not in that league. Either.

        • ccotenj Friday, 9 October 2015, 10:12 pm

          other than quintana, and possibly contador*, who does have a chance against an in-form froome (e.g. in july)? until proven otherwise, everyone else is riding for position at the tour (assuming no injuries, etc.)..

          the giro may be their best shot at a podium… and even a podium is a big ask from either one of them…

          * given it is alberto’s last year, i expect a belly full of fire… whether that fire can overcome (what i believe to now be) the physical advantage froome/qunitana hold remains to be seen…

          • gabriele Friday, 9 October 2015, 10:46 pm

            Nibali*

            * an in-form, better-supported than this year, and perhaps a bit luckier… Nibali. If he doesn’t ride the Giro, obviously.

          • J Evans Friday, 9 October 2015, 11:00 pm

            I think people are unconvinced as to whether or not Nibali has the talent. I’m one of them. Not his fault, necessarily, but he has yet to win a grand tour against the best. Also, he just doesn’t seem to have the climbing talent of the other three.

          • J Evans Friday, 9 October 2015, 11:02 pm

            I could be wrong, though… and suspect that you’re now going to produce a welter of evidence to show just that.

          • gabriele Saturday, 10 October 2015, 12:04 am

            ccotenj was speaking of “having a chance” (and not purely by chance, of course). I think that Nibali is in the mix, even if I’d agree that his chances are lower than the others’.

            Debating about talent doesn’t make much sense when you’ve got such results and such a career – probably unconvinced people just haven’t seen enough of his races. When you’ve got talent, glimpses of it also surface early on… And discussing about rivals makes little sense when you win that much: luck has some limits. On the other hand, Froome’s victories could be analysed and devaluated, if one wanted to do so, as well as Quintana’s. Though, I consider this approach utterly useless. Let’s drop it.

            However… perhaps Nibali isn’t as good a climber as the others in the typical climbing conditions we’ve been used to see along with a certain way of racing (without being that far, according to numbers, for what they’re worth), but what gives him more options is that his climbing strengths are radically different than, say, Froome’s – which mean that with the adequate support – within his team or from other teams with similar interests – he can deploy a strategy to change the relative relations of superiority we’re taking for granted.
            Aru, and Contador, too (and Valverde, and Purito, and Porte, and many others), are someway like Froome, even if Contador tried to turn the process of aging to his advantage shifting his capabilities in a different direction.
            Quintana is a different affair, indeed, but maybe he can suffer more against Nibali in other occasions… ITTs, to start with (even if I don’t think that the Colombian is that bad a time-triallist, everything until now says that Nibali is on a way better level).

          • J Evans Saturday, 10 October 2015, 12:58 am

            Gabriele, how exactly do you mean this: ‘what gives him more options is that his climbing strengths are radically different’? Thanks.

          • gabriele Saturday, 10 October 2015, 2:26 pm

            In short (which means ‘in a very rough and superficial way’), Froome has got a better power peak in time-limited efforts, not necessarily super-short but quite defined, Nibali performs better when several high level efforts are required before the finale. Generally speaking, Nibali can’t achieve Froome’s top power output, but his performance looks like to ‘decrease less’ under a series of circumstances (long-range efforts, ‘hard-men’ stages etc.). If they both can ride at their 110%, Froome’s generally faster, but when they’re forced to ride to lesser ‘percentages’ of ‘effort’ (this post is becoming a brier of inverted commas 🙁 ), or when the power output is otherwise reduced by race conditions, Nibali comes closer and can even perform better. A flashy toy with lots of lights and effects but short battery life vs. an old affordable cell phone which you needn’t charge in two weeks or so 🙂 The latter may not have the best apps around for the urbanite, but I’d go for it if I had to travel in the jungle 😛
            That said, Froome has metamorphosed before and might do it again.

          • ccotenj Saturday, 10 October 2015, 2:27 pm

            @gabriele… i’m willing to allow that an in-form (and mentally happy) nibali, properly supported, and with proper tactics can be added to that small group… as you note, it is possible for a team to tactically “bend” the race in the direction they want it to go…

            i think it is a wise decision not to attempt to deconstruct wins (at least at this level, since i happily deconstructed talansky’s dauphine to make a point earlier)… nibali is a multiple gt winner, and deserves his palmares… he won the tour, fair and square…

            however, like j evans, i still think he is a bit short talent-wise… that being said, i can easily construct a scenario in my mind where (through a combination of parcours and tactics), nibali can beat the other 3… since i can constuct that scenario, and i can’t logically create a scenario for anyone other than him to be included*, i’m willing to “buy in” on including him on the short list…

            * i’m not yet an aru believer… yet… i have to admit that the vuelta put a big dent in that “lack of belief” though…

          • ccotenj Saturday, 10 October 2015, 2:36 pm

            shoot, your post just beat mine gabriele…

            fwiw, i’d buy that logic… 🙂 all of it makes sense…

            if i was a betting man (wait, i AM a betting man 🙂 ), i would still place my primary wager on one of the other 3, but i’d also be willing to put a small one on nibali, especially if the odds are friendly…

            it’s a totally impractical idea, but it would be cool if we could just line the 4 of them up at the start of the race, no teams, no other competitors, just a support car, and say “go”… i wonder what would happen after 21 days?

          • gabriele Saturday, 10 October 2015, 3:28 pm

            @ccotenj
            Generally agreed. Not to make this thread longer and more impractical than it already is, I’ll add just a couple of points.
            First, not only Nibali is a three-GT winner (which, to me, says more about *talent* than winning three of the same, be it even the Tour – winning three Tours would say a lot about your physical and mental strength, but *talent*, IMHO, is a more subtle thing), he’s now also a Monument winner who podiumed in a couple of other Monuments, too. Repeated top performances in a variety of classics say a lot more about your talent than GTs. Not that if you don’t perform well in one-day races you’ve got no talent, or less talent, but if you do, and not just sometime by chance, it proves a point: we can be pretty sure that *you’ve got it*. You may get great results in GTs (especially the Tour) out of pure power, that is, *preparation*, ‘mere’ physical superiority and being built-up to… that’s way harder in the Classics.
            Second, in your mind experiment, I know who would win – Vinokourov 😉
            If not him, Contador. If not him, Nibali… for no other reason than the following one: in a group of four strong riders, the weakest hence less watched one tends to receive a huge tactical bonus. Nibali would be able to take advantage of it.

          • Strictly Amateur / The GCW Sunday, 11 October 2015, 3:38 am

            To add about Nibali & talent,

            There is mention of GT’s having less mountain top finishes, yet having more mountain climbs with a descent after and near the finish; Nibali appeared to have an honest advantage and great talent in those, demonstrated at Il Lombardia. More of those type stages in a GT, sways toward Nibali, over Froome, yes?

            I’m not convinced a healthy Nibali can beat a healthy Froome, but…

          • J Evans Monday, 12 October 2015, 9:05 pm

            Thanks for the reply, Gabriele – only just had a chance to read it. You both make interesting points here – and I like a more well-rounded rider like Nibali too.

    • cd Friday, 9 October 2015, 2:40 pm

      Given the Giro course, I’d think both would want to do it and then role the dice as “support” in the TdF. It gives you the chance one year to see how preparing differently for the TdF might go. You never know you might feel great and at worst you probably got a better result in the Giro then you would have going in fresh to the TdF.

    • ccotenj Friday, 9 October 2015, 3:11 pm

      re: bmc…

      who knows what they are thinking? ever since cadel retired, and they lost the “let’s win cadel his tour” motivation, it seems like they are direction-less… given tejay’s apparent mental fragility, i don’t find it likely that bringing a “competitor” to him into the team will inspire him to better results… and we “know” porte would be an unlikely gt winner…

      so now they have a mentally wounded tejay, and an “almost good enough but not quite” porte… as well as a team that (again, imo) that doesn’t have the rest of the riders required to support a gt winner… i’ll give them credit for one thing, they sure are good at team tt’s…

      they are a good example of “just because you have a lot of money, it doesn’t mean you automatically will have a winning team”… you still need to spend it right…

      re: talansky…

      imo, he has regressed to his mean in terms of results, probably over-regressed a bit, and may stabilize a bit higher in results next year, although that is a “may”, not a “will”…

      his dauphine win* “fooled” people into thinking he was better than he really is, and gave certain segments of the cycling media an american they could talk about all the time… i would be willing to make a substantial wager that he will never win a race that “big” again…

      just sticking to americans, it’s common around these parts to beat up on tejay (i just did this myself above), but imo, talansky is at least one, if not two, levels behind tejay… based on that opinion, talansky has a long way to go to even be considered a top 10 stage racer…

      * which i give him great credit for taking when the opportunity was presented to him… but that opportunity was “presented” to him by others screwing around, he didn’t “make” the opportunity…

      • J Evans Friday, 9 October 2015, 3:37 pm

        Yes, I only thought that Talansky was approaching roughly the same level as TVG – and agree with all you say above – but this year he didn’t seem to get near that.

        • ccotenj Friday, 9 October 2015, 6:35 pm

          agree, it was definitely a severe regression… and not that i can read his mind, or know his feelings, but it is possible the nasty crashes the previous year are still mentally taking their toll… he wouldn’t be the first rider to take longer to heal mentally than physically…

          also, it might be interesting to see him on a different (preferably european) based team…

          side note to the above: taylor phinney coming right back in and racing like he basically never left was an amazing show of mental fortitude…

          • Garuda Saturday, 10 October 2015, 8:59 am

            I wouldn’t call the 14+ months he was out as “right back in”.

    • Larry T. Friday, 9 October 2015, 4:04 pm

      BMC seems to be using a shotgun approach – spraying money all over and hoping to somehow hit a Grand Tour bullseye. They don’t seem too great at developing any talents so they buy the best ones on the market (though they’re often past their sell-by date) and cross their fingers. Makes one sadly wonder what a talented director (perhaps from Italy or France as in Marc Madiot or Giancarlo Ferretti?) could do with that kind of dough and a free hand?

      • Anonymous Friday, 9 October 2015, 4:27 pm

        Agreed; poorly managed, wasted money. They’re not the only team or the worst offender, but they’re down there..

      • ccotenj Friday, 9 October 2015, 6:46 pm

        re: marc madiot with that type of money and a free hand…

        that brings 2 immediate reactions:

        1) it would be interesting to see if he could transition from a “mid-pack (at best) team getting by with feeder talent and a small budget” to “i can buy the best riders i want”… his personality is overwhelming, and while that works with the setup he has now, the “best riders” have egos need to be handled in a different way… i think he could do it, but it would likely be a bit of a rocky transition…

        2) it would be FUN FUN FUN for us as observers for marc to have the amount of money and the lack of accountability as oleg does… one can only imagine what might come out of his mouth… 🙂

        i think we have reached a true consensus (which is unusual) on bmc… they just don’t seem to have a clue, and it doesn’t appear as if that is going to change anytime soon… they are in dire need of someone who knows how to run a cycling team…

        • J Evans Friday, 9 October 2015, 7:29 pm

          Bjarne for BMC…?

          I like Madiot: he is a bit of professional Frenchman, but his heart’s in the right place.

          • ccotenj Friday, 9 October 2015, 7:54 pm

            that thought crossed my mind as well… it would cause the usual outrage, but he would be a good man for the job…

            i like marc too…

          • J Evans Friday, 9 October 2015, 8:21 pm

            And BMC could sign a rider who might actually win the Giro… Valverde?

          • ccotenj Friday, 9 October 2015, 9:36 pm

            valverde leading, with tejay and porte in support (the place in the team hierarchy where they have where they have had their most success across 3 weeks), with riis in charge… now we are talking a proper core of a gt winning team…

            it would be rather easy to flesh out the 9 man roster with their existing riders…

            sadly, it’ll never happen…

    • EmVeeEm Saturday, 10 October 2015, 4:36 am

      7, 70, 80, 68, 34, 19, 23, 46, DNF: Ritchie Porte’s Grand Tour Record. I imagine that BMC was well aware of this record when they signed him. A very good short stage race rider, though.

    • BarkingOwl Saturday, 10 October 2015, 8:08 am

      I would love to see Porte have a GT without crashes or sickness and find out how good he really is. I don’t think you can dismiss riders who win races like Paris-Nice and the Dauphine (Talansky). Winning a mountainous one-week World Tour stage race is HARD. You don’t think Contador, Froome, Nibali or Quinatana try to win these races? Maybe they accidentally ended up on their palmares whilst they were rolling up and down the mountains doing training rides.

      • Augustas Pablo Saturday, 10 October 2015, 11:02 am

        Agree with that 100%. The notion that the “big” GC riders don’t want to win these races is non sense.

        • Ferdi Saturday, 10 October 2015, 1:17 pm

          I just don’t think Porte has the endurance (the “caisse” as they call it in French) to deal with long, multi-climb stages, especially when they accumulate day after day. One, two big climbs over one short stage and he’s as good as anyone. More than that, he’s not. He also doesn’t seem to have the mental fortitude to deal with the inevitable stresses of GTs. But then, Van Garderen has pretty much the same weaknesses (and strengths).

      • gabriele Saturday, 10 October 2015, 3:13 pm

        Humm… yeah, let’s see, but know what? Porte will be 31 during the next season. He’s got plenty of time to show how good he *really* is.
        We’re all saying how great a short stage-races rider he is (“we” since I include myself, I’ve always had that impression), but he didn’t win that many of them, either. Nor he came close very often. At his 31.
        Besides, those *two* Pa-Ni he won… well, the big guns *weren’t* indeed trying to win them – or weren’t there at all (Ti-Ad is their race more often than not in recent years). Then what? A couple of less-than-a-week-no-WT races like Trentino and Algarve. And the Catalunya I’ve said something about elsewhere. Even if you had to that the Dauphiné where he was 1′ behind his captain, we’re very far from a strong stage racer palmarés.
        Not a class apart when compared with, say, Rui Costa, Scarponi or Leipheimer (who’re probably better), nor very much better than Kreuziger, Spilak, Karpets. Well below some Klöden or Vinokourov. Not to speak of those guys we’re about to be big guns in GTs, hence go winning shorter stage races, too, like Purito or Valverde.

  • Dr Manhattan Friday, 9 October 2015, 12:44 pm

    “Giant-Alpecin who’d been worried about being able to meet the bill for win bonuses in the past”

    For real? Absurd problem to have. Imagine a team going bankrupt because they won too much…

    • Anderson Friday, 9 October 2015, 4:35 pm

      it happened at Highroad

  • J Evans Friday, 9 October 2015, 12:53 pm

    The oft-trotted out argument that the Tour – or various other old races – was only started to sell newspapers is tired, to say the least. Most races started for similar reasons; they started small, built a repuation, went through a variety of changes, established themselves, became big races and then became the most important races through having the toughest or a specific parcours. This happened over decades.
    Many of these new races do not have a good parcours and attempts seem to being made to make them World Tour events as soon as possible. And all at the expense of other – better – races.
    It happened with the Tour of Beijing and no-one ever took it seriously, because it was only ever about one thing – money.
    New races need to go through the same process that the old races did to be taken seriously. And they need a good parcours. Strade Bianche is an example of the way to do it. But it’s still nowhere near regarded as a Classic – and rightly so.

    • Nick Friday, 9 October 2015, 1:33 pm

      Tired, perhaps, but not wrong. The races started for the same purpose as Beijing – to try to make money – or to publicise something – and again Beijing could be seen as a vehicle for publicising cycling in China. As you note, whether they built a reputation depended on the parcours (among other things).

      The same will happen with these new races. If they have value to the riders and to the organisers, they’ll last. If not, they won’t – again, like Beijing. At present, it’s easier to see the value in Qatar and Oman, as early season warm-ups for the classics riders and stage riders, respectively, than it is in Dubai, which seems more identikit. It’s too early to say whether Abu Dhabi will be a bad thing. But the mere fact it clashes with Paris-Tours (or with the Giro dell’Emilia, depending on your perspective) doesn’t automatically make it a bad thing, in my view.

      • Richard S Friday, 9 October 2015, 1:56 pm

        It looks like a great idea now doesn’t it, a race through the middle of the desert when temperatures are still poking over 45c. There is probably a fairly good reason why most athletic activities started out as sports in the mid-latitudes, as well as having most people living here we also have, generally, the most amenable climate. I bet nobody rides bikes full stop in the middle east, never mind as a sporting endeavour, because it is a one way ticket to heat stroke and severe dehydration. It is just another example of an extremely rich Sheiks plaything, or a race organisor exploiting the fact that these men have huge quanities of money.

        All this said, I could maybe still just about get quietly on board with it as a neccessity in the modern world, as a way for cycling to make money, if it didn’t pointlessly clash with the final week of the European season. I mean, what is happening next week that it couldn’t happen then? Is it RCS just poking ASO in the eye? The UCI needs to step up and run their sport properly so that events don’t needlessly clash. If from next year it is the week folowing Paris-Tours then I’d accept it. They could even time it so that the UCI trophy presentations are held in some gaudy hotel there if they must.

        • Bilmo Friday, 9 October 2015, 2:01 pm

          Richard S + 1

        • Larry T. Friday, 9 October 2015, 3:55 pm

          +.5 Unless they’re on fat bikes these desert sand races are just dumb, “look-what-we-can-do-with-our-petro-dollars” exercises. RCS is involved just like everyone else is – for the petro-dollars.

        • Nick Friday, 9 October 2015, 4:05 pm

          Agree that the temperature is going to be a problem if they have it at this time of year, and may be one of the things that stops it from taking off. To my mind, the Middle Eastern races do fit better at the start of the season for that reason.

          As to “where most people live”, have you seen this map? http://i.imgur.com/CK6aONG.jpg

          • J Evans Friday, 9 October 2015, 5:49 pm

            Good point. However, I lived inside that circle for years – and met two people who were interested in cycling.
            Cricket and badminton, on the other hand…

        • Red Hare Monday, 12 October 2015, 10:45 am

          Yes, should definitely be later in the year or sometime in February. There’s a nice big gap between the Tour Down Under and the first of the middle eastern events.

      • J Evans Friday, 9 October 2015, 3:47 pm

        Nick, the difference with Beijing, Abu Dhabi, etc. is that they aren’t having to build a reputation (and don’t have the parcours) like those old races did. With the money involved, they’re going to be promoted to WT level without any other justification.
        Richard S – spot on. RCS seem to want to ‘get in’ with Velon and all this new money. The UCI is trying to lessen ASO’s power.
        As for ‘Beijing could be seen as a vehicle for publicising cycling in China’ – the public were banned from being on the streets whilst the race was on. (Either that, or China – including its capital city – is a very, very unpopulated country.)

        • Nick Friday, 9 October 2015, 4:11 pm

          And if the parcours, or other value to the riders, isn’t there the races will drop back out of the WT soon enough. Leaving those which do have a value.

          • J Evans Friday, 9 October 2015, 5:53 pm

            Or maybe they won’t if they’re paying the people who decide these things great wads of cash.
            Beijing’s disappearance oddly coincided with McQuaid’s.

      • T-72 Saturday, 10 October 2015, 1:10 pm

        I don’t see a problem with having races outside France, Belgium, Spain and Italy and I don’t understand what makes the 15th race through some Flanders fields in one season a race to remember because of its exceptional parcours. Not if you compare it with one race through the sanddunes in Arabia, one race on a mountainous route in the middle of a city with 6 million inhabitants in a tropical rainforest, or one race in the “green Artic” islands of Lofoten. The one stage along the coast of Northern Ireland? My personal favorite race to watch is in the mountains of Colorado, and should include a dirt road mountain pass every year. However, now that the TdF has actually been won on the flattest stage ever, can we start to recognize that all regions have some uniqueness about them which can be made into great racing! If it is heat, dust and wind that makes up the challenge, so be it! Just as long as you turn it in to a race that shows who is best at it!

        Cycling has a challenge in globalization. It is a fast growing sport outside of a geographically very restricted heartland, but the professional elite cycling struggles to diversify their activities in those areas where the growth potential exists, – because more, somewhere else means less – in the heartland. That will have to hurt, for those fans that like things the way they always have been, and for teams basing their economy on sponsorship from companies that don’t have a global presence and that have limited interest in financing marketing activities in areas a very long way from their actual market.

        I don’t believe much in growing the sport from the top down. The international racing elite is pretty much icing on the cake of activity in a sport. The cake needs to be built layer by layer and UCI should focus more on developing healthy local clubs and races as well as stronger regional racing scenes. Conti and pro-conti, 2.HC not WT is more important and sees a lot of the more interesting races outside the heartland. I think these levels are the key to international growth as it allows for high-level athletes to compete close enough to the local kids to inspire them to join a local cycling club. That’s the fundament for growth.

        • Red Hare Monday, 12 October 2015, 10:40 am

          It’s diminishing returns. There’s a whole world to race and ride in, and while the fields of Flanders stir the hearts of most cycling fans, there are some of us who like a bit of variety in our diet.

          I like the Tour of Langkawi myself, and heartily recommend riding Genting Highlands to all those who might want something different from climbing in the Alps or the Pyrenees. The weather is also part of the parcours, don’t forget. Dehydration is a real issue with the humidity, but Malaysia is a lovely place to visit and there’s a nice hotel at the top of the climb…

  • CM Friday, 9 October 2015, 1:32 pm

    Re Di-Data, I would think it was less about big name sponsors than about Mark Cavendish not wanting to be second division, since the sponsors can look forward to big coverage whatever the pro status of the team, which is arcane to most of their clients.

    • Damien Sunday, 11 October 2015, 2:10 am

      All Cavendish really cares about is le Tour. And they will definitely get an invitation now.

  • Anonymous Friday, 9 October 2015, 1:40 pm

    I think Mr. Ryder gets a bit carried away. Without the narrative of Qhubeka and Africa I doubt he would get these sponsors and I don’t think this is really significant for other teams. With this powerful narrative, even a doping case wouldn’t really damage the image of the team. This could only happen with more than one doping case. If a “regular” Pro-Conti team would have secured those sponsors, it would mean a lot more. And: According to dpa Marcel Kittel was willing to lose 250.000€ just to switch teams. If he is willing to pay money to leave, there was no way anyway, that he would/could have stayed, so I guess this outcome is the best for everybody.

    • CM Friday, 9 October 2015, 1:45 pm

      Yep

  • ccotenj Friday, 9 October 2015, 3:22 pm

    re: gains margineaux…

    it is good to see the french teams start to move into the 21st century in terms of nutrition, rider training and and data analysis… it is of huge importance in all sports, and you place yourself at a large disadvantage if you do not do it…

    • DV Friday, 9 October 2015, 9:22 pm

      patronize much?

      • Anonymous Friday, 9 October 2015, 9:25 pm

        Handbag out much?

  • gabriele Saturday, 10 October 2015, 12:21 am

    RCS Libri (books) isn’t there anymore. Just been sold to Mondadori (Berlusconi).
    Sort of a tragedy for the Italian cultural and publishing world, for an healthy market, for an already weak democracy and much more.
    However, RCS News and RCS Sport are said to be going to acquire more and more importance.
    Note that RCS is not suffering from an “industrial” crisis, the business worked quite well considering general market conditions and so on (well, especially the part they’ve sold): it’s a “financial” one.
    Big debts to purchase the Spanish area at a crazy price, a political decision forced by part of the company owners to “make a favour” to personal friends who had found themselves in a tight spot after a silly speculation. Then a debt crisis started with heavy (again – political) pressure from the banks.

  • Mark Saturday, 10 October 2015, 2:16 am

    Was it just me, or in the tdf did Fromme need Porte pretty much the same as Wiggins need Fromme? Although I must say I had expected Porte to go much better in the Giro. Should be interesting to see how he does against Sky.

  • MattF Saturday, 10 October 2015, 6:12 am

    Seems the night time doping tests in France will serve only to fire up the conspiracy theorists. If an athlete fails to agree they will automatically be labelled a cheat. If they agree and get tested they will forever be labelled with “serious and specific suspicions”. To whom do the testers have to provide grounds/evidence for the testing – the athlete, the UCI, ASO, journalists etc.? Messy.

    • Special Eyes Saturday, 10 October 2015, 10:40 am

      This is a very good point, and what I was alluding to in my comment above.
      Surely it would have been preferable to have had night-time testing as part of the MPCC regime (though certain *cough* teams have withdrawn I know) and try to make it an occasional though routine procedure.

      It can only be carried out in France presumably also, which is another oddity.
      I have to say, on a little reflection, it seems like one of those cases where legislation has been rushed through, albeit with good intentions, and the result is indeed messy.
      But it is obviously there to ‘protect’ the TdF.
      It then begs the question, as you point out Matt, what becomes justifiable suspicion.
      Is this a hysterical, and some would say scientifically baseless, media campaign as occurred in the Tour this year ?
      It sounds like horrible legislation actually.
      I wonder if Inner Ring could do a fuller article on this ?

    • The Inner Ring Monday, 12 October 2015, 12:28 pm

      No, it’s not only in France, in fact the story is the other way around than you suggest. It’s available in almost all countries and France was among the last of WADA members not to sign up to this, it’s finally done so now (and with the precautions set out of above which don’t apply in other countries). For example it wasn’t allowed in the Tour but the UCI did test at least one rider outside of France prior to the Tour de France.

      • Special Eyes Monday, 12 October 2015, 12:42 pm

        That’s interesting, and informative. Many thanks.

  • Anonymous Saturday, 10 October 2015, 8:26 am

    Thank you for the picture of Abu Dhabi Tour above, it is all I need to know.

  • dixie f Saturday, 10 October 2015, 12:07 pm

    “I didn’t leave Team Sky for BMC just to target the Giro d’Italia”… somebody should teach this kid some manners. Or a decent public relations specialist. Otherwise he will be the least liked cyclist in the peloton, if he is not already.

    • gabriele Saturday, 10 October 2015, 2:44 pm

      Yeah, it’s curious, the public image of Porte hasn’t been that bad: without knowing him I tended to find him a very nice guy (the “fuga bidone” in L’Aquila 2010, his declarations about beer and ice creams, his smiley face).
      Though, just a few weeks ago I could speak with some ex riders who raced with him (and *for* him) in the U23 ranks, and they said that he isn’t very much appreciated in the peloton because of sort of a presumptous attitude, nor it was, back then, by his colleagues – not by his mates in the team, either. I thought that it was just envy towards a rider with clearly superior skills, but this recent statement made me think again about that chat.
      How can Richie say something like that without having ever produced any decent performance in a GT’s GC (that 7th place was also due to some 20′ advantage from L’Aquila stage…)? Boasting about this year’s victories when he showed sort of a clear superiority only in Trentino, which after all is a 4-days not-WT race, however prestigious? He struggled in Pa-Ni against pack of competitors quite short of pure GC riders and he won Catalunya only because Valverde, who’d have won without difficulties, had a flat in the worst possible moment.
      I don’t know if it was a hit below the belt by the journalist or what, but saying something like that would be unpleasant even from a top rider (lack of respect towards a race, your previous team, your present team, your present teammates)… from Richie it’s like – ludicrous?

      • Anonymous Sunday, 11 October 2015, 11:59 am

        I get the feeling he isn’t really aware of what he actually says. I think it isn’t that he means things in a bad way, he just doesn’t get the nuances of things very good and I guess he is often surprised, that things he says actually have consequences. He seems often to only see his own side and seems surprised that his words affect others, too . For me his interview in the motorhome with Flecha was the end, I had to switch channels, because it was so embarrasing and I don’t read or listen to anything he says since then. I think he will often have a hard time in life, because without meaning it this way, he will often say things that will hurt others and sound selfish and are anything but humble ore nice. It is a bit tragic, because I really believe, he doesn’t mean it this way. But if he finds things already tough in the peloton sometimes, believe me, it will get a lot tougher after retiring.

    • Damien Sunday, 11 October 2015, 2:24 am

      He’s simply stating the obvious. He said before, during and after leaving Sky that he was doing so to lead for himself. He could’ve stay there and targeted the Giro.

      • gabriele Sunday, 11 October 2015, 11:33 am

        An obvious absurdity. Way better riders can’t decide if they’re going to lead for themselves or what, nor their race programme. I’d say that more or less nobody can (perhaps Contador?). We’ve seen that, for example, nor Quintana, nor Froome, nor Nibali, nor Aru – to name just a few ^__^ have a full say on where to race, with whom, as the only captain or not and so on. Which sometimes produces harmful consequences both for the rider and the team (not to speak of tifosi 😛 ); nevertheless, if BMC’s style is “let the riders decide” I’m starting to understand why they’re underachieving that much compared with their budget.

        • Damien Monday, 12 October 2015, 2:57 am

          If Aru, Nibali, Quintana or Froome wanted to find a new team under the condition they be allowed to ride the tour they would find the opportunity. Its silly to say otherwise.

  • Joe K. Saturday, 10 October 2015, 1:28 pm

    Team Dim Data’s corporate sponsorship is top-shelf alright–its secondary sponsor Samsung announced that its third quarter PROFITS are in the USD7 Billion range! Those are truly some deep pockets.

    • Noel Sunday, 11 October 2015, 11:57 am

      And with a $55bn cash pile – you wander why they are fiddling about as a second tier sponsor…

  • R John R Monday, 12 October 2015, 4:22 pm

    Because they had Chelsea FC (a true global marketing opportunity) for $18M per annum until they got out-bid by a £40M from Yokohama Rubber. So they switched to the Wallabies (Australia national rugby team) in a Rugby World Cup year. They also alledgedly spent $20M on Oscar sponsorship.

    Moral of the story, the focus and big money goes to where the marketing teams think they get best traction in specific markets. USA, NBA and Oscars, UK/Asia, soccer, Australia Sydney Opera House + sport. Where does cycling fit into that? A (small) minority but dedicated audience in Europe + and potentially opportunity (and lots of coporate social responsibilty boxes ticked) in Africa.

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