Friday Shorts

GCN+ is stopping. Subscribers have been informed that the live racing streaming service will halt in December, staff were told by Zoom just before.

Down the plughole
GCN remains, the website and Youtube channel. But the live TV service is gone with Warner Bros, owners of Discovery and Eurosport, pulling the plug.

Not to be too self-referential but when doing a race preview here the last line says where you could watch it on TV. With GCN+ this was practically redundant, it was rare to find a race on TV not on GCN+ so here all that was left to do was to list the start and finish times. Now things get more complicated. GCN+ was near seamless, fans around the world could tune in, indeed you could subscribe and travel around the world and watch too. It was also priced to attract, even the headline rate was tempting, promo codes made it a bargain.

Frustratingly it’s in part to move subscribers to Discovery+ or Eurosport but GCN+ made the closure notice with no accompanying message where GCN+ subscribers could migrate with an introductory offer to a new service. In part probably because any new offering is totally location dependent, it’s not easy. British views can subscribe to Discovery+ but this TV offering isn’t available in, say, France. For many in Europe they can subscribe to Eurosport but the channel has just hiked prices, it could cost four times as much now. Yet being able to complain about big price hikes is almost a luxury a the rest of the world doesn’t even have a chance to open your wallet as there’s no equivalent on offer. At best many will be back to juggling a portfolio of subscriptions, VPN log-ins and pirate feeds.

Hold the front page
Ineos manager Rod Ellingworth has gone with The Telegraph (£) first to break the news. The jokey side is that Dave Brailsford was supposed to move to football with Ineos owner Jim Ratcliffe’s any-moment-now purchase of a stake in Manchester United, only here football has arrived in cycling with the “sack the manager” gambit. But wait, he’s resigned rather than been fired. With no more news the reasons behind are a mystery. One to watch.

Hole in one

A Dutch team searching for a co-sponsor? Yes, DSM-Firmenich has landed PostNL as a title sponsor, it’s quite the coup. A home sponsor and a company that doesn’t have a bad reputation although perhaps there are stories of low wages or temporary contracts but if so we’re not talking jailing people for critical tweets, beheading opponents or ransacking the environment. It’ll see the team budget increase and this is interesting as several teams are doing deals to bump up their budget in response to the likes of UAE, Ineos and Jumbo-Visma’s spending. The kit already looks very visible compared to the plethora of black and blue in the peloton. PostNL-DSM-Firmenich is a tongue twister where mentioning the team’s name as Fabio Jakobsen is about toe launch his sprint is to use up 50 metres in verbiage. Jumbo-Visma must be sore seeing Lidl hook up with Trek, and now Post NL with DSM-Firmenich.

Wholly correct
Talking of Jumbo-Visma… Wout van Aert is riding the Giro. Not news? La Gazzetta went to print with the news, only for some to say the Dutch team was going to sit down later and plan things and ask why was this newspaper getting ahead of itself. Only it seems the program of at least one rider here was in place already and perhaps the team wanted to make the announcement. No surprise that the head of cycling at the newspaper in the same building as the Giro got the scoop.

Holding back the news

Staying with pending news, one team that’s not announced any new signings for 2024 is Ag2r Citroën. Victory Lafay and Sam Bennett are joining, that’s an open secret and indeed while at the Saitama criterium Lafay was asked about his new team and said, or rather wrote, as the screengrab from Twitter, that you will have the answer on 27 November.

Down the wormhole

Finally a fascinating story from L’Equipe (€). Lugworms bury themselves in the sand on tidal coasts where they can remain underwater for hours without breathing. This means they’ve evolved to have special haemoglobin which can absorb 40 times the amount of oxygen than the human version and in a molecule that’s 250 times smaller. A French researcher stumbled upon the prodigious oxygen-delivery capacity of these sandworms and started a biotech company to commercialise the chemical, the freeze-dried can be stored at room temperature and can be used in various medical situations, such as keeping transplant organs oxygenated. Cycling fans who remember the 2000s can see where this is going…

L’Equipe reports that all along Franck Zal and his company Hemarina have worked with WADA to inform them about their products and a test has been developed for the wonder protein. Most interestingly for readers “a known cyclist, with a foreign-sounding name, whose team takes part in the Tour de France, contacted me because he wanted some of the product” said Zal but given he has been working with the anti-doping authorities for a long time he contacted OCLAESP, the French policy agency that oversees public health whose remit covers doping and unregulated medicine. So it’s presumably a non to any cyclist trying to get this but it’s interesting to learn that one rider at least is trying to manipulate their blood, and that their name has gone to the police. The news of a test is good but it’s only valid for a few hours after use so there’s a small window to catch riders but a blood test pre or post race ought to do the business.

103 thoughts on “Friday Shorts”

  1. The INEOS news is probably not unexpected to those who have followed the team’s almost secret activities in recent times. There is also a rumour that Dave Brailsford will follow suit to help with Jim Ratcliff’s football ambitions at Manchester United. For a team endowed with more financial support than many teams can dream of, this latest twist needs some explanation. Departing riders, very few replacement signings and renewing with some riders that are either beyond their ‘sell by date’ or have simply not performed to the level expected. INEOS need to do something quickly, if riders and team helpers are not to look around for alternatives for their future.
    The loss of GCN+ is also a shame, but something that for ‘big business’ like Disney will be of minimal importance. Look out for large price rises with adverts if you want to continue watching cycling!

    • I wonder if Ratcliffe is losing interest in cycling now that he’s upgraded to big sports?

      It’s not just football, there’s also the 33% ownership of the Mercedes-AMG F1 team which is both successful (what Lewis Hamilton says is their worst car ever is still #2 in the world) and profitable.

  2. I don’t think I’ll regret any online service as much as I’ll regret GCN+.

    When it was launched I moved away from Eurosport because I had no interest in the other sports being streamed and it was slightly cheaper. Now I have to go to Discovery+ which has a tonne more garbage on display and a lot more to pay if you want the same ad free experience.

    On one hand I want to make a stand against Time-Warner, but on the other there are the Christmas cyclocross races. 🙁

  3. The GCN+ thing for Australia is a disappointment. i,m not sure if you can even get Eurosport in Australia without a vpn and some euro login. This was virtually the only legal way of watching pretty much any race other than the TDF and roubaix plus a couple of others.
    GCN on YouTube did make a video about the closer and they indicated they were making a profit and hitting some sort of goals. So the entire thing where they close the service without even providing a means of watching the races they already have is strange.
    Its also bad for smaller races which may now no longer have a way of showing races live to attract sponsorship.
    I think the price should have been a bit more as 60$aus is a fairly low amount to run a network.

    • Play Sports Network (the company behind GCN) lost over £10 million post tax in 2021. The cash burn on app development would have been huge as well and most of that would not have hit the loss numbers yet. It was a long way from profitable.

      I think I can be confident in saying that subscription revenues were a long long way from making it a sustainable business stand alone. For one €39.99 a year (in my case at least) was way to cheap if they ever wanted to make a profit showing that many races. Cycling is, after all, a pretty niche sport outside of the Tour de France and Holy Week maybe (and even even Paris Roubaix and Flanders barely touch the consciousness of the non core fan outside of Belgium I suspect).

      It needed hockey stick growth and that wasn’t coming, sadly. I‘ll still miss it as much as everyone else though.

      • “Play Sports Network (the company behind GCN) lost over £10 million post tax in 2021.”
        Those kinds of losses don’t seem to bother the folks who own RAPHA, so what’s the big deal?:-) My wife likes football so she pays various streaming services, since no single one covers the teams and matches she likes.
        Gotta wonder if cycling will be (more) cut up like this now or go the way of where you pay to stream ’em all during the season, unless you’re like me and watch only on free-to-air via a SKY-affiliated Italian TV station. I see most of ’em though they’re not always live. OTOH we DO pay for Eurosport to watch cycling as RAI’s coverage isn’t the greatest, even for the Giro d’Italia. W Magrini e Gregorio! (the Italian Eurosport commentators)

          • I think the RAPHA owners are the grandchildren of the Sprawl-Mart founders so I’m sure they are comfortable…and then some! Whatever they’re losing playing at being cycling industry honchos fits in with what I call “A second’s income shot-to-hell” and probably just gets written-off in some way that ends up to their benefit despite the “loss”.
            The real genius there was the RAPHA founder who probably got some fat stax from them…one of those marketing-mavens who knows when the party’s about to be over, cashes-out just before, then laughs all the way to the bank.

      • Was it Play Sports Network who shouldered the app development cost? Cause the GCN+ player looks to be the Eurosport player with a different theme/skin.

        Indeed, it seems very likely to me that this is the reason for GCN+ shuttering. Because the app was developed for Eurosport and it does not belong to PSN. So as part of getting PSN ready for sale and spin-off, they need to disconnect PSN from the Eurosport/D+ infrastructure.

    • I hear you. Watching the races first thing in the morning on GCN+ had become so much a part of my daily routine over the last two years or so. It’s going to leave a massive void.

      Very sad day for cycling and particulalry so for the 100+ dedicated staff.

  4. The Ineos news comes as no great surprise. Now Jim Radcliffe has a new shiny plaything how long will he continue with a currently not very successful cycling team? Given that the current top team cant even find a new sponsor what does that say about the state of pro cycling.

    Again the GCN thing is no great surprise, the money is to be made from selling football not cycling. No issue to get a different subscription but the great thing with GCN was there was no geographical restrictions, no issue to watch in Germany, Italy or wherever not sure that is going to continue.

      • I have a Eurosport subscription in UK. You do have an option to watch races ad free. Though you do need to fish that stream out from deep within the site. I am not sure if this stream would still be produced without GCN.

        On the other hand, geo-restriction is a pain in the back side using Eurosport.

        • Yeah, I’m in the same boat… UK based, have subscribed to Eurosport Player for years and years. I’ve had no notification of any change to my subscription – has there been any indication that there will be any change for ESPlayer? If not, I’d recommend GCN+ refugees jump in the Eurosport small boat – it’s got all the coverage that GCN+ had, I believe, with no ads.

          • You can’t though- Eurosport is also owned by Discovery, if you attempt to sign up with Eurosport it takes you straight to Discovery. The ‘basic’ sub is not enough either, to access cycling & Eurosport you need to pay for ‘standard’ sub which costs around £84 a year. Double GCN. I’d pay that & will probably end up doing so but it rankles with all the shite Discovery bottom feeder programs included and the other sports on Eurosport I have no interest in. Plus adverts. GCN+ was so simple and focused. For the UCI I wonder if this has a negative affect on numbers watching & the spread of the sport? Do they care? They abrupt closing email I got shows Discovery doesn’t care about cycling or the numbers who watched GCN+ or they’d have worked to make the transition easier. Gloomy day all round.

        • Sorry this is niche UK, but I’ve read that if you have a Sky subscription, then you get Discovery+ as part of this. I’ll be trying when I get home later so will report back for those that might be interested.

  5. Is PostNL signing on as sponsor of the DSM women’s team as well, or only the men’s side? It’s sometimes difficult to keep track of which women’s teams are actually separate commercial entities, even though they may share a name with the men’s team.

  6. Have to pour one out for GCN+ in the US. They didn’t have the Tour but Giro coverage was superb, and where I watched E3, Dwars Door, Strade Bianche, Sanremo, Catalunya…. Guess I’m going the VPN + some other subscription service route for 2024, b/c Peacock/Discovery+ is the worst.

    • Yeah, Peacock is absolutely awful. I’m hoping Warners migrate the GCN+ stuff somewhere before the next season begins, but I’m pretty pessimistic. I doubt the suits making these decisions even understand what GCN+ actually was, much less what to do with the race coverage now.

      • I have to agree, looks like it’s back to the days of a cycling coverage wasteland here in the States. I have VPN’d my way around the globe for years but I’m not confident that will work going forward. I used to watch the various Eurosport feeds but they changed the payment platform and killed that easy hack. Then came GCN+, the best 50ish bucks a year I ever spent. We’ll see.

        • All North Americans contact Discovery+ and ask to have the cycling “sport” added to the
          US and Canadian content that we lost with demise of GCN+

          I did the day that the announcement was made they did respond to me stating the following

          I understand that you wish to know more about the content on discovery+. I will try my best to assist you further with the information.

          Thank you so much for showing your interest on discovery+ and your passion towards cycling shows and events. However, I regret to inform that discovery+ in USA does not offer any sports content. discovery+ is the only streaming service with the greatest real-life entertainment from your favorite TV brands – including HGTV, Food Network, TLC, ID, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel – and personalities, plus exclusive originals, all in one place. Whatever you’re into, you’ll find it here.

          Besides, I will be taking this as a feedback and sharing this to our internal team for the future consideration. I hope you find this helpful and please feel free to reach out to us with any additional questions
          The more that ask for it the more likely that it maybe added.

  7. Did Ellingworth jump or was he pushed? Was there some attempt to get Remco or Roglic and it all blew up in their faces? The exodus of riders and staff from Ineos sounds like to me that the management has no clear vision for the future.

    GCN+ will be missed and there’s obviously something bigger going on then just a “reshaping of the media landscape” or whatever drivel was put out. An atempt to bundle together all the sports on one place and charge more seems more likely. Comcast have just got $8.6 billion from Disney for their bit of Hulu so we’ll see what they do with the cash

    The lugworm story I remember reading about a couple of years ago, and of course everyone thought, yep, we know where this is going. The fact that the actual rider in question contacted them direct sounds strange. Normaly it would go through some “medical practioner” I would have thought. Maybe the days of dodgy doctors are over? I doubt it though!
    Good news for DSM that they’ve got themselves a new sponsor. Somebody at Jumbo-visma will be asking why they didn’t get Lidl or PostNL? Which makes me wonder why didn’t they?

    No comment from Mr Ring about the UCI’s President’s latest comments about the racing calendar and threatening to ban riders? Maybe next time. Thanks for the latest post!

      • You should maybe follow a bit of cyclo-cross. Some good riders come through that route, and it keeps the wheels turning over the long winter months. 😉

          • It works very well as an “in person” spectator event – better than road racing! The atmosphere is great, you get to see a bunch of races (u23, elite, men and women) and you get to see them again and again!

            Really enjoyed the Dublin WC round last year, and looking forward to this Sunday’s. And the Dublin one is bare bones on hospitality compared to the Belgian ones – no beer tents, no patat! (I hope it’s better this year, but I suspect they still didn’t get a licence for a beer tent).

          • And the other aspect is it gives us some racing to watch on TV over the winter, even if you can’t get to Belgium for the beer and Euro-techno.

            The racing is pretty good too. The technical aspect means it’s never done and dusted. A rider can get clear and have 20s, but still screw up somewhere lose time and get caught again.

          • I quite enjoy watching a bit of CX. My main beef with it though is that once a rider gets on a run they win race after race and it gets a bit predictable. Especially if that rider is Raymond Poulidor’s grandson.

          • With CX we wait until we feel a kind of cycling withdrawal syndrome post-Lombardia. So far it’s not kicked-in but once WVA and MVdP start showing up (around xmas?) we’ll probably watch ’em. MOTOGP winds up this weekend so that Sunday TV void might get filled with some ‘cross sooner than xmas?
            As to stomping around in the mud spilling beer and frites, I had my fill of that at the Tour of Flanders a few years ago!

      • FWIW: there are no such rules about this currently, and changing that mid-season sure would result in lots of complaints, and maybe even some lawsuits.

        And the next UCI general meeting is during the CX World Championships anyway, so I’m pretty sure he can’t change it for the 2024 worlds even if he wanted…

    • Banning riders who don’t ride in World Cups – I don’t remember him mentioning this when PFP & Lecomte missed MTB World Cups to prepare for the MTB World Champs previously……

      It’s none of the UCI’s business who rides in these races. as Flanders Classics run the CX World Cup.

      • Didn’t they do the opposite of this at the World Champs, by promoting Sagan, MVDP and Pidcock on the MTB starting grid despite their failures to participate in the World Cups?

        • YUP – the double standard is ALIVE AND WELL! If Thibau Nys was Sven Nys, they would let him write his own rules. However, if Thibau WAS, in fact, Sven Nys, then he would be doing every single race every year.

          But, alas, Thibau is not Sven, and I suspect he has enough “fun” under that shadow, just leave the guy alone and let him race.

          As you mentioned, WVA and MVdP and Pidcock and Sagan are allowed to ride whatever races they want and then get spots in the world champs.

          • Sven didn’t do a lot of road racing, but Thibau has become a promising talent on the road, and thus races most of the road season too now, so it’s understandable he’ll miss some CX races (like WVA, MvdP, Pidcock, etc. do).

      • It’s the “UCI CX World Cup”, and while Flanders Classics got the contract to organise/run the series for the UCI, it obviously still IS the UCI’s business to some degree.

        Right now there are several problems with the CX WC though:

        1. The UCI banned “starting money” payments for the CX WC. Traditionally, many other series & independent races pay riders (or teams) to show up (choose) for their races. The more popular/successful a rider is with the local public, the more they get paid. That way riders/teams have a basic income, even if they don’t finish or finish 30th (e.g. because of a fall or mechanical).

        2. The CX WC prize money is not really higher than that for competing series, and if you don’t win, it often doesn’t even cover your travel. E.g. Superprestige and X₂O Trophy have similar final prize money for a series win, but also pay starting money, there are less races in the series, and they require less travel.

        3. The CX WC races are spread over more countries, and thus involve more & longer travel. This is good for increasing the audience of CX outside Belgium, of course, but also costs (sometimes a lot of) extra money for the teams and/or riders. Combine this with no starting money & less prize money (unless you win, but only one can win…), and you can see why it’s less interesting for many riders/teams.

        So what really should happen is that the UCI finds a way to make the CX WC races more attractive, instead of trying to strongarm riders to ride it like Lappartient does now. Maybe increase pay-outs somehow, or cover some of the costs of travel abroad, or something else?

        • Thank you for this – I didn’t realise WC didn’t include start-fees. That’s silly, short sighted and really turns you off as a fan.

          Dumb decisions like this really hurt the sport – eg. the leader will make something, but if he doesn’t have a deep field, this cheapens the value of the race.

          • The CX WC races used to pay start fees just like other races, but after the “new” format was introduced the UCI banned it, probably to make it more approachable for foreign organisers (some of whom already have trouble scraping together the UCI fee to organize, let alone pay starting fees…). While making the sport more international is very important, they will obviously have to find some better way to finance it, it seems.

            To give you an idea of the costs/benefits involved: just traveling from Belgium to the US for the sole CX WC race there this year (at least in previous years there were two…), teams paid €20-25k (transport of equipment, travel & stay for riders & staff). The prize money for the winner of a CX WC race (m/f pro) is €5k (10th gets €1.2k). The winner of the CX WC series (14 races) gets €30k (10th gets €6k). Smaller teams can’t afford this (or don’t see the point of spending that much when they can make money at home instead), and require riders to pay (part of) their travel out of pocket if they wish to go there.

            Costs to travel to Dublin are also estimated at about €5k by some teams (ferries for the equipment, flights for the riders & some staff). I don’t have numbers for races in Italy, Spain, etc., but at least they can drive there with team trucks, buses & campers, I suppose (even if sometimes the riders fly).

            For comparison:
            The winner of the 8-race X²O Trophy series also gets €30k.
            The winner of the 8-race Superprestige series gets €25k.

  8. It will be “interesting” to see what happens at Eurosport post GCN+ I noticed their logo on-screen during our streaming via Eurosport (which was/is pretty cheap here in Italy) along with Discovery’s and of course they had various English-speaking commentators (who sometimes had what they said translated into Italian, sometimes not) but otherwise I wasn’t much aware of it.
    Others have pointed out the same old, same old – combine, constrict, reduce costs while jacking up the retail price…”vulture capitalism” or something like that? The days of buying streaming market share are over…it’s time to make MONEY!

  9. Someone tell me I can still watch cycling on Eurosport via my bog standard Sky subscription without having to do anything or spend any more money! If they make me pay more and I still have to listen to Carlton Kirby’s inane drivel I’m likely to do something terrible.
    The way TV, or ‘streaming’, is going it won’t be long until you have to pay for everything separately. Want to watch the news, that’ll be a fiver. Here’s the weather forecast, that’ll be £3.50. Want to listen to David Attenborough talking about penguins, another tenner thanks.

    • Larry, I’ve restrained until now from commenting on this, but I think you’re going a bit too far with this obsessive conjecture, whose general spirit I can even agree with, while at the same time I feel that since we’re lacking *any* hint about what happened to Gino, to relate that crash to your ideas on the subject is abusive to say the least.
      The fact that other riders are looking too much at their data screens isn’t enough to suggest that also Mader’s crash was due to that. Riders have been crashing downhill for decades before they had a screen to watch.
      If we had any element – feeble as it might be – to correlate the *specific* event of Gino’s death to that factor, it might be an hypothesis to look into, but – things as they are – it’s bad taste, makes no logical sense and it’s disturbingly close to victim blaming.

      • “Nothing to see here folks. Man is dead. Move on.” seems to be your attitude. What’s next – “thoughts and prayers”? WTF is it somehow in “bad taste” to wonder if these gizmos contribute to crashing, especially if doing something about them might prevent another tragedy?
        As to “blaming the victim” is Kung to blame for his crash in your mind? Dunno how you could argue otherwise so might the difference be one man is dead while the other is not?
        My point is relying on ANYTHING other than your own eyes, ears, etc. while riding a bike is a needless and dangerous risk and we’ve read multiple times claims from riders about how gizmos “help” them on tricky descents. How much different is this from relying on the DS yelling into your ear through a dodgy radio connection? If the gizmo is GPS enabled, how often do those connections fail? UCI needs to put a stop to things like this IMHO.
        As to the guy below ranting about racial stereotypes…all I can wonder is WTF?

        • From what I understand, Küng was not looking at his “gizmo”, he just says that his aerodynamical position prevent him to raise his head to look in front of him. He depends on what the car behind him is telling him, and maybe – that’s my take – he was not with his usual staff, being with the Swiss National team and not FDJ, and they were less used to drive him. Maybe that’s also a security problem in ITT, but not the one you’re talking about, and this has nothing to do anyway with the case of Gino Mader.

          • You wrote: He depends on what the car behind him is telling him,
            The “car” (I assume the DS?) tells him things via a gizmo rather than using his own eyes. IMHO that’s dangerous for a long list of reasons but one big one is the dodgy reception of these gizmos…how many times have we heard communication breakup when they play these on TV broadcasts? Kung didn’t get killed in the crash so I guess we should wait until someone ends up like Mader before we ask any questions about the use of these things? And for those who like to go on about the entertainment value of the sport – tell me how any of these gizmos contribute to better/more exciting races? IMHO they do the opposite, so why are they allowed?

          • I haven´t actually sat in a team car behind a TT rider, but I cannot imagine that a DS would rely on a GPS gizmo to tell him where on the course they are just right now or what will come next.
            I mean it´s not like they haven´t done a recce and made notes.
            And I don´t think they ride so far behind their rider that they wouldn´t see essentially what the rider does.

          • So the rider’s safety is entirely dependent on someone in a team car giving him correct instructions over a (possibly unreliable) radio while he is flying blind? This is a ridiculous state of affairs,

        • “”Ugly American” is a stereotype depicting American citizens as exhibiting loud, arrogant, self-absorbed, demeaning, thoughtless, ignorant, and ethnocentric behavior mainly abroad, but also at home.”
          The “ugly Americans” see themselves as being assertive and straight-talking. They view holding strong opinions and expressing them, in itself, as a virtue.

          (It was perhaps unnecessary to make the comment, but I, for one, didn´t read it as a rant. Or as particularly aggressive.)

          I haven´t read “multiple times” about riders relying on the GPS maps on their cycle computers instead of their eyes. I have read about riders telling that they look at the maps to tell them what´s ahead of the next few corners, that is to say, they don´t rely on GPS data to tell them what line to take or when to brake.

          (The one exception is Ganna´s crash – which I read about in here, in your comment. You told us that Ganna had said that he had relied on his gizmoinstead of his eyes.)

          • The Ugly American is actually a character in a book of the same name … ,Homer Atkins. He is actually a good guy but rough hewn.
            It may be that some have picked up on the phrase and re-purposed it but it is a misuse of the phrase.

        • What people are saying is that to speculate about how someone died, specifically to blame them for their own death, when you don’t know the facts is crass and insensitive.

          • I make no comment about Mader as don’t know the facts of the case but if Kung rode like that in a local UK TT he’d be disqualified as my understanding is that head down position has been quite rightly banned. The UCI should ban it too if they haven’t already.

          • Victim-blaming has been taken to some new levels. IMHO “victim” should describe someone who was injured/killed/etc. due to actions of a) another person or b) some unfortunate thing like an avalanche, flood, etc.
            Someone who (for reasons we don’t know, but I think it’s clear neither a nor b were involved in Mader’s case) gets killed or injured from his/her own actions doesn’t really qualify as a victim, so wondering if the use of a gizmo might have contributed in some way doesn’t strike me as “crass and insensitive” though I understand where you’re coming from. To me it’s similar to what those in the USA who are in thrall to the gun lobby say after the latest firearm massacre…to those questioning the sanity of letting anyone who wants one buy weapons-of-war. When might be a good time for the UCI to look into the use of all these electronic gizmos and their effects on the sport?

          • That’s how I see it too, the comments section of a blog are not the place to hold a post mortem, especially when it comes to hunches.

            Yes Zana crashed in the Tour of Slovenia days later because of he didn’t know the descent and was trying to read the map on his GPS device but I’m not sure it helps to translate this across.

          • Zana crashed on the final lap, the second time they rode it. The first time, his teammate Peña crashed on the same corner.
            To me, there was a clear mistake by the organizer, that blind corner should have an orderly with a whistle and a flag at least the second time around, when it was obvious that the corner was very dangerous at racing speed.

          • The Zana thing’s just another reason these things should be banned. They add nothing to the SPORT. There was nothing wrong or lacking with pro cycling before all these gizmos came along…there would be nothing wrong with getting rid of them.
            More SPORT and less tech, please.

      • Larry T – honestly, normally I have zero issue with your comments. And when it comes to safety in cycling, I agree, riders need to focus on the road ahead and ignore your screen – I’m now a middle-aged rider and don’t race anymore, so I never have a speedo/garmin/smartphone/etc. in front of me.

        However, when it comes to Gino’s tragic death, I really wish we would stop trying to judge what happened because not a single one of us has a foggy clue what happened. It’s terrible, and it guts me every time I think about it… I feel awful about his poor family and friends who must be second guessing everything about cycling now.

        If you want to focus on pushing for rider safety, and anything to push for increasing concentration and building bike skills, GREAT. But, please leave Gino out of this. The fact is, no one knows. Please everyone, enjoy your rides safely and get back to your families each time.

        • I’m not judging! What part of “wondering” implies judgement to you? Why should the most recent death be left out of any discussion? Is there a waiting-period that must be observed? If the use of various gizmos contributes to death/injury shouldn’t sooner be better than later? Kung’s comments are what made me think of this again. The first time was years ago before GPS units became universal, I think it was Magnus Backstedt hyping ’em…on the GARMIN cycling team. I thought at the time about how unreliable these things were/are (there’s a TV spot running here in Italy making light of it) and how risky it would be to depend on what is on that screen to navigate a fast, twisty descent, not to mention just looking at that instead of WTF you’re going, even if the thing was 100% reliable. We face plenty of distracted drivers on the roads, are their distracted cyclists too? I’ve seen a few.

          • Larry there are lots of other potential reasons for the crash, eg fatigue, daydreaming, drinking from bidon, adjusting clothing, equipment failure, poor road surface, near miss with bird, large insect collision in the face, why aren’t you ranting on a mission to do something about those? You are demonstrating textbook fixation and lack of empathy, please stop

          • SG-“…fatigue, daydreaming, drinking from bidon, adjusting clothing, equipment failure, poor road surface, near miss with bird, large insect collision in the face,”
            Last time I checked most of those were rather unavoidable though none of ’em are good nor were any of ’em cited in the Mader tragedy.
            Gizmos OTHO are a recent invention that IMHO do NOTHING to make the sport more interesting and are totally unessential to the sport.
            Please skip my calls for banning them but note it’s not just me…there are plenty of others calling for them to be banned – most recently in the current Bicisport mag – by Giuseppe Saronni.

    • I’m not racing, but on a windy descent I love having my garmin map up giving me a clue what’s up ahead and whether I can let the bike go or not if I can’t see visually how tight the next bend is…

      • I can’t really understand this idea of looking at maps to corner. There is 0 way a map on a Wahoo or Garmin is giving you information of any clarity to let you use it to judge speed and position into a corner. Your best information – by far – is from your Mark 1 EyeBalls – and that is what you should be using for your setup into a corner. On entry, add information from your inner ear, and the pressure from across contact points to judge forces.

        You should be reading the line as you approach the corner. Constantly looking at the immediate line, and the line ahead to judge the radius, and you should be judging your speed on the rate of change of the radius that you can see combined with the obstacles you see (or can /not/ see) on the tangent. The tangent is where you’re going to bail out to, and if it doesn’t look good, you need to modulate your speed accordingly.

        Ideally, you should also try maintain an apex bail-out option, at least earlier in the turn. I.e. worst-case ability to quickly hard-tighten the corner to point into the apex, quickly stand up and brake, and then hit whatever is least worse to hit on the apex. You need this in case something happens that denies the tangent bail-out (e.g. car ahead stops and there’s an oncoming car denying your outside escape route).

        Your senses of the road should be the input into your brain, computing all this.

        You have 0 time, when /anywhere near/ a corner, to be looking down at maps! Taking your eye off the line at this stage is going to mess up your cornering – while providing no information of any better quality than your senses can provide!

        On the straight approaching a corner, well well before any braking point, the map can tell you have S-es coming up, sure. But to use that information for actual cornering suggests… horrific cornering skills. 😉

          • I posted descending tips many years ago. You might find them helpful. Since some people get wound up if I put links to my blog here I’ll just say you can find it there by using the searchbox and typing-in DESCENDING at cycleitalia-dot-blogspot:-)

          • Welcome :). I did a bit of motorcycle track riding, which is all cornering, reading the lines (though, on a track you quickly know the line) and feeling for grip. Wasn’t the fastest or slowest on the track, but I think it gave some skills that helped my cornering on bicycles. On bicycles, according to Strava, I wouldn’t be near the fastest descending pros, but I’d keep up with the bunch.

            Other tips:

            – Get all your hard braking done straight up before the turn. (Obvious I hope 😉 )

            – Slightly less obvious, you do not just let go of the brakes as you turn in, rather you combine easing off the brakes with the initial turn in. As you start coming off the brakes, you start turning in. These 2 things complement each other and should match – more turn in, less braking, easing off brakes off more == more turning speed (i.e., rate of radial change, which ~= lean angle).

            When really cornering fast (note: this isn’t per se the safest thing to do!), you will still be feathering the brakes right up until just before the apex. You should change the brake bias as you lean over more: from front to rear. I.e., at the very start of the turn, you will still be hard on the front brakes and putting a lot of pressure on the front. As you turn in, you obviously must ease off the front – and you ease off more on the front than the rear, especially if grip is not great. You can trail brake a little bit of front and a bit more of the rear and change the bias (e.g. by easing more off front and/or adding a /smidge/ more of rear) to control the braking force and speed in the initial part of the turn, along with the balance of the bike – important for staying within and (for the real fast men) feeling for available grip (front especially).

            – It is better to enter a corner /later/ and slower than to enter too early and fast. Square off the apex and you can start pedalling earlier and powering out of the corner earlier. Entering too early leads to crashes.

            I.e., if you are committed to cornering fast, always err towards braking late and hard, and turning in to a late entry; than entering fast and early. If something unexpected happens: It is much easier to brake harder going in, than to corner faster after turn-in.

            – Keep the bike firm enough in your grasp to keep it in control, but no firmer. You want to keep the bike able to move and follow bumps and tell you the conditions, while still keeping enough flexibility in your arms and other contact points to dampen things. You want to be relaxed enough that you can respond to the bike and easily make small adjustments to your line and lift or lower the bike, lift or lower your body on the bike accordingly.

            Again, I’m not recommending going to the limit on corners. It is much better to stay well within your limits and keep a healthy margin. You can practice a lot of these techniques, and improve your cornering, while staying well within your limits.

          • Excellent tips Paul.

            I would add one more – do some track days in a car with big brake discs and semi-slick tyres, or on a motorcycle.

            It’s not about trying to find techniques which directly copy across to handling a bike, but about getting comfortable going fast, braking hard and judging an approach to a corner. If anything, doing track days in a car is actually better than a motorcycle because it is clearly removed from cycling techniques and just focused on getting comfortable with speed and braking.

            One of the interesting parts of Australia having the Road Cycling National Championships run in January is that it is in the motorsport off-season and multiple Australian Superbike Champion Troy Herfoss enters every year. He rides in a plain kit without sponsors but always manages to attract attention for hanging on far longer than he deserves to thanks to his ability to make back time on the descending parts in the second half of each lap.

        • Nice description. One additional useful thing that I’ve learnt (h.t. FlammeRouge in Jersey) is how to see the apex of a corner. Look at the inside of the corner. That distance is shortening as you approach it. When the distance starts growing, that was the apex. But you want to hit the inside a tad after the apex, because you should be leaving the corner faster than you enter it, so all is good.

          • Yep, good point. The difference between the inside and outside of the corner – where those lines meet, and how they converge on entry and diverge after the apex – is vital information to read to know the line.

    • In Kung’s case, it was absolutely rider error. The optimal TT position is the one that safely gets you to the finish line the quickest. again, safely.

  10. There have been many reasons to be happy as an American cycling fan for the past couple of years, but just when things were getting really good the GCN+ news hits like a truck! There has been an under-the-radar revival of American GC racing and even some hope of Americans seriously competing in monuments. Of course, almost no one in the major media landscape cares, which makes the loss of GCN+ a much scarier prospect for Americans, as the media companies have little incentive to serve our niche community. But it reminds me of football in the early 2000’s, when I had to chase the Premier League from cable channel to cable channel, with the odd pirated video thrown in here and there. Now it’s ubiquitous, and though cycling is not likely to draw that kind of attention, there are good reasons for Americans to pay attention to cycling the way some of us did with football decades ago. I just hope that someone steps in to fill the media void, because I really believe that there is momentum that can easily be lost if only the most hardcore cycling fans will be willing to chase the product (semi-legally) around the internet.

    • And even how in the mid-2000’s TV coverage for TdF switched a few times. The branding changed and the channel we had it here (in Canada) switched.

      Once again, the revolving door of cycling coverage/structure is constantly moving – you never have any sustainable model for this sport.

      I feel bad for the staff at GCN, and I really really hope the main YouTube channel team survives this.

      • I describe “Ugly Americans” as those who came to cycling following BigTex. They were involved in some ugly “Kick their ass, eat their cheese” incidents in Paris back in Tex’ day. Complete reverse of the LeMond fans who were fascinated by European cycling and wanted to learn as much as possible about it. Ah, those were the daze…
        Has anyone seen this yet?

  11. Sign up for the Eurosport Player, using a VPN if you have to, and it’s £7 a month in the UK.
    I only want cycling, so I’d only pay March to Sep/Oct.
    Still sucks, and we’ll presumably be back to adverts.

    • I am not at all excited by the prospect of going back to eurosport player. The pain of having to cancel the subscription for half the year, navigate through a load of irrelevant sports, dodgy cross-platform support (though hopefully that might have improved by now).

      I wonder what will happen to all the GCN+ films, I enjoyed watching those whilst on the turbo.

      • FWIW I have no problem watching Eurosport player (or whatever it’s branded as now) on Chromium on Linux, or on Samsung Smart TV (which is some kind of heavily modified, UI wise, Android).

      • That actually deteriorated. They retired the old player app a while ago. For a while I have to login on Web to watch any racing.

        Now it is merged into the Eurosport news app. So it is okay.

        Eurosport does have ad free streaming. But you will have to dig it out of sport specific menu.

  12. In Italy D+ annual subscription is nearly double than GCN+ (70€ vs. 38) but, since it’s an Olympic year, I’ll take it and hope they will fully broadcast the games as in Tokyo.

  13. GCN+ was resisting creating an app for the popular Roku streaming devices throughout 2023 … seems the owners/management saw the financial problems early and didnt want to spend the $$ to develop and market a new delivery method

  14. With all the problems associated with cable viewing and it’s costs (as I often read here in comments), it would be welcome to go back to the pirate style of viewing where INRNG, would list lots of options at the bottom of the race description.

    Pirated race viewing also had issues but it worked well enough and was free.

  15. One other aspect of GCN+ that I’ll miss is the ability to choose from multiple language commentaries. When the English commentary was bad (which it usually was, with the exception of José Been), at least there was the option of listening to a French or Italian commentary. I suspect that even if the cycling coverage finds a home here in the US, the commentary will probably be English-only (because, you know, ‘muuuuurrrrcaa!).

    • The Eurosport app has that too.

      Given the GCN+ app looks and feels like it is the Eurosport app with a different theme/skin, so.. capabilities and compatibility should be similar.

        • AFAIK, the only Eurosport content available in the US is on Max. There is no US version of the Eurosport player. So, if they migrate cycling over to Max, will they still support multiple language streams on that platform? I’m not currently subscribed to Max, so I don’t know what sports coverage there looks like. The thing that makes the Peacock cycling broadcasts so dismal is the commentary by Bob Roll and Christian Vande Velde. Throw in Phil Liggett and it’s all nearly unwatchable. Other people here have mentioned using a VPN to subscribe to Eurosport, but will that work? I would guess that you’d have to register for the service using a physical address somewhere in Europe. Won’t their credit card verification system catch that the address you’ve registered under is not connected to your credit card?

          • + 1 we are possible needing Iring more if we have no live racing content in Canada and the US. Although Flobike might pick up some of the crumbs?

  16. +++Calling all beneficent plutocrats everywhere +++
    Are you thinking of sponsoring a sports team?
    Do you want people everywhere to think well of you?

    – We suggest ownership of an online platform to broadcast / livestream all procycling and top level cycling events. This is a proven business with appeal to the world’s best people who you definitely want on your side, regardless of who they support / follow and across all frontiers.

  17. PostNL was involved in modern-day slavery (illegal workers being exploited by traffickers operating as subcontractors? check!) & child labour (13yo kids driving a delivery van? check!). That’s somewhat worse than just “low wages” & “temporary contracts”…

    But I’ll give you this: unlike some dictators they did not murder the journalists that exposed them (that I know of).

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