Tuesday Shorts

Embed from Getty Images

Did you enjoy the weekend’s racing? TV coverage is a difficult issue this year for many with the absence of GCN+ making it more complicated and more expensive to watch some races. Even within Europe there are complications as Eurosport isn’t a like-for-like replacement, in the US it’s more complicated and other places, say, Japan just don’t have a legal means to watch for now. But Belgians, used to free to air coverage, weren’t happy last weekend either.

On Saturday Sporza’s coverage of the Omloop began with their hosts and pundits doing pieces to camera while the live action was raging on the cobbles. This enraged some Flemish viewers, twice over. First because they were missing: they didn’t want to hear what might happen, they wanted to see what was happening. Second, because if viewers switched to Eurosport they could see the racing live.

Sporza said in a piece yesterday that it comes down to budget and resources, that they can’t show the whole race because of the costs of outside broadcasts with the aerial uplinks and so on. Why did coverage on Eurosport start earlier? Sporza also writes the pan-European channel broke an agreement, the early footage meant for rehearsal and testing and everyone was supposed to wait.

Embed from Getty Images

If you channel hopped you might have seen the Omloop van het Hageland and Christen Faulkner’s solo win. She was wearing a new POC helmet complete with visor. The men might have them too but weren’t so visible last weekend. Anyway, with its shape, the way it covers the ears and the large visor it looks like a time trial helmet. Team mate Noemi Rüegg told Switzerland’s Grupetto magazine that it doesn’t look great but it works. It’s probably the way the sport is going but there’s a wistful concern here. It makes identifying riders more difficult and their facial expressions harder to read, more of the face is covered by the visor and helmet. The viewer experience isn’t as good, being able to see riders struggling is important. So while there’s a gain for a rider or a team from using this, if everyone copies then nobody is ahead and the spectators lose out.

To different times when riders didn’t wear helmets and sunglasses were rare. This blog’s done “the story of that Hinault photo” before, the one with Bernard Hinault striking out at workers blocking the road in Paris-Nice. There are many iconic images of him, it happens to five time winners of the Tour de France but he’s got a swagger, a menacing jawline and those aviator sunglasses. The photo above is famous, it shows him urinating during a Tour de France stage, peak machismo. It’s also a quirk of pro cycling in that it’s a tactical point because if the maillot jaune stops then the unwritten rule says there’s a temporary truce. But where was the photo taken? It’s clearly in the mountains. It’s from 1985 as we can tell from the kit, bike and race number. By deduction, the steepness and white rock tones suggested the Vercors on Stage 12 but on inspection there doesn’t seem to be anywhere quite matching the spot. But the race also visited the Chartreux Alps via a steep gorge on Stage 14, the Gorges du Guiers Vif.

Could it be this? Yes it probably was, it matches with the terrain and even if the metal fencing has since been replaced they have the double railings. There’s a fuller story to be told of the location, the road in question and the day itself because it accidentally ended up having several long term impacts on the sport but it’ll require a recon detour this summer. More here in June during the Dauphiné.

Talking of deduction, the International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance, a scientific journal, describes the five month training regimen of a 25 year old rider on the podium in the Giro. Given Roglič and Thomas are well into their 30s it doesn’t take too much to guess that the rider’s first name is probably João but the interesting thing is the way it describes how intense training efforts are carefully spaced apart and that the harder the training gets, the more rest days are included. Obvious you might think reading it like this, but there are many ways to measure effort but few to monitor fatigue and the bias has long been that more riding is better, while rest invokes a fear of missing out. One factor explored here already is how calorie consumption has changed and is making racing livelier, another idea to explore further is how more rested riders, whether from training or processional sprint stages, are also contributing.

Oh la la in Al Ula
From rest to arrests and a story missed at the time but just as the Alula Tour was about to get under way, the CEO of the Saudi royal commission in charge of the tourist and cultural project was arrested on charges of corruption relating to his time working elsewhere. It’s a big project such that one person’s sudden removal won’t change much but all the same he’s been the top guy so it’s worth watching for any ramifications or changes in priorities.

To local government issues of a more familiar kind now and while the Trofeo Laigueglia opens the Italian season tomorrow Bici.pro interviewed RCS director Mauro Vegni and out came the news that the Giro di Sicilia race is off. RCS might have a like-for-like replacement on the mainland in Abruzzo which is keen to put itself on the map but there are still contracts to sign and announcements to happen. What’s certain for now is that the Sicilian race is off and a pity because an entire region of Italy loses and it shows how tough it is for a race to put down roots. Outwardly it looked established, a settled fixture but it didn’t have enough local political support. Local reports said the race was funded out of different pots each year so the budget was uncertain, was it going to be backed as a tourist development, a sports project or even a EU development matter? Each time the source of the money varied and so the race was relatively insecure. RCS have been regular visitors to Sicily with the Giro, we’ll see if this reduces or not. Once again mayors make the wheels go round.

Calendar changes
Subscribed to the calendar here? The Giro di Sicilia has been rebranded and stays there for now. Another recent addition is the “Tour of Britain Women” in June. As ever though it’s one thing to put a race on the UCI calendar, another to make it happen on the ground with just three months left.


Staying with the UCI website, the team rankings. Visma-Lease a bike had a great weekend and shot up to second on the UCI men’s team rankings. UAE still lead despite a mixed weekend, a podium in Kuurne for Tim Wellens, and Juan Ayuso and Marc Hirshi each winning the weekend’s Boucles Ardèche-Drôme races. But they lost their home Tour, first with Adam Yates taking a hard crash then Jay Vine and Brandon McNulty wilted on the final climb; the chances of Pogačar being called back next year have risen. After them, what’s the third best team in the world right now? Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale. A quirk in the moment but they’ve scored a nice cushion of points.

Finally if Decathlon is a big retailer, to another retailer and this is only for any UK-based readers: Chainreaction/Wiggle is having a liquidation sale and there are bargains galore. No affiliation here, just a chance to pass on potential savings. It’s for the UK as if you try to fill a basket with items, at checkout there’s a prompt saying there’s no overseas shipping.

85 thoughts on “Tuesday Shorts”

      • Inrng has nailed it. If you go to the location on Google maps and back up 50 meters from the position of the photo, the fencing is the same as in the Hinault picture. I reckon that’s it.

        • I’m pretty sure it’s the road… but the exact spot could be different because in once place the road almost collapsed and they built a tunnel into the mountain for safety/it was cheaper than the repairs. The old section of road is closed off and abandoned, strewn with rock fall but could be the place. Anyway it’s a scenic road, the Dauphiné is climbing up there in June.

          • I think it’s a very good chance it’s the same spot. You can event see in the distance there’s a very similar set of 2 sloping fields, divided by trees. Though there are more trees now. You can also seem kind of white-ish structure towards the fore end of the lower field, and you can /just/ still see some white structure in GM today.

            Decent chance it’s the same. How /did/ you manage to know that? 🙂

          • It’s just something you pick up, you can tell if a road is in France, Spain, Italy etc buy the markings, sometimes even the vegetation, then look at all sorts of other details like which way the shadows fall, you can tell what time of day it is because Hinault won’t stop with one hour to go, it’ll be early in the stage. When I saw the photo before for some reason it looked like the end of the Galibier/Lautaret going towards Bourg d’Oisans but it’s not. There are lots of tiny clues but the Hinault photo above isn’t obvious, the depth helps with the mountains behind, the white rocks are distinctive but I took it for Vercors but there are no helpful clues that tell you right away.

            Now I’m really on the hook for going to visit the road in question sometime this year 😉

  1. This blog is more and more sophisticated : now we have some enticing appetizers for a future article in June… “La suite au prochain épisode”, as they say in feuilletons !
    A little bit off topic, to complete the article about TotalEnergies from last week, or the week before : Bernaudeau made an interview with L’Equipe during the Tour du Rwanda. Apparently he doesn’t seem to worry too much about UCI points, says that his team is at its place in the rankings given its budget (Sagan’s salary was paid almost entirely by Specialized, apparently, I didn’t know that), that he doesn’t want to run after UCI points and prefer to keep some sense in what he does. He complains about a changing of the rules : the results of 30 riders of a team counts now, instead of 15 before. According to him it’s a system to get rid of the small structures : “how can we manage with 23 riders, against 29 or 30 for Israel and Lotto ?” He also says that he doesn’t want a WT status, just be 19th or 20th to have all the wildcards, and put some pressure on his leaders (Turgis and Latour) to make a better season. I wonder if he’s right or not, and what his team will become in the next years ; anyway it’s a really different kind of team and cycling that we’re used to see.

    • I read the interview too, he’s open to Alaphilippe and matches the recent post here about his team (link). It’s striking how he wants to do things on his own terms and talks a lot about values, as in ethics, philosophy and his idea of sport…but he would say that too.

      Note that it’s the top-20 on the team for the points under the regulations, not the 30 riders, rule 2.10.004 bis.

    • I wonder if his philosophy would be different if they weren’t a French team potentially propped up by wildcard spots in a popular French race. I guess the future will tell as it looks like there will be fewer discretionary wildcard spots.

    • Unless he really would prefer to take a step back from the pros and concentrate on amateur racing or development of youngsters then reality is already biting him in the ass. If his bum is numb then it’s only because of his denial.

  2. I have to wonder about the politics of tourism here in Sicily and how they affected backing for the race? If you look at pure tourist numbers I can see some saying “ENOUGH!” since we’ve been invaded post-pandemic by hoards of viewers of (the gawdawful) White Lotus HBO TV show, why spend money on a bike race that will show the broken-up pavement and roadside trash the island seems plagued with?
    Back when we were running bike tours in Italy it was a real challenge to find enough clients to make a Sicily tour viable…I “put the arm on” a few long-time clients to make it go and it was (sadly) a one-time affair. If I was moving somewhere only for the cycling “atmosphere” it wouldn’t be Sicily! Pro teams have made the same decision for their winter training in recent years 🙁

    • I was wondering whether Sicily actually needs to develop tourism, as I’d have expected it to do quite well enough without bike races to publicise it.

  3. I know nothing about tourism in Sicily but could the desire to attract cyclists be to do with extending the season that tourists come rather than just increasing numbers generally?

    • Tourism certainly brings in some money. Agriculture’s the other big economic driver but I’m no economist, just pointing out the recent tourist “invasion” post-pandemic might have lowered the voices of the pro-tourism sector when the opposition started on their “we can’t afford this” campaign.
      It’s the same thing about the (silly IMHO) bridge across the Straits of Messina to the mainland a certain govt. stooge has made his pet project. Anyone who has ever driven the roads on either side of where this proposed bridge would be wonders WTF they’re in such terrible condition and thinks maybe they should get those shaped up BEFORE they undertake construction of the world’s longest suspension bridge to connect them? But what do we know?

      • It looks to me that submerged tube tunnels (like the tunnel portion of the Øresund bridge/tunnel connecting Copenhagen and Malmo) would be more suitable as a practical transport solution for a fixed link across the strait than a bridge.

        But I can see how bloviating politicians might not like tunnels as much as bridges. There’s no massive towers sticking up into the sky like massive phallic monuments to their leadership.

        • Not really. All large infrastructure projects are preceded by decades of feasibility studies in which every conceivable solution is looked into. Undewater tunnels rarely win against bridges. Above-ground tunnels are hard enough.

        • I’m no geologist but I wonder about the idea of digging a big tunnel into the ground next to a massive (and very active) volcano. Either way, the roads on either side are horrible and have been for years so the entire idea is dumb, dumb, dumb though it’s been around for years. Oddly , it’s current champion is the same guy who runs the political party who not that long ago wanted to cut Italy in-half so all the tax money from the north would no longer be “wasted” on the south. Same guy was photographed in a “TRUMP 202o” mask during the pandemic and a Putin t-shirt a few years earlier.

    • Yes, and attracting different types of tourists to new places. Cycle tourism is proving beneficial in lots of places because it is attracting people without causing saturation/overtourism. Cyclists visiting will buy cannoli in village bakeries, stay in countryside hotels, go inland etc.

      • Sure, everyone knows that – but those same cyclists deal with some gawdawful pavement quality and trash-strewn roadsides. Neither of those is good for tourism. In fact one of our competitors used to note (and warn potential clients) roadside trash being an issue. At one point their issues made it into the local media. So my guess is the people in-charge of signing-off on the expenses involved with Giro di Sicilia might have thought of this along with the post-pandemic foreign tourist invasion Sicily (and I’d guess most of Italy?) is already experiencing…so why throw more money at it via a bike race?

        • When I organised a bike tour in Sicily for some friends, I decided to avoid the otherwise beautiful Southeastern Sicilian Barocco corner precisely because some random samples from Streetview *always* had heaps of roadside trash all along. I must say that it wasn’t like that in the area we finally toured, probably also because the population density was often extremely low.

          And, yes, the tourist invasion is fully on elsewhere, too, and same in Spain. It reached shocking levels and somewhere the impact on local societies is way more negative than monetary benefits.

          • Dunno how long ago your tour was, but I’ve been all over this island over the years and the trash isn’t limited (but could be worse) to the beautiful Southeastern Sicilian Barocco corner. The bike tour company I noted the complaint from was one whose tour goes all over the island so they didn’t seem to find it limited to that area either.

  4. This rider recognition thing really ticks me off. It’s so obvious how to fix it. Allow riders to have personalised helmets. WvA and Pidcock are showing the way with their Red bull lids, easy to pick them out. But the authorities seem to want all the riders in a team to look the same, like a group of ’50s school children on an outing. Ridiculous…

    • “But the authorities seem to want all the riders in a team to look the same, like a group of ’50s school children on an outing.”
      You mean like pretty much EVERY sports team? How many different crash-hat designs could/would there be? Maybe they just put a huge # on the top of ’em…though the only guy one could ID from the front would be Chris Froome:-)
      IMHO the rider ID ship sailed when they required crash-hats 20+ years ago. Even the TV commentators used to an individual rider’s “look” on his bike have a tough time…some of ’em even have trouble telling one TEAM from another! I blame that on the UCI not forcing teams to have kit that’s easily recognized – each year there are a couple of teams that look way too much alike. Is it Astana and VFGroup Bardiani this season?

    • For me the thing is to have more of the face visible so we can see expressions, can’t go back to the “look into the whites of their eyes” moments of the 1989 Tour de France, but we can still see some facial expressions for now. You could have a custom TT helmet that’s easier to recognise because the surface area is bigger… but we might not see the person inside.

      • I usually agree DaveS but I’m haunted by the Italian or was it Spanish helmets from mid10s with their bizarro badly drawn/sprayed-on insignia! The year Rui Costa won the Worlds I just remember some riders helmets and thinking how ugly they were!

        It seems like we can never go back (and I prefer riders being safer and setting a good example) to showing more face so that only leaves: helmets, names on clothing, or status quo.

        A lot of mismatched helmets feels like it would be a bit ugly and I’d expect to see sponsors creeping in quickly – but you’re right that it would be a quick solve and maybe the best solution.

        Numbers, or initials on shoulders, backs and bums might be another help but I guess takes up valuable sponsorship space.

        Or status quo – if I’m really honest I actually don’t find it that hard to tell cyclists apart once we’re at the business end of the race but any which way, I’d probably be in favour of any of the above if it made seeing riders personalities easier. So maybe individual helmets is the way forward.

        Slightly more sophisticated info graphics could also help.

        • “I’m haunted by the Italian or was it Spanish helmets from mid10s with their bizarro badly drawn/sprayed-on insignia”
          You didn’t like those? He’s still at it. barzadesign.it shows crash-hats for Ganna along with Red Bull paint schemes and plenty more on his website. I wouldn’t mind seeing more of those, especially if they’re NOT just advertising ala Red Bull but more creative designs, but what do I know?

          • I just find them so bloody ugly… they look like terrible drunken tattoos!
            (I have nothing against tattoos, but some are worse than others!)

            It’s just:
            a) they’re too small to really see on TV.
            b) the insignia is always so basic: a lion, a bull, a bullet…
            c) and the line work has that fuzzy spray can feel that is just plain ugly IMO

            I’m more into something a bit more graphic/patterned that’s designed to be seen and remembered from afar or if they had proper imagination and looked like real overall/cohesive design like Palace/EF duck ones that would be brilliant (I loved those). But knowing I’m watching a rider who thought it was cool to put a muscled-puffing bull on the side of their helmet just makes me question what the hell I’m watching!

          • “.. like Palace/EF duck ones that would be brilliant (I loved those). ”
            While I HATED ’em! Can’t please everyone I guess. Unless somehow a permanent number gets assigned and is as big on the kit as in football, I think we’re stuck with what we’ve got. I’m not a fan of the permanent number idea in any case but that’s just me?

        • Want to modernize pro cycling? Assign numbers as in other team sports, put a large one on their backs and on the sides of their (matching) helmets, like other sports with common sense, and let the sponsors cover the rest of their kit.

    • Or just let the riders choose for themselves whether to wear a helmet. There is not much difference in severe injury rates pre and post helmets. The wider studies strongly suggest helmets make only a small difference (primarily because amongst severe injuries, those head injuries that helmets can moderate are just a small fraction of those severe injuries).

      On climbs, conducted at jogging / running pace there is 0 point to helmets – we tolerate the same level of risk in many other unhelmeted sports – running, football, etc.

      • “Or just let the riders choose for themselves whether to wear a helmet.” As much as I might agree, that ship has sailed. It’s been more than two decades now.
        As Wikipedia says: Whilst at first the rule was loose and not tightly enforced, especially on mountain-top finishes, it has since been enforced more strictly and helmet-wearing is now universal and uncontroversial in the peloton of both professional as well as amateur races. It has also become common-place among recreational riders in many parts of the world.
        And I must admit other than riding in vintage events or on my shopping bike running errands, these daze a styrofoam crash-hat’s on my head every time I swing a leg over a bicycle as my wife reminds me she doesn’t want to be wiping the drool off the face of an invalid who “got his bell rung” after a crash. Amazingly, after decades of cycling and motorcycling, while I’ve crashed on both plenty of times I’ve never once hit my head on the road/track, whether wearing a crash-hat or not.

          • BRAVO! Every now and then I think about buying a cheapo, black, generic crash-hat to slap on when I hop on the shopping bike. Something cheap and ugly so that if stolen or vandalized it wouldn’t bother me, I’d just get another one?

          • @Larry

            Do it. The worst case is that you never fall off and get a hot head on sunny days. I have had one bad crash on my commuter bike and I am sure that my cheapo, black, generic crash-hat saved my skull.

        • Every ardent helmet wearer has a “I had a crash and thank $DEITY for my helmet, it saved my life!” story. However, based on the data, nearly all these stories must be untrue (the “saved my life” part that is).

          • FWIW, I have had crashes where, /had/ I been wearing a (flimsy) cycling helmet, it would have been completely destroyed. I wasn’t. I’m still here.

          • Not the helmet debate, please. People have views on each side and don’t seem to meet in the middle.

            One observation: your free choice won’t exist as long as there are sponsors paying six figure sums to supply helmets.

          • I usually no longer engage in it. The data is clear (they reduce head injuries by 50% to 80%; but as head injuries are a small proportion of serious injuries, they make little difference overall – plus most fatalities are not due to head injuries – and where made mandatory, or other strong cultural pressure to use, such societies see _large_ reductions in cycling participation, which is a net negative for societal health, and see _worse_ cycling safety [i.e. higher rates of injuries per km] cause there are fewer cyclists – presumably with consequent reduced political impetus to tackle the _real_ cause of injury to cyclists: Motorist behaviours).

            Good point on there now being a sizeable helmet-industrial complex to keep pushing this.

          • Broken helmets are not evidence of benefit. You could strap any fragile thing to your head and observe that they often broke. That, of itself, contains scant information that any substantive injury was averted.

            E.g., I could strap eggs to my head. You would however laugh if I tried to claim a broken egg was evidence of the wisdom and necessity of strapping eggs to one’s head.

            What you do have evidence of is that /cycling/ helmets are extremely flimsy.

          • Refreshing re-opening of the helmet debate. It’s always healthy to go back and check if the changes made in the past were actually for the better.

  5. Thank you for the information and background about why the Omloop coverage started late. I watched from Eurosport and was equally annoyed at how while the racing was clearly getting serious, we were instead getting repeat ‘flashbacks to last year’ and shots of Eurosport pundits in some garage talking about the race coming up with zombie fans standing around team busses. Eurosport did keep cutting back to the race briefly which I understand now was because although pictures were available they were not really allowed to show them.

    On the same topic of Omloop, was there any talk in Belgium press about the useless race timing that was shown on the TV coverage? I think at no point was it accurate and was always jumping around, adding or removing minutes? I see Tudor was advertising as the race timing partner which I have not seen before, so maybe some first time bugs, but Flanders Classic better get that sorted before Ronde.

    • No seen anything on the timing problems in the usual papers. The Tudor (a brand of Rolex) sponsorship is probably just that rather than them bringing timing technology. The timing is normally based on GPS signals from motos accompanying each group and prone to vary a bit, but something went wrong on Saturday. As you say, let’s hope it is fixed.

    • It’s something I’ve been monitoring because I have been trying to understand why there is so much difference in accuracy between different races, O Gran Camiño being about the worst in the recent past. Tudor are definitely behind Tissot in their technology.

        • How is the timing done these daze? Is it via GPS, that thing that tells me to turn around and go back the other way on a tight switchback climb in the car? Does anyone make decisions in the race based on what shows up on a video screen graphic? How accurate do people think this needs to be? Countless times I’ve watched a race and could easily tell the time shown on the screen between leaders and chasers was either time-lagged or simply incorrect.
          Heck, they still tell the leaders and chasers their time gaps with a chalk and a blackboard held up by a guy on a moto, no? If GPS (or whatever they use) was so accurate why wouldn’t that guy be holding up some electronic light-up GPS-enabled gizmo with that same data?

        • That’s why I wrote “associated to” – I don’t think there’s somebody with a Tudor stopwatch standing there and taking times for the TV flow to show (which would work pretty well, probably), but the troubles have become so evident that one must suspect that some change must have happened meanwhile. Is it pure chance that it happened in the races where you could also notice the change in sponsorship for official timing? Maybe. What’s sure is that it’s not working great for Tudor.

          • “…but the troubles have become so evident that one must suspect that some change must have happened meanwhile.”
            Can’t say I’ve noticed any big change in this area. When did this become so evident to you? Seems to be “same s__t, different day” IMHO.

  6. Really enjoyed this post thank you.

    GCN+ is a huge loss, I feel like even now it’s not quite appreciated how big – for me at least it was allowing the sport to work alongside the growth in interest of platforms like Zwift/Strava and let previously overlooked races to reach new audiences, which felt like one of the first real ways we as fans were benefitting from the tech revolution of the last few decades.

    Almost every cycling friend I knew was either watching a race while on their turbo or a cycling documentary and it made chats with friends infinitely more fun that we could easily talk about early season racing as much as we could the Tour or Giro.

    With Strava connecting cyclists across the world, alongside indoor cycling platforms, GCN+ seemed like the final piece so that pro-cycling could enjoy the boom also. Now it’s incredibly difficult to go back to the dark ages, and I fear for most they actually can’t be bothered (understandably) and it’s almost back to square one unless a replacement comes soon.

    I guess that’s what you get with a niche sport, two steps forward and one step back.

    I know I get lampooned (sometimes understandably) for criticising some of pro-cyclings barriers to entry for new fans but actually figuring out how to watch it is probably the biggest of all.

  7. What confuses me most about the current TV coverage issues is the lack of noise from teams and sponsors on the much reduced visibility of their brands. Is this being aired elsewhere and I’m missing it. Surely it must bite in the short term as without coverage what’s the point of a brand paying large sums to teams

    • Remember that most of a race’s audience is typically the home country and as a rule, the smaller the event the more this holds. The additional worldwide viewers on GCN+ are welcome extra eyeballs but often a small share of the total audience (if GCN+ had that many subscribers it wouldn’t have stopped).

      Who watches the Omloop? Belgians mainly. I don’t think the race was free-to-air in France, Italy, Germany etc so it’s left for Belgian viewers topped up by a few niche subscribers abroad (ie that’s us).

      • I still think this is a good point from ES?

        It’s true most sponsors etc are getting the recognition they’re after in their core countries (or just sponsoring for fun so care little) but even then I would expect not only more noise from certain sponsors but also riders? I realise their union is weak and GCN+ was in its infancy but surely either many of them were using it to watch cycling or could see potential future benefits it could bring them with increased visibility?

        But it is true if GCN+ had enough eyeballs it may not have stopped – my only disagreement here is that for me it a least it was in early years, and surely had the potential to grow and hoover up more and more cycling fans given time and further improvements to what they were offering and maybe collaborations with other relatively new platforms within cycling that are reaching fans.

        We’ll never get them but it would be fascinating to know what the growth in users was year on year of GCN+ and what their predictions were for the next decade.

        Admittedly though maybe there was a plateau in the way there always is with a niche sport although in my humble and likely daft opinion that could more on the structure of the sport itself rather than any of GCN+’s failing.

        I was genuinely in awe of their development and platform and how it was seemingly constantly improving – even the green screen backgrounds that replaced the fake bricks had me at least impressed. I wonder where all the talent that made it possible has gone now it’s semi-defunct.

        Probably F1! ^__^

        • “I wonder where all the talent that made it possible has gone now it’s semi-defunct.”
          One could have said the same thing when CBS stopped their fantastic TV shows. Look up “CBS Paris-Roubaix” on that infamous video sharing platform. All the great things about US sports coverage – but on European pro cycling! Who would have ever believed it?
          IMHO Greg LeMond was the reason. BigTex certainly inspired his share too, but once he became the poster-boy of unchecked cheating/doping that was over. I doubt the USA will ever embrace another pro cyclist in this way again.
          OTOH I have to admit watching those CBS shows helped create a life-long passion for the sport in me. I had VHS tapes of them to watch for those rare (I lived in SoCal back then) times I had to ride indoors.

      • So far (fingers crossed) Eurosport seems just fine offering events like Omloop to people in Europe with their choice of language commentary. I watched some (still crappy weather here) of Trofeo Laigueglia via Eurosport today and couldn’t help noticing the camera moto had RAI TV logos on it and RAI’s Andrea De Luca doing the post-race interview. Didn’t even bother looking at RAI Sport’s over-the-air broadcast channel as my wife much prefers their commentary team over RAI’s.

    • It’s likely to affect the MTB world far more, and has done with teams pulling the plug, particularly the Enduro teams. From free to air on Red Bull TV, to a subscription service……and now GCN gone…..and with few big ‘outside’ sponsors in MTB racing, it could be a struggle for many.

  8. I don’t think that the paper on the training regime of the rider on the podium in the Giro is about Almeida in 2023. Instead it seems to me that it’s Landa in 2015. The main reason is that in the paper it is stated that the rider did three preparation races before the giro. The first being a 7 day long 2.UWT race, the second being 6 day long 2.UWT race and the third being a 4 day long 2.HC race. This does not fit with Almeida’s schedule in 2023, but it does fit with Linda in 2015 (with the three races being Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Vuelta Ciclista al País Vasco, and Giro del Trentino-Melinda).

    • Interesting, I just didn’t think they’d go that far back and Almeida did two WT races and a .Pro but if it was officially .HC then it goes back to 2019 or before. Blows my deduction out of the water… will stick to spotting bike race locations etc.

      • It’s not so much the authors going far back, but that academic papers can easily take a year – if not 2 or more – to prepare and get published (which can involve a few cycles of trying to submit, going through through reviews, corrections, etc.).

  9. In terms of TV coverage.
    Here in the UK the coverage on the Discovery+ app has been brilliant, even if over twice the price of the much lamented GCN+. I am afraid it is the price multinational companies extract from fans and there is little we can do about it.

  10. It’s been a great start to the season so far, but I have to say that Adam Yates’ crash was really scary. It really brings into focus the need for some kind of concussion protocol in cycling. I think we take it as a given that a rider will get back on their bike after a crash, unless they are absolutely physically unable to, but concussions are very different. Continuing any sort of physical activity after a concussion can put you at serious risk of a cerebral hemorrhage, a seizure, or worse. I really hope Yates recovers fully, but more that that, I hope that the CPA and UCI look at this incident and take some action.

  11. Just on the helmet I think it looks good. Cycling helmets have always looked a bit daggy to me. As for recognising individuals I think that their general physique and cycling style tell the story … and grimaces don’t always tell a story either as there are plenty of fakers.

  12. You should do a recreation of the Hinault photograph when you find that road, Inrng. Wearing a visor helmet to preserve your anonymity of course.

  13. Inner Ring your comments on seeing riders faces fit with what Tao Geoghegan Hart has been saying recently about the lack of ‘personalities’ in cycling. If you can’t see the rider well it becomes more difficult to connect with them and personality stuggles to come through.

    I way to partly navigate this would be an increase in ‘behind the scenes’ type short doc’s that Jaco, Ineos and others do on Youtube. Though sometimes these can become sanitised. If done in a more lighthearted way it can reveal some of the personality behind the helment and glasses. Teams and riders whould leverage this more.

    • I suspect the lack of personalities thing (if this is the case) would be due to everything going “all coporate”. There is no escape.

      • It’s difficult. Companies put money in to be promoted. It worked a dream with Pinot and Groupama last year. But for every authentic lamb hugger who has built an eco home in their village of birth, there’s probably going to be someone in a Monaco tower block posting online about divisive political issues that the audience may not lap up in the same way.

      • There are personalities in the sport – Pogacar and MVdP come to mind. Both seem to determine their own racing schedules and speak their minds…at least some anyway.
        OTOH – no Strade Bianche preview Mr. Inrng? IMHO a tasty antipasto for the real racing season. I’ll be toasting up some crostini tomorrow and popping the cork on a bottle of Tuscan vino!
        Forza Pogacar!!! W Italia!

          • OK, fair enough though I must admit not caring so much about P-N though I know most here do. But March also has T-A, Milano-Torino and the first of the real races of the season, MSR..so no complaints from me! Have a great weekend 🙂

          • Paris-Nice is only of any interest if the weather is windy and as a pointer for who is in shape for the classics. But with MvdP and Pogacar not racing and WVA up a mountain for the foreseeable that would appear to be moot.
            The new longer Strade Bianche could be a last man standing affair if it’s wet, if 2018 is anything to go off.

    • I think cycling is a pretty difficult sport in which to have personalities. The lifestyle of training all day every day, eating like a supermodel, not touching alcohol and in bed by 9 isn’t exactly edge of your seat stuff.

  14. Note to Andrew: I ordered a couple of cheap, black crash-hats today for use with my shopping bike. My wife has been strapping her nice tricolore LAS Cobalto on recently if we ride on roads full of traffic (we’ve got a lot more invested in her head than mine) but now we’ll have generic-looking black ones nobody will bother with if they’re left with the bikes in public. And if they are stolen/vandalized they’ll be cheaply and easily replaced.

    • I had panners on my occasionally used shopping bike. So i keep the helmet inside the pannier and i guess you could get a lockable pannier.

      I do live in a fairly low crime town though. On a daily basis we leave our bikes outside and out of view whilst inside the cafe for up to 90 minutes with the bikes ranging from 1500$ (mine) to 20k$ aus (silly peoples bikes).

      • The shopping bikes have baskets front/rear and get left locked-up outside only when we’re inside the market, dining somewhere too far to walk to, etc. I figure a cheap, black helmet in a basket or locked through the straps while we’re not there for an hour or two isn’t gonna tempt too many.
        I wouldn’t leave things out overnight but I have to admit the bike racks I installed in front of our house (just to park ours while we lock the doors, etc. and for the neighbor’s bicycles) often have bikes left in ’em unlocked and none (so far) have vanished. Whooda thunk it for Sicily?!

  15. “While there’s a gain for a rider or a team from using this, if everyone copies then nobody is ahead and the spectators lose out.” Completely right, and equally applicable to many other equipments.

Comments are closed.