Wednesday Shorts

The Tour of Oman has concluded with Adam Yates winning thanks to his stage win on the Jebel Al Akhdar. He and Jan Hirt surged clear on the climb. Yates looked like a coiled spring in the final kilometre just waiting to make his move and then jumped in the final 200m to take the stage and GC.

Oman has seen astonishing rain in recent days. Muscat has an average annual rainfall of 100mm, it had 140mm on Monday and this sadly caused widespread disruption and even some deaths. A public holiday was decreed so that people could stay at home while the authorities could tend to the flooding. A knock-on effect of this was the Tour of Oman saw several stages abbreviated. It’s unlikely the sporting outcome changed though, but a few hours less racing all week.

Sol but no Ruta
Racing in Europe isn’t guaranteed either. Farmer protests in Spain have just caused the Ruta del Sol’s opening stage today to be cancelled. Similar to the Etoile de Bessèges earlier this month, the farmers haven’t sought to stop the race but the protests have seen guardia civil police resources called upon which were normally going to be deployed for the racing.

Cofidis competition
A stage winner in Oman last year thanks to Jesus Herrada (pictured), Cofidis are now the only WorldTeam without a win so far this season. It’s a ball and chain to wear but the surprise is just how quickly all the other teams have scored already. In times past it could take until April or even May to get a win and by then it’s a problem. For anyone keeping count, arguably the bigger race is for UCI points and Cofidis are doing alright, 13th on this year’s tables.

Prudhomme interview
Christian Prudhomme sat down for a good half hour interview with French website A lot of the English language reporting has focussed on him saying the thing we knew already: ASO isn’t part of the One Cycling Project any more. But he discussed beaucoup more across a range of topics, from how long he’ll keep doing the job to dealing with hotter summers to rider safety, including reprising an idea first suggested by ex-pro Philippe Gilbert who sits on the UCI’s Athlete Commission that gears could be restricted. The thinking is that if accidents and their propensity for injury are function of speed then capping the maximum gear ratio could slow things down but of course it’s an indirect method. Other things were mentioned including the growth in the roadside audience – one in four spectators last year was a newcomer, many women are coming to the Tour – and TV audience with, among French viewers, the largest segment of audience is now 16-24 years old. The Netflix effect.

Out of sight
Another thing Prudhomme mentioned was the exponential growth in road furniture in France. It’s mirrored all over Europe and beyond too. One upshot of this is that pro races are increasingly unable to ride into towns and cities. The recent Dauphiné route was notable for some of the very small host towns but look at Milan-Sanremo, now Pavia-Sanremo. Pavia’s a charming place and the revised route won’t change the day’s sport…and it’s yet another race now happening outside of a big city and away from important audiences. It’s rare to find a race these days that visits a capital city or other major conurbations, just when the sport could do with visiting the places where people live and work, where younger audiences are found and where business and politics are done. It’s right to ask if the sport can go to the US, Japan while also wondering about its presence in Milan, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam and London.

Talking of rider safety, Eusebio Unzue’s call for rider substitutions in grand tours got short shrift from Prudhomme too, as it has from plenty of others. I can see his thinking but it’s the logic of a team manager who doesn’t want to be a rider down in a major event and holding this interest higher than than other aspects. At the margin it could even make racing more dangerous because teams know in the first week that if they take risks with fighting for position and lose a rider to a resulting crash than they can always bring in a fresh rider: it reduces the costs of reckless riding. Anyway Unzue was floating some ideas during a chat with the media on the margins of the Tour of Colombia, and like Prudhomme above, he wasn’t carving this onto a stone tablet as a take-it-or-else proposition.

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Trenchant triathlete
A mention of Bastien Tronchon, the Decathlon-Ag2r La Mondiale was second in the Jaen Classic this week and keeping company with some big names. You might remember him from his win a stagiaire in the Vuelta a Burgos, surviving from the breakaway to latch onto Pavel Sivakov and then take the 2-up sprint. A big future on the bike? Who knows but he’s a character, his social media’s refreshingly unfiltered. He lost a bet with a friend and so had to swim across the Lac du Bourget, France’s largest lake, last summer although he wisely swam across rather than the length, still it was 3.1km. A keen XC-skier, he’s been regional athletics champion too.

Climb out of the Lac du Bourget, dry off and you can ride enjoy a pleasant day’s ride along the Jura mountains to Grenchen, home of BMC, the luxury Swiss bike company. It’s having a tough time with its local newspaper Grenchener Tagblatt reporting that factory workers on are Kurzarbeit, literally “short work” and where – I don’t know the Swiss or cantonal laws – staff, instead of being made redundant, work significantly fewer hours and have part of their income paid by welfare plans. It’s another sign of the bike industry’s struggles with oversupply, particularly at the top end.

Red Bull marketing challenge
Lastly while we’re all anticipating Red Bull’s arrival in pro cycling because of the increased marketing coverage this will bring… it’s a strange sponsorship. While you can conceivably fit Bora and Hansgrohe in your kitchen, use Soudal glue to lay Quickstep flooring, or even go buy an Ineos Grenadier, or simply promote Bahrain and Israel, how will pro cyclists consume Red Bull’s energy drink? Put another way are they going to sponsor people who work hard to avoid such sugary products? Yes they make “Zero” but riders will surely use alternative energy drinks in competition and training. For all the wow factor hoped for there’s also an authenticity challenge too.

65 thoughts on “Wednesday Shorts”

  1. I’m probably completely wrong here, as I don’t cycle & I only drink water, but I thought that when cyclists get a “hunger flat” they try to eat/drink something sugary ASAP so would Red Bull work for that?

      • I think we’ll see as we see in the other sports they sponsor – riders drinking water (or their preferred drink) out of a Red Bull branded bidon/water bottle, and later be pictured with Red Bull’s canned drinks in post-race or ‘lifestyle’ type situations. We can look at their sponsored athletes in MTB to see examples. Hasn’t seemed to do any harm. Red Bull get their authenticity, as it were, from their long association with sports sponsorships. A refreshing change from gulf state sponsored teams, or the gambling firms sponsoring other sports, at least.

          • Personally, I don’t think Red Bull gives a crap about return on investment on many of the things they sponsor. They sponsor soooooo much stuff, they just throw stuff out there and see what sticks. There is zero chance if they were a publicly traded company that had investors and a board of directors that they would sponsor as many differnt things as they do. Personally, I appreciate that they sponsor so many differnt non- mainstream sports (cycling being one of the more ‘boring ‘sponsorships for them to be fair).Without red bull, so many completely niche events would not exist at all.

  2. Not sure if any of us our privy to Red Bull’s product development and market goals. Their foray in to cycling could be the foundation of broader product lines drinks/lifestyle approach. Even beyond their already seeming global domination. Time will tell. A company like this is masterful at long term strategic thinking and will spend, long before, to put pieces of the puzzle together to support a proper launch.

    • Weather doping, clearly. (Actually, isn’t Saudi Arabia experimenting seriously with cloud seeding?)
      So maybe half a dozen lifetimes of TdF wins in 7 years?

      • The final stage of the UAE Tour Women’s around the islands of Abu Dhabi also had rain.

        I was watching the Asian Le Mans Series race at Yas Marina Circuit (which included the cycle race passing on the road outside) and saw cars coming in to the pits for wet tyres, which has probably happened fewer times there than man has been to the moon.

  3. “Oversupply” or having pushed a ridiculous increase in prices when the industry had a growing bubble. Now I guess we’re running straight into a “survival of the biggest” situation which will cut down – as in being closed, being bought or both – several smaller brands which often were the ones offering real innovation, quality etc.
    Why not, say the big “super(market)” brands… which, at the end of the day, is why we’re riding worse bikes for the same percentage of our income than in 2015 and in 2015 it was already worse than in 2005 (not to say “worse bikes” in overall terms, esp. speaking of the last 7-8 years… which would only require more time and lines to argue properly, but which could actually be defended with a solid set of arguments).

    …Your turn, Larry 😛

    • @gabriele I have no love of the big bike companies, but could you please explain this? In what way are we riding worse bikes than in 2015, and those being worse than. 2005?

      Long time lurker, and generally a big fan of your contributions, so this is a question borne of genuine curiosity rather than a direct challenge, if that makes sense.

      • The easy part of my point was about value. Turn the price of your bike in a percentage of your wage, or a number of full tank refill of your car (if you have one) or a couple of similar tests. You’ll easy discover that despite bla bla bla about trickling down technologies etc., back then you’d buy a top level bike with the money which would now buy you a middle to low range one – which, no, it’s very probably not as good. Let me assure you: a Shimano 105 today is still way worse than, well, pretty much any Dura-Ace. Now you sometimes pay several K to get a 105-mounted bike… note that this part of the argument is more about the bike as a product rather than a technological object as such.

        Meanwhile it’s not like R&D has gifted us with great advances, pressfit BB and their iterations still squeak and fail, disc brakes still hiss and touch, 12 speed chains are still too fragile, the weigh hasn’t gone down (the UCI rule being essentially an excuse) etc. Tubeless? Hummm… it’s like consumers are forced through imperfect novelties again and again with little satisfying standard or final result. Fine, but this just means that R&D is modest to poor and subject to marketing rather than the other way around. What I mean is that all that doesn’t justify raising prices as they did.
        And many brands has gone further and further in delocalising, moving south in Southern Asia (or across the Mediterranean sea), under worse political and labour conditions, looking for cheaper and cheaper wages with results which when made public should have made us all feel unease. There are very recent exceptions, but they ar few and fewer yet have developed a full product line.
        So it’s not production either which justifies prices. Please note that I’m not necessarily saying that bikes built by exploited people are technically worse (they might as well be worse because it’s a part of general cost reduction and failing to keep quality as priority on part of the brand), what’s sure is that the speculative rise in prices doesn’t depend on the production as such, just as it’s not on R&D.

        Obviously the above is mainly generalisation, but it applies way too often.

        Then, but now I’m going directly into oveesimplification, most of what is being sold you as a general advance is hard to check for the user (different forms of rigidity, effectiveness of different types of brakes, speed or precision of electronic shifting…) or simply useless for the non-pro, while other aspects (“guidabilità”, feel of the bike) got neglected to get, say, more aero… over 40kph. Mediocre carbon wheels are heavier than good alu ones and grant a worse ride from any POV, so why do they simply exist and are offered on a growing number of bike models? By the way, we’re in a moment of “breaking carbon”, as we may have noticed, but it’s not even that lighter as during previous circumstances of this kind which have been happening through the last 20 y. Bikes are offered more and more often as a “fixed bundle” with little option to mix and choose components at will. This forces comhination which are less quality-efficient for your money. Etc.

        This would need much more time and I’m in a big hurry, but the above was just to give a general idea, and as such could easily be criticised on specific points. But I’m pretty sure that the general concept stands.
        If I enter a bike shop with 3 K today, I won’t get a “great” bike…

          • As a project for a blog post I wanted to look up the price of a team issue bike from each season and see how much the price has gone up vs inflation over the years.

            I think the top end bikes have risen in price faster than the inflation index and by some way but it’d be nice to see the numbers. But it wouldn’t be comparing like-with-like. They are lighter, stiffer, faster and with more technology, it’s not like comparing the price of a fixed commodity over the years; but also more breakable in the event of a hard crash. Like Gabriele says though, are some the advances really improvements or added complication? I like tubeless offroad but not sold on it for the road.

            It looks like there’s a sort of stand-off between consumers and the industry but if you look around some manufacturers are dropping prices to move stock. Some of this has to go because, whisper it, new groupsets are coming out so the old lines have to be cleared.

          • “They are lighter, stiffer, faster and with more technology,”
            They are NOT faster – unless you’re considering secret motors the things still go only as fast as the rider can pedal ’em. May it ever be so!

        • Modern day 105 is perfectly fine for everybody, apart from the pros. Only people with more money than sense will by Dura Ace….it’s not going to be significantly better – if anything, despite the name, is probably less durable than 105.

          You’re falling into the trap of performance cycling; you can get perfectly fine bikes for 3k….they might not be the fastest, but so what?

        • Bikes have certainly improved in a lot of ways over the years, but I do agree that a lot of developments are largely unnecessary and don’t add to the enjoyment of simple bike riding, but they do add significant cost…and it’s frustrating as a consumer when these expensive add-ons become the default on new bikes…

          The “fixed bundle” approach to bike selling still astonishes me, and feels so inflexible compared to other industries…I can understand it to an extent where the old ‘bricks and mortar’ approach of selling via distributors & local shops takes place, but it’s amazing that direct to consumer brands like Canyon only offer fixed specifications of bikes (in fairness some brands like Ribble are more flexible)…

          If I’d wanted to buy my current road bike as a complete bike, I’d have ended up with bars that are too wide, cranks that are too long, a saddle I can’t comfortably ride, electronic gearing I don’t want (I’m not a luddite, but prefer the simplicity of mechanical) and even a power meter I don’t need…so having spent £5k on the bike, I’d then have to spend another few hundred quid replacing bars, cranks & saddle to make it rideable…thankfully I could instead buy the frameset and parts and build it myself for less money. But I did miss out on a nice bell and some wheel reflectors!

        • Isn’t some of this about economies of scale? We’re at a point in the evoluton of capitalism where there is the possibility to squeeze every last drop of cost out of the product, but only if you stick the basic volume product. So there are big profits to be made in volume, but everything that is customisable adds enormous cost.

  4. With the demise of GCN+ and so many races over the past few weeks, as Joni Mitchell said “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” I was wondering what people’s viewing experience has been. Here in France I can get the Eurosport Player app and after negotiating my way past hours of snooker try to live feeds or watch replays only to find they are blocked by geolocalisation eg the tour of Oman, womens’ UAE Tour and others. Luckily I have a UK Eurosport feed on my TV, but back to Eurosport is not back to the future. It is a shame as the early season “lesser” races provide some great racing.

    • What about Eurosport’s app? I’d been meaning to mention it in a “shorts” piece for a while, it has cycling and the ad-free option too like the GCN of old.

      So far, so good but it’s not universal across Europe, let alone the rest of the world and among the countries where it is available they charge different amounts according the billing location which seems a bit sneaky.

      • I have been using the Eurosport app and you can get an ad free feed with the English commentary. It was more the problem that some of the races come up with “not available in your location”. If it is a local French race you can sometimes watch it on the L’Equipe channel and La Tour de Provence was on Channel 3 PACA. French commentators talking over each other can be a bit taxing though!

  5. The rise of road furniture making major city finishes less safe is ironic since a lot of that furniture has the effect of making everyday, practical cycling safer.

    Its a bit of a pity because there’s really nothing like the atmosphere of a finish in a major city in a Grand Tour.

    • The finish in Lyon during the 2020 Tour was great, big crowds. Also the 2019 stage start from Toulouse in the Bagatelle quartier, a tough area and the kind of place where the Tour doesn’t normally go but all the more reason for the race to visit. The races don’t often – read almost never – visit these kind of places.

    • In Albi for the sprint finishes into the town centre (used in the TdF and last year’s TdFF) they remove the traffic islands that feature in the last few hundred metres, tarmac over it and then replace them once the race has moved on. It doesn’t seem like a huge amount of work and the islands and traffic lights were replaced by temporary ones for a week or two leading up to the stage. Admittedly not so easy to move speed bumps or roundabouts, so the finish line was a little way before a raised pedestrian crossing but it shows that minor road furniture can be modified if the town wants the race enough, at least for starts and finishes.

  6. Prudhomme says a very preoccupating thing : because of increasing speeds, since one year ago, what he calls the “colonne” (riders + followers + public) is in danger even when nobody makes a mistake. I really wonder how this can be managed.

  7. I would say that shimano trickles down their technology consistently, for example, Ultegra BR6500 from 1997 is identical to Tiagra BR4700 (2015), perhaps some Al bits are steel on tiagra, which is cheaper, tougher and longer lasting.
    So no, 105 today is not worse than any Dura Ace, it’s just 2 cycles behind DA.

    • Trickling-down cannot magically transfer the quality achievable at higher price points to lower price points. The trickled-down product inherits the functionality but will have some downgrading in materials, processes or tolerances that make it less refined, less durable or less repairable.

      • I’ll admit that the tolerances and finishing will degrade when trickling down to cheaper levels, so it will be less refined and heavier, but I can’t agree that it will be less durable (on the contrary, the high end stuff tends to be less durable) or less repairable.
        And another point, there are some flaws in the design (I remember some years ago there was an ultegra rear derailleur that needed an extra large cable loop to function properly) that the trickle down product will not get.

        • It’s hugely heavier than a Dura Ace from 10 years before and much less precise in fast shifting which is essentially what I’m interested in. And I find it less durable, in a way, given that the tolerance means that its inherent flaws in precise shifting will very soon become unbearable. But I must admit that on my serious bikes I only ride and have been riding Campagnolo, and my frequent experiences on road bikes with Shimano – barring precisely Dura Ace – have been floating between deception and frustration (on the contrary I’ve been happy with them on any sort of other bike or so ^___^). Since this is been happening across some thirty years, and since I often was expecting that finally 105 would be the new-old Ultegra or Ultegra the new-old Dura Ace, perhaps I’m a bit bitter on the subject, but I feel that they make it look like they’re trickling down things because its an important claim of them, but actually it doesn’t really work like that. Different materials and approaches would sometime work even better with *different* technical solutions, not trying to look the same.

          • Also, big manufacturers moving away from rim brake tech means the lower end road models have cable disc breaks which are heavier, constantly in need of tweaking and often perform worse than rim brakes. A lot of new riders don’t know this and think all disc brakes are equal. It’s poor from the industry.

          • In the Clásica Jaén Paraíso Interior, both van Aert’s and Kwiatkowski’s races were ended by punctures, and thus very slow wheel changes. With rim brakes, those changes would have been much shorter and, perhaps, those riders would have remained in contention. This will happen again and again.

          • Replying to Michael B: yes, I’ve been a victim of this. Needing a new winter bike, I found the only affordable option was cable disk brakes. They were OK for the first year but since then they’ve become steadily more rubbish, to the point that on a recent ride the front brake failed completely for reasons I couldn’t satisfactorily establish. I’ve spent more time trying to get them right than all the maintenance I’ve done on rim brakes over 30+ years of riding, and still I don’t trust them. Upgrading to hydraulic requires the lottery of the second-hand market or a high enough cost that I’d probably buy another bike instead – which I’m very keen not to do.

            For the manufacturers disk brakes (and electronic shifting) have provided an excuse to reset all the price points for bikes, with potential benefits to their margins. But I can’t be the only prospective customer choosing not to replace the bike I’ve had for four years with its equivalent that costs 30-50% extra, will be more difficult and expensive to maintain and probably offer no increase in my performance or enjoyment.

          • High end disc brakes aren’t perfect either, after several days intense use they can need a check, the rotor can warp in the heat, the pistons need work etc. Personally I can manage this at home, it’s ok but when travelling you almost feel the need to pack a workstand, a bleed kit and the other tools and that’s not much fun in the car, impossible by train and just not a good product, even a high end road bike shouldn’t demand that much surveillance/montoring. So very happy to have a rim brake option too and as said here before, a direct mount dual pivot caliper with the right pads for the rim brings plenty of stopping power for road cycling and all I need is an allen key.

          • I don’t know what hugely heavier is, but even if it’s more than 500g – that’s 0.5% of the system weight. Unless you’re a ww or you earn your living by being fast on the bike, you shouldn’t care. Or do, it’s your money after all.
            “inherent flaws in precise shifting will very soon become unbearable”:))
            Precision in shifting I find is a very subjective measure, much like the vibration damping of certain materials or ability of a frame to plane. To each their own.
            It could be what is bothering you, the feel of the Shimano shifter is so much different from campy and that’s where your muscle memory gets you in trouble shifting.
            I am toying with the idea of installing friction shifters, you get a perfect shift every time, no degradation at all. It’s all about finesse and feel, no inherent flaws :))

  8. Very pleasing to hear that ASO is against the OneCycling group, who clearly are only interested in money, and would happily degrade the traditional races in pursuit of it.
    Millions of Saudi dollars are equally unwelcome.
    Money mavens like to tell us that ‘cycling’s business model is broken’, etc., but bike racing has been around a century and, like everything else, it would only be harmed by vulture capitalism.

    • Cycling though is very capitalistic with teams sporting the names of companies and billionaires and races created as advertising gimmicks, whether to sell newspapers 100 years ago (or still sometimes today) or to promote tourist destinations.

      Yet some of the big races have also become social and cultural institutions, it’s bizarre to go to the Tour de France and see the caravanne with giant fibreglass floats parading through the countryside but at the same time you have grandparents taking their grandchildren out for the day and perpetuating a tradition they probably enjoyed too, likewise at the Giro, Ronde, Vuelta etc.

      • Yes, it’s all capitalism – of course. But the race organisers – by and large – care about their races. And that’s good for fans.
        We fans are lucky that the relatively benevolent ASO hold the trump card when it comes to power in cycling, and that they care about the races.
        Without them, by now, some groups who would be far more detrimental to cycling – e.g. the teams – would be running things.

    • I find it very unfortunate that ASO are using monopolistic practices from preventing One Cycling from happening. I am not saying the NFL doesn’t abuse its situation, surely anti trust authorities should wake up an slam them. This comment is coming from someone that spent 100s of hours looking into this mater.

      • I’d rather sell my soul further to ASO than to mothereffin genocidal journalist choppers in Saudi Arabia. Guess you see it otherwise spent 10ohrs with MBS.

  9. @andrew – without turning this into a tech blog my mate’s SRAM set up seemed to work a lot better than my Shimano. Think it’s something to do with the shifter pull ratio or something but I could never lock up my back wheel (not that you really want to but it shows how little force was exerted). If you’re on Shimano might be worth trying old SRAM Apex/Rival cable shifters and a rear mech from eBay.

    • Good points Andrew and Michael B above.

      Let me add that, sure, it’s an industry, part of it was always like this and so on. But there are differences. When carbon bikes and piecesstarted becoming less prone to just breaking for any futile impact – some 20 years ago – that was a genuine advance (even if personally I’m sticking with the same titanium bike I bought back then when carbon didn’t look so trustworthy yet…), same for those breakthrough moment when Wilier first and later Cervélo started to offer carbon which was rigid *and* comfortable *and* a pleasure to ride through corners and descents. That’s the sort of innovation which one understands to spread by itself throughout the market making the other technologies niche-only. But when you need to push onto the consumers something which nobody able to choose would pick… (I remember an impressive stat about how many disc brakes got sold as bundle, as a percentage of total bundles, and how many were chosen by people making their build – this was even before disc brake became generalised!). Obviously disc brakes on a road bike make perfect sense… for a minority of consumers. Now you essentially can’t choose most of the times.
      Another little example is 12 speeds in a 2x derailleur system. Great in itself, as in “having more cogs”, and in theory. Then you soon discover that it make sense for big spenders only, be it only because the specific chain is less durable and way more fragile. Change it way more often, please. Or you can buy a durable one at KMC for 80 euros or so. Works decently on top groups where the finishing is perfected: in middle range groups, not to speak of lower options, scrambling is hugely more frequent, especially if you don’t master the art of shifting (usually not required!). So now it’s when one might start to desire to jump to electronic shifting… when a simple 11s set just worked much better and weighed much less and didn’t imply electro-issues of sort (terribly common in “cheaper” options). All that for one cog more? Nonsense, and the strategy is imposing the standard leaving you with fewer options to choose from.

      We’ll soon get to the “wool effect”… something my grandparents had in quantity at home is now luxury goods they couldn’t definitely afford (in my case) if I imagine their social class in today’s market.
      Soon or already there? Somebody above was naming Specialized… uhmmmm Aethos anyone? Not to target always the Big Evil Ones, imagine that the penultimate – and truly excellent – Bianchi Specialissima went back to the very same geometry my S9 sported mid-2000s.

  10. Two of my bikes (a mediocre one from the 80s which I use as a urban bike and a Bianchi 1973 Gimondi replica) have friction shifters, and they are technically great, but having the shifters on the hoods is much more fun when mimicking competition and so 😛

    As for the weight, it’s obviously a “mind trap”, totally so, but it’s about what you and your body get used to. When you get used to a good and light bike, the others feel a little frustrating. And, well, yes I notice down to the 500 gr., especially because they tend to go together with other weighty parts.

    Silly motivation? Of course. I have no Strava but on 2-3 test climbs, among much many other things I do and love on a bike, I like to keep track of my times – and weight counts. Makes sense? Obviously not! It’s a game one plays with oneself… like not having the lightest possible bike both because I won’t spend that money, *and* to keep 1 kg or so to shave in a future when I’ll be even older and grumpier.
    What’s sure is that a 2,5 or 3 kg groupset is not the same as a lighter one at 2-2,2 kg. Be it important or not, that’s a mere fact.

    • Totally agree !
      You can’t tell me disc brakes weren’t forced on the pros.
      Nobody wanted them nobody needed them. Yet if the pros use them, the weekend warriors will follow like lemmings.
      Electronic shifting fixed a problem that never existed.
      But it helps them sell more.
      Oh you have discs now? Need some spare wheels? Buck up because your old rim brake wheels sure won’t work.
      One of my favorites is the 11 cogs. I need that cause Cancellara had one. Whoops most weekend warriors can’t turn an 11. Let’s sell compact cranks, so the gearing is the same as w a 12 or 13. Great idea now we can sell more to make our “improvements” usable.
      Not to mention 1X. What did the front derailleur ever do wrong? Too complicated. You really can’t figure out how to use it ?? But the range is the same…. Sure w 4 tooth jumps.
      Not to mention radios, so riders don’t need to know tactics. And power meters because they don’t know how to pace themselves. Never gonna find the Suitcase of Courage by sticking to your numbers.
      I’ve always said “ There was never a good bike rider who was a dumb bike rider.”
      Too much tech and Remco may prove me wrong.
      Sorry I blew up like that.

      • ZKelly – I agree with everything you’ve said above, and would add tubeless tyres, too. Yet it’s interesting that when Larry T says almost exactly the same thing, he gets jumped on and accused of wanting to go back to single gears and woollen clothing, as if there were no middle ground.

        • Thank you
          And good point about tubeless.
          Then there’s Thru axles. We need those because of the discs we didn’t need.
          And you need a whole frame because of thru axles.

        • You can pry my road hydraulic disc brakes out of my cold dead hands. I still have my first road bike with down tube shifters but that doesn’t mean disc brakes aren’t unequivocally better than rim brakes. I never have issues with them and they’re superior in performance. Tubeless for road is pointless but is good for gravel and mtb.

          • I’ve got hydraulic disc brakes on my CX and they’re great. Cable disc brakes are poor though in my experience (at least on a Shimano set up).

  11. Wow, I thought I was just an old grumpy man complaining about the way racing bikes develop, but there are more people feeling like me. At 74 my competition days are far behind, even riding in the alps ( last maratona des dolomites in 2015), is a bit too much. But riding old and newer bikes still give pleasure from my all Campy Gazelle Champion Mondial 10 speed too carbon Cannondale 11 speed Dura Ace, and all the racing bikes in between. I kept them all, racing bikes don’t take up much space.
    They are all still servicable, contrary to newer bikes with propietary seatposts and handlebar combo’s, where replacements are unavailable after 5 years.

  12. Just a small correction: The article says that BMC requested a permission for “Kurzarbeit” from the Canton, but says they are not even sure they will actually use it. That might be some way to try to make things look better, but according to the article they are not yet on Kurzarbeit.

  13. Larry T was on-vacation, celebrating 34 years of wedded bliss with a little trip to Rome and Naples where he didn’t look at social media at all!!!.
    But it seems plenty of others shared my viewpoint so GRAZIE MILLE, especially to D Evans for pointing out how the reactions are different when I wish “tech” wouldn’t be so embraced.
    OTOH, I will counter the idea that road furniture is the reason for the travesty of “Pavia – Sanremo” since Torino (which has just as much) welcomes the Giro d’Italia in 2024. The mayor of Milan (and others there?) seem to be having a fight with RCS for some reason (and have been for awhile) while the powers in Torino seem to be very welcoming to La Corsa Rosa. I’m making my plans now for a visit.

  14. “Lastly while we’re all anticipating Red Bull’s arrival in pro cycling because of the increased marketing coverage this will bring… it’s a strange sponsorship.” + “the luxury Swiss bike company. It’s having a tough time” = Red Bull taking over BMC. Why not?
    They already have a marketing tie-up with journo’s being flown to the F1 event in Texas to play with BMC bikes “improved” with the F1 team’s wizardry so why not rebrand BMC and put your WT team on them? The first bike shop I worked in had an owner who’d use “You can’t buy the F1 car your favorite driver climbs into on Sunday but here at our shop you CAN buy the same exact bicycle your Tour de France winning hero races on!” as a sales pitch. Seems like a marketing/business win-win IMHO. The amount of loot the team they’re buying gets from “Kim Il Sinyard” is chump-change easily found in the couch cushions of the Red Bull folks, no?

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