Thursday Shorts

Nick Nuyens

It’s only January but rider retirement is in the news whether it’s Cadel Evans’ imminent halt or Nick Nuyen’s recent retirement. Nuyens has gone from the peloton to the supermarket, swapping the Carrefour de l’Arbre for a branch of Carrefour Market supermarket, a change of career to file away for a list of strange retirement options. Evans is set to become a brand ambassador for BMC bicycles.

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Sunday Shorts

Yorkshire Tour de France

When the French think of “le Yorkshire” most often it is the dog breed that takes its name from the English county so the decision to start the 2014 Tour de France in Yorkshire could help promote a more rugged image.

Yorkshire fought off competition from Scotland, northern France and Italy in part thanks its bid of €14.5 million. Cash isn’t everything but it goes a long way to winning the bid. ASO will be pleased to offer its sponsors exposure to the large British market. But it is said host towns quickly recoup the money in promotion, hotel bookings and more

Remember the media circus arrives in town several days before the race starts, a grand départ is more than a weekend. Rotterdam hosted the start in 2010 and claimed 800,000 visitors. A separate study showed the €11 million spent on the grand départ generated over €20 million back although of course the net gain still means winners and losers, for example residents pay taxes whilst, say, a hotel chain gets 100% occupancy. Often these studies depend on assumptions made, the outcomes desired and who is paying for them.

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Rabobank Close Their Account

Rabobank Team

Dutch bank Rabobank has announced it will quit men’s pro cycling at the end of this year. The team will continue for 2013, only with a blank jersey funded by the contractual obligations left behind.

It’s another shock for the sport, especially since the team was finally trying to put its past behind it. Indeed one of the characteristics of the USADA report and other scandals is that they tend to drive out the good guys. Worse this might not be the last sponsor to flee.

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Rabobank’s Quiet Revolution

When a team fails to deliver results, the most common outcome sees the manager getting sacked. Yet this very rare in pro cycling as most team managers are also the owners of their team.

Not so at Rabobank. The team isn’t just sponsored by the Dutch bank, it is owned by them. The head of the team is Harold Knebel, a banker and not a cyclist (pictured above). Rabobank has total control of its sports sponsorship.

This week we got news of a management shake-up in the team. But it’s more than a shuffle of people and job titles, it’s part of a plan to make the team more professional. Indeed several teams are moving away from the old model of where the team manager hunts for sponsors, drives the team car, decides on tactics and negotiates new rider contracts.

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Questions for Carlos Barredo and the UCI

Carlos Barredo has done nothing wrong and he not allowed to race by his team.

If this sounds odd, you are not alone. Today brings the story of Rabobank’s Carlos Barredo who has had some curious values in his blood passport during a five year period spanning 2007-2011  and earlier this year the UCI asked him to explain the data.  Odder still.

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2012 UCI Pro Teams

Professional cycling teams are ranked into three tiers. The top level is UCI Pro Team and the 18 teams here have automatic and obligatory access to the big races on the UCI’s World Tour calendar. In addition, there is a range of rules governing these teams that aim to ensure sporting and financial stability.

You’ll find the top-18 teams below, their sponsors explained plus riders and staff listed.

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Rabobank & The Internationalisation of Cycling

Dutch bank Rabobank has published a report on the internationalisation of cycling. It’s worth a read and I agree with a lot of what it says. In summary, it says that the sport has been opened up to new countries and where success occurs in these newcomers, it can be built on to develop the … Read more

Gasoline Brothers

Here’s Dutch band, the Gasoline Brothers. Twitter user Porkodio wrote this morning “How did I miss this” and well I feel the same. It seems the band are big cycling fans. Note the lyrics at the start of the track: Think it through, to stay at homeAnd Watch the mountain stage, on a school day … Read more

Vacansoleil – don’t book that holiday yet

Vacansoleil offers camping holidays around Europe but whilst many Europeans head for the holidays in July, there are increasing chances that the company’s cycling team will be hard at work in July. Someone’s about to lift the lid With the media whispering more and more about Vienna and the curious Humanplasma clinic, is reporting … Read more