Book Review: One Way Ticket

One Way Ticket: Nine Lives on Two Wheels by Jonathan Vaughters

Jonathan Vaughters has written an autobiography that covers his start in cycling, the rise up the ranks and his move into team management. I’d been looking forward to this book for some time as there few books from senior team managers, the only other contemporary one is from Marc Madiot.

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Slipstream’s Sponsorship Crisis

One minute you’re on top of the world, the next you’re in the gutter. Sport regularly serves up cruel metaphors for life. Cannondale-Drapac wore the king of the mountains jersey for a few days in the Tour de France, won a stage and put Rigoberto Urán on the podium. They announced a new blue chip sponsor in Oath, a US media company and were renewing the contracts of their star riders with a new sponsor set to be unveiled, apparently even the new kit and bus designs had been worked. Only it seems the funding for 2018 was never in place, the new sponsor had not signed a binding deal and now the team could vanish. Here’s a look at the chronology of events as well as the options ahead.

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Tour de France revenue sharing

Marie-Odile Amaury

The Tour de France is bigger than anything else in the sport, it’s the race everyone’s heard of. As such it’s in a monopoly position and able to dominate the sport.

At the same time others in the race are struggling. Garmin-Cervélo have taken four stages so far and held the yellow jersey but the team’s finances are always under review, the constant need to hunt for new sponsors whilst juggling a big wage will means a team manager’s job is often as much about fundraising as it is tactics.

The difference between a wealthy Tour de France and teams hunting for money is now leading squads to lobby for a share of the TV rights enjoyed by the Tour de France’s owners.

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Dekker returns

Thomas Dekker
Scope for improvement?

A quick mention of Thomas Dekker. In case you’re not familiar, he was once a promising Dutch rider but got busted for EPO. His ban is coming to an end and now he has a book out. If this sounds familiar, yes it is similar to the case of David Millar given the Scot has been banned, has comeback and also released a book this month.

Thomas Molenaar
As much as it sounds like Millar all over again, each case is individual. We can draw parallels but the picture isn’t identical. Yes to the doping bust, the partying, the alcohol and now the desire to make a fresh start is similar, not to mention the book release within weeks.

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Is cycling a team sport?

Rabo team

“I really view cycling as a team sport… …that in order for their to be a sustainable business model behind cycling you need to have people identify with the team and not the individuals… …if we want the sport to be successful you have got to generate long term loyalty to organisations and not individual athletes”

Those are the words of Jonathan Vaughters, team owner of Garmin-Cervélo in a recent interview with podcasters The Flammecast, explaining his vision for pro cycling as a team sport in the years to come. But glance at the results and it is very much an individual sport, for example the records show Johan Van Summeren won Paris-Roubaix this year. So is cycling a team sport or one of individuals?

The simple answer is that it is an individual sport conducted with teams. But it gets more complicated than that, particularly if we look at the history of the sport and where things might be heading at the moment.

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Trent Lowe’s story in three bullet points

He’s after alleged unpaid wages and an apology from Slipstream Sports. He had health problems and felt unsupported by his team. At one point he was sent to Dr Del Moral but didn’t know anything about his reputation. He didn’t try to blackmail anyone. The claim was to get unpaid wages and bonuses and the … Read more

In place of strikes

The lastest is that the racing will go ahead this weekend… but there’s still confusion as to whether riders will start with radios or not. Either way, I put a message on twitter earlier saying the campaign to keep race radios was proving to be a PR disaster as it amounts to little more than … Read more

Protests: more than radios

Just a quick post in case you missed it on Twitter. Responding to the news of the rider protest in Majorca, Jonathan Vaughters tweeted two messages. To be clear, radio ban protests are not only about the radio ban. Teams and riders must have greater participation in governance of cycling……Our licensing fees and bio-pass contributions … Read more