|TEAM||CHOLET||LOS ANGELES||NEW YORK||SYDNEY||TOKYO|
|Mitchelton-Scott||3:10 pm||6:10 am||9:10 am||11:10 pm||10:10 pm|
|Team Sky||3:15 pm||6:15 am||9:15 am||11:15 pm||10:15 pm|
|Movistar Team||3:20 pm||6:20 am||9:20 am||11:20 pm||10:20 pm|
|Groupama – FDJ||3:25 pm||6:25 am||9:25 am||11:25 pm||10:25 pm|
|BMC Racing Team||3:30 pm||6:30 am||9:30 am||11:30 pm||10:30 pm|
|Team EF Education First-Drapac p/b Cannondale||3:35 pm||6:35 am||9:35 am||11:35 pm||10:35 pm|
|UAE-Team Emirates||3:40 pm||6:40 am||9:40 am||11:40 pm||10:40 pm|
|AG2R La Mondiale||3:45 pm||6:45 am||9:45 am||11:45 pm||10:45 pm|
|Team Fortuneo – Samsic||3:50 pm||6:50 am||9:50 am||11:50 pm||10:50 pm|
|Direct Energie||3:55 pm||6:55 am||9:55 am||11:55 pm||10:55 pm|
|New Lotto Soudal||4:00 pm||7:00 am||10:00 am||12:00 am||11:00 pm|
|LottoNL-Jumbo||4:05 pm||7:05 am||10:05 am||12:05 am||11:05 pm|
|Cofidis, Solutions Crédits||4:10 pm||7:10 am||10:10 am||12:10 am||11:10 pm|
|Team Sunweb||4:15 pm||7:15 am||10:15 am||12:15 am||11:15 pm|
|Dimension Data||4:20 pm||7:20 am||10:20 am||12:20 am||11:20 pm|
|Team Katusha – Alpecin||4:25 pm||7:25 am||10:25 am||12:25 am||11:25 pm|
|Bahrain Merida Pro Cycling Team||4:30 pm||7:30 am||10:30 am||12:30 am||11:30 pm|
|Trek – Segafredo||4:35 pm||7:35 am||10:35 am||12:35 am||11:35 pm|
|Astana Pro Team||4:40 pm||7:40 am||10:40 am||12:40 am||11:40 pm|
|Wanty – Groupe Gobert||4:45 pm||7:45 am||10:45 am||12:45 am||11:45 pm|
|Quick-Step Floors||4:50 pm||7:50 am||10:50 am||12:50 am||11:50 pm|
|BORA – Hansgrohe||4:55 pm||7:55 am||10:55 am||12:55 am||11:55 pm|
The good people at SBS Cycling Central has been recently teasing us with their upcoming coverage of the Tour de France, at what a brilliant job they do may I say. However a colleague of mine pointed out there may be a slightly hidden reference to doping in some of the graphics they’re using.
“The figures of the cyclists actually look like a pack of syringes.”
It’s the kind of thing that once you see it you can’t un-see it. What do you think?
No one wants Plan A to go awry, but when it does, reactions speak volumes. After each losing their team leader, a starker contrast between the reactions of Team Sky and Team Tinkoff Saxo could not exist. I place responsibility for these reactions quite squarely at the feet of team management…
Riis and Co (Riis) chose a Plan A team for a Plan A leader. After losing Contador and his right hand man Jesus Hernandez, results still came. Majka’s Stage 14 win; Majka grabs the polka dot jersey; Michael Rogers’ Stage 16 win; Majka’s Stage 17 win and finally, Majka keeping the polka dot jersey until Paris. The polka dot jersey competition was no consolation prize this year, but an ardent battle with Rodriguez behind only by one point prior to Majka’s stage 17 win. On this stage, Rodriguez gained 24 points compared to Majka’s 10 over the first three climbs, but it was Riis’ tactical knowledge that proved the difference:
“Bjarne told me not to go for the King of the Mountain points (on the first three climbs), he said ‘wait, wait, wait, you’ll get double points at the finish’,” said Majka.
The comments after each of Saxo’s stage wins shared a similar theme; Riis at the start of the day targeting the stage with the rider.
Riis transformed Majka from his public grumpiness at Tour selection, to be a little more accepting of the news just before the Tour, to ultimately believe he could not only win a stage, but be crowned a Tour de France King of the Mountains.
The shots on Instagram, Twitter etc. showed a team happy with their achievements, celebrating as a team, with Contador, as passionate as Cav, cheering from afar. None of it felt like forced PR. From this point of view at least, this was a team with heart. A success in itself after the blow of losing Contador.
Sky chose largely a Plan B team for a Plan A rider.
Brailsford and Co’s (Brailsford) non selection of Wiggins was a failure on many levels. Fans and Sky biased pundits shout “but he would not have brought team unity for Froome.” That Brailsford had not managed this situation in the first place and then was scared to manage it during the Tour, so much so, he left out an in form rider at the expense of including some less in form ones, screams poor management. Whether Wiggins would’ve won a stage or survived the mountains is not valid here, he was clearly in form and should’ve been there.
Peter Kennaugh, who won the British national road championships just before the Tour was also not included. After going on to win the Tour of Austria and speaking at the Commonwealth Games, Kennaugh publicly criticised Team Sky management:
“I feel like I’ve already proved what I can do, I don’t feel like I need to prove myself anymore. It’s starting to get frustrating when the team says things like ‘you need to go and prove yourself,’ said Kennaugh.
Team Sky of course couldn’t help Porte getting sick, but don’t forget Saxo lost Hernandez too. It would also be interesting to see if Sky were being truthful about Porte’s numbers before the Tour given his lack of race days.
Brailsford selected some less in form riders, but also mismanaged those in form. For example, Kiryienka’s hearty digs in the mountains should’ve been better managed tactically.
Earlier in the tour when both Contador and Froome had abandoned, I thought it’s quite easy to pick on Team Sky and felt it was unfair. After all, Tinkoff Saxo seemed to only have a Plan A in Contador. But now looking back, I see it is justifiably easy.
Team Sky were not even close to picking up a stage win or a grab at a jersey. The PR seemed forced and morale was quite clearly low, the heart had been spread sheeted out of the team.
Brasilford however was successful at one thing, at least from this point of view: massaging the ego of a rider he made larger than the team and its sponsors. Perhaps Brailsford is just not built for the road.
The dubious tactics of Rabobank-Liv riders on Stage 9 of the Giro Rosa to quell any attack from defending champion, Mara Abbott went largely unnoticed by the mainstream English speaking cycling media.
See for yourself – skip forward to 39 minutes in the video to the final climb and you will see the four riders. Three are Rabobank Liv riders, including Marianne Vos, the fourth, Mara Abbott.
Quite a few individual pundits and journalists discussed it on Twitter but other than this interview by the excellent Sarah Connolly, with Koos Mourenhout, Rabobank Liv DS, and a podcast by Sarah and Dan Wright (@danwofficial), the analysis was thin on the ground.
Contrast and compare Contador’s broken bike. I don’t need to provide you with any links because you know all about it and how it ended.
This is the team of Marianne Vos, the best cyclist ever. And the only female cyclist the ASO had front and centre at the La Course press conference during the Tour this week.
But it warranted no official analysis on respected English speaking news sites. Nope because other than a report from the wires here or there, they barely covered the Giro Rosa at all.
Fair enough. There’s another big ole bike race on called the Tour de France.
But surely anyone can write a piece about anything these days and you don’t need to be at an event to cover it? That is not the issue here. It is the amount of editors these sites have to run such pieces through and the volume of work they already have to publish online. For example, SBS’s Cycling Central has perhaps 1-2 online editors on roster in July busily attending to all their Tour content.
An obvious answer is perhaps move the Giro Rosa to earlier in the calendar to maybe some time in June. Cycling Central online producer/editor Philip Gomes himself posed this great idea:
Would really prefer that the Giro Rosa run alongside the Tour de Suisse on the UCI calendar to give it some proper media oxygen.
— Philip Gomes (@Philip_Gomes) July 12, 2014
Reshuffling the Giro Rosa and for that matter, the Women’s Tour of Thuringa to June would likely provide media oxygen. It also has the potential to provide more of a gap between the two races as many can’t get to both events now.
But then when do you have the Emakumeen Euskal Bira race currently held mid-June – a highly respected race among the peloton and women’s cycling fans. And if you’re reshuffling, what happens to the Tour of Chonming Island World Cup mid-May? What race do you choose to have overshadowed by the Tour because these athletes can’t not race for three weeks during July? This is the feedback I received when I asked around.
Time to Change the Women’s Pro Cycling Calendar?
I know there’s other races in the calendar but the Giro Rosa seems too important. There’s even an hour’s worth of TV of each stage! Sarah Connolly sums up what we missed:
@wjohngalloway And the happy stories are so damn good – Emma's story arc, how Rabo & Liv neutralised hardest part of the climb by attacking
— Sarah Connolly (@_pigeons_) July 16, 2014
@wjohngalloway How Hitec went out every day and attacked and attacked and attacked, & made the race exciting, even though they didn't win
— Sarah Connolly (@_pigeons_) July 16, 2014
@wjohngalloway & how so many riders in top 10 GC just went crazy & attacked & dropped rather than sit on – Guarnier & Stevens & Lichtenberg
— Sarah Connolly (@_pigeons_) July 16, 2014
With the La Course coming up and the excitement and opportunity that brings, if something structural doesn’t change or some serious attention paid to the women’s calendar, it’ll be nothing more than a token effort to keep “the girls” happy.
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Stage 5, 2014 Tour de France – yes THAT stage
As fans, we’ve seen them all. Tour de France crashes on dry roads, wet roads, semi wet roads, road furniture, descents and the flats. If you apply to the above situations the logic of those who do not want cobble stages in the Tour because of accidents, then we could see future tours consist of 21 mountain stages in 25-30 degree heat and no rain. And by mountain stages, I mean ascending them, not descending.
Of course, wet cobbles do increase risk. Carnage was expected on the cobbles yesterday, but the only carnage delivered to GC riders was time. But in the scheme of looming mountain stages, even that isn’t so bad. None of them crashed badly on the cobbles.
Tour de France defender Chris Froome was the only rider who DNF’d yesterday, before the cobbles. Scott McGrory argued that Froome crashed twice last night because of nervous expectation:
— Scott McGrory OAM (@ScottMcGrory) July 9, 2014
This is simply untrue. Froome said after the second crash he abandoned because he doubted his ability to control the bike. There is no doubt he felt like this before the stage:
— natalie (@brassyn) July 9, 2014
In my opinion starting a rider who can’t grip his bike properly because of an injury sustained the day before is a bigger risk than riding on the cobbles. Froome in such a condition was not only a danger to himself but the peloton. He fortunately brought no one else down too seriously.
I do understand his desire to push on. He had trained for months, it is his only aim for the year, and he is passionate about racing. But that is why so emotive a decision should not be his to make. Not only did Froome try to battle through the pain, we know from Porte’s statement above he was sent out there with no one to protect him. After that first crash, it was Osso from BMC who started to bring him back. Froome had lost almost 2m 30secs to the yellow jersey group before a single black Rapha kit made it back.
Yet we heard no outrage at this risk from the likes of riders who spoke out against the cobbles, such as Tony Martin and Fabian Cancellara. Or Scott McGrory.
@MikaelLiddy I like you enjoyed it. But think as a big $ investor. Would you put 10mil towards tonights randomness? Bad investment!
— Scott McGrory OAM (@ScottMcGrory) July 9, 2014
Mikael put it best before I could:
@ScottMcGrory drama & the unexpected is what drives fan involvement and provides possible roi for sponsors.
— Mikael Liddy (@MikaelLiddy) July 10, 2014
ASO’s inclusion of cobble stages is a nod to tradition and the history of the sport. And to riders and cycling fans who love the Classics. It helps provide more stories for fans to engage with beyond the yawn filled transition stages. It puts bums on couches, and eyes on logos. Stuff investors believe in.
This year’s Tour of Flanders WAS carnage. Yet the event still attracts investors, as does Paris Roubaix. Even so, if yesterday’s stage looked anything like this year’s Tour of Flanders, I’d say, neutralise. But it got nowhere near it.
While Lance Armstrong called for a riders union during the stage questioning the cobbles too, he then mirrored my thinking. Why did the riders not organise a protest in October 2013 when the route was announced rather than complain now?
In my opinion, the answer is obvious. Many wanted to see if the advantage went their way first.
As for the GC riders who made it to the cobbles? Contador never really whinges about conditions anyway (he rode to the conditions saying he’d rather lose time than crash out). Nibali looked like a knife going through butter, Talansky loved the future history of it, van Garderen walked back his earlier negative comments and in this picture, Valverde looks like he loved it with this classic #tdfselfie:
Día entretenido con caída incluida, pobrecito el espectador que me he llevado para delante… Lo siento. Os dejo esto pic.twitter.com/yJPlejHf2B
— jose joaquin rojas (@jjrojillas) July 9, 2014
It could be argued cobbles increase randomness and therefore risk. Yet the sport is fairly random when it comes to injury anyway despite the strictest of precautions. If the crashes were much worse and more frequent, the ASO and the peloton as a whole would’ve neutralised the stage. This didn’t happen. I’d argue with anyone, even someone like Scott McGrory who I hold in the highest regards, that putting Chris Froome out there on his bike when he couldn’t ride is one big one.
I won’t speculate about Belkin specifically but let’s dispel doping for starters as a reason generally for pulling sponsorship. Nothing seems to stop companies wanting to hold the hands of NRL and AFL teams, not even the long list of sexual assaults or this guy weeing into his mouth.
One of the main reasons cycling can’t seem to keep a date is simple – it’s a hard sport for the larger public to engage with. Of course, once they do, they love it. Mick Rogers nailed it recently in an interview with RIDE Cycling Review:
“There’s no way to quantify cycling, that’s why a lot of people find it hard to get a general understanding: it is a black art and I see that people once they get that basic understanding, really love it.”
One day changes will come to cycling’s structure to achieve better engagement, but for now when opportunities do come to provide sponsors maximum exposure, team personnel should not run away from them.
Non fans engage with a sport through its stories. They lap them up; for example the 19 year old Nick Kyrgios from little old Canberra toppling Nadal. But three cycling stories will remain unwritten at this year’s Tour de France, and as a result, I believe the teams involved demonstrate a lack of professionalism and provide yet another example of why this sport can’t attract or keep sponsors.
NetApp Endura rider Scott Thwaites missed out on a TDF berth. Thwaites hails from Burley-in-Wharfedale, West Yorkshire. He gained coverage for his team way back in February with only just a whiff of team selection. This journalist believes Thwaites would get a week’s worth at the Tour:
— Peter Cossins (@petercossins) June 30, 2014
You have probably heard about Garmin Sharp ruling out David Millar due to “sickness.” And his story? He’s the kid who went bad for a bit, repented, became patron saint of anti doping and is riding his last ever Tour, just before the Commonwealth Games in his home land.
Wiggo – again, the stories write themselves for the knighted one. But here’s an example of what Sky gave up. Yes, that is Wiggins receiving applause at Wimbledon this year.
With these guys, it is not a question of choosing a team to win and keep sponsors happy that way. How would selecting Thwaites be a problem for a team just hoping to get in breakaways or maybe pull off a stage win? Wiggo is in great form and Millar said he’d be OK in time.
Such stories create buzz which results in cameras and fans keenly seeking these guys out at stage starts or on the roadsides, all with their sponsors’ logos showing. Maybe NetApp for example, is not confident Thwaites could make it past the first week. But after that exposure, it doesn’t matter – the job is done.
While we all now know why Orica GreenEdge (OGE) did not select Daryl Impey, Matt White still had other riders to choose from when he went with Simon Yates. But White probably gets it. Yates, the up and coming English rider, is sure to create amazing exposure for OGE’s sponsors and attract a new raft of fans. If he pulls out a week later, again, job done.
When it comes to the business of professional cycling, wasting these golden opportunities to engage with a larger audience is simply unprofessional.
What do you think? If you were involved in pro cycling, what would you do if you had the chance? Leave your thoughts in the comments below!
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One winter night, now almost a decade ago, I sat up late flicking channels. My TV stopped on green fields, sunny skies, and a moving hypnotic mass of colour. And then there was this Tomo bloke (Michael Tomolaris – ed). I’d heard of him, but why was he here, so passionate about cycling and the Tour de France? Yep, my TV remote found SBS.
After recent Australian Government budget announcements, I saw a few cycling tweeps discussing how the SBS team travelling to the TDF was a junket and the Tour coverage should just be like this year’s SBS Giro coverage – with just in Australian studio comment.
To countless cycling fans traditionally starved of good coverage, this doesn’t sound too bad. Saying it’s a junket is horrible but the other part made me wonder – why do networks send teams to be on the ground at international and further flung sporting events?
For me, on the ground coverage provides cultural insight into a cultural event. By that, I mean, the crew capturing insights are like me – they live where I live, they experience what I experience. Put simply, I feel like I am there. Any sports coverage and every print or online journo on location consciously or unconsciously aims to achieve this. I can’t explain why it is so important, it just is.
Covering the Tour de France, one of the world’s biggest cultural events, fulfills the SBS charter for it provides diversity in television. Additionally, cycling fans are a minority audience and are not catered for by the bigger free to air networks. SBS can of course achieve these aims without sending an on the ground team. But I think there’s a couple of reasons why it should.
One of them is historical. Ask yourself the question, imagine if Tomo himself had not gone to the Tour de France.
I can honestly say there has not been one day since 1996 when I have been disappointed. I love television and I love the Tour and I’m so grateful to have been part of the development process which has taken the SBS coverage to where it is today. The network’s dedication to the event has done wonders in terms of changing the viewing habits of its audience. More people have taken to bikes, more people are watching according to the viewing rating numbers, and more people appreciate there’s more to TV sport than the staple stuff that is served up in July by other networks. (Michael Tomalaris, 24 June 2011 on tourdecouch.blogspot.com)
Many of you may not know, but Tomo’s own experience of the Tour saw him personally fight cycling’s corner for years to SBS decision makers. You could say to the bean counters – like those tweeps, it’s pretty much paid for itself tenfold, and for years to come.
The other reason is SBS is a public broadcaster with a part advertising/sponsorship revenue model. It can’t be everything to all people but it must be to the ones who fulfil its charter, and to sponsors and advertisers. In other words, within a minority audience, there must be a majority, i.e. 30,000 Australian viewers watching a Dutch race somewhere isn’t going to cut it anymore. SBS still has an agreement with the ASO to show the TDF until 2023 and under this model it must do so by continuing to pull the big numbers.
The online team has helped meet its sponsorship/advertising revenue remit and must make any sponsor investing in SBS cycling coverage pretty happy. On an oily rag, Cycling Central boasts the social media numbers of a larger organisation. For example, 40,000 Facebook likes and large numbers of people regularly engaging via comments. Just from what I read of the online team’s personal Twitter accounts, the regularly healthy Cycling Central online numbers skyrocket during the Tour, especially the amount of people viewing videos of interviews and other insights from the guys on the ground.
Despite the pretty strong numbers for the Giro this year, the Tour remains SBS’ flagship cycling event. I kind of think having a crew on the ground is the reason. Cycling fans would be happy with any coverage, sure, but even to us hardened fans who eat cobbles for breakfast, the Tour de France is something special. Even we want that extra insight in our coverage. I do want to hear about food and the crazy fans.
Cycling fans would be happy with any coverage – but is that what people want? Yes, people not cycling fans. The Just for July’ers who not only help fulfil the SBS charter but make advertisers ecstatic when shown the numbers. The majority within the minority.
My Mum is hooked on the Tour. She loves Gabriel Gate’s recipes and coos at the chateaux. She still has no clue what is happening in the racing. My Dad too asks questions like “Why isn’t an Australian winning the GC,” even after I’ve just told him how many stages an Australian has won and Simon Gerrans won’t win the whole thing.
These are the type of extra fans who probably tuned in to the Giro this year and posted the feedback I saw in several places online asking why they didn’t see more interviews with riders on the ground or coverage about the cultural aspects of the Giro.
I’m not saying I want SBS to send a crew to the Giro or every significant cycling race, I’m simply defending the SBS going to the TDF. It is not a junket, it’s a budgetary necessity. Perhaps the future for SBS cycling coverage is a mix of compromises e.g. Giro coverage in studio with the team in Sydney, and a David Olle type person sending back insider type videos on the food and the culture just like on his Sooty Park TV show.
There may also be the option of charging people to view online content, recently suggested by the Lewis Review. Pay SBS $100-200 per annum for decent insightful coverage for a whole year – can I send my money now? You could also offer a cheaper Just for July option. It would all help pay for the free TV coverage and to keep sending Tomo to France!
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We’ve all seen this doing the social media rounds…
Our sport is for warriors. Shut up legs, HTFU and all that. But pro cyclists go too far with the heroics, and others are put at risk because of it. Cast your mind back to the Tour of Flanders. Stijn Devolder bounced off the tarmac and cobbles several hundred thousand times. Many applauded him for being so brave and hard. I didn’t.
“Klaas Lodewyk crashed on the descent of the Paterberg; he got hit from behind by Stijn Devolder and actually popped his shoulder out of its joint. He was to be riding on Sunday (Paris Roubaix) but he’s out for a few weeks while he recovers from the crash.” – Allan Peiper, Performance Director, BMC, RIDE Cycling Review, 11 April 2014.
Did this bingle happen after one of Devolder’s other crashes? Did the shock, pain and injuries from his other crashes put others at risk? If yes, look at the result – BMC lost a rider for Paris-Roubaix and Lodewyk himself missed out.
Yesterday, Frank Schleck was ruled out from the start of Stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse. He suffered a concussion in a Stage 2 crash and the injury was deemed too serious to continue. It was too serious for him to carry on but it was OK for him to finish Stage 2, apparently. Somebody somewhere had ultimate responsibility of putting him back on his bike with serious concussion. Thankfully, he finished without incident, but it is still a worrying and frequent occurrence.
Riders carry on with concussions, broken collarbones or other fractured and scratched parts. What affect does this have on a rider’s ability to control a bike in an already crowded and nervy peloton? And what affect are any painkillers to relieve the pain e.g. tramadol, also have?
Then there are colds, flus and stomach upsets. I hear people on the train or at work struggling for breath through coughing or flu. “Just go home; get out of here. You are spreading it,” I want to shout. I know for many it’s not a choice, despite our legislation here saying different. (I know, I had a boss who had no sympathy for sicknesses). But at my current and other workplaces, there are heroes, even with stomach upsets who just have to be at work because of that meeting about streamlining the stationery. Heroes for no reason at all.
You often hear of stomach bugs too ripping through entire teams, and this is why. Pozzovivo had the sense to pull out of the Tour de Suisse because of such an illness and also thankfully sparing us from associated stories.
I’m not going to go into the Team Sky/Froome TUE thing – I use al foil just for food these days. I will however agree with the sentiment expressed by several medical experts in this article on Cycling Tips. I also do not mean in this instance Froome put others at risk – i.e. his coughing is purely from his asthma related issues after a chest infection.
An informed medical source, who did not want to be publicly identified, also expressed similar concerns: “Using prednisolone, a glucocorticosteroid, for the entire duration of a competition – why would one even attempt to race?” he told CyclingTips…
…. “This is [usually] banned in competition for good reason – it is a potent stimulant and it is catabolic, not anabolic…..
… “Can anyone dope up for a whole stage race if they complain of a cough? The tablets have a much more potent systemic effect, that’s why they are banned,” he said. “Suggesting it is okay to race rather then recover in this situation would be medically unusual.””
Of course, winning a race like the Tour of Romandie and the exposure it brings for a team, sponsors and victor is nothing to be sneezed at – it’s nothing like a stationery streamlining meeting. However, a call still needs to be made about the health of the individual. And while the TUE issue was resolved, the process seemed a little unclear.
Pressure to compete and to perform clouds ethics. And in many of these instances, puts other riders and their careers at risk.
Perhaps it’s time for our cycling heroes to be a little more like soccer stars.
What do you think? Are cyclists under-reacting, or is TourdeCouch over-reacting? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, or connect with us on Twitter and Facebook. Don’t also forget to follow Rachel from TourdeCouch.
“Selection in itself is one of the most challenging aspects of the job. It’s never perfect.” – David Brailsford
On 28 May 2014, Sky Team Principal Sir David Brailsford attended the Jaguar/Pinarello Dogma F8 launch. In the below interview published on YouTube, he discusses a number of topics including team selection. He won’t rush it, he says. He notices Wiggins’ good form and he will build an appropriate team for a Chris Froome victory.
This article on the Sporting Life covering the same event notes suggests the following:
- Brailsford is waiting until after Dauphine and the Tour de Suisse to select the team
- He will make the decision after consulting a few other coaches
- If Wiggins is selected, he and Froome will not come together before the Tour (which could also hint at Wiggins’ non Dauphine selection).
- Wiggins is not a plan B for leadership
Yet most of the press and Twitter used only the plan B quote and angle. This for example.
Just over a week later, following Wiggins’ PR play, Twitter and other major cycling press outlets noticed these points from Brailsford’s appearances on Sky Sports. The first: Brailsford states the following:
“Despite the impression that might have been created, the team for the Tour is not yet finalised. I will be the one making the decision on who is in the team.”
A day later, the second: Brailsford is waiting until after the Tour de Suisse to choose the team, and he will consult a panel of selectors. The video of that interview is no longer on Sky Sports, however, CyclingTips has an example of how other media outlets reported it. Notice the emphasis on “now.”
Brailsford may not have Wiggins on his Tour de France selection spreadsheet, but there is absolutely no difference between what he said before and after Wiggins’ BBC appearance. Wiggins himself said the same thing. “As it stands,” he said “I’m not on the team.” Well, no one is.
This tells you all you need to know about the power of the Wiggins PR move. In the ensuing hysteria associated with Wiggins’ voodoo, many ignored the fact that Brailsford was delaying his decision anyway until at least after the Dauphine.
Yet Brailsford was accused of spin and for waiting too long to clean up the affects of the Wiggo bomb. Perhaps he thought wrongly and doggedly, “Why do I have to repeat myself?”
Crudely translated, it was as if Wiggins’ was telling Brailsford: “Sure, I’m leaving next year, and Froome hates my guts, but I got an interview with the Beeb just like that. They bloody love me out there. I know you haven’t picked the team yet, but look around, imagine if you don’t choose me now.”
And boy do they love Wiggo.
— Phil Jones (@roadphil) June 7, 2014
While this PR move again proves Wiggins is unlikely to ooze harmonious influence on Team Sky, perhaps it also proves Brailsford is now left with little choice. Public backlash aside, Brailsford actually has little choice.
Armed only with educated conjecture, I’d say Team Sky’s sponsors would kill for the exposure of a UK Tour start, with the cycling specific sponsors too dreaming of large scale conversions to the sport and their products. A few of the team’s sponsors are British as f****. Or less coarsely: as British as Wiggins. The Modfather, a Knight.
In my opinion, Wiggins is unlikely to be a major contender on this year’s parcours. He is perhaps not a threat to Froome in that sense. But he’s a diesel and I would choose him for his Paris Roubaix performance alone. With Porte not travelling too well in the Dauphine so far, Wiggins’ odds look improved – not as a climbing replacement, but to give the team an engine boost. If he wants his spot, he must cop a lowlier role on the chin for Froome is in blistering form. Wiggins on a good day could not match him.
Bradley’s inclusion offers another benefit and funnily enough for Froome’s calmness: as a decoy for press attention, especially in the first week with UK press interest high.
As Brailsford said however, the final decision is his. But whatever moves Wiggins pulls to win future races; nothing will quite match this one
The pink carpet, fuchsia throne and thankfully, the strawberry ice cream full racing kit are all packed away. The 97th Giro d’Italia is over.
Quite a few survival guides exist that provide tips on how to cope with three weeks of sleep torture. But not many tell us how to manage the post Giro come down. Let me give it a crack.
Give in to the sleep urge:
You wake up on the couch and The Voice or New Worlds (SBS advertising during the Giro does work!) hasn’t finished? Keep sleeping baby! Lying down in front of the TV feeling blue is your friend right now.
Drink coffee out of enjoyment:
Coffee is now restored to its pre Giro status. It is no longer something you take just to stay alive. Kinda like when your Mum forced cod liver oil down your throat to avoid colds.
Shout “forza” to cyclists you pass/pass you
I tried this on Saturday while out for a morning walk. He had no idea what was happening – a hefty girl in the after 6am dark saying an Italian word on a semi-rural, sub-urban roadside. The Giro hadn’t finished but it was still loads of fun. Get a real rush, give them a push.
Whether it’s in a bunch or on your own, only speak/think Italian cycling words. For example, it is not a bus stop where you’ll meet your mates or your garage you’ll roll out from, but “grande partenza”. When you drag race the kid on the bike path with the training wheels and break away, shout “scattare in faccia.” Check this post out and go nuts!
Totally jump on the altitude native bandwagon and beef up on Colombian cycling and its history. This excellent blog will help.
Look at Giro photo galleries
Like this excellent one. You spot a few shots of action you can’t recall. “Oh yes, that was the stage I fell asleep with about 8kms to go and woke up to Ryder Hesjedal crossing the line and missed Quintana winning.”
Write comments on the SBS Cycling Central Facebook page
Troll people who annoy you. You know the ones: they ask questions like “why didn’t Michael Matthews win the Giro/not hold on to the pink jumper longer?” Respond with something like “because….doping.” Better yet, comment on an Anthony Tan piece AGREEING with him.
If all that fails, get your popcorn ready for the Froome/Wiggins soap opera. Oh, Madone!
This year’s Giro is of course the 10th anniversary of Marco Pantani’s death. And with several celebrations during the Giro, organisers sure won’t let us forget it. Is that all Lance needs to restore his Cancer Saint Shield? Death in a hotel room with a rolled up twenty and a suicide note?
“No,” the thousands shout. “Marco wasn’t a nasty bully like Lance and he had Italian made panache.”
Of course, he and Lance’s panache were synthetically produced and whether Marco was a bully or not depends on who you asked. Check this article out on that issue. It also nails pretty much everything about the Pantani myth.
I am not without sympathy for Pantani. His life and death was an awful tragedy. So what exactly is there to celebrate?
If it is more a case of Giro organisers aiming for a “lest we forget the tragedy of doping” style memorial, I am still left cold.
10 years later, lest we forget the tragedy of doping indeed.
I’d like to welcome Rachel de Bear from the TourDeCouch blog as a guest blogger here with Mr Cycling World. Rachel offers a witty view of cycling “from the couch up” and has a fantastic understanding of professional cycling, and manages to write in a different flavour to most. In her first post, she dives straight into discussing the many crashes that has plagued this year’s Giro d’Italia. If you’re on Twitter, do yourself a favour and follow her @tourdecouch
Giro Crash Coverage
When Katusha’s Giampaolo Caruso crashed during Stage 6 of this year’s Giro, the host broadcaster continued to focus on the unmoving rider. In an analysis of the stage, my good friends at the Velocast, Scott O’Raw and John Galloway angrily called for a petition to RCS to stop this kind of coverage.
I’m not sure how I feel about it. Watching this type of footage doesn’t excite me nor do I enjoy it. And I definitely don’t share the sentiment of this post on The Roar. But I’m not as angry as Scott and John because I can’t stop thinking of a scene from the film Jerry Maguire.
Lame right? But Cuba Gooding Junior’s character takes a heavy hit during an NFL game and afterwards lies motionless. His family are at home watching on TV. They desperately wait on every second of coverage, willing their loved one to move.
As a cycling fan, I too watch the coverage with baited breath. I watch, hoping the guys I admire are OK, not out of morbid fascination. If a crash is milder, I want to know who’s out of the race; who is able to continue riding, and what does any of that that mean for their team and the GC. A crash changes a race’s complexion and is at home as part of its coverage.
A crash is also news.
Despite heated tweets, many news sites posted the fan video of Johan Vansummeren’s collision at the Tour of Flanders. Cycling is a sport, fans argued, and cycling crashes are not news.
I watched it because the lady was initially blamed by the Twitterati. I wanted to know: did she walk across the road, is she OK, what happened? Afterwards, I felt sad not because I shouldn’t have watched it, but I put myself in her place. Excitedly waking up that morning to go watch the Tour of Flanders, then not waking up from a coma for a long time.
That is news, no?
What do you think?
Thanks Rachel for sharing! If you think you’ve got something to say and would like to contribute to the Mr Cycling World blog, please feel free to drop us a line by email or Twitter.