Friday Group Ride #4 Wrap

And we thought that ugly jerseys were a thing of the past

Well, this was sort of a lay up, wasn’t it? What sort of a pessimist would say the coming season wasn’t going to be as good as last? Who could sell the future out so early in the year?

It’s curious to me that so many people, in stating that 2010 would be better, cited the coming Tour de France battle between Armstrong and Contador. Is it that the TdF is the biggest race of the year, and so, on some level, the single biggest arbiter of the season’s quality, or is it rather that this is the main Euro race people book time to sit down and watch?

Personally, I am really interested to see how the new super teams do, Sky, the Shack, BMC. They take to the battle alongside other fairly new squads like Cervelo Test Team and Katusha. I wonder if we’re not entering a new era, where sponsors with more global vision join the sport. For every behemoth like Sky that joins the fray, we seem to lose a quixotic contributor like Milram.

And how will today’s young superstars like Cavendish, Contador, Schleck, Boasson-Hagen, Martin, Nibali, et. al. plot their career paths? Will some of them follow the Armstrong/Bruyneel model, prepping and training for one big event each year, whether it’s the Tour or a single Classic? Or will they seek to flesh out their palmares a bit more, a la Merckx, Hinault, et. al.

So many questions. I guess this is what the weeks before the season begins are supposed to be like, full of frenzied anticipation. Or maybe I just need to drink less coffee.

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10 comments

  1. Trev

    or get outside and start putting in your own kms!!!!! I did 65-70kms yesterday in -5 degrees. Granted , all I thought about was how hard (and frigid) I was and how VDB (RIP) would have been doing the same thing.

  2. Joe

    I would gladly sacrifice all of these early season races for a return to a traditional race calendar. Sorry, but the Tour Down Under, Qatar, etc, hold no interest for me. They also destroy any chance of having the best riders participate at the World Championships. I also think that the extended race calendar encourages doping, it’s impossible to keep your form for such a long season without a little help.

  3. Da Robot

    @Trev Oh, I’m out on the bike. Crikey! I’m wearing lycra RIGHT NOW! I’m also drinking coffee. I need one of those beer helmets, except for java. Maybe it could have a built in milk frother.

  4. George

    Those footon uniforms are absolutely atrocious…

    I find myself more excited than ever for the spring classics. Boonen, Devolder, Cancellara, Gilbert, Pozzato, even Hushovd… There are so many good riders right now who can and want to fight out those races.

    That’s kind the key to my disatisfaction with Tour superstars. Race a FULL program, please! It’s as if certain Americans are afraid to get cold or muddy.

  5. Souleur

    I agree with what George mentions. It is a dichotomy of sorts, in that the Tour is the Prom for us all, for a month, and every cyclist would be the envy to deservedly don the malliot juane. But…when we get to the point that it is the only event, it undermines other very significant events, others that could be of near importance, like the spring classics, like the Giro, like the Vuelta.

    There is a remedy to this of course, it is to require Pro squads to list their ‘A team’, and they must attend the ‘A races’. The UCI in coordination with the ASO and other event owners could work together on the calender. Yes, this would be fun, but mandate your team will ride the events, all of them. Then encourage the teams to use the events for both training and for support of sponsorships in turn.

    For those who say that it is nearly impossible for riders today to ride the calendar without dope, well, Eddy did it. He rode from january to december, from cross racing to track to spring classics to the grand tours. It can be done, its just exceptional those who could do it and excel.

    Also, just thinking, if teams made their riders win for bonus’s, like reduce their overall take out for the season, and give them money to WIN, then I think it would also incentivize them to ride. Now, all they have to do is land a big ride, not land a good season riding.

  6. velomonkey

    Look at the sponsors – does a company like Garmin or Radio Shack really care if their rider wins Ghent? Doubt it. I’d say they would rather see Dave Z win national TT champ. Myself as a fan and aficionado, well, I’d rather see George win Flanders or Roubaix over most anything. Boonen is above Lance and Fabian is way better than Conti – at least in my world. Let me ask you all this, how many of us put out trainer/roller miles to 7 hour tour DVDs versus 90 minute Roubaix, flanders, worlds, Ghent et al. The tour is the biggest, but far from the best.

    Oh, can we also agree to call Radio Shack team Lance, cause we’re kidding ourselves if we think otherwise.

  7. George

    Oh no! but Lance said the team wasn’t just built to win him another tour?!?

    I kid (a little).

    I’m all in with Velomonkey. It would be more exciting to me to see an American on the podium lifting a cobble stone than in the yellow jersey. Sadly, this is not what American sponsors want. You’ll never be able to convince Joe Sixpack that the winner of Paris Roubaix is tougher than a defensive lineman, there’s just no way to sell that angle to the American consumer.

    over here, it’s just another bike race for guys in tights.

  8. JohnnyO

    You think the flesh-colored Footon kit looks bad now? Wait until we see it in a rain-soaked race. I’d hate to be the guy drafting behind one of them. Yikes.

  9. Blake Barrilleaux

    What a bummer to look at your kit for team approval and this is what you get. After the vote!(FootOn)OOOF! TDU and Quatar are kind of a buzz kill for the start of the season. I liked it when it was Ruta del Sol and Etoille Besseges for pre season. But it is warm in them there parts, so you can’t blame the riders for not wanting to go over there. Those 2 euro pre-seasoners don’t even get a mention these days.

  10. OnTheRivet

    The thing I’m looking forward to is Lars Boom riding the Spring classics. The Vuelta showed he has the motor, bike handling is a given. He will surprise people

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