Thoughts from my month in flux. I moved from Orange County to Sacramento recently and am not all settled, so I don't have the time, but I like having an opinion and I'll make you read it (when I get around to it).
-Just like every bike ride or race has that moment where you say to yourself, "fuck it I'd rather walk home or flag a bus" this cycling season has turned to the point for me as of late. I hate adding to the cluttered lancerotic interspace with another diatribe about his affects on the sport, but seriously its getting ridiculous.
VS. made promises to all of us that they would air live coverage of the Giro, and now there is word from the twitterati that they have reneged on this promise due to Armstrong's recent setback in Castille y Leon. (Those of you who have paid any attention to Gila know that Lance is doing fine and looks to continue to ride at his dominant level for the rest of the year). Luckily we all have high speed internet access will be able to watch RAI's amazing coverage from multiple feeds which are located at Cyclingfams.com.
Lance has had the same impact on the Gila. In a much documented (er twittered) turn of events, the faltering New Mexico stage race was about to place "the closed til next season" sign on their front yard, this was until someone at SRAM had a great idea. If you fund it HE will come.
Yadda Yadda Yadda... the will they or won't they saga ran on. Which was honestly the biggest PR stunt ever pulled on a non UCI race since I'vebeen paying attention to Pro Cycling. And its great for the Tour of the Gila. The bigger these stage races get, the closer we get to a unified multi-week tour, and the more room there is for Domestic teams to compete and raise excellent American cyclists to compete at the highest level. The problem with all of this, is that there is something about the way the public responds to Lance that is destroying cycling for Americans. Its not the fault of the media, even though they love his Magnum PI style, and its not the fault of SRAM, Trek, Nike, Oakley... for making a dime off of him. I hate to say it, but its the fair weather fan that has destroyed this for us.
Just like the undecided voter has made certain issues hot items every four years,even though we never talk about those issues during the terms, undecided cycling fans have created an impossible scenario. How can a forth tear sport survive with such a weak business model. "OK so as long as Lance wins we will give you $500,000, however if he doesn't win we are pulling our sponsorship."
Its sad, but true. The fair weather fan is responsible for the success of this model. The only hope is that they pay attention to the other names they hear, or just walk up to Tom Zirbel and Rory Sutherland and see what entertaining characters are stateside.
-I'm not sure I ever finished my thought, but moving on...
The word twiterati has been used a lot recently, for good reason, in 140 characters you can get a lot of information quickly (I have become quite fond of the advantages of following cycling through twitter myself). I never thought much about this word when Lance sent his minions out to find his "stolen" TT bike in February, but I have noticed an irritating trend in investigative journalism. Cyclists are now being qupted in response to everything that goes on during a normal race season from their twitter accounts, VeloNews being the heaviest hitter. If all you need to do is read twitters to get paid to write articles for a news site, then where's my W2?
-on a positive note, I would like to congratulate Bissell grad Ted King on his nod for the Cervelo Test Team's Giro squad. Not only is Ted a stand up guy (he did play hockey), but this is something I'd like to turn into a trend. American's in the peloton have been GC contenders or team leaders for the most part, except when riding for an all American team ( 7-Eleven, Postal, Disco, Garmin...). While I love rooting for my favorite Americans to win the biggest races in Europe, in my mind its actually better for the sport stateside if Americans can fill more of the Domestique ranks for European teams. So I'm looking for Teddy King to make us proud by being one of the nameless guys doing all of the hard work for 90% of the race this month.
-The Giro, haven't thought enough to make my picks yet. Obviously I like Cervelo for personal reasons, but I'd like to see DZ surprise us all in the first week. Too bad the Conti and Lance show has to wait until July, I'm not sure I can wait that long.
Who do you think will get popped first? Its just so hard to believe any super performances lately, so much so that its just so hard to care if they are even clean. If Levi is clean, I see him winning the Giro. He is just THAT good right now.
And then there's this guy...