What would you change about pro cycling, when are counterattacks bad form, how to prepare for counterattacks and respond to them, and when does weight stop mattering for time trialists. We’ll cover all of this and more in Episode 371 of the Ask a Cycling Coach Podcast!
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Topics Covered in This Episode
What would you change about pro racing?
What does your power meter calibration number mean?
I don’t know what @IvyAudrain uses, but I like this stuff:
I have a roll of other stuff but it’s a pain to use because it’s a roll. This is precut, super easy to use. But I do a combination of this tape plus a few pins to make sure it sticks. Maybe not perfect, but I find it a LOT easier than just pins, especially if I’m solo.
The trick to any race-number adhesive is applying to your kit just before warmup (before your kit gets sweaty) and peeling off RIGHT AWAY when you’re done racing, before your kit dries too much (I try to remember to do it within 10-15 min). That keeps any adhesive from lingering.
Interesting listen. Bit behind this week with all the TdF pods to keep up with between stages.
I’m surprised there wasn’t more commentary regarding Pro racing.
The races have been shorter. Particularly for the TdF this year. You’re right it’s better, and generated more interesting racing rather than 20+Mon breakaways. There’s also very few sprinters stages this year, again improving the entertainment/reducing the boring stages that can be surmised with the final 3km highlights.
The Pro peloton does have a union. I’m not sure exactly how effective it is. I completely agree that their funding model isn’t great for creating multiple strong teams, and improving competitiveness. ASO makes all the money from TV rights etc etc (though cycling rights are a lot less than NBA, MLB, NFL etc). I do wish that it was a similar model, and that their was less corruption and closed-mindedness in the upper echelons of ASO/UCI.
Love Jonathan’s idea of an XC World Cup that includes a Marathon, XCC, and XCO. Though I have been loving the XCO coverage and racing.
I listened to this last night and basically just got angry with half of what @Nate_Pearson (and to some extent @Jonathan ) suggested with regards pro cycling
There isn’t enough money in it to make a meaningful difference to team budgets in any case: inrng : revenue sharing revisited . Providing live footage of a bike race is really expensive compared to stadium sports, as is running the event, and the rights aren’t worth as much either.
People (not you specifically) seem to assume this would be a panacea: it wouldn’t.
The bigger/more explosive stages tend to be Friday, Saturday, Sunday, for obvious reasons. Midweek transitional stages still exist, as you say they have reduced them. But the nature of French geography means that if you want to have a race which can legitimately be called a tour of France there has to be some.
Having all 2 hour stages as Nate suggests is not a good idea IMO. Being a good 3 week racer is already radically different to being a good 1 week stage racer - look at how many riders have won a lot of 1 week stage races and never been able to reproduce it in a 3 week race. Yes, some of the stages might only warrant watching the highlights, but the accumulated fatigue is important for the later parts of race, especially the 3rd week (you could make them spend 6 hours on the turbo or something to tire them out, it’s essentially the same concept). Having a race with 21x 2hr stages is fundamentally totally different to the current setup, with different physiological demands. Even the Monuments/classics (esp. Paris Roubaix, Flanders etc) which are regarded as often the most exciting on the calendar are really long
Personally since I work full time, watching a short highlights package midweek is not really a problem!
I quite like the short explosive stage right after a rest day, that usually seems to produce good racing.
4 final points -
a 200+km mountain stage with 5000m climbing is the kind of monumental, savage, spectacular effort that defines the sport, you can’t get rid of that… Those kind of stages is what makes people enter events like the Maratona etc.
All of the stats and stuff Nate was going on about and comparisons to baseball and stuff - people like European road racing for what it is and to some extent some of that is BECAUSE it isn’t like an American sport… The history and scenery etc is fundamental to the sport. The reason the Hammer Series failed is because nobody watched it… They have been trying to incorporate more stats and so on, you see peoples Whoop stats and stuff and to be honest it’s nonsense - most people don’t understand what day strain is and the fact someone’s heart rate is 150 or 160 is pretty much irrelevant (as we all know). Heard the commentators on GCN taking the piss of these stats in the Giro. Power figures are interesting to TR forum users but I would suggest that we are a pretty small minority of spectators and most laypeople would not have the first clue
Season long rider squad numbers and jersey names is definitely not a bad idea.
Salary caps and budget caps might make sense if we didn’t have teams regularly folding, for a while it looked like we would not even have the full compliment of WT licences this season.
At this stage you would just be turning down money from the bigger sponsors (Jumbo Visma, Ineos etc). Some kind of a levy on big teams to fund conti or U23 development teams might work. A draft system for U23 riders would not necessarily be a bad thing but you’d need the salary caps and budget caps for it to work.
The fundamental issue with all the salary caps and draft stuff is that cycling is not a franchise sport. Teams are transient and they buy a WT (or ProConti or Conti) licence from UCI to race. They’re not linked to a particular home stadium etc., there’s no ticket sales, they have no real assets, and are entirely reliant on their sponsors. People have tried to use different models (Aqua Blue, and DROPS on the women’s side) but they’ve ultimately folded or reverted to the traditional named sponsor model. I don’t think this is a good thing either, this is just explaining how it is.
Minimum salary is only €40k or something in the WT. I think most riders will have win bonuses and performance related incentives etc… There’s a few riders on much more money than that, but the best paid cyclists are on €5-6m and it’s rare for them to be on 7 figures (back in 2011, INRNG calculated that the total wage bill for all 489 riders in the World Tour was less than for Olympiqu Lyonnais, a French football club inrng : pro tour wages compared )
Inrng also does some stuff on individuals team accounts when they’re published, like this for Lotto Soudal - one of the bigger teams but a tier below JV and Ineos in terms of budget inrng : lotto-soudal budget
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