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July 25, 2017
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  • Michele

    Side point: regarding Matt Prior .. he’s been a cycling nut for a few years now, and it’s likely factor as to why he had to give Cricket up last year.

    Prior would be bring his bike out on tour with him, and ride it at every opportunity. He ended up getting an Achilles’ tendon injury – which doctors believe was caused through his cycling.

    Trying to carry the injury whilst keeping was just too much.

    Boris Johnson’s comments are very interesting. Some of the reported benefits quoted in that BBC report seem to be contrary to Boris’ comments. Would love to know how much it really cost London when the Tour last started there in 2005.

    Has ASO’s fees – a fraction of the total costs – gone up so much that Boris is essentially snubbing them? Though Tfl said they’d pay them anyway.

    Though not specific to London, I found this article interesting when it first came out last year:


    • jules

      Boris ‘changed his mind’ on the day before contracts were to be signed. He would have us believe it only struck him then that the cost made it not worthwhile. Lucky he’s thinking about that stuff..

      • donncha

        Saw a tweet that he was hoping/expecting the Govt. to kick in some funds, so backed out when they didn’t.

    • Paolo

      It’s called the Tour de France anyway…

      • Michele

        True :)

        But they have been having Grand Departs outside of France for the last 70-odd years, and have done so 20 plus times in nearly 10 different countries.

        I have no problem with every 2nd or 3rd Tour starting abroad.

        • Paolo

          Me neither, but i’m surprised by the amount of money involved. For this money he could run a top WorldTour team for 3 years to promote the city of London….instead of having a 1-2 day event.

          • Michele

            It’s huge isn’t it? I am surprised too.
            Then again, we are talking about politicians here .. they can pull out of their hats [or elsewhere] any statistic or fact, and bend, twist, contort and distort it anyway they want to make a point.

            • Abdu


              There’s a book called Soccernomics which pours lots of cold water on World Cups and Olympics (and would also go for GP’s). The economic benefits are largely rubbish.

              A friend worked for a certain airport in Victoria that had consultants publish negative reports about the lack of returns a rail line would provide for the airport (not viable for 40+ years), then when the political tone changed (ie. government would pay, not the privately owned airport) it was suddenly all systems go.

              • Michele

                I’m pretty I’ve had a friend recommend that boom to me previously.

                Might check it out.

                Good comment.

              • jules

                it’s not really a secret people distort studies to meet their agendas. it’s only stupid when people take them at face value. the value of major events is almost, if not invariably impossible to measure with any real degree of accuracy. but that’s not a rock solid argument for never hosting them. a rail line on the other hand.. that’s different – should be evidence-based.

          • Dave

            He could run Cannondale-Garmin for a couple of years on that money, but not a top team.

            It’s a bargain compared to the Melbourne GP though – which is actually quite a similar event in terms of duration, disruption and organisation. The Melbourne GP has big ticket sponsors picking up large chunks of the costs, but still loses roughly the same amount as the cost of the Grand Depart before sponsors come on board.

            • Michele

              You’re 100% right.
              Melbourne isn’t unique though.
              The real money made in F1 these days is not in the running of races, but in the selling of them. You think Bernie would have enough $$$ by now.

              • Dave

                But it is the only one that we have the losses reported in the Australian media.

                I would guess the economic benefits of a one-off TdF Grand Depart would far outweigh the benefits of 2-3 years of the Melbourne GP, I’m quite surprised that a Conservative administration in London has turned it down – though not surprised that the UK Government refused to use central funds given the difficulty they have with getting the North of England on side and the 10% of that figure they would have to give to Scotland under the Barnett formula.

                The Government investment in the Tour Down Under is around $5 million per year from next year, with the upgrade of the women’s race to UCI standards having been responsible for the increase. Not a bad trade for Bernie’s go karts wouldn’t you say?

    • Bonesx

      From his comments in The Gaurdian, Boris is playing the long game…..

      “The difficulty was we had to make a choice – £35m is an awful lot to
      spend on a one-off event when you could put that money in to long-term
      projects. What people really want is safer cycling lanes.” He added:
      “For me it was a no brainer.
      Speaking separately to BBC London radio, Johnson said: “I will not
      waste cycling money on something that would only deliver very brief


      As Chris Boardman said why bother bidding in the first place, but imagine what approx 70 million AUD could do for infrastructure in Melbourne? And considering London’s ongoing issues with vehicle congestion in the city, sounds like fair policy.

      Not a fair comparison, but imagine some of the F1 money being utilised in a different manner…

      • Dave

        You’re right that it’s not a fair comparison, the $12 charge that every Victorian pays to cover the losses of the Melbourne GP (whether they like F1 or not, and without it being redeemable as a part payment for a ticket or merchandise) is covered under the tourism part of the state budget.

        Boris Johnson clearly didn’t want it that much, if he did then the money would have been found from a more suitable place than taking it away from trains, buses and roads.

      • Winky

        AUD $70 million could buy truckloads of tacks!

  • Abdu

    I’ll take Matt Prior with realistic aims anyday over that flog Fernando Alonso…

    • Michele

      Bit harsh on Alonso there …. I follow F1 and as I said many times over the past 2 years on here; and F1 reported on flew in the face on what was reported by the cycling media.

      Whenever Alonso was asked in several one-on-one interviews by F1 journos what his plans were for creating a cycling team, not once did he give a year for when the project would start up – if it would at all.

      Whilst cyclingnews were publishing stories like this BTW – how does a store get published in Feb 2015, and get updated in June 2014]:


      Alonso was explaining to F1 Racing Mag that [to paraphrase] he would love to get involved in cycling, he’s not sure if he has the time to do it whilst he races, or will do so after he retires, or if he will do it at all.

      Alonso has been friends with Sastre [along wit many other riders] for years; he’d go on training camps with Cervelo test team. And he often been seen at races talking to riders – years before this proposed team was first reported on.

      Of course, once the rumour mill started up, every time Fernando was seen talking to someone at a race – something he’s done for years – it meant he was signing them up.

      • Marc

        Alonso had financial backers from the Middle East, he hired Paolo Bettini who was supposed to contract riders. Bettini also got paid by those same backers from the Middle East. When things got a bit more serious the Middle Eastern backers found out that Alonso wasn’t willing to spend any money on the team himself, nor was he willing to invest any time in the team, he just wanted his name attached to it and have others do the work and have others bring in the money. While he always gave them the impression he would do more and would put money in the project himself, his backers were disappointed and pulled out, which was the end of the Alonso cycling project.

        • jules

          I’m not sticking up for Alonso, but what did they expect? he’s got a busy job.

          • Marc

            Of course he’s got a busy job. But he could have told them straight away that he was only in it for the publicity. Don’t promise time and money and then pull out once you think you’ve got someone else to pay for everything.

            • jules

              having tried my hand at a business deal involving a number of co-investors on a much, much smaller scale than a World Tour cycling team, the key lesson I learned is how complex and fluid things quickly become. it’s never as simple as just putting your hand up and offering cash – or you won’t have cash to offer for long if you approach it that way.

              • Michele

                Another compounding issue – and this is conjecture – is that FA was looking at getting out of Ferrari at the time this was all happening. Ferrari have some big investments in the middle-east [Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi amongst other things].

                It had been suggested that the middle-east backers could have been in some way involved with Ferrari.

                • jules

                  that’s probably a key asset Alonso was hoping to bring along to the deal – his business connections via Ferrari. who knows – if it had worked everyone would be hailing him. it’s impossible for us to know all of the details.

                  • Michele

                    Well, the other sponsor closely associated with FA is Santander. Banco Santander was so closely linked to FA that Santander came across to Ferrari as a key sponsor when Alonso joined the team.
                    The company continues to sponsor Ferrari in 2015 sans Alonso.

        • Dave


          As Michele said, the F1 media (i.e. people who actually know Alonso) reported something very different to your story.

          • Marc

            You really believe F1 media? Any idea how journalism works nowadays, especially in small worlds like F1? If you don’t suck up to the athletes, you don’t get interviews, don’t get quotes and you might as well quit your job. Soccer works the same way, any EPL journo can tell you that.

            • Dave

              I would trust the F1 media over the whorehouse that is the cycling media any day of the week.

            • Michele

              I’d believe the likes of Maurice Hamilton, Matt Bishop and James Allen over most cycling journalists everyday. And as a former cycling journalist [albeit a very poor one], I know how the systems work.

              • Marc

                Just to be clear, I’ve got this information from someone inside the World Tour, not from a cycling journalist. No guarantee for the truth of course, but I tend to believe him.

                • Michele

                  But more importantly, where did they get their info from?

                  I know a couple of ex-WT riders who have told me more than once that the peloton is the biggest bunch of gossipers you can find, and that it’s hard to sort the fact from the fiction.

                  When media are reporting as fact Peter Sagan signed a 3.5 million Euro 4 year deal with F.A.C.T despite Bettini coming out publicly and saying multiple times that no one – riders, support staff, management have been signed up – that is going to get the tongues wagging.

                  Retro Google searches are good fun :)

                  I just find the whole F.A.C.T. very interesting. As said, I read F1 Racing and obviously several Cycling News sites. Back in 2013 / 2014, I’d literally be reading a cycling piece about the team being ready for 2015 one day, and the very next be reading something from F1R that was at polar opposites.

                  You would have thought the two stories would have been remotely close.

                  • Marc

                    I’ve got the information from a rider who was approached by Bettini.

                    • Michele

                      So maybe the problem was Bettini who was making promises that he couldn’t back up.

              • Sean

                A blogger isn’t a journalist.

                • jules

                  oh ohh… that will stir a hornet’s nest! :)

                • Michele

                  You referring to Allen?

                  • Sean

                    I think the auto appearing posts have meant my reply was attached to the wrong post. I was replying to your post that contained this text “And as a former cycling journalist [albeit a very poor one], I know how the systems work.” I was attempting to stir up a hornet’s nest on your keyboard.

                    Anyway, the moment seems to have past now.

                    • Michele

                      I know exactly what you meant :)

                      I wouldn’t [couldn’t] even call myself a blogger!

                      But at the end of it, I had several press agencies who were foolish/desperate enough to pay me – by the word – for some work. I’ve got a piece of paper saying I’m one … but to be honest I didn’t really enjoy it.

                      What’s that saying about it’s better not to see how sausages are made?

        • Michele

          And again, I’ve got a F1 Magazine from early 2014, that agrees with what you say, but also shows it from a different perspective:

          – Alonso said he would not be putting money into the project. He could get some investors on board. He publicly named Santander.

          – He said he wouldn’t be able to put any time into the team during the season whilst he was still racing.

          – The name of the project [not team] was provisionally known as F.A.C.T. He said if the team went ahead his name would not be on it or associated with it. [I must admit I find this a little odd – I assumed his point must have been lost in translation, and he meant Alonso wouldn’t appear in the Team Title. Of course, it would be associated].

          – He also stressed in the interview that F1 would be getting his attention. And that he was looking at the feasibility of getting a team up and when and if it would launch. Although Bettini isn’t mentioned by name, he made reference of fact that were looking at riders who were coming out of contract and would so for the rest of the year.

          So in essence I do agree with what you’ve written … but at the end of the day, not once did Alonso say the project was going ahead. He was simply looking into it.

          Now, if certain media outlets wanted to add 1 and 1 to get 5, then that’s their problem.

          I’m not a fan of Alonso, but I’d take the integrity and his comments over a journalist from Biciciclismo who quotes an unnamed source.

          You just need to think back to beginning of this year when Alsono crashed in testing and McLaren were very wishy-washy in their explanations of the cause of the incident. This only compounded when Fernando missed the Australian GP. When he got to his first press conference following the crash, he wasn’t afraid to speak the truth, even though it caused a bit of embarrassment to McLaren.

          • Marc

            So let me get things straight. Alonso wasn’t going to put any money in the project. Alonso wasn’t going to put any time in the project (except for may be two or three months a year but not during the cycling season and during the time teams are set up and contracts are being signed). Alonso wasn’t going to associate his name with the team.

            Can someone please explain to me what he actually was going to do?

    • Dave

      A word of warning on Matt Prior – his team started as something to amuse himself while he was on the bench with an injury but still hoping to return to playing Test Matches for England.

      It only got serious once he decided to abandon his comeback plans and retire from cricket. Had his return to cricket gone better, the team would still be on the UK domestic scene.

      If the cycling media had been a little less hysterical about Alonso and Prior’s cricket plans gone better, in a couple of years we could have been saying “I’ll take Fernando Alonso with his realistic aims and waiting until he was done with F1 over that flog Matt Prior.”

      • Michele

        The Big Cheese :)

      • Michele

        Correction: “It only got serious once he saw Jos Buttler keeping [re catching] and batting in his absence and decided to retire from cricket”.

        • Dave

          He obviously didn’t watch one particular Test this year, the Aussie players called him Bye Bye Buttler for good reason!

          • Michele

            Thank goodness .. otherwise Prior could’ve done a FA and done a last minute reneg.
            Side point: Jos was extremely disappointing this past series. Reckon he is a lot better – both with bat and gloves than that.
            If you did a combined XI, Nevill would’ve got the no. 7 spot without a doubt.

            • Dave

              We’ll see how Nevill goes with the bat against the sheep shaggers.

              He benefitted from the same ‘unknown newbie’ factor which benefitted Ben Stokes in the previous Ashes series and Peter Sagan with his three TdF stage wins in his first participation and just one from the next three editions.

  • Nitro

    Seems that MTN-Qhubeka / Team Dimension Data is seriously on the move (no pun intended) right now.

    Good for them – great to see them positioning to be Africa’s team to cheer for in the same way we have Orica GreenEdge…

    Good to see they have their team mascot already lined up / If they could just get their hands on the TeamDimensionData domain name…. ;)

    • Michele

      My only concern is whether MTN’s original objectives – to develop racing in Africa might be watered down somewhat.

      TDD will obviously be targeting stage wins and potentially the green jersey with Cave for next year’s TdF. How many riders will Cave be using for his lead-outs?

      This year MTN had 3 South Africans and 2 Eritreans.

      So, potentially having several riders from the African continent and riders who can support Cav will work.

      I just love the story behind the origins of MTN. Call me a romantic, but I don’t want to see that lost / forgotten.

  • Andy B

    Any News on the start list for Tour of Lombardy
    Nibali has to be up there with the favourites

    • Michele

      Hi Andy

      Go to ProCycling Stats. They’re great for updating start lists as well as results. Current confirmed starters for Lombardi:


      Nibali is there. Cataldo is wearing the 21 dossard though.

      • Andy B

        Thank you :)
        Strong field thus far

  • Michele

    And a tip of the hat to the Giro’s web developer who didn’t stop to think that maybe someone might try their luck and change the “2015” to “2016” in the current race route URL to see where it might be heading next year…


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  • Abdu

    Still reckon Alonso was a flog.

  • MadBlack

    That QR recall is kinda funny. Bikes from 1998??? This has got to be a joke. I mean seriously c’mon! If your bike is affected simply rotate the QR 180deg to the other side of the wheel!


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