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August 19, 2017
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  • Simon

    Tail wagging the dog? The TdF is somewhat over hyped and riders choosing the Giro would be a very powerful move. However those that provide the money,ie sponsors, may not be so accommodating.

    • PsiSquared

      I can see the sponsors supporting the choice of the Giro over the TdF. If ASO wins, the uncertainty of a given team getting an invite to the TdF increases, which means that the payoff for riding the TdF isn’t certain at all. That’s a great way to encourage sponsors to avoid or bail out of cycling.

      • Dave

        That’s based on the assumption that the Tour and the other big ASO races will be run just like any other HC race. That’s a very shaky assumption, because you can bet that ASO will have some bigger plans for providing an alternative to the WorldTour. An alternative top level series rivalling the WorldTour might not be a bad thing, it’s not like the cycling world has expanded as a result of it.

        In addition, there’s also the factor that private sector sponsors from outside the bike industry might not be easily convinced that the Giro really is as good as the Tour, creating pressure on teams to drop to Pro Continental level and commit to the ASO races.

  • Dave

    Talk is cheap for the Velon teams at the moment, but we’ll see how the tune changes in 10-12 months when the pressure is on for 2017 TdF invitations and ASO is offering appearance fees to lock down the top riders and undermine any WorldTour events running at the same time.

  • Hakan Fondo

    Bravo to Velon and CPA!

    • Dave

      A similar thing to this suggestion happened in the US motorsport world in the 1990s.

      The Indy Racing League was introduced by the owners of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy 500 race (think ASO and the TdF/Roubaix/Liege etc) who created their own series rivalling the establishment Indycar series (later renamed ChampCar, and equivalent to the WorldTour in this example) initially using the same rules package for the cars, though this diverged over time.

      They guaranteed that the top 25 in the IRL standings (teams committed to the IRL = teams committing to work with ASO) would get guaranteed entry to the Indy 500 and the remaining places would be open to any entrants whether they were IRL teams or Indycar teams.

      The establishment Indycar series (owned by the teams at the time) furious about this and created their own “US 500” which ran at the Michigan track on the day before the real Indy 500 – which is roughly what you’re suggesting for a WorldTour-aligned not-TdF to rival the real TdF. The US 500 went all right the first year, but in the following years it tanked badly and eventually was shifted to another date not competing with the real Indy 500. Over the following 11 years, things gradually shifted to the point that the IRL gained the ascendancy and was able to completely absorb ChampCar when the GFC killed the latter completely.

      The difference between the cycling world and the motorsport world is that the establishment cannot just book a circuit for a WorldTour not-TdF like you can with a rival motor race. ASO’s ownership of their big events goes much more than just a name, it also includes the contractual relationships with every other body whose cooperation would be needed to run a not-TdF in July and who would baulk at running both the Tour and the new not-TdF.

      Velon and the AIGCP, in my opinion, have made a major mistake in nailing their colours to the WorldTour so quickly. I do not expect that ASO will have any difficulty getting a full field for the 2017 TdF with the seven non-Velon teams, splitting a few teams away from Velon and having Pro Continental teams make up the balance.

      The CPA has done a much better job in hedging their bets at this stage, positioning themselves nicely for the eventuality that the ASO series of races will defeat the WorldTour. If ASO can get a few other race promoters on board to create a year-long series (most likely those who have marketing agreements with ASO, like the Tour Down Under) then the death of the WorldTour is certain – and I think this sort of disruption is exactly what the top level of the sport needs as the UCI has not managed it well.

      • Blake

        Curious why you think the CPA has positioned themselves well. Or positioned themselves at all. How will their current stance make them any useful friends?

        ASO is making it abundantly clear: They’re unwilling to share any power whatsoever, even if it is divided among fragmented parties with no history of unification. Any power that other parties imagined they had was purely the largess of the ASO, and if they win this fight every other stake holder can go back to begging scraps from the table. Congratulations CPA, you’re first in line for scraps in 2018! That is, if ASO even thinks you’re worth rewarding at all.

        I have a hard time seeing how CPA wins in this environment. I can think of the following outcomes:

        1. ASO wins, lets everyone kiss the ring and the status quo continues. No special favors needed, so no benefit for CPA.
        2. ASO wins, goes on a retribution kick with teams at the front of the punishment line and CPA “spared” the wrath. CPA members have a hard time finding rides as teams struggle, and CPA loses even though they joined the winning team.
        3. ASO loses, and while cycling is still a mismanaged cluster at least a single party no longer has veto power. Coalition governments can form, and change at least has a chance. CPA has a real chance to carve out power for the riders in the vacuum as parties curry favor to build the coalition.
        4. UCI alliance self destructs ASAP (CPA being the spark), nothing changes in 2017. No chaos, no teams fold, riders have rides.

        “The CPA has… position(ed) themselves nicely for the eventuality that the ASO series of races will defeat the WorldTour.” What scenario do you see where they actually come out ahead of where they would if they stuck with the UCI? To me, it’s much more likely they’re hoping to bring a quick end to the mess with option 4, and escape without egg on their face. In the mean time, they will signal to all parties (including ASO) that they’re not a reliable coalition partner and are not to be trusted with a bigger stake at the table.

        This isn’t intended to be confrontational BTW, though I think it may sound that way. Just want to hear you elaborate.

        • Dave

          Of course CPA made a position – ASO turned over their first card and the CPA position immediately switched from “we swear allegiance to the supreme soviet” (the AIGCP/Velon position) to “let’s talk.” That it only took ASO’s first move to provoke this says volumes about their confidence in the ability of the UCI to manage and grow the sport.

          The problem with the UCI alliance is that the WorldTour is a five-legged table. Two of those legs are no longer supporting it, and two of the three remaining legs on their four-legged table are actually houses of cards – the teams and the non-ASO race owners.

          ASO has the capacity to undermine the support for the establishment faster than the UCI can shore up the WorldTour simply because they are far more agile than the UCI. Once they get a few teams signed up to all their races and a few other race owners, they have a realistic chance of copying Super League – running one or two seasons parallel to the crippled WorldTour before offering the UCI a face-saving settlement.

          Your mention of a coalition government is an interesting point – I think this is exactly what ASO are aiming at. While it’s clear that they do want more power than they currently get under the current UCI-dominated coalition, I think the idea that they are power-thirsty wannabe dictators is at best an entertaining exaggeration and at worst nothing more than blatant propaganda from Velon. ASO has shown in the past (the stare-down they won with the UCI over Astana, for a start) that they are to smart to try aiming for a complete dictatorship, simply because they know that cycling does not have the money that’s in F1 and that controlling it like Bernie Ecclestone will never be possible – at least not while the UCI runs it.


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August 19, 2017
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