Daily News Digest

by Mark Zalewski

July 29, 2016

In today’s CyclingTips Daily News Digest: Cort wins uphill sprint in Tour of Denmark, stage 2; Mestre wins sprint on stage 1 of Vuelta a Portugal; Mareczko adds second stage win at Tour of Qinghai Lake; Rio Olympics: UCI pursuing 3 possible Russian doping cases but will allow 11 others to compete; Brian Cookson Interview: Team size revision, Tour anti-doping, disc-brake ban and more; Reengineering the Tour de France; Pro cyclist group pushes back against WorldTour reforms; Questions raised over Wiggins’ charity; Sources: Roche to BMC; Rio athletes could face troubles with unofficial sponsors; Tour of Qinghai Lake, stage 9 highlights; Best of on-board cameras with Team Sky; Life on the Tour: CyclingTips 2016 Tour de France Vlog, part 5

Reengineering the Tour de France

by CyclingTips

Following the dominant win by Chris Froome and Team Sky of the Tour de France, calls for changes are growing louder than ever — from salary caps to team sizes and changing the route. What is realistic and would it even affect the outcome?

Team Sky added a touch of yellow to their kits to commemorate the overall victory. Photo: Cor Vos

Team Sky added a touch of yellow to their kits to commemorate the overall victory. Photo: Cor Vos

The Inner Ring takes a look at some of the possible changes and how they might play-out. Here is an excerpt:

Top teams too strong?

A salary cap has been a regular suggestion in recent days. However it’s not a binary matter of to cap or not to cap. Do you limit the entire wage bill of a team, for example to tell Team Sky that instead of spending €24 million on wages they must spend no more than, say, €20 million? Or €15 million?

Whatever the level there will be teams on less. Then these absolute numbers vary on the ground, as explained before on here French teams have high payroll taxes so their money doesn’t go as far as, say, Team Sky’s Pounds or Tinkoff’s Euros so parity is still hard to achieve. Plus what is salary? Top athletes earn earn salary, bonuses, image rights and endorsements. You can define “salary” to include all of these of course but it gets complicated. Similarly cap salary spending and you don’t touch the spend on training camps, support staff and all of that. FDJ for example has a decent team on paper to support Thibaut Pinot – remember they’ve won a team time trial this year – but they had to stop spending money on Francis Mourey and cyclo-cross in order to find money for route recons and Gran Canaria training camps.

By now you get the picture that a salary cap is not a yes/no matter but more a question of how, how much and who. What ever shape or size a cap will never equal the playing field but it could level it. There are arguments against it, for example cap salaries and you effectively cap the wages available in the sport, it gives team managers “rent” at the expense of the actual talent, the riders.

Team Size

Another suggestion is to reduce team size per race. The UCI already limits teams to 30 riders for the year to stop super squads with almost vast payrolls but now there are calls to cut the size of teams fielded per race. In fact these calls have been made for sometime, for example by Christian Prudhomme in 2012. To a lesser degree it happens elsewhere with eight riders instead of nine in races like Paris-Nice or the Dauphiné and other races have smaller teams.

To be more meaningful it would have to be six or seven per team and the effect would be felt over the three weeks. Again it’s not a binary yes/no but about the how. If teams are down to six riders would this mean 22 teams of six and a field of 132 riders or would we get a peloton of 198 riders like today only with 33 teams and so on? It could be done but team size in World Tour races is a matter for the Professional Cycling Council, a joint committee between the UCI and pro cycling stakeholders, including the teams.

Click through to read more at The Inner Ring.