Tough Times in Cycling

News & Results

10/21/2013| 5 comments
by Neil Browne
Tough Times in Cycling - One rider tries to secure a contract while another symbolically cuts away from it Fotoreporter Sirotti

Tough Times in Cycling

One rider tries to secure a contract while another symbolically cuts away from it.

I was reminded of something when I saw the photo on the cover of the book “Wheelman: Lance Armstrong, the Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever.” It is taken from his crash at the 2010 Amgen Tour of California. The day before the crash, which caused him to drop out of the race, Floyd Landis’ “leaked” email disclosed team-wide doping within the Postal Team. The morning of stage 5 Armstrong stood outside the RadioShack team bus and said the now infamous phrase to the press scrum, “We like our word. We like where we stand and we like our credibility.”

Armstrong crashed later in the stage and received stitches in his elbow and cheek. However, before he climbed into the team car and abandoned, Armstrong tried to continue. He had a rolling conversation with team director Johan Bruyneel on what his options were: finish the stage and evaluate the damage or quit immediately. All of this was captured by a videographer working for Bicycling Magazine. They had a cameraman in the passenger seat and he got it all. I saw the footage, just once, and it portrayed Armstrong as confused and not knowing what to do next. I don’t blame Armstrong - he’d taken a good fall to the ground and was bleeding from multiple locations. If you had seen the recent Frontline story “League of Denial” and knowing the damage that can be done to the brain you might think the RadioShack captain had suffered a concussion.

The video was posted on Bicycling Magazine’s website, but was soon removed. I was told by someone working for Bicycling they had removed it because they were getting heat from RadioShack. As we know, Bicycling was tight with the Armstrong camp and you can’t bite the hand that’s giving you pageviews.

Initially I thought that footage was filed away like the Lost Ark of the Covenant from the Indiana Jones movie. However, thanks to the hive mind of Twitter (and specifically @Dimspace) the YouTube footage of that moment was found and it is posted on YouTube. It’s fascinating to watch as Johan Bruyneel is trying to decide what to do. You know in the back of his mind he’s wondering how this will affect Armstrong’s Tour de France preparation.

Why Horner Doesn’t Have a Contract

We all know these are challenging economic times and as a result professional cycling teams, like Euskaltel-Euskadi, have been forced to disband and others like Saxo Bank were scrambling for additional sponsors (their title sponsor Saxo Bank stepped up with additional funds). This has left a glut of top ranked cyclists - truly a buyers’ market. However, you’d think that if you’d just won a grand tour you wouldn’t have to search too long to find a fat contract for the following year.

Chris Horner also thought that and I don’t blame him. Riders have sewn up a contract renewal with a lot less on their palmarès. Sure, they may have had to take an 80% reduction in their salary, but these are tough times. So

Pages

Your comments
Your comments
sign up or login to post a comment
softreset|

It's LeBron James, not James LeBron.

XpertNtraining|

Neil still can't write a story without Lance being in it, Neil sure knows how to get mileage out of a dead horse. I also don't see how Neil can claim that Lance dropped out of the Tour of California because of the Floyd story the day before the crash, does Neil think Lance crashed out on purpose.

It might be tough times in cycling, but Chris Horner not getting a million dollar contract isn't because of it, it's just not smart to throw that kind of money down on someone that is going to be 42 years old in the upcoming season. While winning the Vuelta is a great feat, the race didn't have all of the top riders competing in it. Those million dollar contracts will go to the guys that can have teams built around them, that isn't Chris Horner.

neilroad's picture
neilroad|

Please show me in my article where I said "Lance dropped out because of Landis' story." In fact I say Lance dropped out because he crashed. At no point do I even insinuate Armstrong crashed out on purpose. I'll see if I can get the video published under my story, but if I do - watch it. He's dazed and slightly confused. No way did he crash on purpose.

I write this without trying to be mean (but it's going to sound mean - sorry), but if you want to get your point across and not look clueless improve your reading comprehension and grammar. You just come off as confused. Case in point - the your first paragraph is just a rant that makes no sense. However, your second paragraph is completely valid and reasonable.

In the future send me your comments, I'll edit for clarity and you can post them. I think that will work out best for everyone.

Thanks for reading!

dennis200c|

Neil, let me first state that I enjoy your sense of humor on Twitter and in your articles. Cycling clearly needs more humor. Also, you have the analytical ability to think outside the box. I liked the article that you wrote comparing overage of the America's Cup Race with the typical coverage TV Coverage.

Regarding this article, I think it was inappropriate for Christian Vande Velde to saw the bicycle in half. After this act became public, it was claimed that the bike was greatly damaged. I don't buy this. I think the bike could have been repaired and auctioned off etc.

Regarding the Lance part, I understand that you were personally hurt financially by him. His actions towards you were very reprehensible. It is my hope that you have recovered financially from his actions. I don't believe that you wrote anything inappropriate above regarding Lance Armstrong. Let's face it, Lance is the elephant in the room. Articles about him get many clicks on the web. I think that we are all trying to figure him out.

Larry T.'s picture
Larry T.|

If VandeVelde wanted to saw his bike in half, who cares? It's NOT like it was some irreplaceable piece of artisan craftsmanship. If he sawed up an original Masi or DeRosa, THEN I'd be on the verge of outrage!