A load of Bull -
In the first piece of his weekly column, DailyPeloton writer Nick Bull gets on his soapbox....
THE TOUR MUST REMAIN AS GROUNDED AS POSSIBLE
Spanish soccer team Real Madrid are hoping to sign Portuguese player Christiano
Ronaldo this week, for a World-record fee of £80 Million ($130M). Ronaldo is set
to earn at least £200,000 every seven days, as well as money from merchandise
sales. If an individual is worth that much money, they must be so good that the
game is not worth playing; someone beyond the level of genius who is faced with
a sea of white flags anytime he or she starts competing.
Madrid, who play at the Bernabeu Stadium - occasionally used as the finish
for la Vuelta - are partly bankrolled by the King of Spain and in the past have
been bailed out by the Spanish Government. This, surely, is a complete waste of
money and clearly shows how detached from reality the sport has become. I think
I'd rather have Politicians fiddling their expenses claims (mainly for the
hilarity factor - I advise you to see what the British Parliament have been up
to if you've not seen it). All over Europe, fans interests are being sacrificed
for Corporate Customers and lucrative Television deals. Spectators are merely
slaves to whichever cash cow takes an interest in the sport.
I sincerely hope Cycling does not go down this ridiculously commercial path.
Some may argue that the Tour has done so already, with Sponsors areas being
positioned in prime locations (read: Finish line) and spectators unable to get a
glimpse of the Podium Ceremony. On the whole, however, Cycling remains a sport
for the people. The General Public can get relatively easy access to the riders
and team staff - one Lance Armstrong excluded - and some mild stalking at hotels
may result in you getting extremely close to your heroes bikes, and not just
those who ride them. We can buy the equipment, ride on the same roads and
compare times with the professionals. I don't know any other sport at this level
that allows this to happen, and long must it continue. For, if Cycling ever
drifts beyond the concepts of reality and becomes selling it's soul, the sport
will die. Meanwhile, in Madrid, fans will be able to buy a Ronaldo Football
shirt for an extortionate sum, and not much else...
WANTED: CONCERT SCHEDULER. APPLY TO MR B.SPRINGSTEEN...
I shouldn't moan. In those cold, dreary Winter months when the only ways to pass
time is seemingly to go on Faceblog and Bebop or to watch another Simon Cowell
talent contest, I yearn to see some French vineyards in the same shot as 170
Cyclists on my Television. Regardless, trying to schedule time between working
on the Dauphiné and viewing the Tour de Suisse last weekend caused some
problems. By the time I'd recovered from seeing Cadel Evans attack Alejandro
Valverde on the approach to Saint-Francois-Longchamps and responded lovingly to
someone 'poking' me on MyFace, it was almost midnight. (Approximately.
The Pro-Calendar gets exceedingly cramped from May to August, and there
really is no way to avoid it. I would say we could scrap some of the 'lesser'
races, but that would be imbecilic as they all have a purpose and it would
prompt my Inbox to be filled with messages from those who run the Eneco Tour.
The same applies to the Aussie Evans - yes, the shock of your aggressive riding
knocked me out cold, mainly because it's happened three years too late.
Nonetheless, I urge you to do the same up to Andorra on July 10, and any other
time it is required to defeat Astana.
You see, my issue ISN'T with how two races often overlap with each other –
living in the UK you get used to the National Tour running alongside the Vuelta,
for example. In fact, it has more to do with the issue that a living legend -
Bruce Springsteen, to us mere mortals - is on Tour in Europe over the Summer.
For the second year running, too. If I thought watching Cancellara destroy
everyone in Lichtenstein was difficult after a day's racing in France, it's even
harder trying to fit la Grande Boucle when you're in the Queue to get to the
front row outside some Stadium.
He played the Super Bowl Half Time show in February. I may send a message to
Christian Prudhomme to see if we can have an Interval 155 km into Stage 20. You
know, just as the Trees disappear on the Mont Ventoux. It would give the rider's
a well-deserved break, and the E Street Band a platform to prove they're the best live band
DAUPHINÉ COMMERICAL BREAK
I shouldn't moan. In those cold, dreary Winter months... sorry folks, I have
another rant to get off my chest. Since 1989, Eurosport have been the one
broadcaster in the UK who have remained committed to the sport. While the BBC
and ITV – terrestrial mainstream channels - only show events when the sport is
firmly in the Zeitgeist, ES have never waned in their commitment. Until
recently, the Dauphiné was not one of the races they broadcast, opting for the
Tour de Suisse. I think the former is a far better race than the latter, so live
coverage is duly welcome. However, I understand that during Stage 3, a mere
thirteen minutes of action was shown live, and no additional coverage of the
race was aired on the Station's two channels in the interim period before the
next day of racing. Perhaps we've been spoilt in the past, with the bulk of programme hours being devoted for our enjoyment in July. Regardless, a quarter of an hour of coverage is
equivalent to two commercial breaks and, without any idea of what's happened in
the preceding four hours and nineteen minutes of racing, I'd rather watch
Gillette prompting their new grooming product, than a rushed and clearly