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A load of old Bull - Week One
By Nick Bull
Date: 6/17/2009
A load of old Bull - Week One

A load of Bull - In the first piece of his weekly column, DailyPeloton writer Nick Bull gets on his soapbox....


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...


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 ever.


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 unwanted broadcast.


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