Making Tour de France more competitive. A modest Russian proposal.



Ed Hood at Velonews outlined five good strategies to “Spice up bike racing.” They’re all smart suggestions, some more workable than others, some easy to implement, some not.

His list: No power meters during the race, shorter, more explosive stages (think Vuelta a Espana), smaller teams, less enforcement of the 3K rule and adding more time bonuses. All good stuff worth debate, consideration and reform.

The Twisted Spoke plan, however, is more focused, easier to implement and will have the full support of every WorldTour team on the UCI race circuit except one.

Our plan: Cut the budget for Team Sky in half. Now, we’ve got parity, baby. No more Tour de France dominance, no more robot racing, no more soul-crushing, mind-numbing, TV ratings-killing stages. Done, fini, end of story.

We slash the budget for Team Sky in half, simple as that. Who’s laughing now, David Brailsford? That’s half the dollars to sign super domestiques, half the resources for sports science, half the performance algorithms, half the fancy training camps, half the organic produce and chef-quality food, half the gas in the team cars. Kiss it goodbye, Davey.

Yeah, things get interesting. SkyBots with no oil for the joints and hinges.

Half the budget for the high-end Sky team kit. Maybe substandard, bargain basement rain gear, race tires that don’t have quite as much grip, the on-sale energy bars that are past expiration and a little too stale. How fast the mighty will fall.

Can you feel Mr. Parity coming to town? Clack, clack, clack, yeah, those are some noisy cleats on that marble floor.

What other WorldTour team is voting against this proposition? Show of hands – anyone? Unizue, Ochowicz, Vaughters? Boys, are you on board with my bold, Half A Sky program for bringing back parity to the peloton, in France, in July, when the maillot jaune is at stake?

Now, how does this work, exactly? Team Sky isn’t going to voluntarily cut their budget in half, especially with three time Tour winner Chris Froome aiming for win number four. They’re not simply going to slum it next season, you know, acting like an Italian Continental team that forces their riders to pay just to race.

Nor is the UCI willing to man up and impose any financial restrictions or make any attempt to level the playing field. That’s not the way things happen over in Aigle, Switzerland. Hot air, lots of brunch, no action. Too busy taking millions from China that won’t do anything for cycling for ten years — except for the millions.

As with all big upheavals in 2016, we’re going to need a savior of sorts. Not a white knight but somebody willing to do the dirty work and get aggressive. We’re talking about the Russians.

The Russians influenced the outcome of the Presidential election of the United States of America. How’s that for chops? That’s right – cyber attacks, dis-information, taking control of the voting machines across the country.

The Russians also were responsible for blowing the lid off the TUE abuse in pro cycling – looking at you, Bradley Wiggins. Thanks to those Russian Fancy Bear hackers, we know a lot about Brad and his manipulation of Therapeutic Use Exemptions to gain competitive advantage.

If there’s one force, one entity, capable of cutting the Team Sky operating budget in half, it’s our friends in Russian. (And no, we’re not talking about that egotistical buffoon Oleg Tinkov.)

We need Russian computer experts to hack into the bank accounts of Team Sky and remove half the assets. Think about the consequences. “Sorry, Chris, can’t afford to keep G and Wout on the payroll and we’ve had to cut Landa, too. Had to sell off your back-up Pinarello to cover some pressing expenses.” Tour boss Christian Prudhomme is dancing naked with glee

Picture team boss David Brailsford, hustling for a few euros like he was Gianni Savio. That would be really funny. It would be parity.

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  1. Is the Tour really "dull?" | Twisted Spoke - December 21, 2016

    […] We wish we had a solution to the dull Tour conundrum but the only only one we can see that would have any impact is never going ti happen: cut Sky’s budget in half. […]