Voigt. Give Giro a trim?
Jens Voigt gave a talk in New York and got everybody worked up. He suggested that the US needs a two week Tour of America and that to accomplish that, the Giro and Vuelta should be cut by a week.
Naturally, this idea went over big with US cycling fans who love Voigt so much he could probably run for president. Voigt’s word on any subject is automatically applauded as truth.
What would Jensie do? Cut the Giro in two!!!
It should also be noted that the proposal has the full approval of his current employer Trek Bikes. He rode for the racing team and now he has one of those vague but extremely well-paid gigs as a cycling ambassador, spreading the gospel of biking in the US.
Twisted Spoke would love a two week tour but honestly we struggle with the idea of damaging several historic icons of the sport to accomplish that.
We like the idea of three grand tours of equal length and believe that all over events on the calendar should pivot around them. They’re the untouchables.
Shortening the Italian and Spanish grand tours and making France the only country with a three week, full-on, non-neutered three week tour strikes us as crazy.
Still, we struggle with the trade-offs and ask ourselves, are we just too caught up with old history when the sport clearly needs to evolve in so many ways? The US is a massive market and the growth curve and fan support is strong.
The Tour of California and US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado are both fantastic, well-attended events with huge crowds. Team from all over the world love the racing and the enthusiastic support. Throw in the Tour of Utah, and the two one day races in September in Montreal and Quebec and you have quite a nice block of high level racing in North America.
Yet there is something so nice about the Giro-Tour-Vuelta combination. Screw up the first one and there are still two shots at redemption. Crash out of the tour and that sets up a monster battle in Spain like we saw last year with Contador and Froome both coming back from Tour abandons to put on a thrilling show in the Vuelta that went down to the wire. Make the Tour the only grand tour and that is all gone.
There is no question the race calendar is too long and there are too many races that overlap and conflict with each other. Factor that in with Canada and the US wanting to grow the sport and the petro-dollars in the Middle East and the complications get crazy.
However, for now we’re willing to miss out on a two week US tour and keep the Giro, Tour and Vuelta intact. Jens Voigt is a charmer but we’re giving him a thumbs down on this idea.