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TDF picks: walk a mile in someone else's shoes....(3 posts)

TDF picks: walk a mile in someone else's shoes....philippec
May 20, 2003 5:40 AM

First off, here was my wildcard list

Brioches la Boulangère (11th on the UCI team list)
AG2R (12th on same list)
Milanezza (6th on UCI list -- but technically they did not ask to participate.. .argghh what was the DS thinking? After the fireworks they lit in Romandie, they would have made for some good TV!)
and Domina V. (World Champion should be in the race)

OK, Euskatel (13th on UCI list), I can understand, esp. since Milanezza was not in the running.

But what about Delatour?

I read LeBlanc's rationale in the Equipe this morning for their inclusion over DV... and, as much as my gut reaction was to disagree w/ him, I have to say that his arguments are compelling.

Consider the following points:

1. (This first point doesn't seem to have been picked up in the anglo press) Most countries have their national tours and these serve as great sporting events and (emphasis here) as a showcase/season crescendo for national riders/teams. Look at the ratio of "domestic" to "foreign" teams in the Giro, Vuelta, Tour of Denmark, Tour of germany, etc.... Domestic teams gear up for their national tours, esp when these are big-time events like the Giro, Vuelta and, yes, the Tour de ... France. The problem with the latter is its success and standing as the world's premier cycling stage race. So all of the top teams outside of France want (and should get) their berth for the TDF. That crowds out french teams who, unlike the Tenax, Fromaggio de whatever, Relax, Selle Italia, and other 2nd and 3rd tier spanish and italian teams, cannot and do not get a spot in their natonal tour. Why should they be disadvantaged this way (again, they don't get invited to the Giro and Vuelta as these races are full up w/ the aformentioned 2 and 3rd division "domestic" teams? I don't know what the answer is -- but LeBlanc's rationale in including Delatour in this light gets grudging acceptance on my part. One possibility, rotate the prestige/UCI points of National Tours from year to year so that each of the majors gets their chance to be the "best" stage race for that year -- allthough I have no idea how to do this in practical terms.....

2. Delatour did win one stage last year and the entire team finished. Is this enough for them to be automatically chosen? I wouldn't say so. Enough for them to be considered? Yes.

3. Where I think LeBlanc went bad was not choosing DV and the World Champion. The UCI rules state that the TDF must contain at least 21 teams. LeBlanc could have added one more if he really wanted to. From, what I understand, the principal constraint on the number of teams, is lodging and logistics-related -- especially in the mountains. Maybe not a problem if DV agreed to pull out after the first week ;-).

Just so you know, there are compelling reasons all around and the choice was not as easy as some seem to have assumed it was....


Role of advertising/sponsorship?ms
May 20, 2003 6:25 AM
What role does advertising and local (i.e., French) sponsorship have in Tour selection? Although the Tour gets television royalties from other countries, I would assume that a large part of the Tour's revenue comes from French television and French sponsors. I also would assume that the inclusion of French teams is something that French television and sponsors want. Thus, it seems to me that Jean Marie's decision with respect to the final team invitations could be influenced by revenue as well as sport-based merit. As much as one would like to see pure (i.e., not influenced by money) decisionmaking, the Tour is an expensive event to host and the Tour has to be successful economically in order to thrive.
If DV agreed to pull out after the first week....ClydeTri
May 20, 2003 8:30 AM
Actually it might be after two stages according to them yesterday on tv, it would make it a joke...a three week stage race and the thought of taking a team that plans in advance to quit after a few days of the tour makes their team selection a mockery.