Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Hottest Ticket of the Year

No, not opening night at the SB International Film Festival, and not Avril Lavigne at the County Bowl.

Not even Hillary's visit tonight can compare.

That's right, the hot ticket of the season is tonight's showing of American Flyers at the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion.

Kevin Costner's best movie ever, despite what he says!

I hear you might even learn some race tactics if you pay close attention.


Anonymous said...

One thing that occurred to me this morning is that the Tour of Cali is perhaps killing the sport in the area. Remember all the NRC events that used to happen in the early season? Now they can't seem to find the sponsorship dollars. Redlands barely happens nowadays with its reduced schedule, Sea Otter no longer has a stage race. McLane is advertising a couple of weekends of racing but not NRC because they can't come up with the prize money. Is it all going into the Tour? And towns have to raise money to host the race? Solvang asking for $1500 to ride the TT course?

In Europe, a lot of the smaller races that have been on for 100 years have been cancelled these last few years because of the Tour's mega dollar requirements and the UCI's Pro Tour. Smaller races don't get Pro Tour status and can't get sponsors. Is bigger really better or is racing pricing itself out of the market for the masses?

I wonder if it's good for cycling to have a big event that gets lots of attention, but then have no money left over to have smaller events to support the actual cycling community. A number of UCI reg'd teams in the States pay their fees every year and then are not included in California, Georgia or Missouri. They can't afford the 20-30 thousand price tag. And that's just to get in. They still have to pay to travel there. All of a sudden California is 50 thousand dollars. Why so expensive? These teams are paying for the Pro Tour teams to come over. But if you don't race California, you don't get exposure.


Chester said...

Damn I have to work tonight. I was really looking forward to this screening too. Remember to wear your kit and bring your rollers marco. There was a memo that went out about that- you might not have gotten it though- but there was a memo- so you should do it!

Marco Fanelli said...

> Tour of Cali is perhaps killing
> the sport in the area...

> Opinions?

Hmmm. Interesting conjecture. It's true that the California NRC races are disappearing, and you didn't even mention that CVC and San Dimas are also gone.

However, I don't think all the money is going into the ToC, e.g., last year's CVC title sponsor (Bentley's Market) doesn't have anything to do with ToC. Rather, they just decided not to put up the required NRC money this year.

Maybe ToC casts too big a shadow on some of the smaller events, so potential NRC-level sponsors feel like their money would be going into some second-class event. That's a shame if they think that way. In my opinion, their sponsorship dollars would be best spent in their local region, like McLane and Bentley's did.

Re that outrageous price tag to get a D-III team into ToC: yes, that's pretty harsh for the domestic teams that don't or can't come up with money. But clearly the promoter(s) of the events like ToC, TdG, and ToM must feel that the average fan won't get fired up about Neil Shirley or Curtis Gunn, but they might come out to see Paolo Bettini, Tom Boonen, or Jens Voight. I don't know... I'd go either way, but I'm weird.

That the US has fielded 14 D-III teams and 2 Continental Pro teams seems like there's still opportunities for aspiring racers. One thing that's a bit different than the old days is that many of those teams are funded primarily by rich successful businessmen. Is that a trend that will continue or even last much longer, or will they get bored and go buy a yacht instead? It's not like back when you had a cycling insiders (e.g., Schuler and Ochowiz) hustling for a big-time sponsor and then keeping them happy for years.

BTW anony, I have a guess who you are based some things in your comment, and if I'm right, I'd guess your team's owner is in it for the long-term, i.e., no yachts.

Anonymous said...

Ahh yes Marco, I'll cop to this one. Just forgot to sign my name. I can't be bothered to get a blogger account as long as you're accepting anonymous posts.

I think my team owners are long-term and dedicated to seeing the team grow. Even this year, we have a few stumbling blocks to overcome, in that one of our sponsors is unable to continue with the team. It's actually not anything to do with cycling, but the U.S. economy. When the U.S. goes downhill, they tend to drag Canada down as well, given that it is primarily an exporting nation. We just wrapped up a dream season winning the UCI America individual and team competition, but we did not acquire any new sponsorships. Hopefully we'll plug through '08 and get something going again for 2009. But the good news is that the owners aren't going to pull the pin, but rather expand the sponsorship search and keep fighting. So we'll see if we can't find something over the season and into 2009. Marco, don't you know anyone with a fuffilion dollars?

We had budgeted the entry and expenses for California to be about 50 grand...Canadian or American dollars, that's the same now ;)
But in the end, we didn't receive an invite anyways, despite having the highest ranked rider on two continents. And despite having a rider 8th overall at Missouri and 3 2nd place finishes on stages there.
Money talks I guess. So perhaps we'll see Botero, Sevilla and Hamilton racing instead of a team like Symmetrics that I can tell you is beyond reproach in terms of doping or doping scandals. Maybe a few more lessons still have to be learned before the sport can be saved.
Hopefully a few more races won't go the way of the dodo before things change.


Marco Fanelli said...


Using the term "the States" refering to the US gives you away as a foreigner! So at first I figured it was Magnus Backstedt or David Millar since surely they read my blog... But their team got into the ToC so I figured they wouldn't care about the cost, if Slipstream even had to pay(?!) You were the next logical guess!

"fuffilion dollars" -- That's good! I think I'll steal it (the phrase, not the money).

Anonymous said...

sorry, already yanked from Austin Powers.


jen said...

In Europe, a lot of the smaller races that have been on for 100 years have been cancelled these last few years because of the Tour's mega dollar requirements and the UCI's Pro Tour. Smaller races don't get Pro Tour status and can't get sponsors. Is bigger really better or is racing pricing itself out of the market for the masses?

This is certainly one of the major points of contention between several of the European federations and the UCI. The disputes over the Tour wild cards and the erm, ethical issues, grab the headlines, at least in the English-speaking press. But the Italian and French federations, in particular, have strongly criticized the Pro Tour, because of the degree to which it starves their local races and squeezes their non-pro tour teams. There's more to the malaise in French cycling than simply the pro tour, of course, but it's certainly part of the reason for the demise of some of their long-standing and storied regional races.

Certainly, the smaller teams in both countries need and want to get into the major races, especially their local grand tour, a problem analogous to the Tour of Cali for American teams who want some big-time exposure. It seems to me there's pretty deep disaffection with the pro tour on the part of the local European federations, which is significant, because if the Italian federation is unhappy they have the power to do something about it. They're like big and stuff. Just my read of the press over thataway, at least. (Good language practice, if nothing else.)

I can't help but hope that other race promoters prove less spineless in regard to Team Puerto. I mean really, they got an invite? Oh, puleeze. That's just wrong on so many levels. I also wouldn't mind seeing Astana get some cold shoulders either. The Italian anti-doping authorities have said they would like to have a chat with Contador among others. They do have the power to exclude these guys from Italian races, which next year would include the Tour since it runs through Italy. Doubt it'll happen, though, since as you say, money talks. That Torri guy in Italy, he's getting all hardcore. If he could just get to the bottom of Oil for Drugs sometime in this lifetime, it would be nice. But I am being digressing.

One final comment and then I'll shut-up (too much espresso). There's a very, very flattering article about Slipstream over on today. They're saying all the right things. So seductive. A girl could lose her head and get herself in trouble over that kind of sweet talk. I'd hate to wake up later to discover they've been cheatin' on me, though, which is always the danger in this lovely sport of ours.

Apologies for excessive verbosity and possible incoherence.


Marco Fanelli said...

Chester- I showed up at the reception in my skinsuit just like you said, but I was the only one! You wouldn't trick somebody old enough to be your Dad, would you?

Jake- Austin Powers? Who does he ride for? Yeah Babay!!

Jen- Good stuff, it's nice to have somebody all euro-informed and stuff. And you can be verbose and incoherent on my blog anyday, but just don't get vertiginous in here!

Anonymous said...

Jen -

I really think you can belive in Slipstream just because I know you can belive in Jonathan Vaughters.


Marco Fanelli said...

I said:
Hmmm. Interesting conjecture. It's true that the California NRC races are disappearing, and you didn't even mention that CVC and San Dimas are also gone.

Aaack! Should have been more clear... What I meant was CVC and San Dimas are not NRC races anymore, not that they are gone. The context was the loss of CA NRC races...

I'm only saying this 'cause I just saw on the SoCalCycling forums that there is/was a rumor about SDSR being cancelled..

dr-nitro said...

Okay, Kevin Costner's best movie does not say anything about the movie, other than this one sits on a pile of...

Why wouldn't they show a real classic, like Breaking Away?

How about a classic documentary, like Sunday in Hell?

American Flyers frustrated me in that I knew that I'd have to tell anyone who watched that movie that that was so far from reality, it must have been a comedy. You know, like Spinal Tap. Luckily, no one watched the movie.

Bicycle racing classic my behind.

Marco Fanelli said...

Oh Nick, surely you know I was kidding! The acting in American Flyers is so bad it hurts!

dr-nitro said...

Oh yeah, I figured. It's just sad that the person that made that put together the event actually thought that it was a bicycle racing classic. Yeah, and Waterworld was a seafaring classic up there with Moby Dick.

It's kinda like having Al Trautwig and his ilk make it difficult for Joe public to understand the sport.