The 'Lance-factor'. Truth or fiction?



tonyzackery

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Dec 23, 2006
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Lance Armstrong Ignites USA Cycling Growth | Cyclingnews.com

What licensed cyclists will admit to purchasing said license because of LA's return to competitive cycling? I readily know human beings as a species of animal act like lemmings from time-to-time, but do you buy this?

Interesting dialogue from Armstrong:

"Sports need people," said Armstrong. "It's important to have those stories so people pay attention. As teams and people involve in the sport, you gotta keep that going. If you don't have the athletes who have the story and carry the personality, the sport will go away. It’s our job to develop young guys, riders who can keep people interested in cycling and interested in their stories for whatever reason. People look at my story and you can say they’re interested because he’s a strong cyclist or because he’s a cancer survivor."
"Anytime you create a movement, it has to begin with a person," he continued. "Sports are no different. If you look at cycling and the characters and the personalities we've had in American cycling over the years, the sport has embedded and flowed with that. Similar to Tiger Woods and golf, Michael Jordan and basketball or Michael Schumacher and formula one racing. When you think of these sports, you think of these people."

I think people who don't know two sticks about cycling will fall for a good story or two, but cyclists who follow cycling look for and desperately desire substance and integrity. The fundemental question here is: Who's more important to the long term success of pro/amateur cycling: established cyclists or dweebs just looking for something to keep their attention for a few moments? If it's the dweebs (aka Joe Q. Public who solely watches cycling on television and the commercials therein, then the UCI should just say "everything goes" and forget the charade that is drug testing...

I don't have the answers here, but interested in some dialogue on the matter...
 

hod65

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i cannot see how rigorous drug testing will damage the comerial image of cycling and its saleabilty as a sport ,the stories that L armstrong was talking about are all there anyway i would think if you interviewed any cyclist most of them have some kind of interesting exspiriences to relate or backgrounds and the charecters in the sport are there today as in the past ,i would nt have any problem building up the cyclist and their personas all other sports do it look at english soccer ...but throw out the drug cheats straight away....
 

frenchyge

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tonyzackery said:
The fundemental question here is: Who's more important to the long term success of pro/amateur cycling: established cyclists or dweebs just looking for something to keep their attention for a few moments?

I'm not sure I agree with what you call the fundamental question.

A couple thoughts:
1) As stated in the article, Lance has definitely had a profound effect on the popularity of cycling *in the USA* rather than of cycling as a whole.
2) For every dweeb :)rolleyes:) that buys a yellow jersey and gets on a bike, a certain number will enjoy it enough to continue riding, and a certain number of those will progress to the point of experimenting with racing. New blood is necessary to continue the sport as established riders inevitably get older, hurt, burnt out, or find other priorities.
3) The more people feeding into the sport at the lowest levels, the greater the talent level in the upper echelons will be. The only reason the US has not been competitive with the European countries is because the US feeder structure is less developed. The top US athletes have simply been playing football, baseball or basketball rather than riding their bikes. The same can be said of so many other countries which dominate endurance sports but are absent from the Pro cycling scene.

So, I think it'd be hard for anyone to dispute that there is truth behind the Lance factor, but I don't see how that relates to drug policy in the least.
 

tonyzackery

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Dec 23, 2006
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^^
"Fundamental question" was my opinion; that you don't share my opinion is of no consequence.

I, for one, don't believe all of the information offered in the article. It appears you believe it to be true - no problem. Numbers/statistics never lie, right? A 2.3% increase (from 3.3% annually to 5.6% after Lance's re-emergence) in membership is considered a definite "profound effect on the popularity of cycling *in the USA*"? Really?

So without Lance, dweebs wouldn't be interested in watching cycling on television?

Preaching to the choir with the other comments. Most dweebs, while spectating on the sidelines or sitting in their easychairs, will never put on a racing jersey but they're important to pro cycling because commercial sponsors/advertisers are after their attentions to get them to buy product. Most dweebs don't care if Jose Rodriguez Fonzarelli is doping or not, they just want to see the guy ride his bike real fast and or crash real hard. They just want a spectacle. But I agree, there will be a dweeb or two out of a 100 that may decide they want to race.

Pro cycling doesn't need more 'feel good' stories; pro cycling desperately needs an enema of grand-fathered in culture. Pro cycling needs integrity and transparency to be attractive to commercial investment once again. However, it appears to me that pro cycling (the UCI) wishes to continue to sweep the drug problem under the rug or simply put on a facade of tough enforcement all the while continuing to give free passes to those of its choosing - witness this years Tour de Farce...

This article was simply spooned-up, baby food media propaganda...

LOL! This thread may need to be moved to "My Bloody Soapbox". LOL!
 

frenchyge

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tonyzackery said:
I, for one, don't believe all of the information offered in the article. It appears you believe it to be true - no problem. Numbers/statistics never lie, right? A 2.3% increase (from 3.3% annually to 5.6% after Lance's re-emergence) in membership is considered a definite "profound effect on the popularity of cycling *in the USA*"? Really?

The article describes the positive effect Lance has had on registrations during the period between 2002 and 2008. During that time the US has also seen the birth of two week-long stage races drawing the top Euro teams to US soil (Tours of CA and MO) and the growth of US teams invited to the Grand Tours in Europe. So, yes the Lance effect is real as relates to US interest in cycling (both in number of riders and number of specators).

tonyzackery said:
So without Lance, {American} dweebs wouldn't be interested in watching cycling on television?

{Clarified that for ya}...without a US team in the race, no. Why would they? There are a zillion US sports of every type on the channels here. This may come as a shock, but we don't watch much futbol, cricket or rugby either, unless there's a US team playing. I'm not defending it, but it's clearly true.

tonyzackery said:
This article was simply spooned-up, baby food media propaganda...

Agree there wasn't much to it, but cyclingnews is a pretty niche media stream and it's off season. So much has been previously written about the Lance effect on US cycling that there's not really much left to add.
 

King Schlooge

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Jun 2, 2009
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This past February I volunteered as a course marshal when Stage Four of the Tour of CA finished in Paso Robles, the finish line three blocks from my small office. The following day, my son and I drove down to Solvang and watched the Individual Time Trial (ITT). The buzz when Lance came into town through the finishing curve and final straight was huge. He has a positive impact on the sport. It was fun to walk through the pits in town and see the riders and bikes up close. The Astana bus was a mob scene, not only because of Lance, but because of Johann Bruyneel, Levi Leipheimer, and the crowd favorite Chris Horner. Christian Van de Velde and other Garmin-Slipstream riders were gracious and accessible. It was a cool day.
 

tonyzackery

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Dec 23, 2006
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frenchyge said:
The article describes the positive effect Lance has had on registrations during the period between 2002 and 2008. During that time the US has also seen the birth of two week-long stage races drawing the top Euro teams to US soil (Tours of CA and MO) and the growth of US teams invited to the Grand Tours in Europe. So, yes the Lance effect is real as relates to US interest in cycling (both in number of riders and number of specators).

And there has been a significant drop in the total number of pro cycling races, pro cycling teams, and pro cyclists in the US, irrespective of the addition of the week-long stage races. How is that explained? So no, the effect is not as real as the article would like to suggest.

frenchyge said:
{Clarified that for ya}...without a US team in the race, no. Why would they? There are a zillion US sports of every type on the channels here. This may come as a shock, but we don't watch much futbol, cricket or rugby either, unless there's a US team playing. I'm not defending it, but it's clearly true.

The issue is the "Lance factor", not necessarily how nationalistic sports fan are. Did dweebs continue to watch cycling when Lance wasn't around? Of course. Were the numbers more, less, or the same? I'd guess less, as I will acknowledge that Lance's marketing crew did an excellent good job of creating a bunch of commotion and drama prior to, during, and after the Tour this year.
 

frenchyge

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tonyzackery said:
And there has been a significant drop in the total number of pro cycling races, pro cycling teams, and pro cyclists in the US, irrespective of the addition of the week-long stage races. How is that explained? So no, the effect is not as real as the article would like to suggest.

During the period of Lance's reign between 1999 - 2005, or in the last couple years since the economy has tanked?

What would you consider the Lance effect to actually be, a wide increase in cycling interest and popularity among regular folks in the US (in your words, the dweebs), or an increase in the number of pro cyclists and pro teams?



tonyzackery said:
The issue is the "Lance factor", not necessarily how nationalistic sports fan are. Did dweebs continue to watch cycling when Lance wasn't around? Of course.

You mean during the years that Floyd Landis and Levi Leipheimer were believed to be Tour contenders? Sure they watched -- they were hoping to see the emergence of the next Lance, as they were being hyped.

Nationality comes into the discussion because the Lance effect is specifically a US phenomenon where pro cycling has traditionally not been a sport which draws much interest. Lance put US cycling back on the world map and back into the minds of US spectators in numbers never seen before. That *is* the Lance effect, IMO.

Just so I understand your position, are you saying that Lance has had no effect on the popularity of cycling in the US, and that the existence of any "Lance effect" is a fallacy? Or, are you saying that the despite Lance's effect on the popularity of cycling in the US, that the overall effect Lance has had on the sport in the US has been negative?
 

tonyzackery

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frenchyge said:
During the period of Lance's reign between 1999 - 2005, or in the last couple years since the economy has tanked?

To which period were you referring when you mentioned the birth of two week-long stage races? I'm referring to the same period you are. You used that fact as an example of LA's return being advantageous to the overall health of cycling in the US, right?

frenchyge said:
What would you consider the Lance effect to actually be, a wide increase in cycling interest and popularity among regular folks in the US (in your words, the dweebs), or an increase in the number of pro cyclists and pro teams?

Whichever you or the authors of the article want it to be. Makes no difference to me as I know 'Lance Armstrong' the brand is all about making money. Cycling is simply the vehicle at this point.

frenchyge said:
Just so I understand your position, are you saying that Lance has had no effect on the popularity of cycling in the US, and that the existence of any "Lance effect" is a fallacy? Or, are you saying that the despite Lance's effect on the popularity of cycling in the US, that the overall effect Lance has had on the sport in the US has been negative?

Did I say Lance has had no effect on cycling in the US? I believe not. My position is that I don't believe the hype that's been created about his "effect on the popularity of cycling in the US". However, this hype does have its own enertia, and once you get a ball rolling downhill...
 

frenchyge

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tonyzackery said:
Did I say Lance has had no effect on cycling in the US? I believe not.

Tony, your first post stated that you were interested in some dialogue on this topic, but it's kinda hard to have a dialogue through the defensiveness and vaguity of your posts so I asked some clarifying questions. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, I'm trying to figure out WTF you're trying to say in this thread.

If this really was just a soap-box rant from the beginning, then sorry for messing it up by asking questions and offering actual dialogue.

tonyzackery said:
My position is that I don't believe the hype that's been created about his "effect on the popularity of cycling in the US". However, this hype does have its own enertia, and once you get a ball rolling downhill...

Well, since we agree that Lance has had an effect on the popularity of cycling in the US, I guess that answers the "Lance-factor: Truth or Fiction?" question in the title of this thread. So, should we discuss the "hype" that you refer to? If so, can you define or explain what you see as being hyped about Lance's effect on the popularity of cycling in the US so we're talking about the same thing? Are you saying that it has been hyped as being a good thing by those who are benefitting from it, but you see it as a bad thing for the sport because you believe he's a doper?
 

jhuskey

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Oct 6, 2003
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I am of the opinion that Armstrong's presence has an effect on how many people buy Trek bike and will but Radio Shack gear and have bought Disco and Postal gear in the past.
People want to dientify with a winner and do not want their hero to be tarnished.
A lot of other factors play out and effect the sport and it is ridiculous to envision him as the whole sport, yet to some in the US if you like cycling or ride a bike a lot you are "Lance". I have been called Lance by a dozen individuals because I ride.
Postive effects are hard to measure. Even wars have had a postive side effect as in advances in technology and medicine.
The dilemma is determining if the cost is worth the lon term result.
I myself would give Armstrong a score in the plus column so far.
 

swampy1970

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Feb 3, 2008
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tonyzackery said:
Lance Armstrong Ignites USA Cycling Growth | Cyclingnews.com

What licensed cyclists will admit to purchasing said license because of LA's return to competitive cycling? I readily know human beings as a species of animal act like lemmings from time-to-time, but do you buy this?

Interesting dialogue from Armstrong:

"Sports need people," said Armstrong. "It's important to have those stories so people pay attention. As teams and people involve in the sport, you gotta keep that going. If you don't have the athletes who have the story and carry the personality, the sport will go away. It’s our job to develop young guys, riders who can keep people interested in cycling and interested in their stories for whatever reason. People look at my story and you can say they’re interested because he’s a strong cyclist or because he’s a cancer survivor."
"Anytime you create a movement, it has to begin with a person," he continued. "Sports are no different. If you look at cycling and the characters and the personalities we've had in American cycling over the years, the sport has embedded and flowed with that. Similar to Tiger Woods and golf, Michael Jordan and basketball or Michael Schumacher and formula one racing. When you think of these sports, you think of these people."

I think people who don't know two sticks about cycling will fall for a good story or two, but cyclists who follow cycling look for and desperately desire substance and integrity. The fundemental question here is: Who's more important to the long term success of pro/amateur cycling: established cyclists or dweebs just looking for something to keep their attention for a few moments? If it's the dweebs (aka Joe Q. Public who solely watches cycling on television and the commercials therein, then the UCI should just say "everything goes" and forget the charade that is drug testing...

I don't have the answers here, but interested in some dialogue on the matter...

Tony,

Have you become the boards' "David Millar" and seeming have to stuff the words "drugs" in every topic you post about Lance?

Why didn't you just make a post about "The Lance-factor - a technological tour de force in the development of PEDs'"

When Lance won his first few Tours it pretty much only got the attention of the established cyclists. When he won his 5th Tour and it captured the US public's interest. When he won 6 and started the whole Livestrong braclet he created a "brand", a freakin' media juggernaut - it didn't take rocket science to grow the sport on the back of that. 7... that was almost taking the ****.

The guy not only changed the way that riders prep for the Tour de France he also got more people watching the Tour - both on TV and out on the side of the roads. The biggest crowds in the Tour were during Lance's reign and after a lull of a few years it was noted Love him or loath him, it's hard to deny that he's had a huge impact on the sport...

Continue to ramble on about drugs at your leisure.
 

tonyzackery

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Dec 23, 2006
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frenchyge said:
Tony, your first post stated that you were interested in some dialogue on this topic, but it's kinda hard to have a dialogue through the defensiveness and vaguity of your posts so I asked some clarifying questions. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, I'm trying to figure out WTF you're trying to say in this thread.

If this really was just a soap-box rant from the beginning, then sorry for messing it up by asking questions and offering actual dialogue.

LOL! Pipe down, little man (you're an anonomous internet person so I don't have the luxury of using your actual name to address you). Now you've went got your panties all bunched-up. LOL! Relax. This stuff is not that serious for your pot to boil over like it has...

Defensiveness? Vaguity? Now if that is ever the 'pot calling the kettle black'.

I said long ago this thread could also be placed in the Soapbox section, so thanks for timely thought...

frenchyge said:
Well, since we agree that Lance has had an effect on the popularity of cycling in the US, I guess that answers the "Lance-factor: Truth or Fiction?" question in the title of this thread. So, should we discuss the "hype" that you refer to? If so, can you define or explain what you see as being hyped about Lance's effect on the popularity of cycling in the US so we're talking about the same thing? Are you saying that it has been hyped as being a good thing by those who are benefitting from it, but you see it as a bad thing for the sport because you believe he's a doper?

I'm takin' my toys and going home as I no longer wish to play with you - you're a meany.:p

For the record, IMO Lance Armstrong being the poster child for American cycling is a bad thing and perpetuates pro cycling's underworld doping culture. Other pro cyclists see the success of his comeback and have to say, "Well, nothing's really going to change afterall."
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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In my opinion, as to the reason for growth in cycling in the USA, Lance's comeback is a distant second to the thousands of happy, healthy, friendly riders with tanned and toned thighs already plying the roads. Cycling has become the golf of the new millennium.
 

limerickman

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Jan 5, 2004
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Cycling has plenty of interesting characters and stories.

The sport itself - the physical activity of actually cycling a bike - is enough for me.
 
Dec 30, 2007
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oldbobcat said:
In my opinion, as to the reason for growth in cycling in the USA, Lance's comeback is a distant second to the thousands of happy, healthy, friendly riders with tanned and toned thighs already plying the roads. Cycling has become the golf of the new millennium.

Golf is growing much faster than cycling, at least until Tiger got caught.
 

tonyzackery

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Dec 23, 2006
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Golf is growing much faster than cycling, at least until Tiger got caught.

Yeah, because of Tiger golf probably won't get into the Olympics...:rolleyes:.

Now just think if Lance was finally outed what the repercussions would be to cycling in America...people would rush to trade in their bikes for skateboards...
 

oldbobcat

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Golf is growing much faster than cycling, at least until Tiger got caught.

Funny, because the New York Times recently ran a story on the decline of the popularity of golf. But a lot of other people say golf is still growing.

I tried it a couple of times, but I didn't like the swearing, cheating, drinking, and club-throwing that seemed to go along with it. For example, the only time I ever heard my father throw an F-bomb was when he chaired the handicap committee at his club. On the other hand, I read one of Harvey Pennick's books and found it positively inspiring.
 

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