Why do my hard earned tax dollars support a bike team?



R

Richard Adams

Guest
Mike <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:<[email protected]>... [gnip]
>
> Also, I think the USPS is privatized and therefore not
> supported by the US government. Complain instead about how
> the US government does support the US automakers, US
> highways, and the US petrolium industry. Talk about a
> boondoggle. Since when is it the responsibility of any
> government to 'bail out' a corporation (Chrysler) or a
> city (New York)?
>
> Mike

They showed their mettle to the struggling airlines,
however, after the 9/11 attacks. Thanks to that I think
we'll have more foreign ownership of air carriers.

I tell ya, though, if you don't live in a frozen wasteland,
those hybrid cars are the thing. My sister's Prius would
work wonderfully for me where I live. Lots of big 4x4's for
sale out here (huge surprise.)
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
Luigi de Guzman <[email protected]> writes:

> On Thu, 8 Jul 2004 12:46:05 -0400, David Kerber
> <[email protected]_ids.net> wrote:
>
>>I don't even know if there are any French in the race;
>>the top competition is Spanish, Italian, German and
>>American, with a few Aussies, Dutch, and Russians thrown
>>into the mix.
>
> There are lots. Today's Maillot Jaune is the French
> National Champion.
>
> The French are in an awful Tour de France slump, though.

Although they've had a winner of the polka-dot jersey
several times in the last decade, thanks to Virenque and
Jalabert. And this year there's already a French stage
winner and Maillot Jaune. So the slump is not as bad as it
could be, although the French have seemed seriously
outgunned since instituting the most stringent anti-doping
policies in the sport. Could be a coincidence, might not be.

Of course, for the entire field to have to compete against
Miguel Indurain and then Lance Armstrong is also an issue,
these guys have been unusually dominant. I think in part
that's due to having been very specialized to compete in the
Tour primarily, as the Tour continues to outweigh the entire
rest of the racing calendar in importance. From 1986 to
2003, there were, what, 13 Tours won by three racers
(Lemond, Indurain, Armstrong) and a scattering of tours won
by Roche, Delgado, Pantani, Ullrich, Riis. If we start from
1990, there's been only 5 winners of the Tour.
 
L

Luigi De Guzman

Guest
On Thu, 08 Jul 2004 17:07:45 -0500, Tim McNamara
<[email protected]> wrote:

>>
>> The French are in an awful Tour de France slump, though.
>
>Although they've had a winner of the polka-dot jersey
>several times in the last decade, thanks to Virenque and
>Jalabert.

It'll be stiff competition for the polka-dot jersey this
year. I wonder if Mayo is starting to think that maybe he
should gun for polka-dots this year, instead of Yellow,
considering his position in the GC...

>And this year there's already a French stage winner and
>Maillot Jaune. So the slump is not as bad as it could be,
>although the French have seemed seriously outgunned since
>instituting the most stringent anti-doping policies in the
>sport. Could be a coincidence, might not be.

Hadn't thought of it like that....

>Of course, for the entire field to have to compete against
>Miguel Indurain and then Lance Armstrong is also an issue,
>these guys have been unusually dominant. I think in part
>that's due to having been very specialized to compete in
>the Tour primarily, as the Tour continues to outweigh the
>entire rest of the racing calendar in importance. From 1986
>to 2003, there were, what, 13 Tours won by three racers
>(Lemond, Indurain, Armstrong) and a scattering of tours won
>by Roche, Delgado, Pantani, Ullrich, Riis. If we start from
>1990, there's been only 5 winners of the Tour.

True...but didn't Lemond used to race more of the classics
back in the day than Armstrong does now?

Ah, Lemond! I was just talking to a friend of mine. We were
both little kids when Lemond was winning those Tours de France--
he was like "wow. I remember when Lemond won against that
dude with the ponytail! [Fignon]" He's not a cycling fan,
usually, but it was a neat thing to have remembered.

-Luigi
 
S

Sam

Guest
"Marty Wallace" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> "Sam" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:-
> [email protected]
> >
> > "Alex Rodriguez" <[email protected]> wrote in message
> > news:[email protected]...
> > > In article
> > > <[email protected]>,
> > > [email protected] says...
> > > >Hey, Why does the US federal Government support a
> > > >bike team in France? I work hard for my money, and
> > > >think the taxes I pay could be better used. What a
> > > >Boondoggle!
> > >
> > > Like any other company, you have to advertise to get
> > > more business.
> USPS
> > > wanted to get more customers in Europe to use their
> > > service, so they
> > sponser
> > > a bicycle racing team. For the money they spend, they
> > > get an
excellent
> > > return on investment. So they continued to do so until
> > > ignorant folks started to complain.
> > > -------------
> > > Alex
> > >
> >
> > I would like to see some proof that they are getting
> > bang for their buck
> in
> > terms of promotion and advertising. I doubt they are.
> >
> >
>
> My God you're an idiot. The fastest rider and the fastest
> team in the biggest race in the world! And you want proof?
> If you don't think thats good promotion and advertising
> then you tell us what is.
>
> Marty
>
>

Let me make this more clear: Is the promotion paying off in
terms of increased market share?
 
S

Sam

Guest
Chrysler received a guarantee on the loan, not direct money.
Also, Chrysler was building tank parts at the time. That
said, I think it was not a good idea and neither was bailing
out the airlines following 9/11 or paying death benefits to
people killed in those attacks. Of course, I find about 3/4
of federal spending to be wrong.

"Appkiller" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
> ( :< )
>
> > Talk about a boondoggle. Since when is it the
> > responsibility of any government to 'bail out' a
> > corporation (Chrysler) or a city (New York)?
> >
> > Mike
>
> ( :< )
>
> Consider this Mike:
>
> What would happen if the NYC gov't or Chrysler collapsed?
> Certainly more economically painful (short term)than
> propping them up. Whether or not we are interfering with
> governmental and corporate "natural selection", that is
> another discussion. Look at the short-term political
> consequences for those who chose to let the natural course
> of things occur. In the case of NYC, you are talking the
> shutdown of the world's largest financial center. Not good
> at all for anyone making THAT decision, in addition to a
> global shift in economic power. In the case of Chrysler,
> tens, if not hundreds of thousands of workers suddenly and
> painfully glutting the job market. They will drive down
> wages, eat up resources (unemployment insurance payments)
> without contributing and the cost of re-education/re-
> training that many workers? Yikes!
>
> Not necessarily advocating corporate and municipal
> welfare, but if changes can be enforced as a condition of
> assistance, is that not better than the alternative?
>
> App, who believes in the social benefit of paying his
> property taxes that fund schools despite his lack of
> children.
 
B

Benjamin Weiner

Guest
David Reuteler <[email protected]> wrote:
> In rec.bicycles.misc Leo Lichtman
> <[email protected]> wrote:
> > "DRS" wrote:
> > Q: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet? THIS
> > REMARK: How could anyone be impressed by beating a
> > bunch of cheese-eating surrender monkeys?
>
> ohh, i dunno, i kinda like wisconsin. they've got some
> beautiful rural riding behind the cheddar curtain, they're
> mostly nice folk & their 2am bar close & sunday sales kept
> us minnesotans in after hours liquor for years until we
> finally came to our senses (so to speak).

> On Wisconsin say i.

If they weren't such a bunch of cheese eating surrenderers
they never would have had to hand over the UP to Michigan
after the Great Michigan-Wisconsin War of 1928.

Hmm, on second thought, maybe the Wisconsinners knew what
they were up to.
 
B

Bob Schwartz

Guest
In rec.bicycles.racing Benjamin Weiner <[email protected]> wrote:
> If they weren't such a bunch of cheese eating surrenderers
> they never would have had to hand over the UP to Michigan
> after the Great Michigan-Wisconsin War of 1928.

> Hmm, on second thought, maybe the Wisconsinners knew what
> they were up to.

The original plan for Wisconsin included both the UP of
Michigan and northern Illinois north of the southern tip of
Lake Michigan. Chicago and northern Illinios is a grim place
to ride a bike so we've never complained about the boundary
moving north.

The UP was a swap for Toledo. Michigan was in a dispute with
Ohio for the western tip of Lake Erie. Ohio got to keep
Toledo and in return Michigan got the UP. Since Wisconsin
was not yet a state we were screwed by the Feds. Ain't that
always how it works.

Bob Schwartz [email protected]
 
S

Steven L. Sheff

Guest
On 07/08/2004 06:11 AM, in article
[email protected], "Sam"
<[email protected]> wrote:

> But USPS does not pay taxes on the building or land it
> owns as does FedEx and UPS which is a big business
> advantage. Even with the monopoly it has, it cannot make
> money. Some people should be fired and the postal carriers
> union is part of the blame.
>
> Can anyone show proof that sponsoring a bike team
> increased their market share?

I'm living proof.

Before 1996, I did almost all of my shipping via UPS, either
from work or at a Mailboxes, Etc. type place.

Since USPS started sponsoring a team, I do the vast majority
of my shipping via USPS Priority Mail ... The only
exceptions have been large-size packages (like frames and/or
wheels), for which I use Fed-Ex Ground.

I also drive a Saturn, and my next car is likely to be a
Suburu. I use a Verizon Wireless cell phone (Verizon
sponsors a women's team). I buy Colavita olive oil. I
retiled my bathroom with Mapei adhesives.

In other words, I support the companies that support my
sport.

--
Steven L. Sheffield stevens at veloworks dot com veloworks
at worldnet dot ay tea tee dot net bellum pax est libertas
servitus est ignoratio vis est ess ay ell tea ell ay kay ee
sea aye tee why you ti ay aitch aitch tee tea pea colon [for
word] slash [four ward] slash double-you double-yew double-
ewe dot veloworks dot com [four word] slash
 
M

Mrbob

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
"Joseph Hurley" <[email protected]> wrote:

> Other point -- the US Postal Service receives NOT ONE RED
> CENT of tax dollars. It fully supports itself via the sale
> of postage stamps and other shipping services. It is a
> corporation, albeit one owned by the US Government, but
> does not receive tax money to support its operations --
> those are purely financed by its revenues from the sale of
> stamps and other delivery fees.

Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarf.

While it's been a while since the federal govt. has had to
bail out the USPS, USPS also PAYS NO TAXES. No corporate
tax. No property tax. Etc... In addition to being granted a
monopoly on mail delivery in the US, USPS receives an
implicit subsidy of billions of dollars per year.

While there are a number of wonderful and dedicated
individuals who work for the USPS, as an organization it is
a bastion of inefficiency.

UPS (United Parcel Service) paid more in taxes last year
alone than the sum total of all 'profits' ever 'earned'
by the USPS.

As far as return on investment for sponsoring the Postal
team, the USPS European profits increased by less than the
amount spent on their sponsorship. On the surface appears to
be a poor investment, but as with most all advertising, it's
almost always impossible to determine the net benefit. It
may very well be the case that over time they'll recoup
their investment.

MrBob

___________________________________________________________-
____________________
Posted Via Uncensored-News.Com - Accounts Starting At $6.95
- http://www.uncensored-news.com <><><><><><><> The Worlds
Uncensored News Source <><><><><><><><
 
R

Richard Adams

Guest
Steven L. Sheffield wrote:

> On 07/08/2004 06:11 AM, in article
> [email protected], "Sam"
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>
>>But USPS does not pay taxes on the building or land it
>>owns as does FedEx and UPS which is a big business
>>advantage. Even with the monopoly it has, it cannot make
>>money. Some people should be fired and the postal carriers
>>union is part of the blame.
>>
>>Can anyone show proof that sponsoring a bike team
>>increased their market share?
>
>
>
>
> I'm living proof.
>
> Before 1996, I did almost all of my shipping via UPS,
> either from work or at a Mailboxes, Etc. type place.
>
> Since USPS started sponsoring a team, I do the vast
> majority of my shipping via USPS Priority Mail ... The
> only exceptions have been large-size packages (like frames
> and/or wheels), for which I use Fed-Ex Ground.
>
> I also drive a Saturn, and my next car is likely to be a
> Suburu. I use a Verizon Wireless cell phone (Verizon
> sponsors a women's team). I buy Colavita olive oil. I
> retiled my bathroom with Mapei adhesives.
>
> In other words, I support the companies that support
> my sport.
>
>

I prefer shipping by USPS. UPS means finding a place nearby
to send from and if I'm receiving it's a major pain to get
stuff. I had two bikes sent UPS and had to take off time
from work to pick them up a the UPS distribution center.
How'd you like a $$$$ bike sitting in a box on your doorstep
when you get home?
 
D

Drs

Guest
"garmonboezia" <[email protected]'lyeh.arg> wrote in message
news:[email protected]_s53
> "DRS" <[email protected]> wrote in
> news:[email protected]:
>
>> How could anyone be impressed by beating a bunch of cheese-
>> eating surrender monkeys? :)
>
> http://www.exile.ru/175/175052003.html

The author of that page is very nearly as ignorant as those
he pillories, but that's an argument I'm not going to get
into in this forum. In any case, my comment was not about
the French, it was about certain "less intellectual
Americans".

--

A: Top-posters.
B: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet?
 
D

Drs

Guest
"David Kerber" <[email protected]_ids.net> wrote in message
news:[email protected]

[...]

> I don't even know if there are any French in the race;
> the top competition is Spanish, Italian, German and
> American, with a few Aussies, Dutch, and Russians thrown
> into the mix.

Today's tour leader: Thomas Voeckler (Fra).

--

A: Top-posters.
B: What is the most annoying thing on Usenet?
 
D

David Kerber

Guest
In article <[email protected]>,
[email protected] says...
> "David Kerber" <[email protected]_ids.net> wrote in message
> news:[email protected]
>
> [...]
>
> > I don't even know if there are any French in the race;
> > the top competition is Spanish, Italian, German and
> > American, with a few Aussies, Dutch, and Russians thrown
> > into the mix.
>
> Today's tour leader: Thomas Voeckler (Fra).

Yeah, I discovered that soon after I posted the above
message. I was hoping nobody would notice that I'm an idiot,
but my hopes were quickly dashed <GRIN>.

--
Remove the ns_ from if replying by e-mail (but keep posts in
the newsgroups if possible).
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
Luigi de Guzman <[email protected]> writes:

> On Thu, 08 Jul 2004 17:07:45 -0500, Tim McNamara
> <[email protected]> wrote:
>
>>Of course, for the entire field to have to compete against
>>Miguel Indurain and then Lance Armstrong is also an issue,
>>these guys have been unusually dominant. I think in part
>>that's due to having been very specialized to compete in
>>the Tour primarily, as the Tour continues to outweigh the
>>entire rest of the racing calendar in importance. From
>>1986 to 2003, there were, what, 13 Tours won by three
>>racers (Lemond, Indurain, Armstrong) and a scattering of
>>tours won by Roche, Delgado, Pantani, Ullrich, Riis. If we
>>start from 1990, there's been only 5 winners of the Tour.
>
> True...but didn't Lemond used to race more of the classics
> back in the day than Armstrong does now?

He did up until the gun shot wound and then after that had
to narrow his focus. He also did more races than Armstrong
does; Armstrong tends to do highly focused training rides
rather than races, and pretty much stops racing after the
Tour. Lemond raced both the Spring and Fall Classics
campaigns, even when he wasn't in shape to be competitive.

From the beginning of his career, though, Lemond excelled in
stage races- 3rd overall in the Tour de Tarn and 4th overall
in the Dauphine-Libere as a neo-pro in 1981, for example. He
won the Tour de l'Avenir in 1982 with 3 stage wins, 2nd
overall in the Tour de Mediteraneen, 3rd overall in Tirreno-
Adriatico. 1983 was his breakthrough year with the World
Road Championship, overall in the Dauphine-Libere, 4th
overall in Tour de Suisse, 2nd in Grand Prix des Nations,
4th in Blois-Chauville (Paris-Tours in reverse, IIRC) and
2nd inthe Tour of Lombardy. At that point it looked like he
could be at the top in just about any type of race.

After he was shot on April 20th, 1987, Lemond's career
changed. He was out almost all of 1987 and much of 1988.
1989 was a good year- winning the Tour de France and 3
stages, the World Road Champs- but there is a drop-off in
the quality of his other placings in major races. He did
manage a couple of top-10 placings in Paris-Roubaix (I think
taking 4th the first year that Duclos-LaSalle won), but in
general he was not at the top except in the Tour in 1990 and
the World's that year (4th). This trend continued, with his
last victory being in 1992 at the Tour DuPont. He retired in
1994 after spending much of the year as a back marker when
he did race. ISTR that he dropped out of the Tour and did
not in fact race again after that.

Armstrong, of course, was seen as a Classics rider in his
early career pre-cancer. He won several one-day races, the
Worlds in 1993, Flech Wallone in 1996 (?) and a couple of
TdF stages- one dramatic one in the wake of the death of
Fabio Casartelli in 1995 (IIRC). Lance was a hothead and a
very emotional rider, but inconsistent. Armstrong's body was
too massive from his years of swimming and triathlon to be
competitive in the high mountains, though. He lost much of
that mass (something like 10 kg) during his episode with
metastatic cancer, and on his return to racing seemed to
have lost something of his sprint but gained in climbing,
time trialling and perhaps most importantly in emotional
control and maturity.

Personally, I think Armstrong is a little too calculating.
His single-minded focus on the Tour de France is detrimental
to the sport, in my opinion, and he is not alone in that
focus. The importance of the Tour is highly over-rated (also
IMHO) and this too is detrimental to the sport as a whole.
It creates two classes of riders, the Tour contenders and
everyone else. But perhaps the days of a Merckx, a Hinault-
riders able to win any race anywhere- are gone for reasons
beyond simply the racers. (Of course, this is all written as
an American; in the mainstream media, there is no coverage
of professional bicycle racing other than the Tour de
France. And without Lance Armstrong or some other
charismatic American, there wouldn't even be that).
 
K

K. J. Papai

Guest
(Bottom Posted)

Tim McNamara <[email protected]> wrote in message news:<[email protected]
Blue.local>...
> Luigi de Guzman <[email protected]> writes:
>
> > On Thu, 08 Jul 2004 17:07:45 -0500, Tim McNamara
> > <[email protected]> wrote:
> >
> >>Of course, for the entire field to have to compete
> >>against Miguel Indurain and then Lance Armstrong is also
> >>an issue, these guys have been unusually dominant. I
> >>think in part that's due to having been very specialized
> >>to compete in the Tour primarily, as the Tour continues
> >>to outweigh the entire rest of the racing calendar in
> >>importance. From 1986 to 2003, there were, what, 13
> >>Tours won by three racers (Lemond, Indurain, Armstrong)
> >>and a scattering of tours won by Roche, Delgado,
> >>Pantani, Ullrich, Riis. If we start from 1990, there's
> >>been only 5 winners of the Tour.
> >
> > True...but didn't Lemond used to race more of the
> > classics back in the day than Armstrong does now?
>
> He did up until the gun shot wound and then after that had
> to narrow his focus. He also did more races than Armstrong
> does; Armstrong tends to do highly focused training rides
> rather than races, and pretty much stops racing after the
> Tour. Lemond raced both the Spring and Fall Classics
> campaigns, even when he wasn't in shape to be competitive.
>
> From the beginning of his career, though, Lemond excelled
> in stage races- 3rd overall in the Tour de Tarn and 4th
> overall in the Dauphine-Libere as a neo-pro in 1981, for
> example. He won the Tour de l'Avenir in 1982 with 3 stage
> wins, 2nd overall in the Tour de Mediteraneen, 3rd overall
> in Tirreno-Adriatico. 1983 was his breakthrough year with
> the World Road Championship, overall in the Dauphine-
> Libere, 4th overall in Tour de Suisse, 2nd in Grand Prix
> des Nations, 4th in Blois-Chauville (Paris-Tours in
> reverse, IIRC) and 2nd inthe Tour of Lombardy. At that
> point it looked like he could be at the top in just about
> any type of race.
>
> After he was shot on April 20th, 1987, Lemond's career
> changed. He was out almost all of 1987 and much of 1988.
> 1989 was a good year- winning the Tour de France and 3
> stages, the World Road Champs- but there is a drop-off in
> the quality of his other placings in major races. He did
> manage a couple of top-10 placings in Paris-Roubaix (I
> think taking 4th the first year that Duclos-LaSalle won),
> but in general he was not at the top except in the Tour in
> 1990 and the World's that year (4th). This trend
> continued, with his last victory being in 1992 at the Tour
> DuPont. He retired in 1994 after spending much of the year
> as a back marker when he did race. ISTR that he dropped
> out of the Tour and did not in fact race again after that.
>
> Armstrong, of course, was seen as a Classics rider in his
> early career pre-cancer. He won several one-day races, the
> Worlds in 1993, Flech Wallone in 1996 (?) and a couple of
> TdF stages- one dramatic one in the wake of the death of
> Fabio Casartelli in 1995 (IIRC). Lance was a hothead and a
> very emotional rider, but inconsistent. Armstrong's body
> was too massive from his years of swimming and triathlon
> to be competitive in the high mountains, though. He lost
> much of that mass (something like 10 kg) during his
> episode with metastatic cancer, and on his return to
> racing seemed to have lost something of his sprint but
> gained in climbing, time trialling and perhaps most
> importantly in emotional control and maturity.
>
> Personally, I think Armstrong is a little too
> calculating. His single-minded focus on the Tour de
> France is detrimental to the sport, in my opinion, and he
> is not alone in that focus. The importance of the Tour is
> highly over-rated (also IMHO) and this too is detrimental
> to the sport as a whole. It creates two classes of
> riders, the Tour contenders and everyone else. But
> perhaps the days of a Merckx, a Hinault- riders able to
> win any race anywhere- are gone for reasons beyond simply
> the racers. (Of course, this is all written as an
> American; in the mainstream media, there is no coverage
> of professional bicycle racing other than the Tour de
> France. And without Lance Armstrong or some other
> charismatic American, there wouldn't even be that).

Well written Tim but I have to add my own cheap two cents.

Pro Racing in 2004 is not Pro Racing in 1994 or 1984.

Money influences so many decisions. Not Lance as you say.
Money sways top talent and GOOD for them who get it.
Sponsors want certain results and find the guys who can
deliver them.

2004 is more competitive thann 1994 and WAY MORE than 1984.

There are more Classics Specialists than there are Tour
Specialists these days.

The top 300 Pro Racers in the world is a Deep Pool of
talent, far deeper than the top 300 of ten or twenty
years ago.

Of course my racing opinions are usually ****! But I do
believe them.

-Ken
 
Z

Zippy The Pinhe

Guest
On Thu, 08 Jul 2004 17:07:45 -0500, Tim McNamara
<[email protected]> wrote:

>there's already a French stage winner and Maillot Jaune.

I loved the expression on the interviewer's face when
someone pronounced that "Mellow Johnny".

Almost as funny as Bob Roll's "Two-er DAY Fraaaaance".
 
Z

Zippy The Pinhe

Guest
On 8 Jul 2004 17:57:47 -0700, Benjamin Weiner <[email protected]>
wrote:

>If they weren't such a bunch of cheese eating surrenderers
>they never would have had to hand over the UP to Michigan
>after the Great Michigan-Wisconsin War of 1928.
>
>Hmm, on second thought, maybe the Wisconsinners knew what
>they were up to.

Yaah, hey?
 
M

Mike Kruger

Guest
"Benjamin Weiner" <[email protected]> wrote in message
news:[email protected]...
>
> > On Wisconsin say i.
>
> If they weren't such a bunch of cheese eating surrenderers
> they never would have had to hand over the UP to Michigan
> after the Great Michigan-Wisconsin War of 1928.
>
> Hmm, on second thought, maybe the Wisconsinners knew what
> they were up to.

Wrong war. Michigan was given the UP after the Toledo War
with Ohio in 1835. Yep. That's right. Michigan and Ohio
fought a war and Wisconsin lost.

http://wiwi.essortment.com/toledowar_rzxq.htm
 
T

Tim McNamara

Guest
[email protected] (K. J. Papai) writes:

<snip>

> Well written Tim but I have to add my own cheap two cents.
>
> Pro Racing in 2004 is not Pro Racing in 1994 or 1984.

Yes, that's true and is true from several perspectives.

> Money influences so many decisions. Not Lance as you say.
> Money sways top talent and GOOD for them who get it.
> Sponsors want certain results and find the guys who can
> deliver them.

And- again this follows in the wake of Lemond- racers are
paid almost competitively with many other sports. Perhaps
not the ridiculous buckets of cash and fabulous prizes
showered on NBA, MLB and NFL players, but those sports are
out of control. With that increase in money comes an
increase in pressure for results.

I think this has led to a significant increase in the
sophistication of doping. Doping used to be the purview of
the soigneurs and is now supervised by licensed physicians.
The tools are more effective (as Verbruggen stated almost 10
years ago, EPO was the first doping tool that really worked
reliably) and more dangerous.

> 2004 is more competitive than 1994 and WAY MORE than 1984.

Yes, for several reasons. The points system makes the
individual results of every rider important- in the days of
Merckx, et al, the gregarios didn't have to worry about
where they finished in the race. They buried themselves,
limped home or even just dropped out of the race. But now,
every UCI point gained by every rider on the team is
important.

Second, the stratification of the teams is not as rigid as
it was, and teams tend to have multiple leaders. The Zulle-
Jalabert combination at ONCE was really quite something to
watch in action. By comparison, look at how Rik II did
everything he could to squelch Merckx in the latter's first
couple of years as a pro. In the old days there was one
leader and one leader only. At the start of any given race,
there were maybe five contenders unless something weird
happened. But the social structure of Europe has loosened
immensely and with it the rigid structure of teams is not
as pronounced as it was. Successful directeurs sportifs
have learned how to work with this to best advantage: Saiz,
Riis, etc.

Oddly enough, I don't think Bruyneel is in that mix; he is
rather old school and the team exists to serve the needs of
one man in one race. The result is a team that dminates one
race and is merely somewhat competitive in most others.

> There are more Classics Specialists than there are Tour
> Specialists these days.

Makes sense, doesn't it? There are few riders with the
combination of skills to win the Tour de France: Armstrong,
Ullrich, maybe Hamilton. Mayo doesn't yet but he is not yet
mature. Julich did have the talent but didn't have the head
for it. Pantani's victory was a one-off. The genetic
sweepstakes are pretty selective for Tour winners. There are
many more riders with the abilities to win the Classics and
the smaller stage races. Luck is a greater factor in one-day
races, too.

> The top 300 Pro Racers in the world is a Deep Pool of
> talent, far deeper than the top 300 of ten or twenty
> years ago.

I agree.
 

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