I love this time of year, everyone you speak to is full of positive thoughts about the year, what it will bring and, of course, how the cycling season will pan out. So much has happened since my last blog, which I must apologise was in at the end of October. First resolution - send you my thoughts more often!
Just before Christmas, I had a bit of fun on twitter by asking my followers what their favourite 2010 Cycling Moment was. I was amazed at how many people posted thoughts - nearly 300 posts in 24 hours. It is fantastic how cycling inspires so many different emotions - the early posts focused on top cycling events. Many people remembered Cancellara in the classics, the Strade Bianche stage of the Giro, chaingate, the worlds etc and then the posts started to look at personal memories which were equally as inspiring. I have pasted them into a little flick book for you to look at if you didnt see the initial thread - this is a bit rough and ready but a good momento of the season:
One of my favourite elements of the end of the season, is the photographic reviews of the year. I absolutely love the images of the sport and enjoy how the different photographers capture the sport. I also enjoy getting a copy of Rouleurs The Annual - which is a coffee book that stays firmly put on the coffee table from one year to the next.
Before I move on to 2011, the end of the year brought us the no conclusion on the Alberto Contador case and secondly the Pegasus affair. I am not going to say too much, save to say that these events have darkened an incredible 2010. I do think that the way new teams come into the sport has to be looked at. The UCI now have independent auditors that ensure all financials, guarantees etc are in place. That is a much better situation than years ago when teams such as Linda McCartney folded. They look purely at black and white information, which is how it should be.
It is fantastic that new teams such as Sky can move into the sport, with big backing and good set ups, but how do riders know what they are signing up to? This year a rider could have had an offer from Leopard and Pegasus in their hand - but how did they know which one would be a runner? Only when the licences were awarded did it become clear - which is too late to find something else. There must be a stage before the team licence process that gives riders some assurance that what they are being told by a team owner is reality. Look at F1 and soccer - you wouldnt sign to a team unless you knew they were in the league or had a licence to race. I guess the evolution of the ProTeam and longer term licences being awarded will, in time, reduce the risk of riders and staff being left without a valid team and contract, but right now its an issue.
On to 2011 - the season is looking so exciting and it gets underway with the Tour Down Under shortly. All the teams are on training camps from now, getting themselves ready for the season. I have a busy time coming up. Next week I am hosting the Team Raleigh launch at the new London Bike Show and interviewing Olympian Shanaze Reade. Then I have the Endura Racing team launch before heading to the Track World Cup in Manchester. Throw in a couple of team media days and all makes for an exciting next few weeks.
Thanks again for reading - follow me on twitter @antmoccrossan and @cyclevox and hope to meet you on the road in 2011.