This is my first blog for VeloNation so thanks for clicking on here and taking the time to read what I have to say. The guys at VeloNation asked me a while ago to write a blog to give you a bit of an insight into my life as a commentator, what we get up to as a company at Cyclevox and to provide some comment on what is going on in this fast moving exciting world of cycling. I want to make sure that you enjoy reading so do send me questions, topics you would like me to cover and I will see what I can do to weave them into this.
This season seems to have gone as fast as Mark Webber in his Formula 1 car. It seems like yesterday that I started the season with the Cervelo TestTeam in Portugal. A few months on and we have enjoyed some incredible racing and one of the most fluid transfer markets ever. 2011 is certainly shaping up to be an exciting one. Just to come back to Cervelo TestTeam, I am genuinely disappointed that they had to fold the team. I met the guys at Eurobike and you can see how much it has hit them having to stop one of the most followed, interesting teams in the Pro peloton. They did do things differently and they had an impact on fans, events and in product development. They also had a big impact on riders who genuinely loved racing for the squad and had a great spirit between them. You could see the bond when they were all together. That team just needed more cash to be in the Pro Tour and with teams like Sky with large budgets, you now need lots of cash to run the best programme.
I think we need to work much smarter as a sport to bring money in, rather than letting it go to soccer or Formula 1, but to do that the governing bodies and events need to raise their game. Hospitality and VIP experience at bike races for potential sponsors is just not in the same league as those sports and until it is, we wont get the millions we need moving from other sports. Don't get me wrong, we are moving in the right direction, but there is still a gulf. We also need cycling on TV, on the right channels and at the right time. It is possible to do it, it just needs some joined up thinking, some expertise and realistic budgets (not old school TV budgets). In the UK, we as Cyclevox have worked hard with British Cycling to put cycling on TV, it hasnt been easy but we have managed to do it.
As I write this I am thinking about my season highlights but maybe I should wait for my next blog after the world championships. My prediction for the win in the mens road race? At the beginning of the season I was asked to predict the worlds. My 1,2,3 was Gilbert, Haussler, Cavendish. Shame about Hausslers injury. I think it will be Gilbert, Evans, Cavendish. In the womens race - watch out for Lizzie Armitstead. Lets see how I do!
I am just back from a weekend commentating at the British National Championships. Its a real honour to be asked to be the MC at an event where gold medals mean so much to the riders. It used to be that the British Champs were watched by one man and his dog but not now. A sell out crowd on the Saturday enjoyed some incredible racing with Vicky Pendleton, Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny and Ross Edgar in action to name a few stars, racing alongside club riders who consider the event to be as big as their world championships. To see the crowd reaction to the events gives an indication of how fantastic London 2012 is going to be in the velodrome.
As I finish this, the news on Alberto Contador is breaking. It looks like a complicated subject when such a small trace of a banned substance is found that in some labs wouldnt have shown up. Once we have all the facts I will comment here, its too early to jump to conclusions.
Well, thanks for reading, I will be back soon, in the meantime enjoy riding your bike and enjoy the worlds!