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just some guy

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interview the interviewers
« on: November 03, 2015, 09:36 »
Many of us follow various people on twitter, read the articles, books they write or listen to them on Eurosport or on a cycling Podcast. Much of the time we are taking in information they they are providing on the facts at that time, do you every wonder what they the person behind the keyboard or microphone really think?

Well I do, I sometime ask on twitter  :D , so we decided to ask the same 5 questions to various Cycling people to see what they say.

The Questions are

Question 1.
I think we can all agree that Cookson is less obtuse than Pat McQuaid was, but do you think the UCI ship has really changed course. If so, is it for the better? If not, what else could they be doing?

Question 2.
In cycling, there are rumours and then there are rumours. How hard is it, when you are spending so much of your time talking and writing about cycling, to know a rumour is 99% fact but still be unable to share it with your audience? What process do you go through before making said information public?

Question 3.
The dinner party question! If you could have a dinner party with 5 people from the world of cycling past or present, who would they be and why?

Question 4.
Over the last 12 months we have seen Velon looking to get their hands on a piece of cycling’s financial pie. When the music stops – with reforms and debates on the horizon over the next few years - how will the financial system for men’s cycling look in 5 years? Can the women’s side of the sport begin to catch up by then?

Question 5.
In 5 years’ time, what will be the biggest issue in cycling? Who will be the riders – male and female – that we will be discussing as the stars of the sport?


The people are

Rob Arnold
Rob is editor of Ride Magazine, living in Australia. You can follow Rob via @ridemediaHQ on Twitter or buy Ride Magazine http://www.ridemedia.com.au/ . He also pops up on a Podcast so give him a follow and you can here is generally weekly views on cycling







Richard Moore
Mutliple award winning book author and former cyclist. Richard has written Books on Robert Millar, the Hinault and LeMond Tour "  Slaying the Badger " he has also wriiten books on athletics with his latest " The Bolt Supremacy " . He is also part of the cycling Podcast - and has a new website  - http://richardmoore.co/ so pick up a book or give the Podcast a listen or follow him on Twitter  @richardmoore73




Matt Keenan
Signature Sports describe Matts current postioin in cycling  Fastly becoming one of the worlds most recognisable voices, Matthew regularly forms part of the international commentary team at the Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana, broadcast around the world from Europe, USA, Africa, New Zealand and on SBS in Australia. Australina audiences can also watch Matt as Host of the Bike lane on SBS. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mwkeenan





Shane Stokes
Shane Stokes has been writing about cycling for almost two decades and in that time has worked for or contributed to many international publications. He's currently the news editor of CyclingTips and the Irish Times cycling correspondent. He can be followed on Twitter at @SSBike










Velocast - Scott O'Raw & John Galloway

Velocast produce audio entertainment on ProCycling. Includes Velocast, This Week in Cycling History, The Interview and Reading Room. Cycling Media Awards Winner You can Follow Scott @velocast and John @wjohngalloway or check out their Podcasts - http://velocast.cc/ ** note these answers are from Scott John was busy in Real life .





Matt Rendell
Press Chief for Movistar Team, the World's no. 1 cycling team. Linguist, author, former TV reporter/ producer. These are my views, not those of Movistar Team. * Taken from Matt's Twitter bio I will also Add Matt has written my Favorite cycling book  The Death of Marco Pantani: A Biography. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mrendell







Neal Rogers
Neal Rogers is a presenter for Global Cycling Network, and Editor at Large for VeloNews. He lives in Boulder, Colorado. Find his work online at globalyclingnetwork.com or velonews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @nealrogers.





Orla Chennaoui
Ex triple jumper with one eye on the Olympics the other as a Journalist growing up, Now works at Sky TV as her twitter feed bio stats Sky Sports reporter. A lover of Olympic sports, with a particular love of cycling. Usual disclaimers follow Orla on Twitter @SkyOrla






In order of when answers arrived in my in box , we did reach out to others but time commitments etc meant it did not work. I would personally Like to say thank you to all who replied and put up with my gentle reminds  :)
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  • « Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 10:47 by just some guy »
    Of course, if this turns out someday to be the industry standard integrated handlebar-computer-braking solution then I'll eat my kevlar-reinforced aerodynamic hat.

    Larri Nov 12, 2014

    just some guy

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    Re: Velorooms interview the interviewers Q and A
    « Reply #1 on: November 03, 2015, 10:41 »
    Question 1.
    I think we can all agree that Cookson is less obtuse than Pat McQuaid was, but do you think the UCI ship has really changed course. If so, is it for the better? If not, what else could they be doing?


    Rob Arnold
    I don’t consider Brian Cookson to be any more or less obtuse than his predecessor as UCI president. Like Pat McQuaid, he is a politician and he realises the value of playing the field. He recognises that some problems existed and he is implementing positive change, and cycling stands to benefit from much of it.
    His attitude towards trying to encourage positive change to women’s cycling is an obvious initial step; still, this is not a Cookson vs McQuaid predicament, rather something that’s come from years of relative neglect, poor funding models, and the reality that it has long been a smaller market segment. The demographic of cycling is changing and, with it, comes more enthusiasm for racing for all.
    The introduction of cameras on bikes is another positive step but I suspect that would have eventually have come no matter who was president. Technology just happened to accelerate right on cue with Cookson’s arrival and so the decision was far easier last year than it was before that.
    Lloyd Mondory’s four-year suspension is an interesting step; it confirms a commitment to implementing some of the promises during Cookson’s ‘campaign’ to be president. History will tell us that McQuaid was hesitant to enforce such severe suspensions but this is also a grey area as it involves more than the governance of cycling.
    Hopefully lessons of the past have served all well and the passing of problems from UCI to WADA and/or CAS is going to abate but there’s always the risk of issues flowing around this perpetual circle from one institution to another.
    I’m impressed with some of the initiatives of Cookson and believe that much of what he has been achieved is with the best interests of cycling in mind but there’s always more that can be done.
    The reliance on sponsor support is one of the weak points of cycling in the greater realm of professional sport. The lack of a ‘gate take’ is a significant limiting factor for road cycling and we can sense the creeping of monetising some events – eg. the Ronde van Vlaanderen in recent years – usually to the detriment of the greater spectacle.
    To assume, however, that there’s a limitless pool of funding from broadcast rights is foolish. The changes in media are dramatic at the moment and traditional broadcasters no longer have the sway that they have had in the past. Furthermore, there are few cycling events on the entire calendar that attract payment for broadcast rights so Velon et al behaving as though everyone is entitled to a greater slice of a bigger cake is wishful thinking.
    Track cycling, cyclocross, even mountain biking and BMX have a great capacity to charge spectators but that can only happen if there’s an appropriate level of interest.
    The challenge for any president is to ensure the flow of income so that greater initiatives can be enacted.
    It’s absurd to simply say “the UCI should do this or that” without taking into consideration the finances involved in those ideas.
    There’s always more that can be done, cycling has so much to offer but the true challenge now is to ensure that the glut of interest that exists in certain countries (and certain demographics) is maximised. Similarly, we should recognise that interest has been on the wane in certain countries where cycling has long been seen as a traditional sport.
    So much of cycling is about the recreational cyclist and unless there’s encouragement for the hobby to become a sport, then we risk losing the support of the enthusiast – they’ll be too busy riding to care about racing… or watching the racing.


    Richard Moore
    I don't doubt Cookson's integrity or commitment to doing the right thing but it can't be easy skippering the good ship UCI. He's made some progress, and I like that he's trying to be transparent and democratic, but I think he has to impose himself more. That said, he's damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. Impose himself too much and he'll incur the wrath of ASO and others. Not straightforward, is it?

    Matt Keenan
    It was important for cycling to get a bit of fresh air and win some credibility back, particularly with the casual cycling viewer, which it wouldn't have been able to do under McQuaid.

    The Cookson presidency has been very cautious and we don't have a clear view on what his vision is and, therefore, what the UCI's vision is. With Velon also now in the mix the struggle to gain some genuine power in the sport has become even more difficult for the UCI.

    On the road there's no question ASO, and to a lesser extent RCS, hold the cards. The combination of these two groups could easily operate without the UCI.

    The main topic of conversation about the UCI seems to be on the road with little attention paid to the track, MTB, cyclocross and BMX.

    On the road the top of my wish list from the UCI is a simplified calendar.

    No clashes in WorldTour races, as we see with the Vuelta a Espana and the two one-day races in Canada, would be a good start. It's the equivalent of F1 running the Malaysian GP at the same time as the Melbourne GP. How are those new to the sport meant to work out which races matter when there are clashes like this.

    I'd also like the track program simplified.

    The more explanation an event requires the less likely the non-hardcore cycling fans are to watch it. The Omnium is a great event for junior development but the worst event as a promotional vehicle for the sport.

    I challenge you to explain to Omnium to someone from outside of track cycling without their eyes glazing over. Drop it from the Olympics and bring back the individual pursuit and the kilo/500m TT.

    The UCI should also be pushing to get downhill MTB into the Olympics. The Olympic movement continually looks to modernise its program and downhill MTB fits that bill perfectly. It's easy to follow (get from the top to the bottom as fast as you can, quickest person wins), great visually and the skill level is phenomenal.

    And like most of us I'd love to see cyclocross at the Winter Olympics.

    Track, MTB and cyclocross really need that Olympic exposure to grow.

    I don't have the answers and there's no silver bullet. It's a hard graft over a long period of time. More than anything I'd like to see some clear statements, with measurable objectives, from the UCI on their vision for each discipline of the sport.


    Shane Stokes
    I do think the UCI has changed and is much less confrontational than it was in the past. That has to be a good thing. It's still quite early since the change happened – Brian Cookson has been president for just over two years – and so it is too soon to decide on how successful his tenure has been. Certainly the CIRC report was a step forward. Other projects such as the reform of cycling are still ongoing, and so more time is needed to determine now how those work out. I'd say early indications suggest a move in the right direction, but a more complete picture will emerge by the end of his presidency.

    Velocast Scott
    Yes, it's fair to say that the UCI has changed course in that it is more open to change within the sport. It's arguable, for example, whether a UCI with Pat at the helm would have allowed cameras on bikes - whether that's a good, or a bad thing, is open to debate, though! We've also seen a more forward looking UCI roll back the technical limitations that were imposed on the Hour record and a resurgence in the popularity among riders making an attempt on it.

    On the face of it, the UCI seems less confrontational than it was with Pat. However, ASO has expressed some displeasure over proposed changes to the calendar, so it could well be that Pat's UCI simply conducted its fights in public more than Brian's does.

    The main thing I'd like the UCI do better is communication. Doing so - and on a two-way basis - would go a long way to restoring the trust that Brian Cookson set out as the cornerstone of his election campaign.


    Matt Rendell
    Transforming autocratic systems into something more inclusive is fraught with difficulty. The Brian Cookson I know is a man of deeply democratic instincts, who believes in consensus and consultation. I happen to share these values, and therefore I believe that their pursuit is inherently good.

    Having said that, finding consensus in a global movement where very different interests are at play can be nigh on impossible. Worse, the world itself is in a state of flux: tradition versus post-modernity, the numinous promise of science and technology, the lynch mob mentality that has its niche on Twitter, and so on. Delicate issues like the very obvious lack of a level playing field in global sport - in the financial, technical, scientific, educational, not to mention biochemical, fields - are far easier to  deal with dictatorially than democratically. Just think of uneasy coexistence between the inclusiveness of the extreme weather directive, and the enthusiasm for a raft of new events in the Middle East. Or of the seemingly irresolvible arguments for and against the use of disk brakes, and the many incompatible standards that seem to be emerging. It would be so much easier to lay down a dictatorial decree than to reach any kind of consensus.

    Given that cycling has no real financial model to speak of beyond the generalised wish for a wealthy benefactor, and a probably unfounded belief in the profitability of TV rights,  the natural point of equilibrium for the governance of the cycling movement is probably pluto-/kleptocratic.

    If so, the tendency under Cookson towards more inclusive forms of management might very soon be remembered as a golden 'Cycling Spring.'


    Neal Rogers
    In some ways, I liken Brian Cookson taking over the UCI Presidency in 2013 to Barack Obama taking over the U.S. Presidency in 2009. Both men inherited a mess from their predecessors. Obama inherited an economy on the brink of depression, and Cookson inherited the aftermath of the USADA case against Lance Armstrong, along with a legacy of doping scandals, under the leadership of Pat McQuaid and Hein Verbruggen. Both men campaigned on the promise of hope, and renewal. I believe both Cookson and Obama came into their respective posts with good intentions, but quickly got tripped up by bureaucracy and disparate factions. Cleaning up huge messes, while governing, is not easy, and it doesn't happen quickly. A position like theirs is far from desirable, and I think it's important to keep that in mind — both for the task at hand, and for the types of candidates they attract. It takes a unique kind of person to want that type of job in the first place, and there has to be a belief that they can enact real change.

    Has Cookson been able to "change course" for the better? He was elected with a mandate to restore trust and credibility in pro cycling, and I do think there has certainly been a "process of renewal," as he called it during his recent UCI Congress address, in Richmond. But, it is a process. It doesn't happen overnight, or even in 24 months. It's ongoing.

    A few examples that come to mind include improving the UCI's relationship with WADA — which was a disaster under McQuaid (and Verbruggen) — as well as appointing Tracy Gaudry to the management committee, which then elected her as the UCI's first woman Vice President. That led to the formation of the women's World Tour, set for 2016, which, I hope, provides a bit more of a narrative for women's racing. I would love to see women's cycling gain in popularity, the way that women's tennis is on (more) equal footing compared to men's tennis. I think it's possible, and the UCI needs to lead the way.

    I think the UCI distancing itself from the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) was correct, and necessary. Whether or not it's truly independent of the UCI, as Cookson insists, I couldn't tell you, but if you'll recall, McQuaid was president of the CADF board. There was obviously the potential for conflict there. There is now no UCI senior management on the CADF board. Though I believe those changes were underway before Cookson was elected, they have been enacted and enforced under his leadership.

    I think the Cycling Independent Reform Commission (CIRC) was a necessary and painful step in the right direction. Though it didn't have the impact that some were hoping for,  there were a few important measures to come out of it, including the requirement that a three-member panel approve all Therapeutic Use Exemption (TUE) requests, the UCI working with CADF to store and retest samples, and improving the presidential election process, which McQuaid turned into a total farce during the summer of 2013.

    There have also been some serious missteps under Cookson's leadership, as well. Mario Zorzoli's fast-track approval of Chris Froome's TUE at Romandie was an an avoidable situation. That should have been put before a TUE committee, and I think the UCI's quick response to comply with WADA Code proved that. It's a situation that's been rectified, but should have never happened. Zorzoli was later implicated by Michael Rasmussen to have been complicit to doping with former Rabobank doctor Geert Leinders, back in 2005. Both CIRC and UCI found no evidence to support that, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen. When Zorzoli stepped down, in July, Cookson said that he had "no stain on his reputation," which I found questionable.

    I'd also call the whole circus around Astana's WorldTour license a fiasco, though I understand that was probably a very thorny issue, legally and financially. I hope that the internal operational requirements, or "cahier des charges," that all teams must follow starting in 2017, will help prevent situations like this moving forward — whether that means preventing doping, or removing the UCI's inability to strip a team of WorldTour status if it provides doping positives.

    Another serious issue for the UCI, under Cookson, are the discrepancies between the Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) and UCI, which just create confusion and chaos for fans — and for the media. A few examples include Chris Horner being sent home from the 2014 Vuelta a España, though he had passed all UCI tests, and Lars Boom racing at the Tour de France though his cortisol levels were outside of the MPCC limits. There needs to be one standard, and given how many teams are in the MPCC — and how many have left, in anger — the UCI should rectify this quickly. One suggestion has been for the UCI to simply adopt the MPCC's rules, and while that would mean going beyond WADA Code, the UCI has done that before, with its no-needle policy. There just can't be two different sets of rules, one with no real authority. The UCI needs to assert itself as the governing body, and eliminate the perceived need for a second set of guidelines.

    Also: The handling of Roman Kreuziger's biological passport case was a disaster, whatever the reality was. Dropping the case, the week before it was set to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), without ever disclosing what had happened... that doesn't help restore credibility. I'm sure there were reasons UCI and WADA didn't want to share why they dropped the case, but it didn't look good, and wasn't handled well.

    And last but certainly not least — the many, many serious incidents between riders and motorcycles, all season long, was an absolute disgrace. In no other sport would you regularly see athletes seriously harmed by non-competitors. It makes professional cycling look like a joke, and Cookson should be leading the charge to eradicate this. Why not a lifetime ban for every motorist to injure a rider? Are going to need to see a rider killed by a motorcycle for measures to take effect? It's an embarrassment. The same could be said for race organizers putting riders on dangerous courses, like we saw with the metal poles in the finishing straight at the Tour of the Basque Country. That race should have been stripped of its WorldTour status for 2016. That just cannot happen, and ultimately, these things are happening under Cookson's command. In that area, he's failing the sport.


    Orla Chennaoui
    The UCI has definitely changed course, and is without doubt heading in the right direction, but it's like a huge tanker, and no one can turn one of those things around quickly. Brian Cookson is a steady man to have at the helm and possesses little of the drama or unpredictability of his predecessors, and that's a good thing. However the UCI as a beast has been slowly evolving anyway. Would Cookson have been able to turn perform a 360 turn had he come in at the time of Pat Mcquaid's first term? I very much doubt it. No-one could have. While it may not be the popular thing to say, I do have some sympathy for McQuaid. He took over an organisation that was rotten to the core. Of course, he could have done much more to plot a new course more quickly - not blindly defending Lance Armstrong for a start, or not so blindly as the case may be - but could anyone have taken the organisation that was and turned it into what it is today overnight? I don't think so. Look at the implosion within the IAAF. I have worked with Lord Coe for several years in his Olympic role and he's as impressive an operator as there is. But he will have an impossible task if he tries to solve the problems in athletics overnight, or ahead of the Rio Games, which is as good as the same thing. From rooting out the bad apples, to keeping allies on side, assuaging different political tempers, keeping investors happy, protecting clean athletes and pursuing others within the letter of the law...just thinking about some of the issues involved gives me a headache.
    To compare the two situations cycling now has independent anti-doping bodies, an independent legal service, an independent licensing commission...these are all the boring details that don't make the international headlines but that athletics will now have to work towards establishing. There is a lot of work still to be done on women's cycling though. That has to be the next key target for Cookson
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  • « Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 10:35 by just some guy »

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    Re: Velorooms interview the interviewers Q and A
    « Reply #2 on: November 03, 2015, 10:42 »
    Question 2.
    In cycling, there are rumours and then there are rumours. How hard is it, when you are spending so much of your time talking and writing about cycling, to know a rumour is 99% fact but still be unable to share it with your audience? What process do you go through before making said information public?


    Rob Arnold
    It’s important to consider where the rumour came from. Pouncing on vitriol poured out on social media can be a big mistake.
    But ignoring what’s been put out there can also be costly.
    There’s a fine line but generally it’s obvious what is fact and what is fiction.
    A great problem with professional sport in general is that lying becomes second nature to many involved so a key is to be cynical, without being critical simply for the sake of it.
    There’s a range of processes and I don’t believe it’s possible to paraphrase this as each story is an individual case.


    Richard Moore
    Something is either true or it isn't and you can usually find out which it is. I would check with people I know and trust. Most rumours are not true (or so the people I know and trust tell me). I can honestly say that there is nothing I *know* that I'd really like to make public but can't. When journalists hint that they know more than they can say, I think they are on a bit of an ego trip. It can be very irresponsible. If you're a journalist, don't drop dark hints or ask loaded questions on Twitter: find out if something is true or not and if it is, write it. 

    Matt Keenan
    My general rule is to not talk about rumours relating to doping, as being wrong does unfair damage to someone's reputation. In live commentary, on this topic, I wait until the facts are in. 

    However, if it's a rumour, with a fair bit of momentum, about someone changing teams or a rift between teammates I'll talk about it.

     An example of this was the discussion around Richie Porte leaving Sky. This was an interesting topic of conversation that didn't put anyone's reputation at risk if our commentary proved to be incorrect. It's also couched in the tone of speculation eg. "Porte is rumoured to be leaving Sky and headed to BMC. It will be interested to see what this would mean for Van Garderen. Watch this space."

    Having said all that I don't always get it right. When you're spending as much as five hours or more commentating live you're bound to have the odd slip of the tongue.


    Shane Stokes
    There have been plenty of rumours over the years – some were proven to be true, others not. The Lance Armstrong situation is one clear example of rumours that became gradually more and more clear over time. What was frustrating was seeing many in the sport treating him like a deity when it was clear he was far from that.

    Other rumours have proven not to be accurate; for an example of this, look at the Pantani murder conspiracy nonsense that Italian media used to try to sell extra newspapers a year or so ago!

    When we hear rumours, we will try to speak to people either on or off record about it, depending on what they are comfortable with. We did so recently with a rumour from the peloton. I won't go into specifics (sorry!) but talking to a couple of solid people led us to conclude the rumour was not true. Over the years there have been plenty of stories that didn't get written/published as it wasn't possible to back up what was claimed. Sometimes the rumour is ultimately proven to be true, but that's fine; you have to make a call based on how accurate things look like at the time.


    Velocast Scott
    Getting something to the point where you're sure it's "99% fact" usually has it coming from multiple, reliable sources. What John & I do is very conversational, so we do tend to throw in some rumours here and there. However, we do make it clear that they are rumours and never attempt to suggest they are anything other than this. Also, any information that we discuss as rumour will always have come from sources that we know we can rely on.

    Matt Rendell
    The golden rule in journalism is two good, independent sources'

    Neal Rogers
    From my experience in writing about cycling, more often than not, the rumors I hear end up being true. Obviously that's not always the case, but I'd say somewhere between 80-90% of the time, there's a strong element of truth to the rumors I hear. Of course there's a vetting process, based on the source, the rumor, and your internal bullsh*t detector. The process is straightforward: Make as many phone calls as you can, attempt to verify, try to get sources to go on the record, and, in some instances, if you have to, attribute rumors to anonymous sources. It's not ideal, and you have to absolutely believe that your source, or sources, are telling you the truth. A big part of that is questioning what they might gain by being dishonest versus what they stand to gain by being honest. There's certainly an element of intuition, or gut instinct, that goes along with it, along with trust.

    When I broke the story, in September 2008, that Lance Armstrong was returning to race professionally, it was based on rumors, and it was reported as such. The moment that clinched it for me was when I bumped into George Hincapie in the hotel lobby at the Tour of Missouri, and asked him if he'd heard anything about the rumor. Though he didn't confirm or deny it, the look on his face was all I needed to know. I then called USA Cycling, and found out that Armstrong had re-enrolled in out-of-competition testing, which cinched it. Obviously, you don't always have the luxury of being in the hotel lobby of a major race when you're working on a story like that, but having a long list of contacts, and building trust, is a major part of being a beat reporter.

    I've also been on the other end of it, when it comes to rumors. In February 2013 I wrote a story that the U.S. Department of Justice was unlikely to join Floyd Landis' whistleblower lawsuit. That was based on information from two credible sources who asked not to be named. In the moment I ran the story, the information was correct — the two parties were very close to reaching a settlement, which would have meant the DOJ would not have joined the case. But the negotiations fell through, they didn't settle, and ultimately, the story was proven to be incorrect. The next day, the DOJ announced that it had joined the lawsuit, which is, of course, ongoing, almost three years later. It's an instance where, though the rumors I was hearing were correct, running the story without a named source put all the responsibility on my shoulders. Running that, based on rumor, without anyone willing to go on record, is one of the big regrets of my career, and was a major lesson. I don't fault my sources; I fault myself, for jumping the gun. It was a major learning experience.


    Orla Chennaoui
    That's a very good question, especially given the ease with which these rumours can now be spread, and the speed at which they become 'established fact'. The answer is, annoyingly, that it's both difficult and it's not. I've yet to meet a journalist or a fan for that matter whose eyes don't light up at the sound of a bit of inside info. But keeping that to myself until I have checked all the facts is something that's so ingrained in me that it's just second nature. My whole career has been spent in journalism, from hard news to sport, so checking your sources is simply the bread and butter of what I do. That's not to be sanctimonious about the matter - if I get something wrong I get a boll***ing so it's in my own interests to do things properly! Also, as a journalist credibility is key, and it's generally how you get trusted with stories for the future. That's not to say you can't exaggerate how much you know to a source to get more from them! It's a slow old game though - patience is a virtue.
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  • « Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 12:20 by just some guy »

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    Re: Velorooms interview the interviewers Q and A
    « Reply #3 on: November 03, 2015, 10:43 »
    Question 3.
    The dinner party question! If you could have a dinner party with 5 people from the world of cycling past or present, dead or alive, riders or managers or Journalists etc etc ,  who would they be and why?


    Rob Arnold
    In no particular order…
    Christian Prudhomme. He’s become a master of the dinner party conversation. He’s seen cycling from a unique angle and is honest about his time as a broadcaster versus race director. Although he has a front row seat during some of the biggest races in the world, he admits that he now mainly focuses on the crowd – for fear that someone is going to be at risk from the riders or the convoy.
    More than that, however, he can hold a good discussion on a vast range of topics and is capable of remaining interesting… and interested.

    François Thomazeau. A fellow journalist who I greatly respect. His sense of humour and way of telling stories makes him an ideal dinner companion.

    David Millar. He’s been there and done… a lot. He’s frank about his past – good and bad. He is articulate and interesting. He strikes me as someone who, like many of us, goes from loving cycling to hating cycling – in equal measure… and has good reasons for both.

    Jacques Augendre. Much of my fascination with cycling stems from the Tour de France. I was lucky enough to spend a few journeys between stages with Jacques and I found his recall impressive. He was part of the sport during such a long span of time and it would be a wonderful opportunity to discover stories that aren’t just boring old anecdotes that grow in bullsh*t-factor with every retelling.

    Martin Vinnicombe. He’s arguably the most interesting cyclist I’ve ever met. We are friends and although we’ve spoken often over the past 25 years, it never feels like we’ve reached the limit of what there is to talk about.



    Richard Moore

     Louison Bobet and his brother, Jean – I love the latter's book, Tomorrow, We Ride.

    Shelley Verses - because she is brilliant fun and everyone would love her.

    Graeme Obree - because he is Graeme Obree.

    Lance Armstrong - because Obree would psychoanalyse him.

    I fear that the Bobets would feel a bit left out, but it would still be an interesting evening.

    Matt Keenan

    Peter Post and Jan Raas just to see the tension in the room between these two one more time.

    Lance Armstrong and Hein Verbruhgen to ply them with too much red wine in an effort to get the full truth out of them.

     And Alfredo Martini to manage the egos and bring a bit of class to the conversation.

    Shane Stokes
    To be frank, if I'd five guests from any time in history that I could invite to a dinner, I'd probably look outside of cycling! There are some really fascinating personalities over the centuries. However if it was limited to cycling, I can think of a few. These are just off the cuff suggestions – if you asked me tomorrow, I'd likely come up with some different names.. 

    Tom Simpson might be one, trying to understand the mindset and hunger that led him to take the decisions he took. Ditto for Pantani. One of the top early Tour riders would be interesting to talk to – what encouraged them to do something as wild and over the top as riding the very first editions of the race?

    Alfonsina Strada, the woman who rode the 1924 Giro d'Italia, would definitely be interesting to talk to.

    Also, Gino Bartali – would like to ask him about his career, but also about how he helped others during World War II. Again, that's not an exhaustive list, just an impulsive one!


    Velocast Scott
    Oh, tough one! In fact, I'd go as far to suggest this is an impossible question. As such, I'm opting for a silly answer:

    Lance Armstrong.
    Johan Bruyneel
    Pat McQuaid
    Hein Verbruggen
    Michele Ferrari

    We can talk about where the bodies are buried!


    Matt Rendall
    I have always regretted never being able to speak to either Gino Bartali or Raphael Geminiani, so both of them. Christophe Eugène, the first ever wearer of the Maillot Jaune, sounds like a very impressive human being, so he would be number three. I had the huge good fortune to locate José Beyaert, the 1948 Olympic road race champion, after 6 years of searching, so instead I would choose someone whose voice I have never even heard: Colombia's first great cycling commentator, Carlos Arturo Rueda. He would be number four. And, given that there is only one more place at the table, I would be forced to choose between one or other of my two favourite contemporary cycling journalists, Jeff Quenet or Carlos Arribas, to ask all the questions I would forget, being so overwhelmed by the company.

    Neal Rogers
    I haven't really given this much thought, so I won't try to answer it. I don't speak any other languages, and I've met most of the major figures in U.S. cycling, which doesn't have the history of other nations. I'd love to have a few beers and talk music with Manuel Quinziato and Daniel Oss some time. From what I can tell, we share a passion for similar types of music

    Orla Chennaoui
    This question gets me every time! Ok so the first guest would have to be Leonardo da Vinci. Bear with me here. For years academics believed Da Vinci had invested the bicycle based on a sketch said to have come from his studio. I went to see an exhibition in Syracuse last year where they'd recreated a machine based on the sketch along side his crazy helicopter and parachute devices. I was blown away by the bike so I was really disappointed when I read the sketch was probably a fake. Still, the man's a genius and I bet he could help me service my Condor. He was also into ball bearings like my husband so I could maybe persuade him to cook. My husband, not Leonardo da Vinci.

    From one genius to another, I'd love to have Graeme Obree at the table. The way that guy thinks is just inspiring. No boundaries, nothing is impossible, nothing cannot be done. Once he'd explained all his machines to me I could pick his brains about his training theories which are fascinating too.

    Annie Londonderry would have to have a place at my table. The first woman to cycle around the world in the late 1800s, she turned every notion of the typical Victorian woman on its head. By all accounts, having only ridden a bike for the first time a few days earlier Annie took on a bet, travelled through Europe, the Middle East, Asia and back to America in 15 months and took the money from those betting gentlemen with pleasure. A pioneer in a man's world and often described as brash and full of chutzpah, she's my kind of lady.

    My fourth guest would be David Millar who could more than hold his own in this company. Millar's way of telling not only his own story but that of life within the chaos of bike racing would make him a great guest. I would want some gossip from within the peloton so given that he's just retired he'd be safe enough to spill the beans. Plus, with his move into commentary, we could always swap TV stories.

    My final guest would be sat between Annie and David, and I think I'd go for Lizzie Armitstead. I'd love to hear her and Annie swap stories and Lizzie seems to have strong opinions and knows her own mind, which I love at a dinner table. Plus, I need a bit of female company and I might be a bit intimated by Ms Londonderry. I'd be naughty though and ask her to bring her World Champs jersey for the inevitable dinner party Instagram selfie pic. 
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  • « Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 10:39 by just some guy »

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    Re: Velorooms interview the interviewers Q and A
    « Reply #4 on: November 03, 2015, 10:43 »
    Question 4.
    Over the last 12 months we have seen Velon looking to get their hands on a piece of cycling’s financial pie. When the music stops – with reforms and debates on the horizon over the next few years - how will the financial system for men’s cycling look in 5 years? Can the women’s side of the sport begin to catch up by then?


    Rob Arnold
    If pro cycling continues to rely on benefactors propping up the sport, it’s on a fast-track to doom. To believe that it will simply continue because there is a history is naïve. The sponsorship model has suffered severe blows recently and because of the ambiguity around how broadcast will be in the years to come, it’s difficult to ascertain where some funding sources will come from.
    The rapid acceleration of new media is throwing confusion around all forms of entertainment.
    If Hollywood is struggling with how to manage piracy and other issues that come with new media, how is cycling going to cope?
    Velon’s intentions come across as though they will be cycling’s saviours and it can’t be that way in a sport where cooperation – from all parties – is necessary.
    Already there’s a belief from many involved in cycling that they – and they alone – are The Most Important Element of the sport: the cyclist, the race promoter, the spectator, the broadcaster, the sponsor, the manager(s), the president… but without one another none of them are worth a pinch of sh*t.
    When the music stops, we need to keep moving – and ensure that everyone still has a place in the sport.
    There is an assumption that there will always be money at cycling’s disposal but for that to be the case, there must be innovation and a willingness to capitalise on both the historical element of the sport while working with contemporary themes. Just because there has been a way of doing something for 30 years, it doesn’t mean we have to continue doing things that way. (When I see yet another shot of a motorcycle’s speedometer to illustrate the speed of the peloton, I catch sick in my mouth!)
    Velon, work with everyone if you are to effect a change.
    And to do that, it can’t be elusive or exclusive…!
    Men and women are both cyclists… what applies to one gender applies to the other.


    Richard Moore
    I think the men's professional sport should be more affordable. Cut teams in half, making them 15 rather than 30. Cut the race programme in half. I think the top riders are paid too much. You hear what some guys are on and think: is the sponsor really getting value for that? I don't want to go back to the '70s but the dearth of team sponsors suggests that the current system isn't working.
    Women's cycling is making inroads but I'm not sure it should always be compared to men's cycling. The best events, in my opinion, are those that stand alone, not in the shadow of men's races: the Women's Tour, even the world road race, and the fact it happens on a different day, gives it room to breathe.


    Matt Keenan
    I've no idea how the financial system will look in five years time. I don't think the UCI or Velon know either. ASO and RSC hold the financial cards on the road.

     As for women's cycling media coverage is the key.

     In any sport the amount of media coverage an athlete gets relates directly to how much they get paid. In cycling, the men get paid more than the women because they get more media coverage, which provides exposure for sponsors.

     For cycling to be a commercial success sponsors must get a return on their investment, which comes through the media coverage an athlete gets. A lot of athletes, who are understandably just focused on performance, don't see this direct link.

     The challenge for women's cycling, and for the men if they want bigger pay packets, is to generate more mainstream media coverage.


    Shane Stokes
    That's the multi-million dollar question. Too soon to say how successful Velon will be, but certainly the recent furore over riders' rights was unfortunate. It's long been clear that riders and teams need a stronger collective voice. Providing the individual riders regain trust with Velon after the debate about the addendum, it could prove useful.

    I think the determinant as to how successful Velon or any similar group will be is if it can stand up to ASO. As was seen with the Unibet team in the 2000s, one team on its own is too weak to challenge ASO's power. Many teams together should be much more successful, and if these can get some leverage, changes might come. ASO needs to be willing to work with teams, riders, the UCI and other stakeholders to try to increase the overall market for the sport. If the company continues being as stubbornly protectionist as it has been, cycling is going to remain financially weak for a long time.

    Equally important for riders and teams is to stamp out doping. It doesn't matter how well ASO cooperates – if nothing is learned from the Armstrong scandal, then cycling will continue being its own worst enemy and the sport won't gain the credibility it needs to grow.

    As regards the women's side of the sport: this should definitely get bigger. I suspect it will take more than five years to get close to the size of men's cycling, but I really hope that I'm pleasantly surprised in this regard.

    I do think that in five years' time it should be a lot more solid, and that there is a minimum wage across all UCI teams. Again, its growth depends on riders and teams not crossing any ethical lines.


    Velocast Scott
    Unless something drastic takes place - the Velon teams deciding to break away from the UCI and current organisers, for example - I don't believe 5 years is a long enough period of time for significant change to have taken place in team finances. In 2020, teams will still be reliant on sponsorship. I'd like to think that some of their income will be derived from other sources, but the majority will still come via title sponsorship.

    In the last few years we've seen interest in women's cycling explode. New races are now on the calendar, such as the Aviva Women's Tour in the UK and La Course in Paris. 2016 will bring the inaugural Women's WorldTour, replacing the World Cup. I think the interest in and exposure of women's cycling will only continue to grow with more sponsors and broadcasters choosing to dedicate their time, energy, and finances into it.




    Matt Rendall
    I don't have a great deal of faith in the ability of people and groupings who spend a large part of their lives competing tooth and nail with each other - and I mean teams but also manufacturers, sponsors, and institutions - coming together and co-operating to find common solutions to common problems.

    So I cannot see a capitalistic scheme like the present system of wealthy benefaction voluntarily transforming itself into a socialistc arrangement like some American sports. And I cannot see a proper, meritocratic system of promotion and relegation emerging. I can envisage some sort of more or less cosmetic understanding whereby a token, topsliced sliver of TV revenue is shared between the top teams and the big organisers, to the general dissatisfaction of all.

    Generally, I see the sport lurching from one form of temporary, unsatisfactory equilibrium to another. Like every other manifestation of human life.


    Neal Rogers
    It's hard to imagine ASO losing its financial stronghold on the sport — especially if there is any truth to reports that RCS is looking to sell the Giro d'Italia. I can't begin to guess what the financial system will look like, but I honestly don't anticipate it looking much different than it currently does.

    Orla Chennaoui
    The financial system in cycling has to change, that much is certain. We can't have a sport where entire teams can be out of a job at the end of a season and relying on financial slack elsewhere to be able to continue their careers. The top riders will generally be ok but stability for the whole sport means confidence for the younger riders that they will have some sort of stability in the future, and certainly a livelihood for all the people that make the sport work - mechanics, bus drivers, soigneurs etc.
    I'm confident things will change for the better but exactly how? That's the question. Ideally we would be seeing more longer-term commercial contracts but we don't have an awful lot of Velon detail to go on. Selling on-bike footage is a great idea but there has to be a return on the investment for the broadcasters. From a practical point of view someone needs to go through all that footage, it has to be edited and added to the bulk of material to then go into highlights packages. The concept itself is brilliant, and badly needed from a fan's perspective, but broadcasters would need to be convinced it's worth paying for beyond the drama of a crash and the novelty value. I certainly hope they do.

    As for women's cycling I think we have a long way to go before we can get anything even approaching parity on that level. Brian Cookson says we're still a few years away from establishing a minimum wage for female riders, and we'll also need a few seasons of a solid racing calendar first to prove the sport is a sound investment. We have so far to go in the women's sport that it's a separate topic in itself.
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  • « Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 10:42 by just some guy »

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    Re: Velorooms interview the interviewers Q and A
    « Reply #5 on: November 03, 2015, 10:43 »
    Question 5.
    In 5 years’ time, what will be the biggest issue in cycling? Who will be the riders – male and female – that we will be discussing as the stars of the sport?


    Rob Arnold
    Doping will never die. It’ll be a curse as long as there’s money in sport, it’ll just get harder to cheat.
    But if gambling takes hold, then doping will seem trivial. There is already a huge risk of this and we have discussed this at length several years ago, just prior to Cookson’s arrival as president. When I raised it with him, he looked like a deer in the headlights. Needless to say he didn’t have any view on managing what is going to be professional sport’s eventual undoing… unless it’s managed.
    Online betting is too easy, too immediate, too accessible, too corruptible for it to be ignored.
    We’ll be talking about the challengers for the title at the Tour de France. And then about who did what between editions of that race… much like we do now.


    Richard Moore
    Doping. Of course.
    Male: I had high hopes for Matej Mohoric but he hasn't progressed as I thought he would – but still lots of time. I'd like to see Joe Dombrowski do well. And hopefully Tao Geoghegan Hart, a rider we've followed closely on The Cycling Podcast, can make it.
    Female: Pauline Ferrand-Prévot will be 28 – at her peak.


    Matt Keenan
    The biggest issues in cycling haven't changed for 50 years so I don't see them changing in the next five. Doping, the structure of the racing calendar and the vulnerability of teams will always be high on the agenda.

     In five years time the riders from the class of 1990 will be at the peak of their powers – Quintana, Chaves, Sagan, Matthews, Dumoulin, Pinot and co, plus the Yates brothers, Caleb Ewan, Warren Barguil and Romain Bardet.

     On the women's front we'll be asking if Lizzie Armitstead, Jolien D'Hoore, Anna van der Breggen and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot are past their best or still the ones to beat. I see these riders being the main topic of conversation for the next five years. And of course we'll always be talking about Marianne Vos as the benchmark of women's cycling for this generation.


    Shane Stokes
    Biggest issue in cycling? As mentioned, doping might still be a key topic, but I hope not. Riders and teams have a big part to play in this. I really hope that race sabotage isn't an issue; the Eschborn-Frankfurt race was cancelled this year due to the threat of a terror attack. As the sport is run on open roads over huge loops, or from point A to point B, security is a concern. Let's hope this never leads to anything sinister, as that could be devastating for the sport's future.

    It might take longer than five years, but extreme weather will likely also be a big topic. Global warming is likely to lead to all sorts of variations, and this may affect geographically where races are run.

    Best riders? Hard to tell at this point in time. I'm not wild about long-term predictions, not least because they can put a lot of pressure on young riders, and so I'll take a wait-and-see with that one! But there are certainly guys like Caleb Ewan who look very promising and seem to have a driven mentality. 


    Velocast Scott
    The issues we face now, in 2015, will be the same as we face in 5 years time: money, politics, power, and doping. All of these are, sadly, inevitable in professional sport. That's not to paint a depressing picture for the future of cycling. Despite the issues we face today, the sport is still hugely entertaining, endlessly fascinating, and inspiring. That was case when I started watching cycling in the 80s, it's the case now, and I'm confident it will still be true on 2020.

    Peter Sagan is 25, and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot is 23. I think they'll both be hugely successful in 5 years time. As for new stars, I'm looking forward to seeing how riders like Tao Geoghegan Hart develop. He's still only 20 and has managed some podium places at the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Paris-Roubaix Juniors events. This year managed 8th overall at the Tour of the Gila and will be a Stagiaire for Sky in 2016. I was hugely impressed by Chloe Dygert at the World Championships this year. She's only 18 and won both the Junior Road Race and the ITT.


    Matt Rendall
    One of the issues that is bound to appear in greater and greater relief as time passes and cycling increasingly inhabits the realm of all those unbearably glossy, "meaning-of-life" promotional videos, is the matter of its hidden costs. Providing not much money is being made, individuals will agree not to park outside their house, and allow TV helicopters so film their backyards, and businesses will put up with reduced trade due to road closures and crowd barriers, and towns and villages along race routes will put up with temporary inconvenience in exchange for the most intangible of promises.

    But as the sport grows, and press rooms get more and more packed, race organisers tend to exclude local press to make more space for media representatives from major foreign territories. But cycling depends on local councils and communities: it is territorial. To take the most extreme example, the World Championships occupy towns as thoroughly as an army, blocking roads and making life a downright misery for those whose hearts and minds haven't been won. Globalisation is fine, but the local heartlands have to be tended and cultivated. So the global-local dichotomy is going to be key.

    I have to confess ignorance of women's cycling, but, for the men, everything I have seen of Merhawi Kudus leads me to believe that he is a special talent and will be a leading rider five years from now. Nairo Quintana will only be 30 years old, and he will have won several GTs by 2020. An even younger Colombian, Daniel Martínez, looks to have what it takes, too.


    Neal Rogers
    I see the issues of today continuing to be the biggest issues for the foreseeable future — doping, and financial-stability issues. Hopefully, by then, the UCI will have been able to establish a system that ensures long-term stability for corporate-sponsored teams, though it seems as though the ASO isn't interested in relinquishing its power, in terms of which wildcard teams to invite to the Tour de France, and other major events. As far as the riders that we'll be discussing in five years, I think it's safe to assume we'll be talking about Peter Sagan and Pauline Ferrand-Prevot in 2020. I think Yolanda Neff is another big star in the making. She's already won the MTB World Cup title, two years in a row, she was in the top 10 in the elite women's road race in Richmond, and she's only 22. I'd love to see her and PFP battle it out on both road and MTB; that could be the kind of rivalry that could put women's cycling in the spotlight. Who else... Obviously Mathieu van der Poel is a phenom. I'm fairly certain he can win anything he puts his mind to — Paris-Roubaix, a world road championship, maybe even the Tour de France. But first Nairo Quintana will win the Tour, and he may still be winning the Tour, five years from now.

    Orla Chennaoui
    I've been touting Tao Geoghan Hart for years, and was almost going to put him on my dinner party list...But I've seen that pressure on other riders take its toll - not being invited to my dinner party of course!
    I'm not entirely comfortable with the crossover between support/talent spotting and pressure. Especially not unless it comes from a coach.
    There's another mountain biker I macs my eye on but again not sure if I want him reading his name out there and interpreting it in any way
    Do you mind if I just say I have a few people I keep my eye on and always look did their results but don't like to put it out there?
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  • « Last Edit: November 18, 2015, 10:43 by just some guy »

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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #6 on: November 18, 2015, 11:55 »
    I was surprised that Communication from the UCI not being as big an issue as I expected, I assumed it would be the theme of the 1st question
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  • LukasCPH

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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #7 on: November 18, 2015, 12:30 »
    I was surprised that Communication from the UCI not being as big an issue as I expected, I assumed it would be the theme of the 1st question
    Possible reason are that these people aren't involved with the intransparent, uncommunicative parts of the UCI, but mostly the press office (if at all). And I'd assume Seb Gillot & co. are quicker to reply if the question comes from Shane Stokes, Matt Keenan or Orla Chennaoui than from *random cycling enthusiast*.

    Also, if you're more than busy chasing other stories etc., you may just not give much thought to the UCI's communicative mess - not because you don't care, but because you only have time to care for so many things, and this simply ranks below a lot of other things. ;)
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  • Cyclingnews Women's Pro Cycling Correspondent
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    Views presented are my own. RIP Keith & Sean

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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #8 on: November 18, 2015, 17:42 »
    this is brilliant and a great insight. great effort.

    Now flag em to Cookson, Prudhomme, Lemond and Brailsford for a comparison..... :s .. actually throw in Vaughters or David Millar as well
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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #9 on: November 18, 2015, 20:30 »
    this is brilliant and a great insight. great effort.

    Now flag em to Cookson, Prudhomme, Lemond and Brailsford for a comparison..... :s .. actually throw in Vaughters or David Millar as well

    there is a lot of text but worth the time
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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #10 on: November 18, 2015, 21:19 »
    there is a lot of text but worth the time

    Absolutely worth it mon ami .... thank you
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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #11 on: November 19, 2015, 06:17 »
    You didn't ask Gregor Brown?!  :o
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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #12 on: November 19, 2015, 08:05 »
    awesome work JSG and Lukas

    thank you for these interviews .... very interesting indeed

     :cool   :cool   :cool
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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #13 on: November 19, 2015, 08:21 »
    awesome work JSG and Lukas
    Honestly, I didn't do anything. This is 100% JSG's gig. :)
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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #14 on: November 19, 2015, 08:36 »
    I'm going to make a few comments here that I had initially put in the shoutbox by way of congratulations to JSG for organising this thread:

    1. I thought the responses gave a clear indication of what it takes to do cycling journalism: gaining the confidence of individuals and developing a wide network, both of which doubtless take a long time. It is easy to overlook the ingredients that are needed to write about the sport.

    2. It's good to hear some personal opinions. Journalists are by definition among the best informed about their subject and yet, unless they have an editorial outlet, they are condemned never to contribute personally to a debate, only to report on it and perhaps shape it through that reportage.

    3. I found that, while I am very critical of cycling journalism for failing at times to hold the sport to account, I agree with a lot of what these respondents have written. Whether optimist or pessimist, they do demonstrate concern for the direction of cycling and have about as much of a clue about solutions to popular questions as we do!
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  • Cycling is a Europe thing only and I only watch from Omloop on cause I am cool and sh*t
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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #15 on: November 19, 2015, 09:11 »

    2. It's good to hear some personal opinions. Journalists are by definition among the best informed about their subject and yet, unless they have an editorial outlet, they are condemned never to contribute personally to a debate, only to report on it and perhaps shape it through that reportage.


    yeah it must be hard for them - they talk so much, but dont often get a chance to offer than personal insight.

    It is very interesting to read some of their opinions
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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #16 on: November 19, 2015, 11:32 »
    Congratulations JSG, a fine piece of journalism in its own right.

    What struck me was how pivotal the ASO was in so many answers. The UCI doesn't really have the solutions to the sport's issues according to the interviewees, but there's a lot of forum noise (here and elsewhere) about what they do / don't do; and little, if anything, on the ASO.
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    Re: interview the interviewers
    « Reply #17 on: November 25, 2015, 15:56 »
    I'm really late to this, but I'd like to add to the chorus. A fascinating read that should be spread widely. Chapeau JSG!
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