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Excluding the smaller domestic races and crit scene, the U.S. has always had an identity crisis when trying to position itself on the international cycling calendar. At its best, it's cute; at its worst, it's downright embarrassing.

Watching some of the bigger events often feels like you're being presented the Disney version of European cycling. They use similar terminology, and play off of cycling's legitimate history, but the end result usually seems sterilized and underwhelming when compared to the real thing. Fancy packaging only goes so far when the product inside is a cheap knock-off.

Making it even weirder still: The fans often play along, as if characters in a Disney production as well. They want to be seen imitating European fan behavior, promoting European food and drink, and generally searching for acceptance as "true" cycling fans. I understand that much of it is just people having fun with the imagery, but it's odd.

This whole spiel about California being the "fourth-biggest stage race" was part of that, too.
Let's be real: The fourth-biggest stage race is the Tour de Suisse, with Dauphiné and Paris-Nice close behind. Any stage race in the US, however great it may be, can't hope to come near that status until it's been running, continuously, for ~50 years.

But that's not a problem. Not everything has to always be the biggest and bestest - on the contrary, finding a good niche will often be more successful than desperately trying to be(come) something you're certifiably not.
Focus on your strengths.
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  • Cyclingnews Women's WorldTour Correspondent
    2017 0711|CYCLING PR Manager; 2016 Stölting Content Editor
    Views presented are my own. RIP Keith & Sean


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