Tuesday, 6 November 2007

New Australian Track Pro Team - instalment #2 Rant

I had a think about this overnight, and realised I probably didn't articulate properly what I meant in my post below. The double-dipping aspect still stands: how can you claim to have a "new" team when it replicates most of an existing team, that would compete the same events as the existing team? How is having a pro team composed in this way good for cycling and cyclists (apart from those in the team who gain double benefit ie as pro team members AND members of the national squad, both sponsored by the same sponsor)? IE what opportunities does it provide for other elite, or potentially elite track cyclists? That being said, the fact that an international corporation wants to provide sponsorship funds for Australian cycling truly is a good thing, and will assist the Australian team in its attempts to win medals internationally. Elite, international sport is an expensive business. That a major corporate player is interested in supporting cycling (as well as using cycling as a means to raise it's own profile - that's the way it works) is encouraging, and should be commended and supported.

Too often of late I've been hearing "It's good for cycling." In my mind "good for cycling " MUST equal "good for cyclists". If a new way of doing things doesn't, in actuality, provide more opportunities for more (racing/competitive) cyclists to compete (more often) then I ask: is it really good for cycling? In what way is it good for cycling? An argument exists about raising the profile of cycling as a Good Thing tm. If it raises the profile of cycling, will it, for example, reduce the amount of abuse and danger cyclists experience on the road? What are the benefits of simply raising the profile of cycling? What does an increase in the number of people who pay to watch cycle races as entertainment (along the lines of dog, horse and car racing) mean for cycling and cyclists? Will it increase the opportunities for competitive cyclists to race, will it increase respect for cyclists on the road, or simply make a business enterprise profitable for some?

So when you read or hear "It's good for cycling" think critically/analytically about what that might mean, for you as a competitive cyclist, for up and coming elite/international cyclists, for cyclists in general.

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