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Old 06-29-09, 06:32 PM   #1
Howzit
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Classics, Criteriums, Stage Races

With a lot of Criterium races in the US, there has been a lot of progress with stage races, Tour of California being the latest to grow considerably.
Do you think we will see Pro cycling get really big in the US?
Do you think Crits hurt or help pro cycling in the US?
I know a lot of cyclists including myself, who wouldnt want to race Pro in the US because of the overwhelming number of crits, if for example, your a high mountain climber. The accidents, and so on.

EDIT: Salary is obviously a big part of how much it will grow. Do Crits help attract sponsors, and hence bigger salaries? Are Crits then helpful in that sense. Is televising Crits easier that normal stage races, and hence attraction of sponsors?

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Old 06-30-09, 08:25 AM   #2
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I think crits help cycling.

I don't think they're replacing road races at all. It's not like a crit is happening, so the road race shuts down. There is no road race. Period.

For the training aspect, having a crit is better than having nothing at all. They definitely help develop speed and handling. Are they dangerous? Yep. Moreso than RR's? For the average pro? I think that's not necessarliy true.

I also think they do help promote the sport. They are easier to organize than road racing. They're exciting to spectators. They're valuable to sponsors as they can rest assured their name/image is constantly before spectators , whereas--due to the movement aspect--not as much in RR's.

That said, I don't think we'll see cycling get really big in US. Call me a pessimist.
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Old 06-30-09, 11:26 AM   #3
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Ya gotta climb the ladder you're given.

Back in the day the Coors Classic was an excellent stage race that had lots of crits as stages. That race launched an entire nation into the European scene; the original 7-Eleven team cut their teeth and impressed the Europeans at that race. And I tell you what - watching Bernard Hinault sprint for primes and chase down breaks on a tight crit course was something to see! And the crits certainly brought out the crowds.

Back when I was road racing the crashes seemed to happen more in the road races and circuit races than the crits. At least the crashes I was involved in. Dunno why.....

Chris

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Old 06-30-09, 11:50 AM   #4
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With all the problems happening with cycling in Europe, I feel that US Pro cycling could rocket if they held a lot more road races.
My logic is that we could see many Pros move over (from Europe) and race here for a living and just get away from the dark cloud thats over Pro cycling there right now.
I know a few Pros personally that would have moved to the US if there was more "racing" (read road races).

The nice thing about the US is that its so big. It could offer all kinds of great classic races over all sorts of terrain instead of confining it to crits on a city block.
In a way, its almost a shame. Rural America has a lot to offer just like some places in Europe, a lot of history and so on.

I do understand that as a Capitalist nation, who cares about the love and passion for it, its all about the profit and money baby. So i guess crits are better for sponsors.
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Old 06-30-09, 02:03 PM   #5
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Crits attract more American fans (just like NASCAR is way bigger than (car) road racing) and are way easier to organize. You can do them around a park or a business park rather or a shopping district rather than closing down 100+ miles of highway.

As far as attracting European pros - you just don't seem to get the term "professional". Yeah, maybe they'll leave some money on the table for a shot at going for a monument with a good team, but generally they'll go where they're paid to go. One thing that has faded a bit - but still is in existence to a smaller extent - is the post Tour Criterium "season". In the olden days guys like Merckx and Hinault would make a very substantial chunk of their yearly income by showing up at a series of criteriums (in Europe) for the start money the organizers paid to the Tour jersey winners.

The crit was by no means invented in the US. The way to get the big pros to show up is to get American sponsors into the sport and organize races that get big-time exposure for those sponsors. It really doesn't matter what the course is like. What counts is the money.
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Old 06-30-09, 04:08 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by GV27 View Post
Crits attract more American fans (just like NASCAR is way bigger than (car) road racing) and are way easier to organize. You can do them around a park or a business park rather or a shopping district rather than closing down 100+ miles of highway.

As far as attracting European pros - you just don't seem to get the term "professional". Yeah, maybe they'll leave some money on the table for a shot at going for a monument with a good team, but generally they'll go where they're paid to go. One thing that has faded a bit - but still is in existence to a smaller extent - is the post Tour Criterium "season". In the olden days guys like Merckx and Hinault would make a very substantial chunk of their yearly income by showing up at a series of criteriums (in Europe) for the start money the organizers paid to the Tour jersey winners.

The crit was by no means invented in the US. The way to get the big pros to show up is to get American sponsors into the sport and organize races that get big-time exposure for those sponsors. It really doesn't matter what the course is like. What counts is the money.
I meant the problems with all the doping going on, and a lot of riders being prosecuted for "doing what they need to do"
yes money is the biggest factor, but even bigger than that is even if you can ride your bike as a Pro at all. This seems to be the case with a lot of Pros who now have 2 year bans and feel like the system is against them. Another continent to race on would be a god-send to a lot of athletes who are being affected by this storm.
I for one raced as an amateur in Europe and would have preferred to turn Pro in the US if there had been enough races.
Money at that point was not a factor in my career, but just racing Pro was, regardless of how much the salary was. In fact, most probably my salary as an amateur would have been the same as a Pro here, which would have been fine.
I know a lot of amateurs I raced with who couldnt turn Pro because the racing was just too hard and risky because of doping. We all wished for another continent to race on.

Your right tho, I guess everything comes down to money
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