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The Roar

Alistair Nitz

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Joined August 2012

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Live the dream with a sporting tour across Europe watching cycling and football

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Currently Australia is sitting 10th on the Cycling Medal table at the Rio Olympics. We were also substantially behind Team GB at the last World Champs in the medal tally as well. There is enough evidence to suggest that it is not a statistical outlier.

We can’t have this attitude that it was only a statistical outliers or we will risk falling further down the medal tally at future events as other countries try to replicate the Team GB blueprint.

Swimming made a bigger splash, but our cyclists need a blowtorch too

US Postal were drug cheats and any reference to their success has been removed from the record books. You can’t set up if you can’t access the financial resources to compete against Sky.

Urgent reform needed to remove Team Sky's dominance

The main trust of the article was about Sky’s dominance of the Tour due to its financial advantage compared to all the other teams. Regardless of your view, the main game for a cycling team is the Tour de France. Sure, Sky did not win the Giro, but then again compare the starting line of of both those GTs and tell me which one was the strongest. Sky used Landa as its leader in the Giro. He struggled from the start until he was withdrawn. Similarly, the year before with Richie Porte as leader.

I am all for competitive racing, but one that is based on equality, not financial strength. The end of the day, there are only marginal gains between the top bike manufacturers. Each team have expert nutrition advice. Money to buy the best riders. Not everyone has that ability.

What is a real cycling fan? Well I won’t get into that debate. When the relative newspapers developed their respective grand tours, the never had in mind a sprinters jersey or best young person jersey. Those jerseys came later because the key objective was the GC. So, I am not afraid to say the GC is the priority for a grand tour. Just like one day races are the focus of sprinters or one day specialists.

Urgent reform needed to remove Team Sky's dominance

It is not up to SBS to protect the Orica-BikeExchange brand. As an independent media outlet it is responsibility is to provide the facts to viewers not favourable commentary that may benefit Orica-BikeExchange. I would see that as a conflict of Interest.

I agree that SBS’s role is to grow its audience and to make it product attractive to viewers. Part of that may consist of discussing Australian teams, but also if things don’t go right I would hope they would put their performance under the microscope.

I wonder if SBS is critical of Orica than it would lose access to Orica and its personnel. I would hope that this is not the case.

Aussies deserve balanced coverage of the Tour de France

I still remain unconvinced that Orica’s team roster has sufficient depth to support Chaves’s tilt at a GC attempt for the giro or Tour de France next year without making further additions. I agree that the Yates brothers are potential candidates but either they want GC glory for themselves (e.g. Wiggo and Froome battle at the TdF) or they will be riding for a team with a blue stripe down the middle in 2017. Bannan indicated the Howson during the Giro telecast on SBS is showing signs of being a super domestique. But he is still untested in that role in a grand tour. Matthews is okay on the medium mountains but struggles on the high mountains. His 2015 Tour de France results illustrates this point. Plaza may offer assistance to Chaves, or is his role better suited to breakaways in the mountain similar to his 2015 Tour de France stage win.

I do not think the roster still has the quality domestiques to support Chaves and Orica’s GC ambitions. Certainly it does not have the same quality as Team Sky, Movistar or Astana. But with Chaves showing his talents, Orica can strengthen the roster to have a serious go the 2017 Tour de France.

Will Chaves’ win lead to a change in strategy for Orica-GreenEDGE?

I do wonder if a convenient knee injury helps to put the leadership issues at Team Sky to rest.

Wiggins ruled out of the Tour de France

I agree with you Kate that the Giro is a class above the ToC. But I do not hold the same view of you in relation to the field. After Wiggins and Ryder retired, the competition for GC could be counted on your first few fingers of one hand. Uran excelled, but Scarponi had no form. Having Niemiec and Santambrigio finishing in the top 10 illustrates the lack of depth. In fact, the top 10 was littered with unknowns this year as there was no Contador, Rodríguez, Cunego, or up and coming french stars Pinot or Rolland.

Cadel has been successful. That cannot be denied. One of my highlights in life was being there in Grenoble in 2011 to see Cadel in yellow. But past success does not guarantee future success. As difficult as it sounds, sometimes we have to move on.

Did BMC choose their leader for the Tour de France too early?

I disagree. Governments around the world put a lot of resources into anti-doping activities. Last year, the Government appropriation for Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority was $11.5 million. Law enforcement agencies and Customs already monitor the importation of illegal drugs and steroids. The law enforcement activities and prosecutor would only be involved after a positive test was recorded. The costs would therefore would not be huge.

Doping must be criminal offence to finally eradicate it

The current penalties have not worked to prevent doping in cycling. The risks and rewards from doping are pushing athletes down this pathway. We need to change the incentive profile. Taking away your freedom and liberties will change the dynamics and possibility the decide to dope.

Doping must be criminal offence to finally eradicate it

The Olympic cycling program was cut back this year compared to the World’s track programmes. Nevertheless, I understands that if the Olympic programme was used at the 2011 Worlds in Melbourne, Australia would have only won three gold medals compared to Team GB 6 golds. Yes, it is difficult to make direct comparisons, but I would argue that it is now time to fully review the elite cycling program and selection policies.

Time for Cycling Australia to review its elite program

Yes, I agree that the use of statistics in the article was simplistic. While the $31m was not spent solely on the Olympics program, the end of the day the Government spends money on elite sports programs with the objective of Olympic glory. To put it into perspective, Great Britain only spent marginally more than Australia, yet have secured greater success at both the Beijing and London Olympics. The aim of the article was to highlight the need for a urgent review of Cycling Australia’s program.

Time for Cycling Australia to review its elite program

Hi Gra, I agree that government funding for elite athletes should be subject to a HECs type arrangement. Unfortunately the Crawford Report recommended against this type of arrangement. Therefore, it will be unlikely that the Government will introduce the scheme anytime soon.

Time for Cycling Australia to review its elite program

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