Further evidence that the cycling Apocalypse is nigh: the Nature Valley GP bans time trial bikes in...the individual time trial.
According to the Vino-haters at VeloNews, the Nature Valley Grand Prix's executive director David LaPorte announced the decision to disallow TT bikes Sunday after conferring with team managers planning to be at the start on June 16.
“The decision was made partly to simplify logistics for the teams and partly out of fairness,” LaPorte said. “We have a time cut in the time trial to ensure that no one loafs to stay fresh for the criterium that night. But in the past, we have had some strong riders cut primarily because they did not have time trial bikes. We have also had some riders in the past who haven’t competed because of the expense of bringing two bikes, particularly with the outrageous charges the airlines are imposing.”
Furthering Pappillon's belief that it's not what you know, but rather, who you know that decides backroom success in pro cycling in this country, Danny van Haute - who was only too happy to show-off his team's new Focus TT bikes to VeloNews in February - offered this gem in support of LaPorte's decision to go-back-in-time:
“Not everyone can buy time trial equipment and if the pro teams have this equipment, it’s not fair to the riders who don’t."
Ummm, right. It's also not fair when pros use EPO that amateurs (or other pros, for that matter) can't get their hands on. But that hasn't stopped some US riders from saucing-up in preparation for the domestic season. And shouldn't Jelly Belly be encouraging its competitors to buy Focus TT bikes so that they're competitive in...time trials? And so that Focus makes money, of course, enabling them to sponsor teams like - Jelly Belly.
1) Will Van Haute be boxing-up those Focus TT bikes and sending them back to Germany to ensure his riders don't have any unfair advantages over the competition?
2) Is Focus Bicycles USA CEO Scott Rittschof regretting sponsoring a team run by a director who is not willing to fight for a) his riders and b) his suppliers? (optional additional question: and c) Common Sense?)
Rittschof was quoted by VeloNews, gushing, "For us being a new brand in the U.S. it was really important that we made a relationship with a team that could help us build the credibility that we have in the European market. Jelly Belly, being the longest standing sponsor in the U.S. made it the obvious choice.”
So much for building credibility. But Focus didn't really want to sell any TT frames in the USA anyway, did they? Pappillon posed this question to Derby Cycle Werke GmbH (the Focus-brand's parent company) and is awaiting a response.
UPDATED: Thanks to Focus Bicycles USA CEO Scott Rittschof for the kindness of his response, which is in keeping with the theme of the article and can be found as a comment to this post.
+ 1 to UnitedHealthcare's team director Mike Tamayo for being a voice of reason. Regarding LaPorte's decision, Tamayo was quoted by CyclingNews saying:
"I think it's absurd. It's a time trial and therefore you should be allowed to use time trial bikes. It's another opposing of rules that is not needed. Teams have always had time trial bikes there."
Tamayo continued to stew, fuming, "If your concern is that having time trial bikes puts a big gap in the race and doesn't make it exciting, last year's race was won in the last three laps of the final stage between Tom Zirbel and Rory Sutherland, both of whom had time trial bikes. So, if you are looking for nail-biting situations, how much more nail-biting can you get than that?"