Tuesday, 4 November 2008

French call for fewer olympic cycling events

Ban them all, demand the French.

In a shock move today the president of the French Cycling Federation called for a reduction in the number of cycling events at the 2012 Olympics.

Pierre Throughthewindow president of the FFC has written a letter to the IOC requesting that the number of cycling events in the 2012 and all subsequent Olympics be reduced to zero.

'We're fed up with getting or ases kicked every four years by nations we've never heard of. ' Said Throughthewindow. 'This continual mauling by inferior nations, such as the British, the Australians and the Americans is damaging to our national selfesteem.'

'The French are a proud nation and we feel our reputation on the world stage is being diminished by the unfair tactics employed by certain nations when it comes to cycling.'

When asked to detail the so called 'unfair tactics' Mr Throughthewindow listed in detail his greviences and the nations he personally holds responsible.

'I personally hold the following nations responsible' said Throughthewindow.

The Australians - They are totally unfair, they ride in a very aggressive manner and always want to win.
The Americans - They are very good at riding round France very quickly, much quicker than the average Frenchman, it's totally unfair!
The British - They insist on beating us in the velodrome, they invite us over to Manchester and then make us look like idiots, it should be outlawed.

Throughthewindow has also expressed doubts about the Danes, the Spanish, Belgians, Dutch, Italians, Germans and just about anyone who isn't French.
'I express doubts about anyone who isn't French.' he said.

Meanwhile in the sticks.......

GB boss criticised for not winning enough.

In a shock move today British Cycling performance director Dave Brailsford was criticised in the press for not winning enough
In the house of commons the Right Honorable Sir Arnold Nonothing, shadow under secretary for bandwagon jumping called the head of British Cycling to task.

'It's been two days since British Cycling won a gold medal, this kind of shoddy performance is just not good enough. As a house we fully expect our performance directors to be winning medals every day.'
(the head of British Athletics is rumored to have left the country.)

In all seriousness though......

Not a bad weekend - but was it too good?

It has been expressed in the press and in some quarters that the British success on the track is putting some nations off, and that if it continues they might well hang up their mavics and go home.

First up I'd like to know who's actually said this, has anyone actually come out in print and made this claim? Anyone connected with track cycling that is, as opposed to lazy journalists making up stories where there aren't any.

But lets just ask a few questions here.Who are these nations that are feeling so hard done by that they are going to jack it in? and If GB wasn't beating them than who, the Aussies, the Dutch, the US?

One of the things that the GB domination on the track has done over the last few years is make everyone look at their programme and raise their game - or at least that's what it should do. When the Aussies were raining supreme did the GB squad complain? No they looked at what the worlds best were doing, copied it, made a few changes and got down to some hard work.

The position GB track is now in didn't just happen overnight, it's the result of a decade of hard and detailed work, building, testing, evaluating, rejecting, rebuilding and so on.

Right way and wrong way.

As with all things there's a right way and a wrong way, or rather a way and a way that's better. British Cycling (BC) have found a way that's better, no one at Manchester has a problem if anyone copies it, the Aussies didn't have a problem when BC copied the AIS set up, that's the way it should be.
Someone takes your method and improves on it, that should spur you on to try new things, look at developments and try to raise you game.

Now BC does have a lot of resources, but as one of the Aussie coaches said at the Worlds this year, it's not what you have, but how you use it.
What we are now seeing are nations with less to invest in a track programme target their investment, in a similar way that BC did initially - pursuit, kilo, team sprint.
So we have the Danes looking at team pursuit and ignoring the sprinters.
The French have gone sprint crazy and have forgotten about the endurance team
The Belgians are letting their 6 day riders look after the endurance and are concentrating on womens endurance and so on.
This is exactly what should happen and if BC didn't have the cash is what would happen in the UK.

But there are areas where BC still have the edge and some nations due ti the way they are set up may not be able to adapt, or at least do so without much bloodshed.

I have always felt that BC's 3 big strengths are:
1 - You have to be based at Manchester if you want to be on the team, no if's, no but's. As a result there is massive competition for places, as day by day you get to ride with and against the guys who are after your slot on the start line.

2 - A poor professional road scene. Bizarrely this helps the track squad. Would Newton, Hayles, Manning have been so readily available to spend 6months training on the track if they had a big name sponsor after their services?

3 - Excellent scouting and development programme. This is key, you need to find the riders and get them coached. BC has a well structured coach education programme which ensures all coaches are on the same hymn sheet. Add to this bodies like, Dave Rayner, Braveheart and the Dragon fund, the revolution future stars and the DHL sprint schools and there are ways of catching riders who slip through the net or don't fancy a life on the blue line.

The next couple of years should be great entertainment, personally I can't wait.

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