Pro Cycling News – The Sponsorship System, Charly Gaul Dies

Dec 6 2005

Communism! That is the only way to describe this story on the restoration of the Arenburg cobbles in Paris-Roubaix. Don’t these silly Frenchmen understand? The correct way to fund a sports event is to get a huge corporation to throw money at it, not to waste public funds that ought to be going to letting the people know when the risk of terror attack is elevated.

Without sponsors, how will people know what to buy? See, look here: how does HealthNet get faster? Not with drugs, or with training, but by riding a Cannondale. Now I know that when I want to go faster, I just buy a Cannondale. How hard is that to understand? No wonder French cycling is so poor at the moment; they don’t have corporations sponsoring everything and letting them know what gear to buy.

The Italians clearly get it. For the past 3 years, if you wanted to be a fast sprinter, it was obvious – you just used Fassa Bortolo concrete. And then, after everyone who wanted to be a fast sprinter had used their concrete, the company pulled out. Now, the company is planning to make a concrete for fast GC riders, which will let them be a sponsor again. I’m telling you, the system works.

Only when jerks (like these Frenchmen) screw around with the system do people get hurt. Like when Sony-Eriksson thought that its wireless phone service made you a faster rider than Boygues Telecom or T-Mobile’s wireless phone services. Turns out it doesn’t, so the company pulled out, and these guys are out of work because of it. Mark my words: someone will be watching Roubaix next spring, and when the riders hit Arenburg, he’ll be frozen with fear, unable to know which beer to buy. And he’s gonna have to wait all the way ’til Amstel Gold to find out.

In less sarcastic news today, Charly Gaul has died. The rider, dubbed the “Angel of the Mountains” is widely regarded as one of the best climbers of all time, and the first “pure climber” to win the Tour. His gutsy performances, especially in rough weather, are the inheritence of today’s top mountain men, including Jose Rujano, who was recently awarded Venezuelan Sportsman of the Year. Gaul was two days shy of his 73rd birthday.

Despite that sadder news, from Luxembourg to Venezuela, the Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, Festivus, and whatever other spirits you may believe in, continue to grow. If you’ve ever been curious as to what the holiday season means to the big names in pro cycling, wonder no longer.

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