Mountain Mayhem. Two months and counting. Is the team ready? Well Conrad is back from France today. There was a broken back drama, but it wasn’t him. Lets hope a certain person makes a full recovery.
And where’s my new bike? Not here yet that’s for sure. Although some absolutely top draw bling arrived from these good people yesterday. I want to be building it up now and getting out there and riding it in this fine weather. Thursday nights ride in Calderdale was to the setting of a beautiful evening. Cheers to Tim K for organising another fine session and to everyone else for providing beer, scotch and tequila and good company.
Whilst fixed offroad is clearly wrong (I once said that about Singlespeeding, so I wonder how long until I try it?), the website of the damned is rather good. Take a look at 63xc.com.
After massive publicity and internal pressure within the USA, it’s the end of an era for one of the greatest teams of the 1990s. Here’s the full report from Cyclingnews.com:
Subject: US Postal Service will end sponsorship
The United States Postal Service (USPS) will not renew its sponsorship of the Division I professional team headed by five-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. The postal service’s contract expires at the end of 2004, but USPS spokesman Gerry McKiernan said in an AP report that the agency has decided to go “in another direction”, possibly with another sports venture.
“Now, it is an interesting time to stop,” Armstrong commented. “I think the team is better than ever. I think that we continue to compete at a top level and win tours and win big races.”
Bill Stapleton, Armstrong’s manager and chief executive of the Tailwind Sports, which owns and manages the USPS cycling team, said the team is “committed to keeping our riders and staff in place for years to come and furthering our goals of winning important events like the Tour de France.”
Presenting sponsor Berry Floor has indicated an interest in assuming a title sponsorship role, however the team’s future may depend largely on whether or not Armstrong decides to continue racing beyond this season. At the same time, Armstrong has said himself that he will not ride for any team other than the current USPS structure, making the arrival of a new sponsor to take over current operations critical.
“I think there’ll be two different prices for the team,” Armstrong told Bonnie DeSimone of the Chicago Tribune , referring to the prospects of a transfer to a new sponsor. “Obviously, if the team is still winning the Tour, or if I continue, it’ll be one level, and when I retire, I suspect it’ll drop off to another level.”
The US Postal Service, which has sponsored the team since 1996, has faced increased criticism over the value of the cycling team, estimated to cost the government agency $8 million per year. An internal March 2003 audit by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) cited an inability to verify revenues attributed the sports sponsorships, while public watchdog groups have repeatedly criticised the expensive contract in light of rising mailing costs and budget shortfalls for the agency.
“The Postal Service needs to consider sponsorships in light of its monopoly status, financial condition, investment returns and core mission,” the internal auditors wrote.