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The All-Time Greatest Female Cyclists

Naming the greatest women in the history of competitive cycling seems like a tall order, because women’s cycling appears, at first glance, not to have much history. But in fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Women have raced on bicycles since the 1800s, just like men, and each new generation has produced a fresh crop of legends. Unfortunately, and in contrast to men’s racing, the history of women’s cycling has a scattershot narrative, populated with important races that arrived, flourished for a few years and then vanished into the mists. (Remember the Ore-Ida Women’s Challenge? Le Tour de la Drôme?) Women’s cycling lacks the comforting continuity of men’s cycling, whose signature events — the Tour de France, Paris-Roubaix, the world championship and Olympic road races — seem to have endured since the beginning of time. The women’s Tour de France debuted in 1984, the year of...

China is not the Solution

Shockwaves went through the professional cycling world last fall after a mysterious group announced the formation of an inaugural Chinese UCI men’s WorldTour team. The group, headed by a British property investor named Tim Kay, signed controversial former Team Sky coach Shane Sutton and former Dimension Data team manager Brian Smith as its organizers. The group named themselves the Global Cycling Project, and breathlessly announced that they were here to drive new investment models and “rock the boat” in cycling. The group also said it aimed to drive rapid growth of cycling in China and, among other aggressive objectives, produce the first Chinese Tour de France winner by 2025. The team’s website states it will have “a sole Chinese sponsor,” although there have been no further announcements about what this would be. Presumably, the team is still pitching to potential investors....

Was Sky The Limit?

Team Sky sent shockwaves through the cycling world in December when it announced that its owner/sponsors, Sky and 21st Century Fox, would cease funding the team following the 2019 season. The somber news was delivered late at a jovial pre-season team dinner, just hours before the press release was published. The riders, some of whom had recently signed substantial contract extensions, were as shocked as their fans to hear the news. Savvy observers had been predicting that the current sponsorship deal could be in jeopardy, due to the September corporate acquisitions of 21st Century Fox by Disney and Sky by Comcast. Team Sky has been a joint venture between Sky Plc, which had controlled 85 percent of the team, and 21st Century Fox with the remaining 15 percent. The future of the team was in some doubt once Comcast won a bitter bidding war, which ended up costing the American...

Ranking The Greatest Cyclists Of All Time

Who are the greatest male cyclists of all time? That would make a good trivia question at the cycling club’s annual dinner, and it’s sure to provide fodder for unending debate. Think about it: How many of us in America know enough cycling history to even come up with five good names? Sure, you could list the men who have won five Tours de France: Anquetil, Merckx, Hinault, and Induráin. (I’m omitting Armstrong, whose seven victories were officially annulled.) But that’s only four names. And Le Tour, of course, is only one race. Most of us don’t know our cycling like we know our baseball. Any baseball fan past infancy knows the names Ruth and Gehrig, Mantle and Mays, Clemens and Bonds. But American cycling fans would be hard-pressed, I think, to remember — let alone spell — the names Joop Zoetemelk and Roger de Vlaeminck. Both of those men, as it turns out, probably belong on any list...

Moral Dilemmas In Pro Cycling – The Big Picture

Several articles have recently appeared in the cycling media expressing outrage about the sport’s apparent willingness to tolerate unethical behavior, or to tacitly cozy up to various shady players, questionable companies or disreputable governments. The Outer Line touched on a similar concern in a recent piece concerning the Bahraini royal family’s participation in the sport. It is certainly one of the primary roles and responsibilities of a free press to identify, root out and call to account parties or situations that may raise moral questions, or otherwise imply significant ethical challenges for the sport. That these situations can be objectively identified, covered, and questioned by the cycling media community is a good thing. However, we must be careful not to unreasonably single-out or over-simplify such situations. While these recent articles and many others across the...