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Retrospectives Podcast — Part Two of a Discussion With Phil Liggett

In part 2 of our interview with “the voice of cycling,” Phil Liggett remarks on many of the top cyclists he’s seen during his 48-years of commentating on pro cycling races. Liggett dishes out insightful stories on his personal relationship with Eddy Merckx, whom he considers to be the “greatest ever,” to his unique relationship with Lance Armstrong – reflecting with admiration on how he worked with cancer patients. Liggett also offers his take on other icons like Bernard Hinault, Greg LeMond, Miguel Indurain, Alberto Contador, and Chris Froome, with interesting anecdotes and plaudits. First introduced to American audiences in the 1980s through CBS’s Emmy Award-winning Tour de France coverage, Liggett reflects on his career. Originally intending to be a zoo-keeper, he says he never intended to get into broadcasting. Yet 48 years later, including more than 40 Tours de France, he still...

Part Two of a Look at What Pro Cycling Can Learn From Nascar

It’s hard to think of two sports that have less in common than NASCAR motor racing and professional cycling.  But, as pointed out in a recent article, the way in which individual teams are structured, managed, and financed is quite similar in both sports. NASCAR teams and pro cycling teams are both heavily reliant upon external sponsorship dollars for their success and economic survival. A critical key to economic success and long-term stability in both sports is the ability to identify, develop, and carefully maintain long-term and mutually beneficial sponsor relationships. NASCAR and its teams have developed sophisticated business management systems which can offer some important lessons and insights for cycling. The Outer Line recently teamed up with Breaking Limits – a strategic consulting, communications, and marketing agency heavily engaged in the motorsports industry – to...

How to Predict Individual and Team Performance

Cycling is different from almost all other sports. While it is undeniably a team sport, individual riders get most of the attention. And, unlike most professional sports, there aren’t really many analytical techniques to rate individual performers or teams as a whole. One can rate the number of victories, podiums, or top ten finishes for individual riders or teams, but the wealth of individual and team statistics that characterize sports like football, baseball, or basketball are almost completely lacking in bike racing. The UCI and different commercial groups – like ProCyclingStats – have designed intricate point systems for ranking performance, on the basis of specific achievements. The Outer Line has utilized these points systems to analyze and evaluate team and individual performance in various detailed ways in the past. Nonetheless, all such metrics are inherently subjective and...

Will ‘Roda’ Replace WADA in 2021?

Criminal legislation against sports cheating is currently in the limelight, given the Court of Arbitration for Sport’s (CAS) effective rollback of sanctions against Russia for the Sochi doping scandal, and the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) decision not to pursue harsher sanctions. Some nations already have laws on the books and haven’t hesitated to prosecute offenses within their borders. And two defendants caught in Operation Aderlass – physician Mark Schmidt and cyclist Stefan Denifl – were recently sentenced to prison terms for their roles as blood doping facilitator (Schmidt) and participant (Denifl). And as of December 4, 2020, the first comprehensive and internationally-reaching national doping and sporting fraud criminal legislation was signed into United States’ law: Bill HR.835, otherwise known as the Rodchenkov Anti-Doping Act – ironically named after the mastermind...

Discussing Activism in Cycling With Kathryn Bertine

Kathryn Bertine first became widely known in the cycling world following her 2014 film Half the Road – an analysis and critique of gender equity issues in the sport. She got her start in cycling as a journalist working for ESPN, when she was assigned a challenge in 2006: to attempt qualification for the 2008 Olympics, and chronicle the journey in a column and book. A former professional figure skater and triathlete, Bertine began road cycling at age 31. When the ESPN assignment ended, her cycling career had just begun. She made the Women’s World Tour pro ranks, competed in eight UCI world road championships, and won three Caribbean championship titles before retiring in 2017 at age 41. While she didn’t qualify for the Olympics, that experience took Bertine deep into the sport, and educated her on the gross gender inequities which characterized cycling – and she gradually began to turn...

A Discussion With Dick Pound, the First President of WADA

Montreal-based lawyer Richard Pound has been one of the most influential leaders in the world of Olympic and international sports since the 1970s, as well as an occasional and outspoken critic of professional cycling. Now the longest-serving active member of the International Olympic Committee and the original president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), Pound has always been a frank and outspoken critic of doping in sports. He recently announced his retirement from the WADA board of directors, though he remains a powerful force in the IOC. Trained as a tax attorney and accountant, Pound rose rapidly through the ranks of the Olympic movement and is a widely-decorated leader within the broader international sports community.  Among dozens of other accolades, he has been awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal and honorary doctorate degrees from more than a dozen universities. Time...