Nature Valley and Euro Riders, Positve Drug tests

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Nature Valley Grand Prix announced yesterday that they were only accepting 6 rider teams for their race in 2012. Dave LaPorte, the director of Nature Valley, has always been at the forefront of leading changes that are good for the sport of cycling. I don’t know how much, if any, I had to do with this, but Dave has been bouncing ideas off me for the last few years and this has been one of my main themes. I absolutely hate it how each and every stage race in the United States has turned into a tempo session for nearly every stage. This isn’t European bike racing through the Alps where the terrain splits up the fields. It is sometimes as short as a weekend event, with the same teams setting tempo the whole race and a bunch of field sprints occur. This new rule will make this race much more exciting hopefully.

Some more North American guys are getting popped for EPO. A Master’s National Champion, a young guy from Canada. I honestly think that they are catching maybe 2% of the cheaters, so it is pretty ugly still.

I’ve often wondered about why the American riders that race in Europe tend to be GC riders in stage racing while the Australia riders that race internationally, minus Cadel now, tend to be sprinters and green jersey contenders. What makes me think this is strange is because we ride a ton criteriums in the US and most the races in Australia are road races and stage races. You’d think that we’d be producing the fast sprinter types and they would have the GC riders. I have no idea why it is like this, but it is.

Okay. Just putting some thoughts down here. That’s it for now.

14 thoughts on “Nature Valley and Euro Riders, Positve Drug tests

  1. SB

    … because crit racers don’t do well in long RR’s … so they fail to make the jump to the ProTour.

  2. Marc Walter

    I’m not sure what the difference between 9 guys or 6 guys being able to control a race? Every team is still on equal grounds as far as numbers. If it’s because you can’t field a team with that many then maybe you shouldn’t be in that event. I like watching racing, with many competitors, at speed and quality bike handling.

    The Australians have a lot of crit racing from what I see. Plus, their track experience is world renowned. A combination of these two makes for a general population of cyclist that are or who are interested in being sprinters.

    Most of the American GC guys seem to come from a background of long road races/stagiers. Thus, we produce GC guys.

  3. something_else


    6 riders can’t control a field easily. Also, no-budget teams (most of U.S. cycling?) can put together a decent squad.

    Thank you for doing the right thing Mr. LaPorte.

    As for the 2% rule, it’s how the UCI wants it. It gives the appearance of an anti-doping program. I have some concerns when it comes to Americans suddenly transforming into GC guys all of which point back to the kind of riders Weisel wants to have in the Pro peloton.

  4. Lalla

    Teams with fewer riders will allow more teams! I seem to remember interclub races in Belgium having a 6 rider min 8 max, but have like 30 teams!!! Try and control that race. This is good news for NVGP, the fans and the racers. I see a lot more amateurs beating “pros”. I hope the field limit stays the same.

  5. KU

    Second the Aussie track program. inrng was discussing this about a week ago with regards to GreenEdges’ sprinter heavy team.

  6. Giuseppe

    I’m not racing at the level where team work matters much, but from a spectators point of view, I’d rather see 25 teams of six, than 15 teams of nine. There are more teams with a vested interest in winning. (just one man’s opinion)

  7. tilford97 Post author

    6 rider teams will have a very hard time controlling the event from start to finish. They will be able to control the race some, but the race leader is most likely going to have to race in the wind more. It is very hard for 5 guys to control a 200 rider field.

    That being said, since this setting tempo has become so common, there is a chance that it is going to take a little while to change. So, there is always the chance that the leading team will hire other teams/riders to help them set tempo. That is always the downside of not having enough guys that can race the whole race at speed.

  8. Jason Evans

    “Speed is hard to train and takes a long time. Endurance is easy by comparison and we just chuck that on at the end. ”

    An excerpt from the Strength and Conditioning article for the Aussie track team that’s been floating around for years. Just to back up Steve’s statement above.

  9. Marc Walter

    I still don’t think it’s about quantity of riders but quality of riders. Every team has the same number of riders no matter how big the field is. For example, we reduce it to 4 riders. Than bigger budget, yes budget plays a factor I agree, will be able to pay for 4 quality guys better. I think we need to make the races longer for tempo to become less of a factor.

    I was implying that Aussie culture is maybe geared more to trackies. Now that Cadel is winning stages it will be interesting to see if more GC guys come out of Australia.

    Speed is not hard to train, it comes quicker. You either are genetically gifted to sprint or are smart in positioning. Endurance takes longer to train. Riding in a field, a sprinter is super protected, and can ride many kilometers especially a pro sprinter with just little training. Most sprinters over 3k on the track train heavily on the aerobic side. Thus, they have the endurance. The right type of sprinter will make the conversion to road racing easier.


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