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The Outer Line

…. is the path often taken by cyclists who are unable to break into the lead-out train, but whose strength, resolve and tactical cunning can lead them to victory.

 

We provide an independent perspective on the challenges facing the sport – and offer an objective forum for analyzing its key structural, economic, governance and ethical aspects.  It’s time to listen to new ideas and change direction.  It’s time to take The Outer Line

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Scroll down to read our most recent articles on the issues facing pro cycling and the perspectives of various leaders in the sport. Print out copies of any of our dozens of past articles from the Article Library page, and check back frequently for on-going commentary, innovative ideas and new directions in pro cycling.

Tapping Cycling’s Hidden Goldmine – Part 2

As outlined in part 1 of this series, professional cycling has a broadcast problem. Cycling is currently broadcast on free-to-air TV in the European heartland, while pay options are either expensive and/or not available in a unified viewing package at many other places around the globe. The fractured nature of race ownership and extreme splitting of TV rights across markets makes it difficult for a single entity to bundle together digital broadcast rights in a direct-delivery model. In this article, we examine how a global content delivery model could be built using the now ubiquitous over-the-top (OTT) web model, globally connecting the sport to its fans, attracting new fans, and opening new revenue opportunities. The Tour of Flanders is a beautiful event and consistently provides thrilling racing, but U.S.-based cycling fans were disappointed to find that one of the biggest and best...

Adapt or Die – Will Cycling Embrace the OTT Revolution? Part 1

The Outer Line has previously discussed the role that television has played in the growth of pro cycling over the years, along with the challenges the sport faces as its traditional marketing models evolve. The collapse of cycling’s “number of eyeballs” marketing method, and its failure so far to deliver new digital delivery models places the sport’s future visibility and fan growth in jeopardy. In this article, largely researched and written by our new associate Spencer Martin, we discuss the current situation of producing and distributing cycling content, and in a future Part 2, we will assess the range of new, innovative and lucrative marketing strategies. The biggest races on cycling’s schedule are quickly approaching. This means every fan is about to begin the familiar scramble to find viewing options. As this desperate search begins once again, everyone will be left asking the...

The Anti-Doping Crisis in Sport: Causes, Consequences, Solutions

(Editors’ Note: In this article, Professors Paul Dimeo of the University of Stirling in the United Kingdom and Verner Møller of the University of Aarhus in Denmark present an overview of their upcoming book on the global sports doping crisis. Both Dimeo and Møller are widely-recognized academic scholars in the area of sports doping prevalence and alternative anti-doping control measures. Møller wrote an earlier book entitled “Scapegoat” about the experiences of the Danish rider Michael Rasmussen, and Dimeo garnered some measure of fame in the cycling world when he was named to head USA Cycling’s committee on anti-doping in 2016 and then fired before the group’s first meeting. Their book is due to be published and available to the public in mid-April, 2018.) This book is cast from a shared sense of bewilderment at the state of anti-doping; a system shot full of failures, dilemmas and...

Can Science Rescue Chris Froome?

(Editors’ note: Dr. Bill Apollo is a Harrisburg, PA-based cardiologist, and is a member of The Outer Line/VeloNews Board of Contributors. He is an amateur bike racer and was previously the state time trialing champion of Pennsylvania. In this article, he examines the Chris Froome controversy from a medical perspective, and concludes that it is unlikely to end well for Froome.) Pro cycling’s scandalous side resurfaced when Chris Froome returned an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) for salbutamol during Stage 18 of the 2017 Vuelta a Espana. Froome, the consummate gentleman and affable champion, reminded us that he uses salbutamol for management of asthma, according to UCI rules and permissible limits. He reported worsening asthma symptoms during La Vuelta, and under doctor’s supervision, increased his salbutamol dose with the “greatest care” to ensure that he did not exceed the UCI’s...

Medalist Sports: A Microcosm of U.S. Cycling

The most widely-recognized bike race production company in the U.S. today is Medalist Sports – and over the past twenty-plus years this company has been a key player in shaping the current landscape of pro racing in the United States. Medalist’s diverse historical portfolio over the years has included the Tour de Trump, Tour DuPont, the Tour de Georgia, Tours of Utah and Missouri, the U.S. Pro Challenge and its successor event, the Colorado Classic/Velorama, as well as the 2015 UCI Road World Championships in Richmond, Virginia. Medalist also developed the original business plan and produced the Tour of California from 2006 to 2015. Over almost three decades, the company has navigated the turbulent waters of changing venues, schedules, politics, sponsors and race owners, and despite hitting several setbacks, Medalist has continued to set the tone for U.S. pro racing. Medalist’s...

Lance Armstrong: Looking to the Future

Editors’ Note: In this interview with The Outer Line, Lance Armstrong talks about his life today, his cycling-related activities, and his current business initiatives. We are fully aware that Armstrong’s public statements and opinions generate widespread controversy, and we recognize that we will be accused by many of providing a platform for someone who should no longer have a voice in the sport. However, doping – and dopers – are the elephant in cycling’s room, and to continue building a stronger sport we cannot ignore this elephant, or how it got into the room. Inarguably, Armstrong remains a widely influential person in the sport, he is the owner of a major bike shop and the producer of a wildly successful podcast, and he is unlikely to disappear from the cycling scene any time soon. As independent observers, we believe that despite Armstrong’s controversial standing in the sport,...

The Human Rights Case That Could Change Global Cycling

While the eyes of global cycling were focused on the Tour de France this past July, the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) found itself in a small Toronto courtroom, as one of the defendants opposite a little-known Canadian track cyclist named Kristen Worley. As a result of that under-reported hearing, the UCI faced the possibility of losing its Olympic charter and its oversight of global cycling.  Worley may turn out to be the one of the most influential cyclists of the last decade, but few people, even within the sport, know or understand the implications of her story. The specifics of Worley’s background and current situation have been thoroughly documented by the British Sports Integrity Initiative in an arc of sports governance articles written by investigative journalist Andy Brown (here, here and here). Kristen Worley was born male. A talented runner and cyclist early in her...

Starting With A Clean Slate

The recent announcement that Amaury Sports Organization’s (ASO) major women’s race, known as “La Course,” will once again last only a single day in July during the men’s Tour de France, was a sharp jab in the side of women’s cycling – and given the recent wave of rising expectations for the sport, the backlash from cycling fans and observers has already been considerable. However, it’s time to stop pointing fingers at ASO, because women’s cycling doesn’t really need a single race which overshadows the rest of its calendar. Let’s talk about how the sport might plot a more successful path by developing its own agenda, priorities and schedule. The success of the Tour de France may have made the Amaurys a wealthy family, but its domination of the men’s sport has not always been a positive thing. ASO and the interests of the Tour often stand in the way of the teams’ and...