Cycling has changed very much during the last years. It is not what it was in the past. As everything these days, it is more technologized, more controlled, and it has lost spontaneity, it has lost what in the past made this sport become epic. But what do I mean when I say that it has lost spontaneity, that it is more technologized?
50 years ago a cyclist could ride an average of 100 races per year. Today that is an impossible fact. Now a rider knows what races he is going to part in even before the season starts. And it is not common to ride more than 60 races per year. Differences among cyclist are disappearing and this goes against the spectacle. The creation of the World Tour has congregated the most important and historical races in a kind of league in which only the best 18 teams can take part in. Almost all cyclists get prepared for the same races and due to the little preparation and competitive difference that exists among them, competitions are becoming more and more boring.
In the past, cyclists used to ride more races and, as there was not any league that congregated the best competitions, all the races were competitive and. Besides, the preparation was very different from what is nowadays. Riders guided themselves by their feelings; they did not prepare a race 2 or 3 months before it so a lot of times they were not in the same shape when taking part in a race, and the spectacle they used to show was bigger.
On the other hand, all changes have not been negative. The strict control cycling suffers from these day has also some positive aspects. Unfortunately, cycling is today more known for drug taking than for sports reasons. But this means that it is now more difficult, I would say almost impossible, to take any kind of illegal product that improves your physical condition without being caught. The case of Lance Armstrong, which is known all over the world, is the best example of how even the most meticulous way of drug taking can be detected. He has always been under suspicion, but the USADA has finally achieved to demonstrate that his victories were not “real”. This is the most famous case, but not the only one that have been the las decade: Floyd Landis, Ricardo Ricco, Alberto Contador, Iban Mayo… there is a very long list of cases that have damaged the health of cycling, but thanks to the progress that has been made in this field it is becoming more infrequent to find a case of “doping”
In conclusion, it is clear that today´s cycling is very different from what it was in the past, and although technology advantages have brought a big progress, there are some habits that should be taken up again in order to make this sport more attractive and enjoyable.
- Carlos Torres, RESUMEN DEL AÑO El caso Armstrong causó un tsunami en el año de Wiggins . http://www.elnortedecastilla.es. Available at: http://www.elnortedecastilla.es/agencias/20121212/deportes/mas-deportes/resumen-caso-armstrong-causo-tsunami_201212121151.html [Accessed December 14, 2012].
- Peio Agirre, Momentos epicos del ciclismo en la era moderna. http://www.lavidak.com. Available at: http://www.lavidak.com/Legion/ciclismo/pdf/ciclismo1.pdf [Accessed December 14, 2012].