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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Saturday, November 26, 2016

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2017 Tour de France | 2017 Giro d'Italia

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared. - Buddha

Latest completed racing:

Big-time race organizers reduce number of riders per team for 2017 races

We knew this was coming. Amaury Sports organization (Tour de France, Vuelta a España and other important races), RCS Sport (Giro d'Italia) and Flanders Classics have decided to reduce the number of riders per team for the upcoming season.

The umbrella organization AIOCC put out this statement:

"Following the General Assembly of the International Association of Cycling Race Organizers (AIOCC), RCS Sport, Flanders Classics and ASO have taken the decision to reduce the number of riders per team at the start of their races. The number of riders per team will thus decrease from 9 to 8 on the Grand Tours and from 8 to 7 in other events.

"This decision responds to a two-pronged objective: the first being to improve the safety conditions for riders with a smaller peloton on roads equipped with more and more street furniture.

"The second, which is a fortunate consequence of the first, is to make it more difficult to dominate a race as well as to enhance event conditions to offer better racing for cycling fans.

"This decision will go into effect for the 2017 season, the number of teams will obviously remain the same."

Not everyone was happy about this. Cannondale-Drapac boss Jonathan Vaughters put out this tweet:

"I don't disagree with the concept of smaller teams. But letting us know AFTER our planning and rosters are well in motion...Not considerate!"

UCI confirms 17 of 18 ProTour teams for 2017

Bora-Hansgrohe and Bahrain-Merida have been granted licences by the UCI, taking the place of defunct teams Tinkoff and IAM Cycling. The two teams will hold their licences for the next two years.

News organization Omnisport noted: "With the closure of Tinkoff, Peter Sagan opted for Bora-Hansgrohe and he has been joined in the team by Rafal Majka - the two-time Tour de France mountains classification winner. While Bora-Hansgrohe steps up from the Professional Continental level, Bahrain-Merida are an entirely new team who will be led by four-time Grand Tour winner Vincenzo Nibali following his departure from Astana. Only one team are awaiting to learn their fate ahead of 2017 and that is TJ Sports - formerly Lampre-Merida - due to delays with their application."

Peter Sagan

Peter Sagan winning the 2016 world road championships

Lampre-Merida (TJ Sports) sent me this press release regarding the delay in the team's approval:

"Referring to the announcement by UCI concerning the awards of World Tour licences for 2017 season, the Team informs that it had previously requested and obtained by UCI an extensions of the deadline for completing the documents of the registration dossier as World Tour Team.

The management of the team considered the extension of the deadline necessary for supplying in the most complete way all the documents which were necessary to set up a dossier which perfectly fulfill the standard required by UCI.

The team will give further updates about the situation to reporters and fans."

The seventeen teams that have been confirmed: adopts "NPR-style" business model

Good-guy Pat Brady, owner of the superb cycling web site Red Kite Prayer has changed his business model and is looking for voluntary reader subscriptions.

Here's his post:

From its very outset RKP has been a different sort of site. We’ve focused on long form writing. Short for us is 600 words and there are whole sites out there that never publish anything north of 400 words. But this site isn’t just about banging on a keyboard until we’re satisfied. RKP was undertaken to present professional work of a variety that wasn’t really being seen elsewhere. Rather than focus on pure journalism, our effort has been to serve as a blend of an op-ed page and a lifestyle section, lending insight where we can while feeding stoke whenever possible. But there’s that little modifier I just used: professional. I spend the majority of my professional life on RKP and I believe the site is at its best when we can provide a diversity of voices. It’s not easy in this economy.

People talk about revenue stream this and monetizing that. I prefer to leave the fancy language for the reviews. As a publisher, I simply want to present the best quality work I can while making a modest living. And I believe in paying the contributors I hire rates that reflect the esteem in which I hold them. Every now and then I’m shocked to find out that what I pay is equal to what sites ten times the size of RKP pay. I know that makes me look like a chump, but when I cut those checks, I sleep better at night.

We’ve tried a few different strategies for recruiting you readers for help. The Freelance Fund was a reasonable success, while our interest in using the email list of subscribers was noisily rejected, so we dropped it, despite the fact that advertisers were ready and eager to reach you through this method. I walked away from what would have been a terrific revenue stream because I didn’t want to alienate the community we’ve built here. Which also means that when I’ve been approached about native advertising (or as some prefer, “advertorial”) I reject that without a pause.

There have been a few developments over the last year that have caused me to think about what RKP should be going forward and how it can best serve you readers. This has been driven largely by two factors. The first is the lingering suspicion some (many?) readers harbor that reviews or more specifically, what is said in reviews, is up for sale or at least up for influence. The second is that the act of selling advertising, when you really depend on that revenue, is a distasteful process. Even when I have someone selling advertising for me, simply overseeing it is a buckshot-filled meal. That’s my conscience talking.

I believe in advertising and I like for RKP readers to see who cares enough about their opinion to advertise to them. I’d be more comfortable selling that space if it didn’t feel like I was donating my children’s blood.

The only convincing alternative to this is increased reader support. By that I mean voluntary subscription sales. If only 2000 of you signed up as subscribers, we’d gain significant latitude. If 4000 of you signed up, we could double the content we publish each month. If 6000 of you signed up, I could drop advertising.

You can read the entire post here. Pat has links at the bottom of the page with subscription options.

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