67“It’s a very unfortunate situation for not only our riders…It appears that only a few powerful race organisers do not recognize that we are an entirely different team from 2007 and should be allowed to compete in the world’s biggest races.”
Johan Bruyneel, Team Director -Astana, on not being invited to the 2007 Tour de France
The ProTour calendar greatly changed without the support of the organizers of the Grand Tours, and this created several levels of elite professional racing. In time it may be possible to participate in a national tour on a continent other than Europe and still carry the same prestige and attract more eyeballs, assuming population growth and expanding media coverage. While Greg Lemond put the Tour de France into the panorama of American cycling, Lance Armstrong brought it to the American public? Couldn’t some great racer of the future help put a tour of some as yet discovered grand cycling nation in the view of the world? It’s hard to imagine because we’re so greatly fond of our Classics and our Grand Tours. Their routes and climbs and lore and legends are familiar to us world-wide: races presented by ASO-Tour de France, RCS-Giro d’Italia and Unipublic-Vuelta a España along with major classics whose venues evoke cycling mastery and heroism. I hope they’re always with us and always as greatly admired. But I think it naïve to believe other events will not eclipse some of Europe’s calendar. It could be the same decisions that represent a few interests will lead to broader emphasis elsewhere. In a world with exceptional cycling terrain, new mountains beckon to be conquered, new cities hail for a sprint finish, and new fans cheer for us to participate. We are a people in love with movement, and that includes the places of prestige on our racing calendar as well. Invitation only events may find themselves with fewer of the best teams to register as event selection grows; in the meantime, God bless ‘em.
Prayer for Racing Organizations
“He lifts up a banner for the distant nations, he whistles for those at the ends of the earth. Here they come, swiftly and speedily.”
We are in awe of cycling’s historical tours and classics. We confess we don’t yet know the best way to include new national tours while honoring the interests of our pinnacle events. We ask for humility with one another in devising the best calendars possible.
Ponder Can I appreciate the perspective of events wishing to protect their territory and make it exclusive? Affirm I understand the prestigious banners of the biggest events. Watch as our world shifts its eyes upon more venues.
67“RCS gives Astana the cold shoulder,” Edited by Greg Johnson & Paul Verkuylen First Edition Cycling News, February 20, 2008 http://www.cyclingnews.com
68The Bible, New International Version, Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society