Competitions breed innovations. We all benefit when this occur. If you restrict this then we all suffer in the end. Just because team A doesn't have the financial resources as team B does not mean that team B should be penalized or should "dumb down." This isn't little league baseball where everyone has to play. If a team can't compete due to financial limitations then the void will be filled out by some other team.
Take Olympic swimming for example. Should the U.S., with all of our financial resources, not be allowed outfit our athletes with $5,000 state of the art swimsuits because some third world countries can't do the same ?
Should Olympic Sprinters not be allowed to wear their 3 ounce $500 pair of sprinting shoes because there are athletes out there you can't afford to buy the same pair ?
If you want to talk about competing on a raw athletic level in the absence of technology then all athletes would compete naked and in barefoot. No disrespect to anyone but some of you people ... I don't want to see naked :)
geez i was waiting for someone to bring this up.
i personally don't like what the uci is doing, they are limiting the development of technology and bicycles based on archaic rules and such.
they are not taking into account things like advancements in technology, case in point the arbitrary min weight rule, it was originally there so that there was some standard of a durable bike, but now technology makes lighter bikes that are even more durable than heavier bikes, the rule is outdated.
the aero tubing, i think that bike companies by pushign the envelope give us really great lookign and performing bikes, by limiting them in this area it only pushes it back to bikes that look like older bikes, why? nostaligia? not good enough of a reason in my book.
overall i think fitness always wins over technology, and at the higher levels, after a while all the teams have the same high tech stuff so nobody has the "tech" advanatage anymore.
let's get this debate started.
Are you saying that a team like Galicia-Xacobea has the same opportunities in terms of wind-tunnel testing and bike budgets as more developed teams like a Garmin-Slipstream?
no not all teams are equal but i don't thnk that is bad.
but top teams in the pro tour, astana, saxo bank, quickstep, cervelo, garmin, highroad, etc all do the same stuff.
remember, garmin was not a high level team when starting out a few years ago, and cervlo is a new team this year. so success can happen with teams that are new.
also teams with lower budgets have done well in teh past, ie, 1999 postal was supposed to be an "also ran" in that tour, but that turned out a bit differently.
also riders have switched bikes and still win alot, ie, cancelleara cervelo/specialized, boonen, colnago/specialized, basso, cervelo/cannondale, mcewen look/litespeed/giant, etc. that is why i say the athletes trump the technology. (if i got the bikes wrong, sorry but you get the general idea)
now the lower ranked teams they also don't have the caliber of riders, so i dont' see tech as being the limiting factor here.
if they wanted to make iit more fair they could do like football and have salary caps, and also limit r&d money (like F1 is considering) then it would balance out the finaincial aspect a bit more.
Even some of the top teams with some of the nicest/fastest bikes have their problems (Astana), its not just the smaller guys. They might not even make it to the starting line of the TdF this year.
I still think it would be cool to have just one TT stage where all teams were issued the same bikes/helmets (they'd be blank so teams can throw all of their sponsors on them). Doesn't the greatest sport IN THE WORLD, NASCAR, do something like this - where only the engines can be changed but the bodies stay the same?
Debates about technology always make me think about the debate re: supplements/performance enhancing drugs. The same team that has a lot of money to test out bike technology also has the money to test out new "supplement" plans and find ways to break the rules that way. You either have to accept that a baseline is necessary in order to ensure a quasi-level playing field, or take off all the restrictions and allow professionals to test the limits, both with technological advances and chemical enhancements.
hmm nascar as teh greatest sport in the world.. that is debatable... lol
what about IROC racing that was literally identical cars, and that didnt' last at all, you could say that was pure driver ability, and that was not only boring but died out.
Cycling orgs seem like old-school nerds, mostly old-European nerds, upset that the everyman has crashed their party. Triathlon is so much better. And to do it, as the article says, in major recession, putting serious financial pressure on companies in your sport - really smart - knuckleheads. No wonder cycling never gets popular.
Learn the NFL, English Premier League, or UFC - that's how to do it right. Or, as you say, NASCAR - frickin geniuses in growing a sport.
Ryan that's pretty big news about Astana - thanks for the post. Big financial trouble for a main team - guess it really is the economy