OK, so the problems with race vehicles should be clear from yesterday’s post. The solution is pretty simple: Get rid of most of them. I would propose four steps:
Step 1: No more team cars.
- It makes no sense to have 20 or in Grand Tours 40 cars drive the entire route to hand out food & drinks and the occasional rain jackets, give tactical advice and assist with mechanicals. Yep, I am wearing a bullet-proof vest while I type this.
- Food & drinks could be done by neutral support vehicles (of which you would then need far fewer).
- Tactics could be done either by having the riders decide it all for themselves or through radios (I’m not getting into THAT debate this time).
- Assistance for flat tires would be given by neutral support, just as it happens today. Same for small problems and adjustments. If you break your bike, you’re out (unless you can find a local blacksmith to weld your carbon bike back together).
- Not only does this mean we can clean up the race, it also incentivizes teams to use equipment that can take a beating, and it forces equipment suppliers to focus their efforts on reliability instead of stupidity. Imagine the technology that could be developed in that case and go straight into the market for regular consumers (who also have to survive without a team car for assistance).
- If we decide there is some reason sports directors should talk to other sports directors or riders, why would you put them in a car with its bumpy ride and bad reception anyway? There is no advantage to being “in the race” if that means looking at a team car in front of you and a team car behind you. They rarely get close to the riders and when they do, that’s exactly when the problems occur. Put them in a central location, with good TV access, good communication tools and even the chance for the media to interview all of them during the race. THAT’s entertaining.
Tomorrow step 2. Let me know what you think in the comments section.