I was templating about the popularity of the sport I love so much. One of the frustrating things about the sport is lack of coverage. True, there is the weekly coverage of Cyclism Sundays, which is good, but in comparison to other sports, it’s considered a novelty, something less popular than bass fishing (borrowed that line from RedRider … hehehe).
Yes, there is the typical coverage on ESPN of the 4 major sports, then stock car racing (NASCAR), then Poker … Poker???? Is that really more exciting than seeing world class athletes racing through the streets of Europe? I mean, look at the physique of some of these poker players. For once, I can say I’m more physically fit that some of these contestants.
Then, there’s what I consider the second tier sports, and those are gymnastics, figure skating, golf, and tennis. Those are represented pretty regularly. I would then stick the multi-stage cycling road race in that category.
Now take a look at track cycling … now there is a sport that should be popular, shouldn’t it? Look at the logistics of covering this event. You have a stadium already built, and all you have to do is pay a little fee (much less than say basketball or football). Plus, you don’t have a bad seat in the house. With road racing, you only get to see the racers once … you get there, wait for about 1-2 hours, and they pass by you in 5 seconds, then go home. With track racing, you could be there the whole day, and see all of them. Plus, you can see more tactics. So why is this not covered at all on tv? We have to wait once every 4 years for it to come.
Anyhow, what brought this on was the fact that we have an American World Champion in Individual Pursuit … Taylor Phinney. Did anyone know that the World Championships were taking place, and that an American got top honors in one of the races?
My main beef is that track cycling can be so exciting from a spectator perspective. A lot of people are shocked when they watch the tour pass by their city, and suddenly they pass by, and say “is that it?”. Track racing should be more popular, but the main question is, why isn’t it? You can even see a crash, which will wake the fans up (not that it’s a good thing)
Even with Lance coming back, cycling hasn’t really taken off in popularity. I still see it less popular than poker or tennis. If I asked someone on the streets, who would they rather see … Lance or Phelps? Most likely, the answer would be Phelps.