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BRONX CHEER FOR BUST ECONOMY April 16, 2009

Posted by wetalkhablamos in Uncategorized.
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The Associated Press reports today that Kazakh sponsors of the Astana Cycling Team have fallen behind in payments of rider salaries due to financial hard times.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5igz6v9F0Gr5XtMl7cHpQ3sLmv_DQD97JFEPG1

According to the news wire, payments to the riders have been withheld for about a month, and one major sponsor, Air Astana, has discontinued its support.

The AP:

 “Astana receives most of its financial support from Kazakh state holding company Samruk-Kazyna, but the Central Asian nation’s economy has been badly hit by the ongoing global financial crisis. While Samruk-Kazyna has pledged to continue its support for Astana, which is named after the Kazakh capital city, state carrier Air Astana has stopped sponsoring the team.”

Don’t worry for now, the riders will soon be able to collect their checks. Nicolai Proskurin, a high-ranking officer in the Kazahk Cycling Federation said, “We started receiving the first payments yesterday … and now that money will be forwarded to the team.”

But in the long term, is our sport in danger?

Cycling is a relatively cost-efficient sport. While logistical requirements are onerous, rider salaries are modest compared to those of other athletes, infrastructure (stadiums, for instance) is minimal, and most events are free to the public.

In contrast, it costs more than $400.00 US for a family of four to see the New York Yankees play a regular-season game at their new stadium. No wonder. One player alone, star third-baseman Alex Rodriguez, will be paid $33,000,000.00 US for 2009.  Compare: a Tour de France winner makes something like one-tenth as much, spread over two or three seasons.

A couple of dozen guys riding bikes for a year could be funded by one night’s hot dog sales in the Bronx.

Cycling is not at the top of the food chain, in terms of public preference or corporate backing. What can we expect for the sport as the global economy struggles?

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DIFFERENT COLOURS, SAME LOYALTIES March 25, 2009

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pensinger1gettytoc09st8

Stage 8, Tour of California 2009.
Photograph © Doug Pensinger/Getty Images, zimbio.com

gaston1a

Col de Madeleine, Tour de France 2002.
Photograph © Gaston Hoffman

CYCLING RADIO USA November 4, 2008

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We had a great email last week from Kim West. Never heard of him? Well, get online and you can hear him. He’s the voice behind the Kim West Radio Cycling Show on Des Moine’s Sports Station, 1460 KXNO. We asked Kim to tell us more.

kim1

“It’s been on the air just since April (27 episodes), and we cover all aspects of cycling, although frankly, my heart belongs to racing.

I’ve just started to assemble, for an upcoming regular once-a-month feature, a guest list of “legends of cycling.”  It’s my intention to interview (live and on-air, if possible) as many folks who, in some way or another, have had a profound impact on the sport we all love so much.

Here in the States, we are attempting to arrange riders from the early days of mountain bike racing, Greg lemond and other riders from the 70s, 80s and earlier and later of road fame, race promoters and team directors and so forth.

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ASTURIAS PATRIA QUERIDA October 2, 2008

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The anthem of Asturias

This is not the definitive version, but it is the most adorable.

Rebecca

CHECHU SUPPORTS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL July 15, 2008

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Santi: You know what’s the game in China?
Santi: Human rights is not a game.
Chechu: Censorship, death penalty, illegal arrests, repression.
Samuel: China must respect human rights. This will be the best legacy of the Olympic Games.
Santi: Human rights is not a game.
Chechu: And you, what’s your game?

(Thanks to Bruno for translating … again!)

EL BLOG DE PAKITO May 29, 2008

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Alberto Contador’s good friend Paco is a lucky man. He gets to go to Alberto’s races, then shares his experiences at his fantastic blog, EL BLOG DE PAKITO.

Paco has been at the Giro for several days with Alberto’s brother Francisco and their friend Patricio. They were at Plan de Corones on Monday and saw Alberto’s amazing time trial performance.

 

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THE END May 2, 2008

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Wow!!!  That is the best word I can think of to describe my time at the Tour  de Georgia.  Each day was completely different.  Supporting Chechu and spending a little time around him was of course the highlight.  But meeting so many people and making new friends was “Priceless”.  I have been to a lot of sporting events from pee wee to professional, but I have never been at an event like a cycling stage race.  Maybe because cycling fans in the US are a misunderstood minority we tend to bond quickly or maybe it is universal, but I felt more like I was in a large group of friends instead of a large group of strangers.  I visited other team buses, but always ended up at the Astana bus along with many others. 

Even though Astana is not an American Team, judging from the number of fans around the team bus, they are an American Favorite.

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ATLANTA HIT BY ANOTHER TORNADO May 1, 2008

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I wasn’t looking forward to today.

Stage 7 meant the end of the race and the end of my journey and it meant saying Goodbye to new friends. I was a little emotional at times and Rebecca had to bring me back to a level place. I’m so glad she was there. She wouldn’t let me focus on the negative of the day, only the positive things I’ve experienced the entire week. What a gift she has given me.

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CYCLING VACATIONS … OR NOT March 18, 2008

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angie-and-jerry-kelly-2007-by-jen-and-lauren.jpg

My wife and I started going to the Tour de France in 2001 to support a fellow cancer survivor, not long after I was diagnosed. It was less about cycling and more about supporting a friend and raising awareness about a disease that affects so many people in the world.

Our first day on the side of a mountain was spent with a loud fanatical group, which we became friends with, Chechu’s fan club. We cheered, sang, laughed, ate and drank together, and for the next four years met them on the side of a mountain and did it all over again.

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LONG WAY ROUND … KAZAKHSTAN March 1, 2008

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5187mjabp7l_aa240_.jpgIn 2004, Charley Boorman and Ewan McGregor began a twenty thousand mile trip by motorcycle around the world, travelling through Europe, Mongolia, Russia, Canada, USA and … Kazakhstan, home of Team Astana’s major sponsors.

On the road to Almaty, Ewan McGregor’s celebrity was big news. For the local officials, this was a photo opportunity too good to miss. The pair were pursued by paparazzi, endured countless local police escorts and were treated to folk singing in national costume.

Fermented camel’s milk was served, “fizzy like carbonated goats’ yoghurt”.

Although the roads invariably disappeared, becoming rocky tracks, or simply mud, the landscape was magnificent.

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