Polemics

Who are the Raphaphiles?

 [powr-photo-gallery id="CanaryWharfCycling"]

There are a lot of people in London who have, by any standards except their own, a lot of money.  According to the City of London Corporation, across Greater London, well over 350,000 people work in financial services.  According to thisismoney.co.uk the average wage of Britain’s “Financial institution managers and directors” is about £78,000.  According to the present author, who worked for five different investment banks during a City career lasting over 17 years, these are laughable underestimates of how many people’s livelihoods depend on the City, and...


Rapha and I

[powr-photo-gallery id="a09ca18c_1454072899036"]

Last week the Guardian published an article in which one Dave Nash (“a contributing editor to wheelsuckers.co.uk”) pondered the passionate loathing so many cyclists reserve for notoriously up-market kit brand Rapha.  His reflections are not a complete success.  For example, Nash writes “it’s not just the brand itself that seems to raise their shackles. Anyone who wears their kit is deemed guilty by association.”  Clearly, Mr Nash understands branding - of which “association” is the whole point - about...


Hair Today - Gone Tomorrow?

On the face of it, the headline “MAN IN SHORTS HAS HAIRY LEGS” makes for unlikely clickbait.  Yet, this week, the downy appearance of Peter Sagan’s lower limbs at the Tour de San Luis generated more column inches & social media activity than anything else - even more than the pictures of nervous pros at the Santos Tour Down Under, prodding bad-tempered marsupials and hoping they don’t get bitten or catch anything disgusting.

On reading the coverage of Sagan’s supposed stylistic solecism, Conquista’s first concern was for the personal sponsorship opportunities that have so obviously gone begging all these years.  For...


Doping, Banking, Sport & The Jailhouse

Today the Guardian reports that Germany has introduced a new law allowing convicted dopers to be imprisoned for up to three years.  Let's just think about that for a minute.

Imagine a global banking regulator – like the Bank for International Settlements – were to decide it didn’t like bankers drinking.

Their justifications are threefold. "It’s bad for your health; it affects your performance; and it sets a terrible example to young people. And think of all that money at stake! So we’re going to ban it." National regulators enthusiastically concur, and hand over all authority to the global body.

Bankers...


Making Cycling Sustainable; or, Why Cycling Coverage Sucks, And What To Do About It

It is a widely held opinion that the economic structure of professional cycling is not sustainable. Teams are in what Jonathan Vaughters has called “continual start-up” mode, with no permanent capital, always living from hand to mouth in a desperate search for sponsorship money.  This is the model that Oleg Tinkov tried, and failed, to change.

An equally widely held view is that the answer lies in TV rights.  In many sports TV revenues are shared with the individual athletes, teams or national sporting authorities who provide the actual content.  In contrast, the TV rights to cycle races are almost...