VeloNews is carrying the first in a two part interview with 1988 Tour de France Winner Pedro Delgado. The interview focuses on how the sport has changed since Miguel Indurain focused attention on the Tour de France. A discipline that was taken to a new level of obsession by Lance Armstrong.
This interview shows a rather gloomy Delgado as he laments these changes. On the focus on Grand Tours:
In my time, it was easy for the big stars to race all year long, throughout Europe, in Spain, France, Italy, wherever. But now things are not like that and it is a very important change for cycling in general. For the individual cyclist it can mean a better more comfortable life, he can spend more time at home, but for cycling it is not as good.
On European cycling:
This is the problem that the North Americans, the South Americans, the Australians face. The problem for them is they have to come and live in Europe and in the end it is the only thing that matters. In my time I went and rode in the USA with Greg LeMond, but in the end the best cycling only exists in Europe.
Fianlly, on the demise of the attacking cyclist:
At the moment, there is a big problem with attacking cycling: those radios. With radios now, it’s the team director who gives orders most of the time.
That often means that they wait until it is too late to attack. Before this system of managing the race came into being, the question was whether you had good legs or not. If you felt you had good legs, you attacked. Now the situation is that the directors control the riders too much. But you still have some riders that don’t want to listen to anyone, who put their earpiece into a back pocket and attack. It’s very difficult, though, as the director has a lot of power and he manages and administers the riders a lot more during the race than was the case 20 years ago.
It is an interesting vantage point into today’s cycling. While Pedro speaks longingly about days gone by, I was happy to read an interview that focused on the sport and not on the needle.
I’m sure VeloNews will get around to that in part two.