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OPINION

Is cycling getting like football?

James Warrener's picture
There is plenty of evidence creeping online that cycling and its fans are getting a bit "Premiership Football" over certain issues...

This summer marks my 24th Tour de France. I have enjoyed each and every one of them, even back in the day when a Sean Yates time trial win was our only hope of any glory as a nation. 

The revolution that has come through the sport in recent years has been fantastic. Especially from the grass roots up where seeing more and more people on a racing bike and enjoying their ride has saved me from long lonely solo rides. 

There was a similar effect in Rugby Union after England won the 2003 world cup with that Jonny Wilkinson drop goal. 

However now there are rumblings that the effect this catapulting of the sport into mainstream hasn't come without cost. 

Recent reports of crowd trouble and both the Heineken Cup final and Aviva Premiership final left rugby message boards and forums blaming the influx of football fans into their sport for the unheard of swearing and intimidation. 

So have people who have become bored of the crazy money and childish behaviour of Premiership football started spilling over into other sports bringing loutish ways with them?

First things first I have to declare my interest. I am a massive football fan but have turned my back on the top flight for all those things mentioned above. Its non-league for me all the way now which, even though it still has its moments, is more about the occasion and family. I dont think all football fans are louts and thugs, merely that this is an easy way to group people who can't behave. 

Rugby Union can sort its own house out I am sure. Plenty of people who watch it seem to be as big as some of the players who compete. I can't imagine that there wont be some self policing of the terraces!

What's this got to do with cycling?

Well, for me, some of the recent outcry and the probably non selection of Bradley Wiggins for the Tour dr France has reminded me of some of the tabloids hype of the round ball game. I have heard of people planning a protest on the route to boo Chris Froome. I read that some people had proposed a mass cancellation of Sky subscriptions to try and force Sir Dave Brailsfords hand. 

Most have stopped short of lighting bonfires comprising solely of Rapha clothes, but considering their cost it's hardly that surprising. 

I just hope that this isn't indicative of the way the sport will go in this country. I don't want to read about a rider getting surrounded and ran off the road in a sportive for wearing an Ag2r jersey " I upset the FDJ supporters in the event by attacking on a hill"...

For me the sport is enough and doesn't need pages of nonsense in a newspaper to sell it. The racing, the riders and the scenary are the best of any sport. That'll do for me.

Although Frotch vs Groves III with Wiggins vs Froome on the undercard could get me logging on to Sky Box Office...

James has been blogging for road.cc for 5 years and racing bicycles (averagely) for 20 years. 

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