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Cycling's Beating Heart

Felix Magowan, author of a book or two on Cycling, has an interesting look at the sport's health indicators, empirical evidence, which all say that the sport is as popular as ever. Using indicators from bike sales to unique visitors to the VeloNews website, the article is an optimist's tour de force, even if he relies on traffic numbers from VS website over the far more indicative Podium Cafe traffic figures.

This doesn't really seem possible, but with an assist from Professor Wilcockson he suggests that the scandals are actually getting the attention of people who have never watched the sport before, and that in the long run Cycling will be more visible than ever. Certainly Rasmussen's bounce was picked up by newspapers who usually relegate the Tour to the agate page. As for those new eyeballs... well, time will tell if the sport is bigger than ever after a few years of cleaning up. Note to (potential) sponsors: this might be a ground-floor opportunity!

Meanwhile, ESPN the Magazine, which comes to my house with the same uninvited regularity as a Banana Republic catalogue, has only one line of coverage of the Tour, making a passing reference to "the joke that is the Tour de France" in a survey of various scandals. That's it. Yo, ESPN, stay stupid. Have another donut. Call Bonnie DeSimone or Andy Hood when you need an actual article. Your regular staff will never get it...