It’s vacation week for me, where internet consists of the type that takes 15 minutes to download the photo you see up above, so I’ll be brief. But apparently while I’ve been away, all hell has broken loose. I’m tempted to look on Twitter to see if the Vuelta has been attacked by locusts. But I won’t; I’ll stay focused.
Our beloved Slipstream sports, which has outlived the stylishness of argyle by some 35 years, is on the brink of dropping out of the World Tour thanks to lack of funding. There are reports that a planned sponsor has dropped out, and even some whispers that the planned sponsor was Unibet, which has a history of unreliability and whose mere mention in this post goes to show you how completely shaky the financing of cycling continues to be.
But out of tragedy comes opportunity. While riders like Sep Vanmarcke and Rigoberto Uran hold contracts from other teams in one hand and pens in the other, waiting for a signal that they should or should not sign, the populace has furiously rallied behind the most American of American World Tour teams and produced a crowdfunding campaign that may or may not a) solve the team’s short-term problems and b) revolutionize how cycling teams are funded. Or not, I don’t know. But it’s underway, and if it works to the point where teams can be based on the support of the people, it will maybe change the sport.
Right now you can go here:
And pledge your support of as little as a few shekels, but if you are up for a donation of $25 or more you will be rewarded with some sort of fan status that’s to be determined (it’s all happening fast). The more you pledge, the more status you’ll attain. But the main point of it all is that this will be a team of the people, a sort of S.P.Q.Argyle, if you will. If it works.
In that scenario it’s interesting to see something like what owner Jonathan Vaughters has mused about (I think? or a version of it?) coming true out of sudden, dire necessity. I guess that’s how a lot of things happen. Sort of profound in a way. And if it doesn’t, the sport will lapse into slight chaos again as riders scramble for contracts and support people suddenly go unemployed. If you are inclined, try to prevent that from happening. And follow @Vaughters for updates on how it’s going.