Around these parts The Detroit Red Wings are the top of the sports food chain. A winning team year after year. The kind of Dynasty not unlike the New York Yankees. You want to get your ass kicked? Go into any bar around here wearing a Mighty Ducks jersey. Is there a parallel in cycling? Maybe CSC or Telecom (before doping finally blew everything to hell). Or maybe Johan Bruyneel and his succession of teams. In the past decade his riders have won Le Tour 8 times, plus the Giro and Vuelta. In the cycling world the guy is Lou Holtz, Bo Schembechler and Scotty Bowman all rolled into one.
Crazy to think that Bruyneel's team is flat broke! Not even paying their riders. Busted. Kaput. Cyclingnews says it may be so bad that the team might not make it to The Tour de France this year!
The Astana cycling team may be getting its Giro d'Italia campaign underway, but its future in the sport appears to be under question. According to the website Sports.kz, the team is under real threat of financial collapse and has a week to sort things out before the International Cycling Union (UCI) withdraws the professional licence.
In April it was reported that riders had endured a period of time without payment of salaries, but that the Kazakh cycling federation would cover the overdue amount while it was waiting for the team backers to pay up. However the financial problems have lingered and it is now understood that the team must receive $2 million in the days ahead in order to replenish the UCI bank guarantee. That guarantee has been depleted, presumably to pay overdue salaries.
This shows how screwed up cycling is. The constant hunt for money and sponsorship. Unlike franchise team sports like Football and Hockey, cycling is constantly chasing the money. Imagine the Detroit Red Wings making it to the Stanley Cup Finals and announcing that they don't have the money to fly to the games and pay Chris Osgood.
Crazy days. We'll see how bad Mr Armstrong wants to ride in France. He may have to foot the bill.