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Mon, 10 Oct 2011

falling leaves

Every sport has it's own history and tradition; cycling's is longer than most and the Giro di Lombardia is one of the oldest events. It's usually been the last big race on the calendar, coming as it does as autumn properly sets in, hence the Race of the Falling Leaves nickname.

And now the UCI have moved the date to September and the week after the World Championships. There's all sorts of reasons to do with rider motivation and ability to peak for both the Worlds and Lombardy that this might be a good thing for the quality of the field but it makes me sad.

I'm sad that the end of the season is now likely to be the Tour of Beijing, an event created by the UCI for possibly good reasons but an event lacking in any character. It might improve but going on it's inaugural edition it's going to be more of a fading out of the season than a last hurrah.

I'm also sad as it's inevitably going to change the character of the race, if in no other way than greatly decreasing the likely hood of the grim weather that's accompanied some of the great editions in the past. Part of the appeal of the race is that it is, as with many of the classics, a hard man's race. The list of previous winners is enough to confirm that. I fear that moving it forward a month will reduce that part of it's mythology, somehow make the race seem less of a spectacle.

Mostly I'm sad as it's another example of the romance of the sport being slowly eaten away. History matters in sport; it gives events personality and fosters emotional attachment, for both participants and fans.

posted at: 21:13 #

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