Authors@Google: Richard Moore, Ned Boulting, and Dan Friebe

Uploaded by AtGoogleTalks on 21.05.2012

>>Christina: For every one that's here in the room today, and everyone that's in VC
offices around London, thank you very much for coming to today's Authors@ series. My
name is Christina Smith, I'd like to introduce you to three fine gentleman. Well two fine
gentleman, one guy I just met a few minutes ago so we'll see how that goes.
[laughter] From the illustrious Pub Quiz team that I've
been fortunate enough to know for the past few years you've got Richard Moore, Daniel
Freebie. They're gonna walk you through. God I feel like I'm doing like a client presentation
right now. We're gonna walk you through a few samples today.
[laughter] They're gonna talk to you today about their
best-selling books that have been out for awhile. "Slaying the Badger," and what is
the Eddy Merckx cannibal. >>Daniel: Cannibal.
Something like that, OK. And then also joining us today if two is not enough, we're very
very fortunate as well to have Mr. Ned Boulting here. Ned's book, "How I Won the Yellow Jumper",
has been out for probably three years now? >>Ned: No no, 10 months.
>>Christina: 10 months, god it feels like it's been out longer.
You write for the— >>Ned: I get to use a microphone now.
>>Christina: And you write for "The Guardian" is that right?
>>Ned: No I broadcast for ITV, it's television but yeah.
>>Christina: Okay, close enough. You can tell I really, I'm just completely winging it.
Sorry, not "The Guardian". >>Richard: You got him confused with someone
else. [laughter]
>>Christina: Daily Mail? >>Ned: You can just, you've googled me.
>>Christina: I did, actually I google everything. I should have just read what I wrote a couple
moments ago. Alright with that embarrassing last comment, I'm gonna shut up and just let
these guys take it away. All right, this is gonna be a really fun hour so I'm excited
about what's gonna happen. Alright. >>Richard: Thank you, thank you Christina
for that wonderful introduction. These are the three books she mentioned. We were gonna
sort of basically talk maybe 10 to 15 min. about each one
>>Ned: 10 Minutes >>Richard: With the author being quizzed on
his book. And we thought we'd start with Ned's, "How I Won the Yellow Jumper." Which is a
kind a great introduction to the sport. Because it covers your own introduction to the sport.
You were a highly competent experienced professional broadcaster who was parachuted into the.
[Loud Siren Noise] Ned, is that you?
>>Ned: [slap] got it.
[laughter] >>Richard: You were parachuted into the.
[loud sirens stopped] [laughter]
Tour de France in 2003. The title of the book comes from a pretty
embarrassing encounter you had on the Champs-Elysees after the first stage of Prague time trial.
Can you tell us? >>Ned: In very brief summary it was the first
bike race I'd ever seen of any description. I'd never ridden a bike, raced a bike, seen
a bike race. So my first introduction to it was the prologue of the 2003 Tour de France
which cycling fans here will remember, turns out to be one of the most epic in modern times.
The prologue was in Paris which is unusual in itself, so the setting was extremely grand.
Not only that, to compound the importance of the occasion. But a British rider David
Miller pre-doping ban was actually the hot favorite.
>>: Daniel: Mid-doping. >>Ned: Mid-doping was for good reason the
hot favorite to win that day. [laughter]
And so he should've done actually had it not been for the fact that in the final bend onto
the final home straight his chain bounced off his chain ring and he lost time and just
missed out. Anyway, this all sort of, we were broadcasting
live on ITV 1 actually then, not on ITV 4. So on the big network to a big audience. And
all this chaos ensued where we thought we had this British winner and in the end he
missed out by a fraction of the second, rode over the line, disappeared and we had to find
out what had happened to him because we couldn't get an interview with David Miller. And it's
one of those broadcasting situations where television is in desperate need for information
to relay home but more often than not you haven't got it. So you start kind of making
stuff up. And the director without really warning me
just suddenly made the presenter Gary Imlach run out of things to say. Cause he had used
up all the scanned information he had. He kind of threw across to me to say what I knew
about the situation. And I was in a complete state of confusion, so the only thing that
came out of my mouth was, "David Miller's just blown his chances of winning the yellow
jumper." Not realizing that of course it's not a jumper, it's a jersey, it's an iconic
sporting trophy and I just made a bloody fool of myself. I didn't realize I'd done that
until much later when some people told me how much of a tit I'd made out of myself.
So that was it. So that's, in terms of that book that's the starting point. That's the
ignorance in which I could only improve my knowledge.
>>Richard: Yeah. You'd worked in other sports, football most notably before then. You covered
that whole tour. What was it about the tour that fascinated you and what surprised you
about it as well as you kind of got to know and love it?
>>Ned: Well I guess, firstly the scale of the event. Because, Daniel you been on the
Tour de France, you've done it many times and I'm sure amongst our audience here. And
that bloke sitting over there on his own, hello mate.
>>Daniel: Where is that guy? >>Ned: I don't know where he is, it doesn't
matter don't ask. Anyway I'm sure amongst us all, we've all been and seen the Tour de
France. And it's only when you actually see it face to face you realize quite the scale
of the operation. So in terms of what I do, broadcasting for
a television network what's called the zone technique which is the TV compound area that
you guys occasionally are allowed access to, you print journalist. But you know. Just the
size of that, the number of big TV trucks and the amount of cabling and different countries
represented there is comparable only I think. I mean its way bigger than a World Cup Final
in football which would be way bigger. >>Richard: Really?
>>Ned: It's much bigger than a Champions League final, probably the doubles the amount of
trucks. I think it's comparable to just gonna maybe US presidential race in terms of the.
>>Richard: Wow, that surprises me. >>Ned: It's just staggering. So in terms of
the television side, I just went my God. German television turns up year after year, apparently
they're not interested in it anymore so they've kinda scaled back their presence. They had
85 television vehicles on the race every year. I mean we don't we've got three.
[laughter] So the scale was just breathtaking. Lance
Armstrong of course in 2003 that was his fifth win. So his stock was possibly never higher
than then. And the interest in him was vast. And everywhere he went he was just descended
upon by hundreds and hundreds of journalists. I mean it was as if David Beckham had signed
for Real Madrid every day of the week three times. You know, it was kind of, that blew
me away. And then there's sort of a flipside of that.
And it's perhaps contradictory. But the access I got to these riders having worked in the
very sanitized world of football where you can't get near the buggers. Just amazed me
that you could go and knock on their door, find out which hotel room they were sleeping
him because they'd tell you at the reception. What room? Oh well there's a list.
>>Richard: Well there's some curious things. >>Ned: Just nuts. So all that thrilled me
and excited me And over the years, the penny dropped that
actually as a broadcast journalist and obviously is a written journalist. Not only are you
granted huge access to this great occasion but you can actually drive the agenda and
even determine the outcome of the race. When I think of the way we persecuted Michael Rasmussen
in 2007. We ultimately were the motor that got him booted off the race. If we hadn't
been doing our job in the way that we did it, someone else would've won. And so that
doesn't happen in football. You can't step on the pitch and get involved. But in cycling,
you kind of can. >>Richard: The lines are far more blurred
aren't they? >>Ned: The lines are blurred, it's fascinating.
>>Richard: And there is that paradoxical element to the scale on one hand and the access on
the other. And one of the things that comes out in your book is your relationships with
the riders as they develop. >>Ned: Or not, yeah.
>>Richard: Or not. Or appear to develop and then. I mean it's very much like your story
of your dealings with Mark Cavendish for example. It's like a courtship. You know where we.
>>Ned: It's quite one sided. [laughter]
>>Richard: Unrequited love. >>Ned: Yeah, yeah.
>>Richard: But you feel it- >>Ned: I've got a huge crush on him.
>>Richard: On occasions yeah. But it's fascinating how, and it's a very interesting kind of study
of how journalists interact with those athletes. I think you probably got some thoughts on
that as well Daniel cause you obviously. For those of us who don't know, Daniel is Mark
Cavendish's ghost so to speak. >>Ned: "Boy Racer", Mark Cavendish's book
was actually written by this fella. >>Daniel: I collaborated.
I dotted a few "i's" >>Ned: "Boy Racer", was written by.
>>Richard: He sorted out the grammar and the spelling and stuff.
[laughter] But yeah, you know Mark very well. But what
comes across in the book is your crush on Cavendish.
[laughter] And there is this kind of, and then it's followed
up in your follow-up book, a mini book which is called "How Cam Won the Green Jersey."
Which was an e-book published last year. You know, so it's a fascinating, like can you
tell us a little bit about how you and Mark? >>Ned: Well no let me just, very briefly I'd
like to you know come to you in a second. But I, I have repeatedly,
Mark and I have this game where I ask him for his mobile phone number and he says no.
>>Daniel: I've got it actually. [laughter]
>>Ned: Well that's the interesting thing, so I've, I mean every time I've seen him I've
gone, "Can I have your mobile phone number?" And he goes "No." And then I'll say, "Well
I'll it again in 20 minutes, see what you say." So I, "Can I have your mobile phone
number", he'll go, "No you can't." This goes on and on.
>>Richard: But things seem to be going very well for you at certain points.
>>Ned: Yeah, but that's a funny thing about Mark, he does kind of.
>>Richard: Lead you on. >>Ned: Blow hot and cold. And you know, he
never gives you anything other than compelling television I think, whether he's. In fact
he's at his most compelling when he's got a right ass with you. Because that's when
you see the true. You know it makes my job slightly uncomfortable. But I'm not there
to be his mate, I'm there to kind of be the lightning conductor and the filter through
which we experience what he is as a person. What drives him. And I think that across most
when he's got the ass with you, which is quite often.
>>Richard: how uncomfortable are those moments? >>Ned: Oh, hideously. It sucks the air out
of the room. I mean it's just, when Mark doesn't want. You know I'm interested in your take
on this. When Mark doesn't want to cooperate or when he thinks you are letting yourself
down or not paying him enough respect or failing to understand him or just being daft which
is quite often. He just has a way of shutting down the communication, doesn't he? It's quite
unique. I mean did you find that, even when you're you know, when you're writing the book
with them? >>Daniel: I think he's very fickle. He tends
to make up his mind about people. And, he's obviously made up his mind about you.
[laughter] If he likes you he tends to be fine. I mean
I remember about a year or two ago you know I'd done the whole book with him and we got
on pretty well. I wouldn't call us friends, but we had a good professional relationship.
And I had to do a magazine feature. And I called him up and asked him to couple questions.
And I asked him one question, I think it was about a race. Milan-San Remo last year or
the year before. And there was a pause on the end the phone. It was a phone interview.
He said, "Daniel, I don't think I've said this to you before, that was fucking stupid
question." [laughter]
>>Daniel: And I mean that's kind a typical of him, like you say even when he's pissed
off it can be very compelling. >>Ned: Incidentally I've got his mobile phone
number now because another journalist gave it to me and said by the way here. But I've
never used it. I'm far too proud to use it now it, because it hasn't come from him so
I'm not gonna use it. But, I'll sell it to anyone in this room for about a tenner.
[laughter] >>Richard: Or anyone in the googlesphere.
>>Daniel: That's just us then. >>Ned: The other guys disappeared.
>>Richard: But, you know that's one very interesting aspect. And these characters are kind of a
big part of the story that you tell in the book it. Lance Armstrong being another one.
I mean you've obviously covered lots of major sports, how does Lance Armstrong compare to
some of the kind of A-listers in football for example?
>>Ned: Armstrong's in the same way that Cavendish is a bundle of contradictions, so too is Armstrong.
But I mean Armstrong, I've lost interest in him a bit now. But that's only quite recently.
I mean I found him absolutely compelling in all sorts of different ways. Because he, you
know I found tussling with him on the finish line a different kind of experience. Cause
he was quite even-tempered. But he had this way of fixing you with a little glare. And
lying through his teeth to you like that. And you kind of knew it was a lie and he knew
that you knew it was a lie. But we were playing this game and it sort of dancing around that.
But it was such fun with him. I did, for all we think of his record as an athlete, good
and bad, he was compelling I think to watch in all situations.
>>Richard: Shall we kind of segue very smoothly from talking about Armstrong to talking about
the rider to whom Armstrong was perhaps-- >>Ned: Lifetime champion, yeah.
>>Richard: compared the most. "The Cannibal", Eddy Merckx, the greatest cyclist of them
all. Who quite strangely enough for Merckx and Armstrong were kind of rivals through
history in a sense. Merckx is generally acknowledged as the greatest cyclist of all time, and Armstrong
though during his reign was regularly kind of mentioned as perhaps the greatest cyclist
of all time. Can you maybe just tell us a little bit about your approach to this book?
Because Merckx didn't cooperate as such with you did he?
>>Daniel: No he told me pretty much from the outset that he wouldn't collaborate. I don't
think that's that unusual with biographies. I think, and it kind of freed me up really.
I didn't, he's one of these people, he's really dehumanized and demystified himself over the
last 30 or 40 years since he's been retired. Kind of disappointingly, like Pele you know
with his Viagra adverts and you know the nonsense. >>Ned: MasterCard.
>>Daniel: Yeah, MasterCard and the nonsense he talks about the current Brazilian footballers.
So Merckx is quite a disappointing character. But when you juxtapose that with his achievements
which are just extraordinary and the person he turned into when he was on a bike, that
in itself was fascinating. But it was really that that I wanted to concentrate on. Because,
we're not that interested in, I mean, it goes back to what you are saying about your interactions
with these guys. We're not that interested in them as human beings, we're interested
in them because they can do things that we can't. And that was very much the case with
Merckx. And another thing that I really wanted to
tell was the story of all the people's lives, careers he ruined. I mean he sounds like a
despot and he kind of was on a bike. And there was this whole generation of guys who could
and probably thought when they were 19, 20, 21 that they were gonna be you know Mohammed
Ali on a bike, or Pele on a bike. And that didn't happen.
And it was interesting really looking at how that shaped them as characters. It actually
made the more complete characters than Merckx. And Merckx sort of remained this kind of Peter
Pan never grew up, because you know losing is an inexperience, we all have setbacks in
our lives. But Merckx managed to keep a lid on everything. And kind of remain in his own
mind immortal, invulnerable until the age of about 32, 33 when he finally lost for the
first time. And then couldn't deal with it, he found it very, very difficult to deal with.
>>Ned: Can I just ask Daniel, I mean having to learn about cycling history in the way
that I have to because I didn't watch it first time around. And anyway, Merckx was before
my time. But what I really got from your book was a sense of a rider who could do it on
all terrains. And that's kind of remarkable in the modern era to think back to a rider
who did that. So he could time trial like no other. He could win rolling intermediate
stages. He won in the high mountains and he could win up on sprint.
If you chucked Eddy Merckx on to a carbon fiber bike and stuck him in a modern peloton,
where would you find his, what would he do? What would he achieve? And where would that
take him? >>Daniel: It's a good question. I actually
just wrote a magazine feature about this. I think the way cycling has gone, it's become
so specialized, kind of disappointingly so. To the extent where a guy now will literally
dedicate six months if not a year to one race. And he will be thinking about that race the
whole time. He'll be developing his bike with a view to that race. He'll be getting coaching
with a view to that race. And that really wasn't the case. And that kind of falsifies
Merckx's achievements when you compare them to achievements nowadays.
Is he probably wasn't as good pound for pound in the Tour de France as you know whoever
wins it this year would be. He would lose. Because he was never as fit I don't think
as the guys are now. But he, he was good enough throughout the years to beat those guys cause
they didn't have access to those things. >>Ned: So the modern sport would force him
if you like to specialize, to choose one of those routes.
And what would be that route do you think? What was his single greatest strength?
Was it – – >>Daniel: I mean I think.
>>Ned: Would he be [Migar Linderhine]? >>Daniel: I think he would be a one-day racer.
I mean he's a fairly big guy, six-foot and weighs 75 kg. I would imagine that he would
concentrate on the classics, the one-day races in springtime.
>>Richard: He'd be a far more limited rider then wouldn't he? And he probably wouldn't
have the respect that is his due? I mean he's not. Because you couldn't imagine him really
going head-to-head with some of the great climbers. Why were those great climbers not
able to put him on the ropes back in the day? >>Daniel: It's not were. But again I think
there's another aspect of it was this aura. And he, particularly the first year when he
won the Tour de France in 1969, he really traumatized people. There was actually a quote
from a guy, one of his old team managers in my book saying, he actually, you know, they
were shell-shocked. Not just for a few weeks, but for years afterwards. And one of the things
he said to me was, "They would never, they would not dare to attack because it was like
literally dangling bait in front of him." And as soon as you attack, that was literally
like lighting. >>Richard: Tell us the great story about the
wine. Zandegù and the wine. >>Ned: Yeah.
>>Daniel: I remember the tour with him, [inaudible] >>Daniel: No I mean you know races, the Tour
de France, now you get the hotspot sprints for points for the green jersey. Whereas it
used to be very common for the spot prices to be up for grabs, like bottles of wine.
On this particular case in the Tour of Italy, they went past this famous Italian singer's
Château kind of castle manor house that he had. And he was putting up 50 bottles of Chianti
for the winner of this sprint. And this Italian rider Dino Zandegù who became a bit of a
folk hero because he was just, he was a circus act. You know he would, appear holding birthday
cakes in the middle of the race and singing "Happy birthday."
[laughter] So this one day he resolved that he was gonna
win this Chianti. He said whenever there was wine up for grab, and this is something that
I kind of picked up when I interviewed him. Because you could kind of tell he was fond
of a glass of Chianti or two >>Richard: He got drunk during the course
of the day, didn't he? >>Daniel: But he was particularly motivated
for this kind of sprint. So on this one day, he described it in perfect detail. You know
coming around a bridge and there it was the banner. And he could see it, and off he went.
And he was a sprinter anyway, so on this particular he managed to beat Merckx. Completely meaningless,
Merckx was gonna win the race. He was minutes ahead on the general classification. And when
he saw Zandegù cross the line, he was screaming at you, "You bastardo, you'll never race again."
Or "I'm gonna kill you", and, "That Chianti's mine."
Anyway that night, they were all staying in the same hotel, all the teams up on Copper
Mountain. And Merckx knocked on his door and demanding half of the Chianti otherwise he
was gonna see to it that this guy never race again. That's kind of, I'm sure there's a
degree of truth in that. But I'm not sure –
>>Richard: The other day he beat Merckx again and had to hide in somebody's house.
>>Daniel: Beat Merckx again and he pulled off the road just after the finish line, and
he burst into this little wooden shack near the finish line to a completely deserted house
and he went upstairs. And there was an eighty-year-old woman asleep, and she started screaming. He
said "Granny, granny don't worry, I'm not gonna do anything to you, but Eddy Merckx
is chasing me and he wants to rip my head and face off."
[laughter] He actually saved it now, I mean I didn't
believe a word of it. [laughter]
But hope I present it in the book in such a way that.
>>Richard: You get a sense that Zandegù is a circus act. It's interesting because paradoxically
Merckx, you know the way you describe him there he's sort of a mafia boss or a bully.
And yet he's quite gentle guy as well. He's got this, and he's racked by the insecurity
and doubt himself. You know, which in contrast to this marauding bullying bike rider and
racer that he was. >>Ned: That's no different from lots of bike
riders is it? >>Daniel: Same with Cavendish.
>>Ned: There's a life on the bike and there's a life off the bike.
>>Richard: Apart from Lance Armstrong who kind of had that.
>>Ned: took his on bike persona and turned it into his off bike.
>>Richard: And you know Armstrong was probably well you know and then Armstrong was the next
guy. [Inaudible]
>>Richard: That was completely accidental, that was totally accidental.
>>Ned: Should we ask him about that? >>Daniel: Let's ask him about that.
>>Richard: Oh goodness, if you must. [laughter]
>>Daniel: So you've written a book called "Slaying the Badger." Now "the badger" is
Bernard Hinault. Which you want to explain first of all how he got this nickname and
why it's appropriate? >>Richard: I don't think the reason why he
got the nickname owes to the person he became in a way. It's kind of odd, the origins of
it were apparently when he was a young cyclist, a teammate from Brittany used to greet him
"Hey badger, hey blairo." >>Daniel: It's quite common in France isn't
it? >>Richard: Apparently in Brittany it's a common
form of greeting, "Hey badger. " [chuckles] So with Hinault this kind of stuck. And then
I think I had this image of a badger as this cuddly kind of toy. And a badger is really
pretty vicious apparently. And the jaw kind of, once it clamps, you can only get it off
by dislocating the jaw apparently. And that sums up Hinault to a T. He grew into that
nickname, and it caught on. And you know, when, when I went with a good friend/translator
of mine and Daniel to interview him. You know we asked him, he quite liked it, didn't he?
And he goes, "Yeah." And I think it kind of suited him. He said, "Badgers a little bit
nasty like me." So it does kind of sum him up, yeah.
>>Ned: In terms of what happened on a bike, sorry Daniel. When I read your book a while
ago, when I had been reading Daniels. The way in the general classification Merckx would
make decisive moves that would nowadays in the modern era be considered suicidal. Cause
they just go off with 100 km to go on their own and just kind of wing it. "Let's get this
done, let's just do it." Hinault was the same right? I mean repeatedly that would be his
modus operandi. >>Richard: To a point, in the early part of
his career certainly. And it's interesting cause Hinault retired, I'm sorry, Merckx retired
in 78', the year that Hinault won his first Tour de France. And I think Anquetil retired
the year that Merckx also won his first tour. Or there was some neat cut off between these
eras. And there was the Anquetil era, followed by the Merckx era followed almost directly
afterward by the Hinault era. And Hinault was, he was so physically capable
I think that early on in his career, you know he realized he could win big races and he
was quite aggressive. He suffered a bad knee injury in 1980. And it caused him to withdraw
from the tour midway through when he was wearing the yellow jersey. And in the dead of night,
after the Germans had done their stories for the next day Hinault orchestrated this exit
which didn't go down very well for journalists. And after that, he was a slightly different
kind of rider. He did go to the world championship that year and won it in that style, that buccaneering.
But he was more calculating afterwards. And that calculation extended to individual races
but also to his career. He became far more selective. Not quite as selective as Lance
Armstrong who only went to the tour to win each year. But far more selective than Merckx
had been. You know he set his sights on, he had appointments.
And when he turned up for an appointment he won it every time. He would say, "I'm gonna
win that race", and he would go and win it. And at other races he would sort of become
this incredible teammate to his, to lesser riders who he would help and act as this incredible
domestique. And speaking to his former teammates, they were, they spoke so kind of warmly even
lovingly of him. Which again is in stark contrast to the image that we had of him and the image
that his rivals had of him. Because he was a brute and a bully.
>>Daniel: Particularly in this Tour de France that your book is about.
>>Richard: Yeah the books about the 86' tour where he and the American Greg LeMond lined
up in the same La Vie Claire team. The previous year in 85', Hinault had won his fifth tour.
But he'd done so with the help of LeMond. I mean he probably wouldn't have won that
tour had LeMond not helped them. He had a terrible crash Saint-Étienne and sort of
finished the race with a broken nose and bronchitis, two black eyes. It looked brilliant.
[laughter] But he struggled to the line and LeMond had
helped him. And LeMond probably had his chance to win that tourney, he held back on team
orders in order to help Hinault. And Hinault allegedly promised him that he
would help him the following year which was Hinault's final tour in '86. And he made this
pledge to help LeMond to win it. And he made it to several people LeMond himself and to
journalist. But of course as the '86 tour approaches, people are starting to question
whether Hinault will honor the pledge. And he has, you know the President of France urging
him to forget about it. The whole French media and people really you know forget about the
American. You know go for the sixth tour which would've been historic. You know in front
of Merckx and Anquetil as a six-time winner. So the temptation was huge.
And really as the tour began it seemed to be very much open. And as it began, and as
it went into its first week and then hit the tourneys, it became very very obvious to everybody,
especially LeMond that Hinault was not going to help LeMond, he was out to try to win it
himself. So what followed was this fascinating kind
of internal battle between them and their own team. And the team you know ended up being
split and down the middle really, with the Swiss riders in the middle as neutrals. And
it was fascinating. >>Daniel: Two very contrasting characters,
but you had two very contrasting experiences of Etienne, talk a little bit about them
>>Richard: Yeah, I mean Hinault. LeMond is very open and friendly and warm. Whereas Hinault
is very cold and coarse and short. And I went into LeMond, you know the book is, it's funny
because the book is about LeMond and Hinault. But Hinault is the person that really seems
to fascinate people. But LeMond is equally fascinating in his own
way. He was this kinda young prodigy who wasn't streetwise in the way that Hinault was, he
was just hugely, hugely talented. But he was wracked by insecurity, by doubt, by fragility.
And it was not just a physical. >>Ned: Wracked by diarrhea at one point.
>>Richard: Wracked by diarrhea. It was not just physical battle between them,
it was the psychological battle. Are you trying to get me to read it?
>>Ned: No, no. >>Richard: And LeMond you know went into LeMond
and he was just. He'd been very hard to pin down initially. You know 9 months it took
me to arrange an interview with him. And to go and see him. And once I was face-to-face
with him, he couldn't have been better. I mean he was brilliant. And just the stories
that will come out of him were just incredible. Such a contrast to Hinault. He's become more,
because Hinault you know did subject him to a very horrendous experience during that tour.
You know I think it was pretty, it was pretty hard and pretty harrowing. But he's kind of
softened to Hinault over the years. He's kind forgiven him in a way. Because I think he
understands now why Hinault did it. Why it was important to him. I don't think, I think
for Hinault to have been seen to be just basically riding in the service of LeMond I think it
would've damaged Hinault 's legacy. And I think Hinault kind of on some level realized
that. And so the only way for him to help LeMond
or to be beaten was to kind of go down all guns blazing in the way that he did. I think
if Hinault can rationalize that, I think that's probably what he did.
>>Ned: And still the last French winner of the tour which is--
>>Richard: 85' >>Ned: --just extraordinary isn't it?
Is that a way of bringing things up to date and maybe just sort of throwing it open to.
I mean, there may be no questions in which case were happy to ramble on. We can ramble
on all day. >>Richard: And I can give the diarrhea story.
>>Ned: Yeah, go for it, yeah. [laughter]
>>male 1: A question for Daniel about the ghost writing process. You said it was very
different from Merckx and LeMond. Could you describe how [inaudible]
>>Daniel: Oh Merckx is not a ghost, it's not an autobiography. It's a biography. No,
>>Ned: He said no. [laughter]
>>Daniel: No not at all. m>>Male 1: [Inaudible]?
>>Daniel: How'd it work? So, I mean, I think people do it. Rich has done a couple of ghost
writing jobs. >>Richard: One, yeah.
>>male 1: Oh OK. >>Daniel: But we, I think they work broadly
the same way. So I spent about a week with Mark. Yeah, it's too long to do like the whole
day. So you do maybe two hours in the morning, two hours at night. You know that gives you
a number of hours, and then you. We probably did 20, 25 hours in total.
He was really fine. The most alarm, well there were a lot of alarming moments in the process
I would say. The one that sticks in my mind will always be and you probably heard this
story, I've told this story to so many people. But when I finished the manuscript, and his
girlfriend, and how that overlaps with the book you know that's another good story.
[laughter] >>male 2: Can we get that story?
>>Daniel: Yeah, we can get that story. >>male 1: [Inaudible]
>>Daniel: Might be it might be, bear with me. Yeah so I finished the manuscript and
I went to see Mark. And Melissa his girlfriend at the time was you know I knew her because
I'd been in that house a lot. And she was, and she would generally be my point of contact
when I couldn't. He was sometimes a nightmare. I remember one day saying , I was at the end
of my tether. I couldn't get a hold of him and she sent me, I sent her a message "Can
you please get him to call me?" She sent me one back, "That lying little git. I've had
just about enough of this." But anyway, we finished the manuscript and
I went to meet them in Manchester. And, just to get a bit of feedback from them about what
they thought about it. And you know, we ordered drinks in this bar and we're sitting there.
And Melissa's there and Mark's there and I said "So guys how was it? What you think of
it?" And Mark is saying oh yeah yeah yeah great manual, great work. And I turned to
Melissa and said "What about you Melissa?" And she said "Well you know, there are a few
things that happen that you describe them, it wasn't exactly the way they happen. Like
the Way, Mark proposed to me." And these days I could see the fury that Ned's
probably familiar with Mark eyes. And he turned to her, and there was a pause of about 10
seconds. Then he went, "Melissa, it's a fucking story."
[laughter] And I said, "Hang on Mark, it's not fictional."
[laughter] And yeah generally it was fine.
[laughter] The thing about the girlfriend, I'm not sure
I want to go into it really. I mean he happened to dedicate it to Melissa.
>>male 3: [Inaudible] >>Daniel: You're right, actually I do remember
now. Yeah. I mean, he happened to split up with Melissa just as the hot bite came out,
which was unfortunate. >>male 4: Do you think he's gonna be able
to cope at Skye without having the team, the full support of the team?
>>male 5: [Inaudible] >>Ned: Well I think it is something. We talked
about this haven't we briefly, but I think it's, there's only one answer that, it's thoroughly
compromised isn't it? But whichever way you look at it, is compromised. If they pulled
it off it would be astonishing. I don't, I don't know if they will pull it off.
>>male 4: [Inaudible] >>Ned: Yeah it's a different era, they were
all doping for a start. [laughter]
You know. And then, for all that they did pull it off, they also didn't put it off as
well. It wasn't like the recipe that worked every single time. Let's not forget how Jan
Ullrich kind of used to try throw down his opposition to Lance Armstrong in this kind
a team full of chiefs. There were 30 Indians and no chief.
It's frustrating to me because the more and more I think about this year's Tour de France
and the way that the tour has been designed with two longtime trials. And the absence
of Alberto Contador. The more I think that this is Bradley Wiggins' only and best chance
of winning the Tour de France. And if Dave Brailsford when he calls Team Sky into existence,
if his stated aim of producing a British Tour de France winner within five years had any
credibility than this is the moment. And I think that they should really be throwing
the kitchen sink at Bradley Wiggins and his tour.
Where the desire and the impulse and the motor actually came from to sign Mark Cavendish
on this multimillion pound contract. Which in one sense seems entirely obvious. But where
that came from I don't know, how high up within the organization of Skye you have to go. Whether
it actually came from Dave Brailsford himself or someone above him I don't know.
>>Richard: The irony I think is that it was almost the end of the, the move was engineered,
or came when there were serious doubts about whether aim of winning the tour was actually
achievable. >>Ned: Absolutely, so like a very solid Plan
B. >>Richard: The move was basically done in
the first part of last year on the back of Wiggins having quite a spectacular failure
at the 2010 tour. When it really didn't look at that point like he was ever gonna actually
become a tour winner. And if somebody did emerge as a potential tour winner, it would
be a bit further down the line. You know Cavendish is your banker for lots
of wins, lots of publicity. And then, the same Cavendish and Wiggins than you know finishes
third in the Vuelta with Chris Froome second. And suddenly, you know.
But I can see, I can understand why they retained Cavendish. The most bankable name and world
cycling really. And there's still an element, momentum seems to be building towards Wiggins
certainly starting to tour as a favorite. And you know some people are already talking
about it being his to lose which. >>Daniel: I'm not sure about that.
>>Ned: You're not overstating it. >>Richard: I think so.
>>Ned: Cadel Evans is still probably the favorite given his experience.
>>Richard: I think you know you can, with someone who's, with Lance Armstrong, there
was an element of certainty. Because, you know. But with Wiggins he's finishing third
in the Vuelta last year I don't think it's enough solid proof that he can win the tour.
Winning Pyrenees is not enough solid evidence that he can win the tour. But I think he's
definitely capable of doing it. And I think you're right, that it has to be a concerted
effort. I think that the way it's coming out they
might you know, Cavendish might be winging it a little bit and not have the lead out
train and be left to his own devices. I don't know if you.
>>Daniel: I think the big problem could be groups within the group. I think basically
the problem is, and what the guys at T-Mobile use say is they had to do two jobs. And what
ended up deciding who they worked for that day or in that particular moment when they
felt you know pulled in two directions was often who they like more. And that is another
issue. I think Mark's probably more of a natural
leader then Bradley. At Mark also pisses people off, can piss people off, although he is a
great leader. So that's another thing they've got a guard against whether you know just
in terms of morale in the team. If all these guys who are doing the kind of
worker bees, if they get really tired and they get down in people's moods are kind of
fickle in the Tour de France because they're so tired. Then I think it'll be difficult
to manage maybe. >>Ned: And the other factor, I'll come to
you in a second. Just to throw in, you may be preempting your question here. But you
mentioned his name briefly is Chris Froome. He might end up being the story of the summer.
We're focusing on Wiggins and Cavendish, but he's a big unknown. You know his bilharzia,
his recurrent bilharzia. And then he came down with pneumonia. And then he got rid of
that and he went off to Kenya to his brother's wedding came back with typhoid. So he's been
wiped out for months, but he's in full training now and he's off on the tour of Romandie.
So he could be capable of anything or nothing. But if he's capable of anything, that anything
just might be winning the Tour de France. >>Richard: If it's like the Vuelta last year
where he was stronger. >>Ned: He was the stronger of the two. Let's
sorry, a question in the blue shirt. >>male 6: [Inaudible]
Recently it hasn't really got my interest. I think it's because I thought everybody was
using drugs or doping. So my question to you is [Inaudible] because right now I feel after
6 months [Inaudible] >>Ned: That's a big one.
>>Daniel: I mean, there's no doubt that drugs have been in cycling from the start pretty
much. I mean strychnine, caffeine from the start.
>>Richard: Morphine, alcohol. >>Ned: There's various different kinds.
>>Daniel: Yeah. And I mean one misconception, one of the things I talk about in my book
is that it used to be. Now they refer to it as light doping i.e. like stimulants and caffeine
whereas now it's heavy doping. Because I think people of made a leap in their minds because
now it's syringes, and it kind of seems slightly sordid. Blood bags you know and shadowy doctors.
Whereas back then, it was, it seemed quite innocent in a way. But it's always been there.
And that is a misconception, you know a lot of the methods and products that were around
now were around 30, 40 years ago. It's just that, we've stigmatized in a way by making
the punishments more draconian. You know we say now its two years, four years and all
of the sudden in people's minds "God this is a really terrible crime." Whereas if you
say you're banned for a week, then people start to view it as something that's kind
of trifling. >>Ned: Eddy Mokes got a month right?
>>Daniel: And then it was, yeah he didn't even get the month. So that's one of the things.
>>Ned: Yeah, I would suggest that, even in the 10 years I've been covering it actually.
And I understand entirely what you're saying, you're right to feel that in some ways. But
I would suggest hesitantly that actually incrementally over those 10 years the instances of doping
have come down, year on year. And even those instances where people have doped, I think
probably the percentage of advantage they're gaining is probably smaller. In other words,
the conclusion I'm trying to draw is that it's getting better. And so what you do? Is
this a point to give up on it? I'm not sure it is. I think that probably they, it's heading
in the right direction albeit slowly. >>Richard: I'm recently comforted in that
clean the riders are winning big races now in a way that it wasn't 10 years ago.
>>Daniel: Yeah. >>Richard: When I say clean, it's all relative.
I mean we have this. Well I'm not casting aspersions here at all. You know we have this
very black and white viewpoint of doping that you're either a drug cheat or you're not.
And it's just so complex you know there's this huge gray area, and the actual line between
doping and clean is moving all the time. You know that's something I covered in another
book about Team Sky where you know it was very obvious that if you’re a professional
athlete, if you're training for the Tour de France it's your job to go it's close to that
line is possible. And to do everything that you can that is legal. Which might not be
considered natural or even ethical, I don't know. And by some people. Athletes at that
level are doing things and taking things that the rest of us would regard as crazy. But
it's kind of the responsibility to do that. They would be kind of silly not to I think.
In a way. So I think it's a very foggy area. And there
isn't this kind of, an athlete doesn't decide alright I'm gonna dope today, I'm gonna go
from being a clean rider to a cheat. I think as David Miller very eloquently described
in his book, it's a process. But, there's always this puzzle. This game of being as
close to that line as you can possibly be. >>Daniel: The other thing I'd say is that
there's this misconception that the media knows. It's a charge that's often leveled
at us that we spent time with these athletes. We do have really good access like Ned said
earlier. We don't know, we have no idea. And the athletes themselves have no idea what
another guy. I mean in some cases they might. You know, at the Tour de France, the pressroom
is, you will not ever walked into a more cynicism fueled room. You know we watch the stage on
the big screen and you know as soon as anyone does something incredible they'll be a nudge,
nudge and a wink, wink. But really we don't know.
>>Ned: Rumors. >>Daniel: And often we're basing that on stereotypes.
>>Ned: And sometimes you'll be live to a, I mean I don't dwell on it. You will be live
to a decent rumor that you can follow through and actually affect the challenge. I mean
that does happen. It happened with me and Stephan Schumacher
after his time trial win where I basically accused him of doping. He was wearing the
yellow jersey at the tour, he didn't like it one bit. But I was right and he was wrong
you know. And he's, it doesn't always happen, you gotta be pretty sure of your ground. It
happened with Rasmussen, albeit he never failed a dope test.
Sorry can I just come to this guy? >>male 7: do you think the relevance [Inaudible]
over the past few years [inaudible] >>Ned: Yeah.
Doesn't look good. >>male 7: Do you think that's something that
we seize upon? Is it fair to seize upon that [Inaudible]. Is it something that it's just
you do something that doesn't say you're one or the other?
>>Richard: I think it's dangerous to make any assumptions isn't it? I mean we could
make the same assumption about Chris Froome who rode into second in the Vuelta last year.
But we knew that he'd been ill and that you had this terrible bad luck. So, it's like
a very British mindset perhaps. You know the cheating foreigners and the plucky Brit.
So you know, I think it's always dangerous to make assumptions one way or the other.
There could be a logical explanation. I mean Joe Barr apparently had dental problems that
could explain it, who knows. Inconsistency though, or massive leap in improvements.
>>Ned: Thomas Voeckler >>Richard: It's always suspicious.
>>Ned: Yeah. >>Daniel: Tom Boland.
>>Richard: Well there's an interesting little bit in your book your new book the e-book,
where you have a conversation with an ESO official who suggests that.
>>Ned: I mean on last year's tour there at this funny moment where it almost became a
possibility that Thomas Voeckler would win the Tour de France. I mean having been not
up to consideration, it just flickered for second, hang on this ain't gonna happen is
it? But after 10 days in the yellow at which point I said this guy who is very high up
in the organization, I said. >>Richard: What's his name?
>>Ned: Matthieu Peres. And I said, "That would be a thing wouldn't it? Out of nowhere of
Frenchman after all this time winning you know we're two days from Paris. This could
happen." And he went, "I hope it doesn't happen. This needs to stop now." And I went, "No!?",
and he goes. [laughter]
Now I don't know, he's not party to information. But he sensitive to those insinuations. And
to the image of the tour. >>Richard: Yeah.
>>Daniel: This is on YouTube Ned, you know that right.
>>Ned: Yeah. [laughter]
>>Richard: Bleep that bit out. >>male 8: [Inaudible]
>>Richard: More time to think, I think. >>Daniel: I think that cycling in sports that's
least vulnerable to that kind of thing. Because I think the sport where you feel that most
is probably something like golf where you're stationary. Because no seriously.
[laughter] No because it's also it's a physiological
thing, it's a hormonal thing. If you're moving, if you're moving fast your producing hormones
which will ultimately often they will kind of muffle the stress. You know like that adrenaline
that works against stress a lot of the time without becoming more nervous.
I think generally – – >>Richard: It's a sport Daniel.
>>Daniel: I, but yeah outside of when they're actually performing. Yeah I think all sportsmen
are susceptible. >>Richard: I think the self-doubt thing, it
can be the difference between you know you start with Ullrich and Armstrong's, or any,
LeMond Hinault. Any rivalry where that's really exposed. Often the difference is confidence,
self-confidence. >>Ned: And actually there's a really good
case in point just the other week wasn't there with Johnny Hoogerland. I don't know how closely
you been following this season. But he's a kind of marauding, he doesn't quite know what
he is kind of rider, but he's got bundles of aggression and a lot of talent. And in
Milan-San Ramo he kept attacking and in slightly inappropriate places and having a go. And
actually, his DS came out and said he's doing that because his self-confidence is brittle.
Cause he doesn't know how to get the best out of himself.
>>Richard: It's ironic isn't it. We can see, I think the with Pantani as well. Some of
these great you know really excited climbers are often the ones who are most wracked by
self-doubt. And they're not happy unless they are you know.
If they're sitting in the bunch waiting for things to happen they are not happy. And it
takes a very confident rider to actually just sit there and control it. And someone like
Armstrong who would say this was the key moment of the race, this is where I'm gonna set it
alight. And do that.
>>Daniel: But it's interesting that some people can turn that into fuel and other people,
for other people it would just kill their performances. I mean that was, for Merckx,
he was just as wracked with self-doubt as any rider you will ever find.
>>Richard: The nature of cycling, particularly with the hours of training and racing, it
does, if you're an introspective sort it's gonna make you worse. I think climbing is
the same. I think that's why there's some really good, not these ones obviously, but
there are some really good books out about cycling. Because there is that time to think
and like there's great climbing literature as well. Because people have this time to
think and to you know David Miller book for example is a product of you know years of
introspection. And he's intelligent enough to turn that introspection into this coherent
story. And that I think is a fact of the sport definitely significant.
>.Ned: And the psychological fuel thing, you said using it as a fuel. Just to quote Gary
Imlach who presents our coverage, who's I think a brilliant brilliant journalist.
He once summed up Lance Armstrong at the end of one of our shows after he had that spat
with Simeoni in the best way possible. He said, "Lance Armstrong needs grudges like
the flying Scotsman needs a steady supply of coal."
[laughter] Which I thought was just brilliant.
>>male 9: Speaking of psychology, can you talk a little bit about [inaudible]
[laughter] [Inaudible]
>>Ned: Andy really disappointed me. I mean, last, I mean he disappointed me in so many
ways you know over the last couple years. I think if they're head-to-head against Contador
on the Tour Mila in the pissing rain it just didn't happen. Maybe there were sporting reasons
for that, I don't know. But where were the fireworks, where was the attempt?
The most disappointing memory, or recent memory of Andy Shleck is interviewing him on the
Champs-Elysees last year at the tour where he finished in second. And I said, "Andy,
sum it all up. Now you're here, you've reached Paris. When you look back in 10 years, what
will you think about this tour." And he said, "I'm immensely proud to finish second in the
Tour de France." [laughter]
He should've won it, last year he should've won it. Shouldn't he have? And even if he's
just trying to say the right thing, and I actually believe he's kind of, he's got himself
into that mindset where he actually is immensely proud of finishing second, which is, I've
never finished second you never finished second you know It's a rare place to be.
But with his talent. He should be, I mean would Mark Cavendish say, "I'm immensely proud
to finish second in the sprint"? You know, that's what kind maddens me about Andy Shleck
a little. >>Daniel: I was reading the interview with
Andy Murray in Sport magazine earlier and he said, "In what other domain would you be
the fourth best in the world at something and still be criticized." And I was writing
about Andy Shleck yesterday, and it occurred to me we were very harsh about him. But actually
he's the second-best, you know last year he was the second best rider in the biggest race
in the world. It's not bad. The other thing about the Shleck's is, I think
if you go to Luxembourg you start to understand what a goldfish bowl it is for them. I mean
Luxembourg is not exactly, the cup does not runneth over with celebrities. And you know
in any business. >>Ned: Nor does Frank.
>>Daniel: Exactly. And they live in the same house. And then there was their Dad John before
that. >>Ned: Yeah exactly.
>>Daniel: I remember that worked both ways. On the one hand you know they're mates for
life, they don't, they're the biggest stars in the country. Also there's a lot of pressure.
There's a huge amount of pressure on them, especially with the team now having a kind
of Luxembourg identity. >>male 9: Do you think they would be better
if they were on separate teams? >>Richard: It's funny I mean yeah you could
see them riding certainly last year. I remember Plateau de Bais stage where you felt that
one would accelerate and then look to see where the other one was. And they have that
brotherly bond which is both a help than a hindrance really.
You know, had Cadel Evans not been riding last year, and had he not been riding as well
as he was then they would have probably finished first and second in the Tour and we've been
seeing this remarkable, these wonderful brothers. So you know it's close to being an incredible
story and I think it is a story of unfulfilled promise really. At the moment, you know.
When Andy Schleck emerged and finished second in the Giro as a 21-year-old or something
in 2007. And we thought my God this guy is a bit like Jan Ullrich when he won the tour
and '97. It was, we thought this guy is the new Merckx
or Hinault or somebody, he's just so so talented. And you wouldn't have thought then that he
would get to this age and not have won a grand tour.
>>Ned: He's got Contador in his way more often than not. And Contador's an amazing story
in his own right. Because he's been, I think I'm right in saying he's been not eligible
to ride four Tour's de France is. I think that's right. You know one way or the other
with Astana and bans. I mean it's just extraordinary. And he should be, we should be talking about
Contador had things panned out differently in the same tones that we talk about Merckx
and Armstrong and Hinault, greatest stage racer of his generation. But that ain't gonna
happen now. >>male 10: [Inaudible]
>>Richard: Until your ban is almost over. >>Ned: Ninety-nine days til his ban is up.
Just in time for the Tour of Britain. [laughter]
You gonna see them lining up in Gilford. [laughter]
Sorry, I mean I'm, what do you mean? >>,ale 10: Inaudible
>>Ned: Plenty doesn't look good about his cleanliness. And the bottom line is that none
of us know do we but the inalienable fact in all that is that he had Clenbuterol in
his system. That's only fact you can return to.
>>male 11: One of my favorite things [inaudible] >>Ned: Well, I know very little about bikes,
and these guys know an awful lot more. Well I guess they do, you've ridden a bike so you
must know. At first I thought it was absolutely hilarious,
and I couldn't believe that it was. But by all accounts it's, it is a kind of real possibility
isn't it technically that you could. >>Richard: I wouldn't dismiss it as a real
possibility. Somebody recently said something to me that suggested it may be a real possibility.
>>Daniel: I remember conversations that we had in the car at the Tour de France about
what would be the next step, would it be geographical doping? As in—
>>Richard: retro doping. >>Daniel: Yeah, retro doping. You know the
first Tour de France people used to catch the train then they used to pack packs on
the road. [laughter]
[Inaudible] >>Richard: Yeah, that'd would be fun to return
to those days wouldn't it? >>Daniel: But the guy who made the first YouTube
video and compiled all the evidence, yes he went on to write a book about that. In Italy
yeah it's come out. A thick tome all about mechanical doping. But it was quite convincing
when you watch that piece. Well, sorry? >>male 11: [Inaudible]
>>Daniel: I mean it kind of did look like that.
>>Richard: There was this book that came out that [inaudible]
[laughter] >>Richard: Really suspicious.
>>Richard: Yeah, but you know I mean he did something that wasn't any more extraordinary
than Tom Boonen did this year. I mean Cancellara went away with I think with 40 K's to go,
just under 40 K's to go and Boonen went away with just over 50. And what if he had a motor?
But I didn't hear the mechanical doping rumors then.
>>Ned: That's good punish. >>Richard: On the same bike as well wasn't
it? A specialized bike. >>Daniel: It's quite funny, the Belgian said
there's a whole kind of microculture of Belgians in like the press room and cycling in general.
And they have their own language, it's not a language because they don't speak. It's
just kind of winks and nudges. There, and the standard, their standard sign language
for someone basically doing what Cancellara or Boonen did is like "grrrrr" like that.
They actually did it to the riders in the morning, they walk around the buses "grrrr".
[laughter] >>Christina: I hate to cut this short but
we can only have just one more question. I think we might be getting to the end.
>>male 12: Yeah so how is Team Sky running all over the UK, and what else do you think
they can do to promote the sport? >>Daniel: I was asked the same question the
other day in a similar event. And I, this was the last question I ended it on the grimmest
and most depressing note possible. So I'll get it out of the way and then you guys can.
>>Ned: I agree with you though. >>Daniel: So in racing a similar thing happened.
The boom in cycling in this country. We talked about it a lot. Rich and I have actually discussed
whether it is actually happened or something that we like to imagine is happening in our
head. And comfort is when we feel bad about our freelance careers.
But it is, I think it is happening. But it also happened in Germany a few years ago.
And that went from nothing to you know stratosphere within two or three years. When Jan Ullrich
won the Tour de France. I was writing I think about another rider Andreas Kloden a few days
ago. And in the introduction it was all about how cycling in Germany was just taking off.
There was Kloden, there were guys under him. Patrik Sinkewitz who a couple years later
was banned. But it literally went from one day to the
next it went from everything to nothing. I don't think that will happen in this country.
>>Richard: But what was the statistic on, cause it was a very similar story in a sense.
They had a big German team that was supposed to have a bid German brand. But you were telling
me about just the kind of money that they had.
>>Daniel: Yeah I mean well they would fly 130 journalists just to their training camp.
German journalists at the start of the year. And the riders said they were just groveling
these guys to get the riders in their paper. Now you will not find any media coverage about
cycling in Germany. And there was a huge sponsor, it was like Sky it was T-Mobile. So that is
a cautionary tale. I don't think it'll happen. But it might.
>>Ned: There are very specific reasons for that collapse though aren't there, almost
all doping related, so a little hedge on that. But I take your point, it's a brittle foundation,
and it seems a bit grafted on. A kind of carbon fiber shell that we've built over, a pretty
rusty edifice. You've got to let, you got a hope that enough time elapses for these
roots to really take hold. The other thing that fueled the German collapse
was the moral high grounds that the broadcasters took national television in Germany, ZDF and
AL TV said well, not showing the race, sod ya. But ITV don't have a moral high ground,
or show it whatever. [laughter]
>>Richard: Yeah I guess in the Britain in a sense it began almost even before, cause
Armstrong was kind of important I think here as well. You know certainly in the books boom
Armstrong's books did so well that it transcended the sport. And it convinced publishers the
cycling book, there was an audience for cycling books.
So there's always been that kind of hard-core following in the UK. It certainly, it's kind
of growing all the time, you really feel it multiplying.
I mean Ned made a comment the other day saying that you know it was a bit like Andy Murray
in tennis that we only really have one guy or two guys at the top. I don't agree with
that. I think there are slightly stronger foundations. There are guys coming through
British riders on top teams now worldwide, where there wasn't 10, 15, 20 years ago. Dave
Miller was the only one 10 years ago. So there's that encouragement.
The other thing that's helped enormously has been lottery funding with the track program.
My worry is that after London that's reduced and that starts to diminish a little bit.
And Dave Brills may leave the British program. And that might, and that is a very important
foundation that might begin to crumble. >>male 13: [Inaudible]
>>Richard: Not on its own, I mean it needs, you know I think there are the pro scene and
in the UK at the moment is pretty healthy. Again you know were in a recession again apparently
and these things are very much dependent on corporate sponsorship, and if that disappears.
>>Ned: And there's one big sponsor, and they're all gravitating towards that sponsor. You
know John Tannock is an example of a British rider from outside the system where you know
he's gonna be riding for them next year. So don't put all your eggs in one basket, it's
a bit risky. >>Richard: I mean having said that, you know
there certainly is a huge huge interest in it. And you know that, I think that is real.
But I think that I mean you totally see people cycling and you see I think that there's,
the evidence is before us. >>Daniel: We desperately desperately need
it to carry on. >>Richard: Were screwed if it doesn't carry
on. [laughter]
>>Ned: Thank you very much, cheers. [applause]