Every year, we notice certain trends in cycling. Some are really positive and make us excited about the future of cycling while others are very tragic, annoying and pretty undesirable parts of the sport. Here are eight trends we’ve noticed in cycling we hope not to see in 2019 and beyond.
Cyclist deaths because of distracted drivers
It seems to be a growing trend that roads are becoming increasingly dangerous for cyclists. We’d like to see countries, provinces, municipalities and others hold motorists responsible for the safety of cyclists on the roads as well as dedicate more public space dedicated to cycling. In 2019, we’d like not to have to cover the passing of any professional, recreational, commuter or otherwise vulnerable road user because of distracted or dangerous driving.
Lance Armstrong making front-page headlines for no reason
It’s been nearly seven years since the USADA’s Reasoned Decision to strip Lance Armstrong of his Tour de France victories and suspend him for life, and it’s been six years since he confessed to doping on Oprah Winfrey. Is it possible 2019 is the year we hear a little less about Armstrong? It’s very unlikely because he has begun to reenter cycling in various ways and his podcast continues to gain popularity. Hopefully there are more compelling stories to follow this coming year than what the lastest thing out of Armstrong’s mouth is.
Women’s racing continuing to take a back seat to men’s
The women’s WorldTour and increased coverage of women’s racing is making follow the women’s season more fun than ever. The reality remains that regardless of how exciting the racing is, the men’s WorldTour continues to receive the majority of the attention. Full life coverage of women’s events continues to be a challenge to find and many men’s events don’t have women’s equivalents. The times we do get to see women’s racing it always delivers tremendous excitement. Just think back to La Course where viewers were treated to one of the best finishes of the season when Annemiek van Vleuten and Anna van der Breggen fought right to the line for the win. In 2019, we hope race organizers and broadcasters continue to make it more exciting than ever to follow women’s cycling live.
Indoor cycling apparel
There is no doubt more and more cyclists are choosing to train indoors than ever before. With the rise of platforms like Zwift and the availability of smart trainers, it’s never been easier to make your pain cave state of the art. But do we really need dedicated clothing for indoor riding? Surely our closet full of bib shorts do the trick outside and inside without the need of specially designed apparel for the conditions in our basement? Well not all companies agree and we hope they come to their senses this year and stop the nonsense that is designing apparel specifically for indoors. Any apparel that’s good on the trainer should also be suitable for riding outside.
Team Sky dominating the Tour de France
While Sky will no longer be supporting the world’s most dominant Grand Tour team beyond this coming season, it would be refreshing to see a shakeup at the top of the Tour de France in 2019. Sky have won six of the last seven editions of the Tour de France with three different riders. While it’s an impressive run, we hope some other riders can liven up the racing in 2019 by challenging Sky’s dominance. This may be a high hope though because it’s now a contract year for every member of the squad.
North American UCI teams folding
Following the 2018 season, far too many UCI teams registered in North America folded. It’s an unfortunate trend as sponsors look elsewhere for exposure. While in some ways it can be a positive development to force the continued development of the sport towards a more sustainable future, we’d like to see more UCI teams establish themselves than disappear this coming year. Teams like Silber Pro Cycling, UnitedHealthcare and Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis contributed to really competitive fields at UCI races in North America. We hope to see more amazing men and women’s cyclists get opportunities to race professionally in North America instead of having to look overseas for more opportunities.
Convicted dopers winning major bike races
While athletes who served time for using banned substances shouldn’t be prevented from ever re-entering the sport, we’d like to see fewer of these riders being competitive on the world stage and a new generation completely take over. While the timelessness of someone like Alejandro Valverde can be inspiring, having a man who served a two-year doping ban nearly nine years ago as world champion at the age of 38 in a sport dominated by twentysomethings is something we think we could do without in 2019.
UCI reforms that don’t substantially change anything
The UCI has enacted some good reforms in 2018 and beyond including minimum wages for women’s cycling, s stated goal to reach an equalization of prize money and parity in the number of athletes at the Olympics. With that said, other reforms are confusing like the reorganization and restructuring of the UCI’s team naming, or seemingly unnecessary like the enforcement of the sock height rule. When the UCI announces changes in 2019 we hope they are concrete and substantial helping teams maintain stability, that help make the sport more attractive and easy for fans to follow, professionalize the sport further, and make it more equal between genders.