Team Cannondale-Drapac’s Approach to the 2017 Tour de France

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Business Insider tells the story of the Cannondale-Drapac Pro Cycling Team and their huge achievement of winning Stage 9 in the 2017 Tour de France with their General Classification rider Rigoberto Urán.

First of all, writer Daniel McMahon is totally correct when he refers to Cannondale-Drapac’s strategy is akin to the strategy of the Oakland A’s in the Michael Lewis book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game. The Cannondale-Drapac team reportedly runs on a budget of about 1/3 as much as the defending champion Team Sky does. Rigoberto Urán is the only rider on Cannondale-Drapac that is said to be earning the equivalent of $1 million annually, and the total athlete salary budget for the team is approximately equal to the salary of Peter Sagan, the current World Champion of road cycling.

But beyond that, the analysis of of the three U.S. pro cycling teams is quite interesting– such as how each of those teams is owned or sponsored by companies that are “endemic” to cycling. By this the author means the bicycle manufacturing brands of Trek, BMC, and Cannondale.

Johnathan Vaughters, a former Pro Tour rider himself, is now the CEO of Slipstream Sports, the company that operates the Cannondale-Drapac team. He very clearly states that his team faces an existential threat in the sense that it can barely operate at the Pro Tour level because of how poorly it is funded in comparison to the European Pro Tour teams.

If you love the sport of cycling, or if you love European-based sports in general, you need to read this article. It shows how much the sport has changed from the perspective of the American teams since Lance Armstrong was forced to admit that he used performance-enhancing drugs.