Because women control the vast majority of consumer purchase decisions in the household
70-80% was the figure I was told by Bob Stapleton, owner of High Road Sports in 2011 – HTC-Colombia – on the process of searching for new sponsors.
You don’t believe me? Try Bridget Brennan writing in Forbes:
Women drive 70-80% of all consumer purchasing, through a combination of their buying power and influence.
Because Sky Italia
So if Italy’s Giro Donne is the biggest race in women’s cycling and you have a commercial satellite television business in that country, you’d want to find some way to get traction in that market with the people who drive purchase decisions.
Why do you think the men’s team keeps on hiring young Italian riders and persuading some of their best riders to schlep round the old boot in May, when the goal is to win a race in France in July?
Sky Italia’s contribution to the Team Sky budget probably could have kept a very well-appointed women’s team running for every year they’ve been running.
Because it cost less than buying out Bradley Wiggins contract
Depending on who you believe, the price of getting him out of Garmin-Slipsteam was £2m or as high as £4m.
For that, you could have had an Olympic and World Champion, one of the top climbers in the world and a TT goddess, one of the best young riders, a top domestique. And control over the development of one the strongest teams anywhere in cycling – the women’s track endurance squad.
Because they’d already done it once with incredible success
It was called Team Halfords-Bikehut. It resulted in Nicole Cooke becoming the first and only professional cyclist to win the Olympic and World Road Race titles in the same year, 2008.
There’s five riders on that squad who have gone on to win World or Olympic titles. That’s quite some strength in depth given the small squad. You might recognise some of the names – Lizzie Armitstead, Jo Rowsell, Wendy Houvenagel.
Was it a hard slog for the likes of Brailsford and Fran Millar with limited rewards? Undoubtedly, but so was finding something for Wiggins to do after 2012, but they stuck at that as well.
Working in a publicly funded organisation isn’t meant to be easy or without struggle. Trust me, I’ve worked for one for the last decade.
So you can go away and make excuses, or tell people to get over themselves.
Those four things, that’s a better business case that there was to launch a men’s team during the second Armstrong era, then hiring riders and staff who everyone else knew had skeletons on the mantelpiece, let alone closet.