Toxic teams, and can you like the player but hate the jersey?

Q1. Which team would win Most Toxic?
Q2. And please can you defend supporting/liking a rider from one of those teams?

Within a week, Movistar showed how riders are either pitted against each other or not supported. Then DQS decided to up the toxicity by bullying Sam Bennett again (at least there doesn’t seem to be misogyny this week).

Team DSM seems very authoritarian in a Communist way (follow the central rules or else), with as little money as a Soviet bread shop. Yet they have a women’s team, so that’s a real big positive.

Meanwhile, although Ineos riders are probably the most well taken care of, their sponsor makes money from fracking and single-use plastics, and was an outspoken Brexit supporter who subsequently left the country to avoid taxes. And with all of that money, they don’t have a women’s team in road racing.

A2. Yet, apparently if you only pay attention to racing, a team that is predominantly blue and notorious for macho-ness, are exciting to watch. I don’t dislike Alaphalippe, but I want anybody else other than him or any of his teammates to win, and I curse when they do.

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This is hardly a unique or revolutionary take, but I find it harder to root for a team in cycling than any other sport. I generally seem to enjoy EF’s success (good PR most likely). I love the way the QuickStep team races but hate almost everything from Lefevere’s mouth.

This conversation brings to mind Justin Williams’ comments about trying to create a team for whom people cheer rather than the rider. He might be on to something – I’m curious if it can work beyond American crits.

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Any team which exists to carry out sports washing such as UAE Team Emirates, Bahrain Merida and Astana is pretty toxic to me, additionally with Astana there’s the constant presence of Vinokourov.

Having said that, there’s plenty of riders from those teams who I like, Fuglsang, Pogacar and Haig to name three.
I find I can still appreciate their talent despite the colours they wear, a bit like how I can appreciate the way Man City play football.


Ineos is a petrochemical company that aside from making the planet a less pleasant place to live and bike in, is making professional cycling less interesting by buying up so many of the best riders. I find them hard to root for, but just about every one of their riders pretty likeable.


The “Wolf Pack” thing is so out of touch it’s embarassing. Almost like the world got over that since ages, and they’re still there idle.

I just like watching an interesting bike race. The avatars on the bike hardly matter, nor do the jerseys, teams or sponsors.

Ride fast up that hill monkey, ride faster down the hill clown. Entertain me.

I like if they’re decent folks, which most are.

But outside that I find the “my guy is better than YOUR guy” thing, and rooting for “teams” frankly nauseating and childish.

But men needs soaps and titillation too. WWE, cycling, futbol, badminton it’s a 7th grade girls drama filled wet dream.

I do enjoy the crisis of faith that others go through wringing their hands about this team or that.

We can your feel weeping and literally see the spittle form when you sputter “sportswashing”.

They’re just people flawed like all of us riding bikes faster than we ever will.

But you go ahead and harumph yourselves to orgasm over UAE or whatever tickles the bean… and I’ll keep the fainting couch handy.

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I don’t think that I actually care about the teams at all. I am more interested in particular riders that I like for one reason or another. In my opinion the sponsors don’t get any value from me in particular since I don’t really care about the team at all. However, there are some teams that I actively dislike even though I like some of their riders. Movistar seems to be in constant disarray and pits their own riders against each other. Sky use to race very boringly. The “Wolfpack” has an annoying big mouth for an owner. So, these teams I actually dislike even though I like some of their riders (like Alaphilippe, for example).

I think the problem is that the teams are named after the sponsors. There’s no personal connection to anything, like other team sports based on place. And who knows what a team is when the name of the teams change with the sponsors: sky to ineos, mitchelton Scott to bike exchange.

But sadly, the sport can only run on sponsorship because they can’t sell tickets to a road race.

So we all just follow our favourite riders, and try and ignore the sponsors. Much as I love MVDP, I’m not going to buy caffeine shampoo because it’s written on his jersey

Plus, caffeine shampoos do not work at all for hair growth

@Anthony_Tate - Three metaphors related to self fulfilling oneself in a single post! Got to be a record. Something on your mind mate?

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Many they are decent folks, but those words not so much. Could be humor, but the rest of your post feeds my doubts.

A1. Depends on the definition of toxic. If it’s about the sponsor then yes Bahrain, UAE lead the charge and Astana, Ineos are not far behind. But if we are talking about team culture, then that’s a different story and I might actually point to a team like Cofidis, who can sign a blue chip sprinter like Elia Viviani and reduce him to barely 2nd rate. Regarding DSM, I have had conversations with 2 riders on the women’s WT team, and it is somewhat strict but for many that is a blessing as it takes out a lot of 2nd guessing about training, diet, etc. But obviously it does not work for all.

A2. Even though Cofidis seems to run like a total sh*tshow, I like the human being that is Elia Viviani, so I routinely cheer for him. Lucky for me he’s leaving Cofidis, and going back to Ineos so much better structure, but now he represents petroleum and a ridiculous cyclist-killer concept SUV. But I’ll still cheer for him.

It makes me think of a group of 50 year old plus male executives naming their cycling group.

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But, but, but it has this little button to honk at cyclists! Surely you must be wrong in your assessment?! :rofl: