Hehe, I'm glad this is not a Cycling blog, otherwise I would tread more carefully, and to my friendly French hosts, please accept my apologies up front. But here goes:
Samuel Abt at International Herald Tribune had another excellent article the other day - "French trail in races but leads in finger-pointing".
To be honest, he's too careful in his description of L'Equipe, the leading French sports paper. Every time the French does badly in cycling, which they tend to do these days, they suggest without proof and no remorse whatsoever that the "foreigners" must be doped.
Quotes by French team leaders follows the same pattern, pointing fingers. Adding lack of training, not enough competitions locally and other "the riders are not good enough" excuses.
What I'm missing is a word or two about the team leaders.
You got teams with Belgian, Swiss, German and Danish leaders that do very well, even with riders that came from French teams - now doing better.
In a failing business the leadership takes the blame, or is blamed. In French cycling the riders and the foreigners gets the blame. Huh.
Photo by Daily Peloton
Now a small digression:
As you might have seen earlier - I question any successful co-existence between the task of managing and true leadership, and I suggest that managing is a key component of hierarchies, the command-and-control structures.
Now, I have never lived in a country where hierarchies are as strong as in France, in every level of the society. The respect that titles and grand ecoles diplomas commands baffles me all the time.
With a strong hierarchical system you'll get more managing and, if I'm half right, less leadership.
Could that have spread to French cycling teams I wonder...
Let me humbly suggest, let the French riders (who I am sure are good enough) move to teams with leaders, then see what happens :)