The Italians love a good ‘Giovani’ – Under 23 rider.
Today’s Edinburgh edition of the Gazzetta deals with Battaglin’s fine Stage Four win. The Italian journo’s are already thinking about when he’s going to buy a Lambo/date a model/move to Monaco and they can say; ‘he’s not serious!’
In 2014, both the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia will visit the UK. The 2011 World Road Race Champion was a British rider and the current Tour de France champion is British also. You’d be forgiven for thinking that participation in UK road racing would be booming. But it isn’t.
The number of road races in the UK increased last year by 5% according to British Cycling. This might sound like a success story but consider that attendance at cyclocross races went up 30% and the number of sportives apparently rose by 57% in the same time period. Also the number of Premier Calendar (top level domestic) road races has slumped to just six events in 2013. Entry-level road racing is failing to fully capitalise on the upturn in cycling and the top level of domestic road racing is in decline.
It’s Not About the Drugs – Lance Armstrong on Oprah (Comments Off)
I didn’t stay up, I must confess; but I was trawling YouTube as the clips were still being posted. The man, Lance Armstrong, “fessed up” – my jaw dropped, I never thought I’d see the day.
Albeit I think his memory is flawed about the comeback years.
I thought Oprah made a decent fist of the rest of the interview.
‘Barredo retires in light of biological passport violations case,’ says the CyclingNews headline. ‘So what, all them Spaniards are dodgy,’ we hear you say. But let’s go back two years.
We’re standing in the low cloud and cold drizzle of an Asturian afternoon. We’re high above the cave where Pelagius and his men had the vision of the Virgin the night before the battle; past the unmarked graves where the dead still lay on the mountain side and even higher above the twin Lagos of Enol and Ercina which give this strip of rough tarmac its name. We’re very near to the finish of one of the most evocative stage finishes in the Vuelta – Lagos de Covadonga.
Nostalgia: “describes a sentimental longing for the past” defines the dictionary. I’m not one to sit and say that everything was better when I was a youngster – bikes certainly weren’t; much of the equipment available was scrap and would get laughed out of court in 2013.
Cycling clothing was horrible and cycling shoes were positively medieval. Albeit cars were cooler, music was better and so was the cycling scene.
Jonathan Bellis was one of British Cycling’s brightest lights – until a life threatening scooter crash on September 19th 2009 in his then home of Tuscany. The versatile man from the Isle of Man spent practically a year in hospital and even then had to return for another operation at the end of 2010. Prior to the accident it looked as if Bellis was headed for the very top.
Whilst we were at the Copenhagen Six Day a few weeks ago we met Etienne Ilegems who’s a soigneur at the Sixes as well as working for Topsport Vlaanderen on occasion. With his ex-Sky mechanic son, Ken he also runs the Belgian amateur squad, ILLI-Bikes Cycling Team – and that’s how we got to hear where Jonathan was going to spend 2013. In our usual fashion, we thought we’d best ‘have a word.’
This is the first of several excerpts from my book “The Cycling Professor”, to give you a flavour of the topics I discuss in it. Thanks to the guys at VeloVeritas for the opportunity to do this. In this extract, which is a short chapter about my idea that professionals cyclists are essentially entrepreneurs, with a product to market that is at once time-limited, unique and fragile – themselves.
I explain that despite being employed by a team, most riders have to organise their finances themselves – things that regular employees take a little for-granted such as health insurance, pension contributions and savings plans.
I hope you enjoy the chapter “Entrepreneurs on the Saddle”.
Trinidad and Tobago’s Emile Abraham has been on the international pro scene for a long time; 2013 will be his 12th season.
But he’s still grabbing those podium places on the super-fast US criterium scene, not to mention racking up the stage wins year on year in his home race, the Tour of Tobago.
Saturday morning, 07:30 and the sunshine streams into our room in Merano. Yesterday we looked out on teeming rain; and a little later, as we drove towards the start the email arrived to inform us that the stage was cancelled.
It wasn’t a big surprise, up on the valley walls the trees were coated with snow and the spikey peaks were pure ‘winter wonderland.’ It was park up and think of ‘Plan B’ time.
The original plan for the stage 18 mountain time trial was to do a ‘tech’ piece on the bikes the top ten would be riding for the ‘chronoscalata.’
But with the number of Tifosi around the buses and the fact that the ‘Bigs’ kept themselves out of the way ’til the last gasp, we shelved that one.
So we decided to do a piece on the aspects you need to make a time trial – percorso, hardware, fans . . .
In the ‘small world’ file, there we are near the top of the final climb – which would be Cav’s undoing – when this lady hear our Scottish accents and asks us if we know La Favorita Pizzeria in Edinburgh? Well! Are they no’ just about to open a branch in Portobello, just round the corner from me?
It transpires that it’s her brother, Davide’s business. Cue smiles all round and photo op with Sarah and hubby in ‘see you Jimmy’ wig.
Wednesday morning, 09:55 the ‘Milano by-pass’ average speed around 10 mph. You only think you’ve seen traffic jams ’til you come to Northern Italy. And it’s not helped by the fact that everyone thinks that it’s their private fiefdom; the standard of driving is dire.
We arrived late on the Monday rest day and after much messing around at the airport deciphered that our hire car was through an agency, so we had to tour the car hire offices ’til we got the right one.
When do the boys at VeloVeritas stop thinking about the Six Days? When we’re sleeping; but sometimes we dream about them . . .
A man who we’ve had the pleasure to work with and who impressed us with his speed and spirit is America’s Guy East – and he’s crazier than us about the Sixes. We thought we’d give him a shout and see how he’s coping with a world of sunshine, no Euro pop, real food and proper toilets.
As the Pros battle it out across Flanders, the young men who aspire to do the same in the future are locking horns in another famous name from the history of warfare – Normandy. Le Tour de Normandie is one of the premier events on the calendar for men on the way up – Viatcheslav Ekimov, Thor Hushovd and Samuel Dumoulin are among the riders who have won the race.
This year’s winner was a man who’s already proved his worth on the track; 22 year-old Swiss rider Silvan Dillier of the BMC Development Team took the GC by a scant three seconds from 2011 winner, Alex Blain (France & Raleigh). VeloVeritas spoke to Dillier the day after his Normandie triumph.
Boxing at a bike race. No, it’s not a misprint, it worked pretty well, short and sharp with the pugilists really going at it.
I’m no boxing aficionado, but I do admire their commitment, the pros divide their day in two, rising early to do their road work – which includes running backwards for long spells – then eating and sleeping in the middle of the day before another training session in the gym in the afternoon/evening before an early bed.
There’s a boxing ring in the track centre, apparently there are matches taking place on Saturday evening – and they present the riders up there.
I snapped Big Bob and Marc Hester getting intro-ed; my Danish Crowns would have to be on Bob if he and Marc did go toe to toe.
On a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon in North East Scotland, Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes’ Gary Hand finally took the Scottish Road Race Championship after a blistering attack on the main climb of the day took him clear of 2012 champion, James McCallum (Rapha Condor JLT) and Davie Lines (MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling) over the top of the hill.
Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 15: Cesana Torinese – Col du Galibier 149km. Visconti Takes Movistar’s 2nd (0)
I didn’t get much opportunity to see stage 15, it was a long day for VeloVeritas – Alford and back, and then all the editing and formatting that it takes to put a piece together. But it was another tough day in a tough Giro – albeit the ‘Bigs’ declared a cease-fire.
You’ll hear no complaints about that from Giovanni Visconti, Movistar’s former three time Italian champion who grabbed the Spanish team’s second win of the race in fine style. The 30 year-old from Torino saw his stage win as a ‘rebirth’ after what he viewed as a bad year in 2012.
Sky did well to pull Wiggins out of the race when they did, starting Stage 14 today could have seen him contract pleurisy if he’d ridden. There’s still a long way to go but Nibali looks like it’s his race to lose.
However, the ‘Forum Dwellers’ are at it already; when I was looking on CN for the full stage result I stumbled upon the forum bittie at the bottom.
GreenEdge and Cannondale learned again that those who live by the sword die by the sword, Having slyly left Patrick Lefevre’s men to do the lion’s share in bringing back the break of this longest day of the race, they formed their trains late in the tappa; hoping to exploit a Cavendish whose team was all used up.
But they reckoned without Cav’s hunger, power, commitment to his team and God-given positioning sense. There were in excess of 300 metres to go when he went – a long, long way in sprinting circles but that famous ‘jump’ gave him too many metres to pull back. Nizzolo can bang his bars as much as he wants, Cav is the King.
- Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 12: Longarone – Treviso 134km. Cavendish Reaches 100!
- Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 11: Tarvisio – Vajont (Erto e Casso) 182km. Ramunas Rules
- Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 10: Cordenons – Montasio 167km. Sky’s Uran Prevails
- Giro d’Italia 2013 – Rest Day 1: Roundup of the Last Few Days