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!’Full Story»
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.
Just like those CNN images from Iraq when the Saddam statues crashed to the ground, Lance is in pieces in the dust – the legend shattered. The Zealots told us that it was a great day and the start of a new era in cycling. But it’s ‘Xmas gift ideas’, what’s left of the Six Day scene, Sven Nys in Belgian ‘Cross and the transfer market which dominate the news.
And whilst I might be naive and do think that it’s a cleaner scene that it’s ever been during my lifetime, with team orchestrated doping gone and a sea change in the attitudes of riders and staff – there’s still something “rotten in the State of Denmark.” Lampre star, Michele Scarponi claims that he only met with Dr. Michele Ferrari for two tests at the end of 2010 and ended the association immediately he signed for his current squadra.
I had intended to start this piece on the subject of Mr. Dettori’s current woes by saying that Frankie seems like a cool guy to me; but then reminding us that so too did Tyler H. and Lance. But one of our readers has given me a better intro which underscores my point. Namely that it’s not just about Lance and ever stiffer penalties.
Our reader reckons I should have pressed Tony Doyle for answers on ‘drugs in the six days’ when I interviewed him. Why? It was a quarter of a century ago and the kitting up taking place back then was positively common or garden, compared to Lance and Co. Sure, there are the anecdotes – like the rider who bolted out of the drug test cabin screaming, without pee-ing, claiming that the tester had tried to, ‘touch him.’ Good chat with a beer, but hardly moving us along and out of the mess we’re in.
LanceGate is divisive, no question. Our editor, Martin and I have similar views on many things in cycling – but not on this one.
Martin thinks that the boil must be lanced; (pun intended) get the puss out before the healing can begin. My feeling is that what’s happening is the equivalent of dropping a nuclear depth charge into a huge cesspit – spectacular, very messy and with no real positive effect, unless you’re a tabloid editor or a ‘forum sitter.’
But maybe I’m wrong, maybe we need to get the tube down there into cycling’s stomach and pump it dry?
If you write, one of the most satisfying things is when someone takes the time to tell you that they’ve enjoyed something you’ve written.
On the other hand, if you stick your head above the parapet and say what you think – and don’t inhabit the twilight world of aliases in forums or Twitter – then it’s inevitable that someone will take a ‘pop’ at you.
Generally we don’t get involved in email ‘ping pong,’ much as we appreciate anyone reading our site and taking the time to write to us.
However, once in a while a communication comes in which we think we should answer fully – perhaps other readers are thinking along similar lines, but don’t have the time or inclination to write to us.
It’s not hard to dislike Lance Armstrong; he’s arrogant, controlling, self-obsessed, hypocritical and brought to cycling the horrors of bodyguards, blacked-out SUV windows, black socks and celebrity visits to the Tour de France. He scarcely bothers to conceal his contempt for journalists, but used them to ‘spread the gospel’ when it was convenient.
But on the other hand, it’s hard to dislike Michael Barry – smiling, polite, helpful, intelligent and grounded; a pleasure to meet and interview. But here’s the rub – they both regularly ‘kitted up’ as part of their stage race regime. So how come one is a ‘monster’ and one is a ‘victim?’
Putting to the side for a minute the fact that Tyler lied for years about his PED use before finally coming clean and whether that means everything he says can or can’t be trusted, and just reading this book with an open mind, it quickly becomes clear just how much an everyday part of pro cycling in the 1980′s, 90′s, and 2000′s PED and illegal blood manipulation actually was.
Of course, anyone with an interest in the sport already had more than an inkling that such cheating had always played a part, and fans of the sport have had to contend with scandal following scandal since forever, and particularly since the Festina affair in 1998.
The last time I wrote on this subject my pal ‘Denis from Montreal’ said; ‘Hood should stick to derailleur reviews.’
But you have to give grudging respect to any man that still refers to a rear mech as a ‘derailleur.’
Least I be accused of practicing ‘Omerta’ here’s what’s on my mind regarding a certain cycling commentator and his much criticised views on LanceGate..
King Pyrrhus of Epirus gained a victory over the Romans in 279 BC at the battle of Asculum in Apulia.
The Epiriotic forces, although they won the battle, suffered severe losses to the elite of their army. A Pyrrhic victory has come to be known as one which comes with a devastating cost.
Whether you love Lance Armstrong or hate him, have no doubt that if he is ultimately snared, brought down and skinned with his hide left out in the sun to cure then it will not be a triumph, it will be a disaster.
I bought most of the ‘quality’ Sundays, yesterday – to see what they had to say about the Giro. The Observer and Times ? nada. The Independent at least had the result. The Herald had a micro mug shot of Phinney and told us that he also won the opening stage of the Giro in 2010 ? However, the Times did have the ‘Sports Rich List.’ At number one in the UK is Becks with a fortune worth £160 million. On the world stage it’s Tiger Woods, worth £538 mil.
According to Chris Hoy’s dad, his Keirin King son isn’t a millionaire, despite his four Olympic golds. But guess who is ?
Not for the first time, I’m confused by the actions of our sport’s governing body.
First, let me quote what World Track Championship scratch and madison animator Andreas Müller told me the other day regarding rulings by the commissairs in Melbourne…
I know we’re a hard-core bike racing site, but bear with me – Scotland doesn’t produce too many world champions – and of those, none I can think of ever came from Kirkcaldy. Jocky Wilson was a legend and to hear of his death made me very sad – believe it or not, I always wanted to interview the man from the ‘China Town’ area of Kirkcaldy.
I grew up just around the corner from where Jocky latterly lived, and died.