‘The Tour is the Tour,’ for sure, but for me the Giro is the most beautiful. The only thing I’m not looking forward to is that crushing sense of emptiness on the Monday morning after the Pink Race finishes. Like the man said then; ‘Carpe diem!’ But before we look at mullet bikes let’s talk about the ‘Pink Race’.
It was something of a surprise to most for Simon Yates to beat the chrono specialists to take the Stage Two time test, albeit Sean Kelly predicted it.
Yates was aided by a ‘Vorteq’ skinsuit, a snip at £2,750 but if you go for the package which includes the overshoes then you’re looking at £3,250 – BUT you do get an hour in the wind tunnel to ease the pain.
Them ‘marginal gains’ don’t come cheap…
Sticking with the Giro, it’s hard to take in that it’s a decade since we interviewed Stage Eight winner, Lotto’s Belgian hard man, Thomas De Gendt.
I didn’t think he had another Giro stage win in him, not with all the young ‘uns coming up but when it’s a stage like that, too tough for the sprinters but unsuited to pure climbers and it’s down to mental and physical toughness after a hard day in the saddle then he comes into his own.
As I write this, a sun-baked Stage Nine plays out on my laptop whilst outside it’s a cool, grey Firth of Forth day – oh to be in the Bella Italia, great weather, a crisp pink Gazzetta dello Sport and perfect cappuccino every morning.
We can dream.
It’s the Blockhaus tappa today, Dave Chapman and I were up there in 2009 when Pellizotti won; Di Luca tried to lose maglia rosa, Menchov on the climb but the big Russian hung tough to defend.
Lance was riding but not in seven-Tours winning form.
Mention of Lance and the Giro leads me on to the UCI, how can they expect the track Nations Cup to get the attention it deserves if it’s on at the same time as the Giro?
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On the subject of Milton, those GB Hope track machines on show there may be fast but jings, they are not bonnie; nor is the new GB strip, that shade of green is best reserved for forestry workers’ jackets.
It’s almost as bad as that fluo yellow thing from a few years back, the old GB blue with red sleeves jersey was a classic.
France and Belgium haven’t messed around with their national colours too much, ‘just for the sake of it,’ as seems to be the case with GB – and Scotland, our old blue jersey was classy.
Then there’s Sen. Savio’s Drone Hopper team’s socks, made by Rosti, oh dear…
But I know, ‘I’m a dinosaur…
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And of course, a rant’s not a rant unless we talk component moolah.
And now, we can purchase a Coloral 1947 Classic metal feeding bottle for a mere £35:00 – BUT, they’re sold out!
Gonna look good on your super-aero, dropped stay, F16 cockpit, carbon dream machine.
Like I say, ‘respect,’ to Rapha – nice work if you can get it.
And then there’s ‘dropper’ seat posts – made desirable by Matej Mohoric’s use of one on his daredevil descent of the Poggio to win the Primavera.
Dave and I are getting them for the drop down the Swan Brae from Wellesley Road to lower Methil, another snip at £375…
The ‘dropper’ comes from the world of the MTB and on that subject – with the demise of ‘ProCycling’ magazine my subscription was transferred to Mountain Bike Rider, I considered cancelling but then thought it may be interesting to brush up my MTB knowledge?
I’ve been into MTB’s since way back – the mid 80’s when I had a Muddy Fox then a Specialized Rock Hopper before I got the MTB love of my life, my Klein Attitude around 1989.
The Klein is on 26” wheels, a ‘hardtail’ with rigid front forks, I’ve upgraded the brakes a time or two and now I have Magura hydraulic rim callipers.
Suspension and discs are the norm now – the Klein is from another era.
Whilst I did know that there were ’29-ers,’ that’s 29” wheeled bikes on the go, I hadn’t realised that the ‘650b’ size – that’s 27” – had also entered the MTB firmament.
But the biggest eye opener was that you now get ‘mullet’ bikes – that’s 29” wheel at the front, 27” wheel at the back.
Those bike trade marketing guys; things you didn’t know you needed ‘til they told you – just like 1 x transmission, disc brakes on the road and tubeless tyres.
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On the subject of an old ‘un like me being dragged into the 21st Century, I’ve started listening to podcasts.
I stumbled upon them rather than sought them out; but on my long walks with the dog on the weekend I tune in.
My favourite is Mitch Docker and his ‘Life in the Peloton’ podcast [part of The Cycling Podcast stable] and we’ll be running an interview with Mitch soon; he talks to all manner of interesting people, not just riders – Jonathan Vaughters, Matt White, Tom Southam to name but three.
I wouldn’t recommend listening when you need full concentration, as when you’re driving or pedalling, but ideal on the Fife Coastal Path with the canine sniffing every blade of grass.
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I was going to ask the question in this rant; ‘has wee Tom Pidcock been doing too much?’
A full road season, the Olympic MTB, the Vuelta, a full ‘cross season including his world title; but perhaps not the ’22 Classics season he/we expected ? – but then the little blighter goes and beats MTB Royalty, Nino Schurter to win the Albstadt and Novo Mesto MTB World Cups.
Perhaps we all take him a little for granted now but the wee fella really is a phenomenon; and don’t forget that he’s still only 22 years-old.
One of these days he’ll bin the X and MTB and then we’ll really see the best of him on the road.
Time for me to go and lay in quiet, dark room ‘til the next rant…