Buoyed by the great reception our piece on Shane Sutton received - Darryl Webster branded it; "utter garbage" - we thought we'd fire off a few more opinions on what's been happening recently in our 'King of Sports.' Sky finally got their Monument, not from a 'Brit' though; Lowlands hard man Wout Poels was first into that most unglamorous of Monument finishes - the retail park in Ans.
The 'Sutton Saga' has me yet again scratching my head about cycle sport and this nation's attitude towards it. Great rides by Ben Swift and Steve Cummings get hardly a mention but Saturday’s Guardian sports section screams; "The Sutton Saga: 10 questions after a week of crisis." There's one question missing though - 'in a week's time, who'll give a rat's backside?'
There’s never a good time to be in hospital but Grand Tour times apart, the start of March isn’t bad with cycling printed matter and video footage aplenty readily available, and Omloop Het Nieuwsblad...
Who’s Filippo Ganna? Just the World Individual Pursuit Champion, that’s all. But don’t worry, we’d never heard of him either, until he won it. The rot first set in when the UCI ‘unified’ the professional and amateur pursuit titles in 1993 and cut the distance back to 4000 metres – the pros had previously contested the title over 5000 metres. But wet rot gave way to even nastier dry rot after the Beijing Olympics when the UCI announced that the individual pursuit was being chopped from the Olympic programme.
We make no apology for more ranting – there’s much to get upset about in the sports firmament at the minute. It’s hard to believe that the public would be so naive as to believe that Athletics would be squeaky clean given the sums of money washing around and the vested interests of the massive sportswear companies who depend on big results from their sponsored athletes to shift their sweat shop trainers, track suits, sweats and Tee’s.
It’s a while since we had a decent VeloVeritas rant and the year end is always a good time to take stock; in this VV View edition we compare the Six Day men of then and now, Chris Froome's data, Cycling Weekly's change from specialist to generalist magazine, disc brakes and of course, sadly, doping.
I’ve read Edgar Allan Poe, I’ve seen The Exorcist, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Rosemary’s Baby; I’ve even been to a Folk Festival - so I thought I’d witnessed what true horror was. I was wrong. The Bradley Wiggins Limited Edition Pinarello Dogma F8 is beyond my worst nightmares.
Righteous indignation - we’re all good at it. The Astana situation gives us the opportunity to use words like ‘scandal,’ ‘disgrace,’ ‘joke,’ ‘appalling’ and all the rest. Here’s the ‘but’: whilst here at VeloVeritas we’re not card carrying members of the UCI and Brian Cookson Fan Clubs we do understand that that the organisation has to work within a framework called ‘rules.’
You have to be in the right frame of mind to rant – unless you’re a Master, like Vik – VeloVeritas’s cycling sage and soothsayer, Vik can waken up ranting and probably rants in his sleep. I can’t do it to order – but the stars have aligned this morning and there’s a lot to get off my chest...
First of all we have to congratulate Jens Voigt (presumably this is the same person as ‘The Jensie’ whom ‘that commentator’ continually referred to?) – anyone who can cover 51.115 K on a bicycle in one hour unaided by gravity or pace making deserves plaudits. However, I have to argue the point about his, ‘having broken the world record hour record’ – surely he has 'established a new standard' ? To compare his distance to that of the incumbent of the ‘Athlete’s Hour,’ Ondrej Sosenka’s 49.700 is ridiculous.
The splendidly named ‘Bugatti and Musker’ released a disco classic in 1976; ‘Ain’t no Smoke Without Fire,’ it’s about a guy who's worrying that his girl is straying. ‘Please don’t do nothin’ to make me ashamed of you . . . when I heard the news it broke me in two... But it could just as well have been written about cycling’s problems...