Friday, April 11, 2014

Contador, buzzing the tower

Let the Chute Doc heal your wounds with a light hearted look at the world of cycling. A play on the word "chute", French for fall or crash, used a lot in cycling, and also an anagram of Tour de Couch. (This section was formerly known as That's So Couch.)

You all saw that tweet of Michelle Cound's before she protected her account from the ferals?  I'd be amazed if you didn't, but if not it's on this post. But basically, after watching The Armstrong Lie over someone else's shoulder on a 10 hour flight somewhere, she became angry. Subconsciously, she knew Froome would never look as good as Bruyneel in chinos. Consciously, she was maddened by doping and the open bunny ears, scrutiny, close bunny ears, Froome received at last year's Tour. So she went a bit..ahem..postal wondering if let's say Contador does well at this year's Tour, Tinkoff Saxo will receive the same level of doping questions as Sky and Froome did last year.

Yeah...cycling's Lady Macbeth probably has a point. But it's kinda uncool. And after this:
...Porte giving up the Giro for the Tour, Wiggins' beard and cobbles, and Brailsford quitting his job at British Cycling, it looks like Sky are battening down the hatches.

Sure, she tried to back up the dump truck:

(via )

...but the trash was already out there. Hang on though. Did she actually watch The Armstrong Lie?  How can trash talking ever faze the guy who put up with what he did during the 2009 Tour de France, still attacked and then managed to put this look on Bruyneel's face:
Bruyneel's reaction here reminds me of the traffic control tower guy in Top Gun who shouts "Maverick" and spills his coffee all over himself:

I can just imagine this year's tour if Sky, used to controlling everything, get buzzed by Contador. "Ah, Pistolero," Brailsford will say, spilling his unicorn milk drink.

Whatever is going on, Contador doesn't seem fazed.

An interim disciplinary system  

Before the football card or an actual workable disciplinary system arrives, BMC's Manuel Quinzato is happy to dish out corporal punishment to alleged wrong doers:

Why women's cycling can't have nice things #2

Remember this?
 Now, there's this.

Other news 

These Yorkshire cyclists took "riding piano" literally:

...yep, those Yorkshire folk are really loving the Tour coming to town!  

Mark Cavendish enjoys some alone time to listen to the Frozen soundtrack 

Jurgen Roelandts passes a stone

Preparations for Paris Roubaix differ somewhat for Sep Vanmarcke and Fabian Cancellara

That's it, have fun on New Year's Eve - I mean Paris Roubaix - Christmas was last week after all (Flanders!)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

On the Couch - stuff to read, and other...stuff - 10 April 2014

I haven't done one of these for a while but I was looking through my Twitter favourites - bookmarks for me, and just felt like it today.  Here's some stuff to read and watch for this bleh Thursday afternoon/evening. Well, it is here anyway.

Australian XCO Championships: Green & Gold 

Peta Mullens writes thrillingly here about her attempt to take back to back XCO National jerseys. What makes this story even more "wow" inducing is reading it knowing Peta was hitting the gutters on a roadie for Wiggle Honda in the Middle East only a month before, and a week later, was doing the same in the Netherlands. HARD. AS.
The gun fired. I clipped in fine for the tarmac start loop and moved myself up on-to second wheel behind Row, then nearly forgot to turn onto the fire trail! ‘Calm down Peta’.

Stromlo is calling - Skyline and Luge

Stromlo Forest Park put out this video profiling its Skyline and Luge trails. Looks awesome.

No Magic Wand

Bridie O'Donnell honestly shares her frustration and sadness as she watches the unambitious unconsciously waste their lives and thinks about the deaths of those who gave up everything to truly live. I want to write like Bridie when I grow up. 
"But their perspective is no less real, and certainly no less valid, I'm learning to be a better listener, hear their lives in context and quietly celebrate the extraordinary lives I'm privileged to witness." 

The Magic of the Ronde

The quote below from Gracie Elvin's write up of the Tour of Flanders for Cycling Tips says it all really. The Aussie National Jersey travelling over cobbles to cheers? Goosebumpy stuff. 
I rode solo up the Oude Kwaremont between the first and second group, and received the most amazing cheering. I looked up from the jagged biting road and took in as much of the atmosphere as I could enjoy through my pain. There were plenty of “Go Aussie!” cheers, and even a few yells of my own name. I couldn’t help but turn my grimace into a grin. I threw a bidon into the throng of revelers just to see their excited faces.

Boss of the Peloton: Ina Yoko Teutenberg 

I purchased a digital subbie from Peloton just so I could read Heidi Swift's story on Ina Yoko Teutenberg. (OK, so they eventually published it online, but hey, I'm not upset!) I love Heidi Swift's writing (another person I want to write like when I grow up) and she wrote an excellent piece about an excellent rider.  

Written for a uni assignment Chloe's piece  is equally well written and perhaps provides extra insight as she's a former teammate.
"Ina dismounts her bike, "hold this for me" she says to her teammate on her right and starts to push her way through the sea of bikes. If anyone can look tough in cleats and lycra it's Ina. 
Cyclocross 2013/14

Balint Hamvas is a fabulous cyclocross photographer. In this blog post, he tells the story behind self publishing books of his photography - a labour of love. It's an interesting read - AND, he's a past sponsor of #TDF133! You can order his books here.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

How to watch the UCI highlights of the Women's World Cup

The last two races on the Women's World Cup calendar have been covered on the UCI You Tube Channel in the videos below.

This was the first effort with the Ronde van Drenthe

They obviously heard some of the complaints and added a bit more, which was good.

And the current summary from Trofeo Binda Cittiglio

So all in all, not bad, but not great. I'm not complaining. Really I'm not.

But I can't help think after reading a few pro's blogs that a lot of the exciting stuff (ok, the second effort van Drenthe excepted) is being missed and therefore, missing marketing opportunities.

I'm just saying, let's get the word out there to those who say women's racing isn't exciting who watch these highlights: read these pieces as companions:

Chloe Hosking's Inside Line: Ronde van Drenthe


Tiffany Cromwell's Inside Line: Trofeo Binda Cittiglio 

And of course Sarah Connolly's excellent round up of coverage here.

There's been some bloody great racing.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

@digger_forum to join Team Sky

Prolific keeper of the online cycling forum and anti doping flame, @digger_forum will soon join Team Sky as staff, it was announced today.

David Millar's sibling, Sky's PR darling Fran, said "We are all about marginal gains and efficiency here at Team Sky. This way I don't have to engage with him all night on Twitter, I can just talk to him while he drives the bus, massages Wiggo, or gives Froome VO2 max testing."

"Plus, he highlighted some real problems for us that we now know embedding David Walsh did not address," Fran Millar added.

While Digger did not respond to our tweets, he said in a forum somewhere that he was thrilled to finally have the insider access he could only dream about. "I might even change my mind, especially if I get a chance to rifle through all their bins at the hotel."

More to come...or not..soon.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Beating Spartacus and Sagan - is it psychological?

Simon Gerrans with the self (and DS's) belief to beat a rider like Sagan, does in fact beat him
Pic: © Julie Davies

The Fabian elbow flick. Annoying right? But in the wee hours of Saturday morning of the E3 Harelbeke, I was flicking mine right with him.

Of course it usually goes: find yourself with Fabian Cancellara, don't pull a turn on the front because you're only bringing him back to a break he will beat, and/or, you're aiding him in ultimately breaking away from you.

For 1-6 riders in a group with him, this makes sense. On Friday's E3 however, these were some of his chase group companions:

Sep Vanmarcke (Belkin), Tony Gallopin (Lotto), Borut Bozic (Astana), Tyler Farrar (Garmin), Greg Van Avermaet (BMC), Tom Boonen (OPQS), Jurgen Roelandts (Lotto), Luca Paolini (Katusha), Degenkolb (Giant Shimano)

Of course, let's excuse EBH, Stybar and Boonen in that group too with team mates in the break up the road. And of course Devolder who buried himself for Fabian.  And maybe Paolini who tried something be it all too late. But what were some of the others thinking? Especially Lotto with two riders up there?

Where would Fabian exactly break away from them after the last climb? And in that group in a bunch sprint, who wouldn't be able to beat Sagan? Degenkolb? He beat him last night.

With a bit of cooperation, even the ones with more lead in their legs could have had a decent crack at chasing the lead group back. At one point with just the work of Spartacus and Devolder, the gap whittled down to 16-17 seconds.

I think the unbeatable nature of Peter Sagan and Fabian Cancellara affect is often psychological. And maybe not just for the riders but many teams' Directeurs Sportif. What were some of those orders from the car, and why?

Perhaps the race might not have ended differently for the lead group, especially with Thomas and Terpstra describing how they felt after the race. But I also wonder what might have been if "go for the podium" wasn't perhaps the order of the day.