Monday, July 6, 2015

#tdf133 Stages 1 and 2 Results


Here's how our poetry winners saw of stages 1 and 2 unfold:

Winner Stage 2


Winner Stage 1

Our other beautiful poets saw the stages like this:

Stage 2










Stage 1








Wednesday, June 24, 2015

#tdf133

Love the Tour de France? Love Poetry? Then you'll love my Tour poetry comp - #tdf133.

In 133 characters or less (140 characters minus the #tdf133 hashtag), sum up the stage you just watched with all the creativity you can muster, use #tdf133 and enter via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. (You can enter also by posting on Tourdecouch Facebook page.)

I choose a winner for each stage right up to the cobbles on the Champs-Elysees.

All stage winners are finalists and then it's over to cycling social media pundits to vote for the final GC podium places.

Entries for each close about 12 hours after the stage you watched live finishes (or half that time if you watched a replay).

Again, not sure about prizes but who knows. 

Check out last year's podium places here and all the finalists here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The Hubbard - 18 March 2015


The Hubbard is Tourdecouch's lighter look at the world of pro cycling, with a bit of news curation on the side.

Lance Armstrong announces he will ride some charity event at TDF:




The Unsigned Note

From white noise to white message: Brian Nygaard, PR man at Orica Green Edge received this email:


The Hubbard thought of several riders who may have hit the send button without finishing their messages and discovered:

Option 1:  "Hi it's Cadel. Im getting bored of this BMC brand ambassador thingy. Plus, I have been put on the household cleaning roster. You saw me at the TDU, I've got one more season in me. Oh no, gotta go, I see a pair of marigolds with my name on them."



Option 2: "Help. I'm sending this while my phone still has battery. Oleg doesn't know I send this, as he has me in a room somewhere. They let me out each day for Tirreno Adriatico, where I won a stage. I thought that would be enough but they still locked me up after. Please hurry, it is almost time for the classics, and they said I have to attend sexual harassment training."


Option 3: "Hi Brian. I am bullshitting the media - Astana is screwed. Where else am I to go? Garmin? LOLs.

 

Greg van Avermaet double booked for Belgian Cycling Federation disciplinary hearing. Federation surprised he was not washing his hair



Tim Kerrison wonders how he puts on these Speedos 



One person who knows how to put on a banana hammock is Richie Porte. Richie attributed his recent Paris Nice success to his off season swimming, as ordered by Tim Kerrison himself. Richie didn't ell us this at the Tour Down Under. Rohan Dennis' offy must've also gone along swimmingly.

David Millar not, not invited to speak to CIRC

The Hubbard often wonders why pro riders find it hard to believe cycling fans don't trust anything they say.  After seeing David Millar's piece on CIRC and how he dealt with it afterwards on social media, we won't die wondering.

"My first feeling on finishing reading the CIRC report was one of disappointment. I didn’t speak to CIRC. They ‘invited’ me. Only they forgot I was then an active professional cyclist who spends most of his time on the road and has a wife and two baby boys at home. I never found time to travel to them and they never once mentioned coming to me. I regret not making the time after reading the report."

The CIRC report states it met riders and officials wherever and whenever it could.

His tweets: 
And then
But then
Seriously....just...stop.

 

Separated at birth



Gil-bear
 
 


 

Guardini gives Caleb Ewan the Bunny Ears




And on that note - out of here! Have a good week.















Monday, March 9, 2015

The Hubbard - 9th March 2015 - CIRC CIRC CIRC, CIRC is the Word



The Hubbard is Tourdecouch's lighter look at the world of pro cycling, with a bit of news curation on the side

CIRC

The Hubbard can't slowly move another inch without mentioning the Cycling Independent Reform Commission Report.

Here is footage of the report arriving at the UCI on Friday, 6th March 2015.



Prior to publishing the report, UCI President Brian Cookson warned stakeholders it was "uncomfortable" reading. This is Great British for "ouch, it's going to hurt like a bastard." For example, "When I gave birth to my child, it was uncomfortable."   

The UCI used the weekend probably to peruse and redact:

And this was the final report delivered to us:




The main conclusions/suggestions from the CIRC report:
  • cortisone use is widespread among the peloton and TUEs are misused in both the women's and the men's peloton
  • riders are experimenting with painkillers, weight loss drugs and other stuff that is leading to depression, eating disorders and crashes
  • pro riders worry about EPO'd up MAMILs and MAFILs and don't like riding fondos for that reason. They prefer fondos where they can ride with Levi Leipheimer and George Hincapie.
  • many journalists etc were either shit scared of Lance suing them, or in awe of him, and therefore gave him a free ride
  • Chris Froome is the only current rider that allowed his name to be published. Everyone else who spoke to CIRC remained anonymous
  • testing is easy to evade
  • the riders need a union

So what next?  Pretty much SNAFU:
  1. It's a new era. Some DS' and managers who rode &/or managed before 2007 (or any other year you  prefer that helps you feel OK about following your favourite team and rider) are bad.
  2. It's a new era. Some DS' and managers who rode &/or managed before 2007 are vocal about anti doping and are good.
  3. Current non Astana riders are good.
  4. UCI structure and processes still need some work.
  5. Zero tolerance only works when you don't have races to win.

Just take a look among the first five place getters at Strade Bianche - a cloud over Greg van Avermaet, Valverde needs no introduction, and an Astana rider. Even so, Froome said he still believes, he has to believe. After all, Team Sky is standing by Knaven. Oh, and Nibali isn't worried about the Astana licence.

You just have to believe enough:




Other news

- Europe - cycling's playground?

We hear over and over again how everything is better in Europe when it comes to sharing the road. Yet, on the eve of Strade Bianche, where teams were recce'ing the roads - and have done around the same time of year for the last eight years - Brent Brookwalter captured this image

 
- Stuart O'Grady, Jens Voigt, Robbie McEwen and Chris Horner have a movie made about  them.



 - No TV Coverage of women's cycling: problem sorted




- Mark Renshaw and Mark Cavendish race on despite sickness


How they got through


The Stackhat


As an 80s Aussie kid, we all know what a Stackhat is. If we didn't know it then, we would grow up to know it just was not cool. Quoting from Wikipedia "The sturdy Stackhat was designed to emphasise safety over aerodynamics. Its appearance was more like something a crash test dummy would wear than an elite cyclist." 

That's true no more!


That's it! The Hubbard leaves you with a love song dedication for Team Sky



Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Hubbard - 28th February 2015


The Hubbard is Tourdecouch's lighter look at the world of pro cycling, with a bit of news curation on the side

Whoop Ass

Roman Kreuziger earlier this week declared no one can believe in the UCI.  But after seeing the organising body in action, it's hard to believe in Roman. Despite Brian Cookson talking about opening another can here: "when you open a can of worms, you find a lot of worms," he also opened up another sort of can two times this week. A can of whoop ass. 




The UCI proved it could not only beat up chauvinistic, aging and probably fat, Belgian white guys but take on some unethical Kazakhs like Vino and his crew, who Swedish rider Fredrik Keskiaoff this week confirmed probably wouldn't have you killed, but would definitely make you ride on with open wounds.

Many of course bemoaned the UCI's timing, citing important reasons such as people losing jobs and things, but unfortunately, the UCI had no other option given the cluster fudge that was Katusha and must do everything by the book.

Let's ignore ye olde worlde bike riders caught up in in the Astana/Ferrari/Padova investigation for a second. The newly nabbed Iglinsky brothers appeared to have doped just to keep their domestique spots on Astana. What, if anything, does that say about the peloton? Are answers to that question drowned out by Tinkov's vodka induced Twitter rants and riders talk of a new era?  Meh, who knows.

Speaking of Tinkov, in what could be classed as a second episode of The Hubbard's "he could kill you...but" this week, he just settles for Astana and Drapac like:
(putting) fear into his riders and I’m sure it’s not ‘respect’ that the riders are feeling towards him. It’s definitely fear. From what I hear he’s a man who likes to shout and scream at the team when they screw up or don’t perform to the high level he expects. I don’t think he gets that races sometimes don’t go as planned.  (excerpt from the latest The Secret Pro
Anyway, here's a Vine Astana posted when they were everyone's favourite team, way back at the Tour of Oman, when riders held power in their hands for five seconds, and the UCI still hadn't implemented an extreme weather policy not based on an ex cycling legend saving face with Omani officials: (officials, drowning in so many Western sporting events, they still renewed the contract for next year via Inner Ring):


Madonna even made an unexpected appearance, getting swept away in it all:


 

Full English

After hearing Porte's attack in the Tour Down Under was also Sky Botted rather than pure race craft,  - i.e. Sky Sports Scientist Tim Kerrison calculated right down to the millimetre where Porte should attack - it is refreshing to see some recent displays of humanity. No, not Stannard's monster ride to back up Omloop het Nieuwsblad wins, but the recent form of Porte and Chris Froome.

Finally, it looks like Kerrison and co have found a way to programme panache into the spreadsheets and the Power Enabling Database thingumajigs. Despite this, Froome can still be found posting tweets about how normal he is:

Here is a photo after he ate that full English.


Milk is not what's for dinner

The trailer belonging to Belgian cyclocross rider Tom Meeusen allegedly  had traces of baby medicine Vaminolact and injecting paraphernalia. Vaminolact provides - to babies  -"amino acids which the body uses to make proteins." So does drinking a glass of milk and maybe washing it down with a can of tuna or the other way around if that's what you prefer. But yeah, needles FTW!!

Speaking of needle addiction and Belgians caught up in doping rumours, apparently Greg van Avermaet is allegedly linked to some sort of doctor known to take out blood, do stuff to it, then inject it back in. Former BMC teammate Allesandro Ballan's already received a reduced sentence for a similar infringement.

Sure, Ballan still has Cadel Evans' blessing after such a practice, but can we not all agree that injections and taking blood out and stuff is just, like dumb, AND, NOT DO IT??

The Final Countdown

Before Thomas Dekker attempted riding around a velodrome trying not to spew or pass out for 60 minutes, AKA, the hour record, much discussion centred on the affect altitude would have on his performance. As he is a convicted doper, many thought his attempt at altitude was yet another cheaty van cheaterson edge people like Merckx (also a convicted doper, twice) apparently didn't get when he beat the record at altitude. Well, they didn't have to worry. The altitude affected more than performance. The on screen timing clock was at one point, over five minutes out of synch with the actual time of the rest of the earth.

In other news:

 - Ettix Quickstep Manager Patrick Lefevere cracks the Ompoops - at everyone but himself

 - Chris Horner talks about the Tour of California and bores his baby to sleep:
 - Caroline Buchanan reveals her zombie apocalypse action plan
- Secret training session of Australia's track team caught on camera 
- If you build it, they will photobomb:

  Team Launch
 Emotional moment

Tweets of the Week

Ol(i)g(arch) Tinkov tweets this forgetting where Steven de Jongh, Bobby Julich and Sean Yates used to work:
Cyclocross fan, @meowclank, tweeted this from the train straight after leaving the final cyclocross event of the season in Belgium:
But the end of one season, brings on another - and its added benefits: