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Friday, May 28, 2010

A Radio (Shack) Play for your Friday - orange is the new yellow


Lance: Will I be able to tweet in prison Dad?
Johan: For the last time Lance, I’m not your father.
Lance: Clone then? Sometimes I don’t know where I end and where you begin.
Johan: (silence)
Lance: Yeah, I know, I went too far….sorry it’s all the stress
Johan: That makes one of us.
Lance (hopeful): So you do feel it too?
Johan: No, I mean…you’re looking at this all wrong. I’m sure The Shack will be able to hook up something for you with the mobile phone situation, even in prison. At the very least, some walkie talkies so we can talk from different cells.


Lance: (lower lip shakes) Different cells? Yeah...why would they put us together...C'mon Lance.  Be Strong.  But, you mean The Shack would still want me?
Johan: Of course they will. According to John Wilcockson – and financial reports – their sales were up in the first quarter and he says it’s all down to you.  In the boardroom, they're calling it Salesstrong...hah!
Lance: Really?  But I was still innocent then.
Johan: Yeah, but you were shitting yourself all over Europe and people still bought stuff….and you and the team hadn’t bloody won anything.
Lance: What about Horner?
Johan: (silence)
Lance: Sorry again Johan. I know, what WAS he thinking at the Tour of Amgen, can’t he get we’d rather Levi podium then let him overshadow us and win again. But do you really think the people can forgive me?
Johan: C’mon, people love Mike Tyson again and he allegedly raped someone. All it took was him becoming vegan. He fights animal cruelty, you fight cancer.
Lance (cheering up): Go on Johan I want to hear more.
Johan: Really, the possibilities are endless. Radioshack could have monthly jailbird specials, each one counting down the months until you/we get out. Then an end of parole sale.
Lance: That’s awesome.
Johan: I have more. Mellow Johnny’s could design orange jumpsuits for bike kit, orange t-shirts with simple black typeface with your prisoner number or the number of days your sentence is. Orange will be the new yellow. We can develop an orange wristband to sell in store at The Shack, again with your prisoner number and beside that, the number of days your sentence is.



Lance: (excitedly joining in): Trek could have orange and black madones and they could stamp on it the number of days of our sentence, and “I ride for Last-Stop Lance or Jailbird Juan.”

 











Johan I’m so proud of you son, you’re learning…..you’re nobody’s yes man.
Lance: Son? I told you.
Johan: Figure of speech, figure of speech
Lance: I know…I have another idea. Like they rebranded to The Shack, they could rebrand to The Slammer
Johan: err…yes, that could catch on.
Lance: And all the proceeds will go to R and D for cancer???
Johan: err….yes…for cancer, for cancer. Anyway, my point is, you’re Teflon…noone’s going to drink the Kool Aid. Like they were all there for you with placards and banners saying, Johan 3:14, during your court case(s), they’ll be there for you when you get out, and they’ll vote for you as Governor…even President one day.
Lance: Thanks Hog, you really cheered me up. Hey I read an article the other day where you said your nickname was Hog coz you stole so many wins from people. I always thought it was your penchant for PEDs?
Johan: That’s a lie. But I always thought it was because I was named after this guy




(picks up a radioshack walkie talkie) – “Come in….Rosco P Coltrane.” C’mon Lance get into the spirit of this…we can play this inside

Lance: It’s going to be a LONG time…

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

That's so Couch: Giro/Not Giro

King of silly trophies

After winning the Giro Mountain Time Trial yesterday in a sterling performance, Garzelli gets more stuff for his dress-ups cupboard:


He pocketed this after winning Tirenno this year:


"Forget filthy tainted luchre, this is why I ride" - Garzelli may or may not have been heard to say. 


The Passerinis National Lampoon's Vacation

The Passerinis set off on a Griswald style adventure to cheer Cadel on at the Giro.  It all started out nice "About to put things on camper van to leave to #Giro.Dad called saying"Bring lots of clothes!"-did he mean for the cold of was he ironic??"

Here's a pic before they started out


But Chiara should've really listened to her Dad because she ran out of clothes and was forced to wear whatever she found on the front of the campvervan:  "Getting very cloudy and freezing up here-but the Aussie flag is keeping me warm!"   

Then they discovered the real joys of caravanning:  "I didn't expect it, but people here are really UNfriendly-especially if you are in a campervan."  I'm suspecting the nasty folk were carnies who made balloon...erm...bikes:


Here's some more carnies:


Then, conditions worsened:   "@CadelOfficial :o) ran out of water on camper,we're a bit stinky!do u still want us to come? Molly is the scented one now"

Cadel pulled a face:


No water, no clothes, again, Chiara chose clothes off the front of the campervan:


Chiara was surprised by the positive tweets she received so she decided to launch a new line of cycling supporter wear.  Couch prefers Chiara's to Johan's:


Not long after, these two were spotted talking.    


The feds through their secret microphones picked this up:   
Johan: "How do we stop Mrs Cadel? I can't dare have a competitor, I'll be out of a job soon,fashion design is all I have."
Pat: (inaudible) 
Johan: "3 fiddy?  I gave you 3 fiddy last week."
Pat: (inaudible)
Johan: Don't be daft, I can't use sponsors resources for that...can I?"

Chiara and the folks got home safe, but after an altercation.  The feds got this photo:


and this on the tape "Hand over the Cadel flag"

Spot the difference

California - where from all accounts on twitter etc the crowds on the Mulholland Freeway were two-three deep, "just like the grand tours."



An actual grand tour:


Floyd hands over video evidence from US Postal Days

Turns out Floyd did have evidence, here’s a video from the US Postal days. He may or may not be narrating.



Landis goes on to say:
I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who need reasons when you've got winning?

Lance said to me that People think it's all about misery and desperation and death and all that shite, which is not to be ignored, but what they forget is the pleasure of it. Otherwise we wouldn't do it. After all, we're not fucking stupid. At least, we're not that fucking stupid. Take the best orgasm you ever had, multiply it by a thousand and you're still nowhere near it. When you're winning, you have only one worry: winning again. When you're not winning you are suddenly obliged to worry about all sorts of other shite.

We joked "we would've injected “orange juice” if only they'd made it illegal."

So why did I do it? I could offer a million answers, all false. The truth is that I'm a bad person, but that's going to change, I'm going to change. This is the last of this sort of thing. I'm cleaning up and I'm moving on, going straight and choosing life. I'm looking forward to it already. I'm going to be just like you: the job, the family, the fucking big television, the washing machine, the car, the compact disc and electrical tin opener, good health, low cholesterol, dental insurance, mortgage, starter home, leisurewear, luggage, three-piece suite, DIY, game shows, junk food, children, walks in the park, nine to five, good at golf, washing the car, choice of sweaters, family Christmas, indexed pension, tax exemption, clearing the gutters, getting by, looking ahead, to the day you die.

(with thanks to Trainspotting for the quotes and for Chiara's twitpics.  Other photos I can't remember where I got them from but no doubt from Giro's facebook page, Cycling news etc etc)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The past is ever present...and it matters

Canberran Mick Rogers rode his way to the overall win at the Tour of California on Sunday afternoon after his team showed off its smart GC rider protecting capability, he blitzed the ToC TT, and endured attack after attack from the other GC contenders on the final stage.

Instead of facing questions about, oh say, being back in the form of his life after difficult years, he was asked about doping, i.e. Landis. This is what he had to say:
“I’m getting a little bit sick of all this stuff…there’s so many great performances, and I just hope that people see those things. The sport has got to get away from negativity. We all have to do what we can to get away from the doping issues because it’s killing our sport.’  
I love Mick like I love my right hand and he deserved better, but Mick also seemed to forget where he was. The question he answered “who?” to the other day – they asked him about LA Lakers Kobe Bryant - hinted that this was never going to be about the bike.  Mick wasn’t in Europe or the cycling world.

He was in America. 
"Beating out Lindsay Lohan on the TV-shame pecking order? Cycling's not used to such attention, at least not in this country. Even Mr. Armstrong is far more famous as a celebrity/cancer warrior than he is as a day-to-day bike rider. On television, cycling is relegated to funny hours and is sometimes taunted like Charlie Brown trying to kick a football.

Consider last Tuesday, when a thrilling breakaway with Americans David Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer and the Australian rider Michael Rogers approached the finish line in Santa Cruz with barely a mile to go, and the Versus network abruptly switched over to hockey. That's right, hockey: a marginalized sport with a searing television inferiority complex of its own.

By the end of the week, however, cycling had leapt on to the front page. Wall Street Journal
For most of America, cycling isn’t about the bike, it is about Lance. And they love nothing more than a celebrity scandal – and boy, a scandal had broken. Not just “I’ll see you in court disgruntled former teammate/employee” type scandal but one where the Feds are involved and everything. Maybe they would’ve asked questions about Mick’s performances if it had been the week before – that’s if many of them had bothered to show up but for Lance.

(just as a disclaimer, I write the following from a IF IT TURNS OUT TO BE TRUE. Rather than type it a thousand times, I will just put it the once here – unless otherwise stated).

Also annoyed by the overshadowing, this time of the awesome Australian performances at the Giro, Wade from CyclingTips – who I also love – had this to say: 
In my opinion, Lance has done more good for cycling and cancer than almost anyone else in the world and I hope nothing comes out of this. Was Lance ever racing dirty? I don’t think it matters. Look at the dodgy guys he beat in seven Tours. Dirty or clean it’s an amazing feat. We can’t go putting question marks on every great sporting achievement in the past. No good could come out of Landis’ allegations uncovering anything negative. Too many cancer victims have put hope on the Lance Armstrong story and he’s made cycling more popular than ever. Love him or hate him, the Lance Armstrong Corp. cannot have this happen.
Before I go on, and trust me, I will go on, I will ask this.  What coverage is he or other fans consuming? I have read, watched and listened to as much as I can out there on the Giro and I am not getting cold from Landis’ shadow. Porte’s been getting lots of coverage too – watching the La Gazetta broadcast on the interweb, they mention him just as much as Phil/Paul mention LA. ‘Car-dell Evanzz’ gets a go too. And I just read a comment on Cycling Central that said “nothing can take the gloss of (Mick Rogers') win."

Anyway back to the story.  Of course it matters and for so many reasons:

It matters because like Lance says those implicated are still enjoying the sport.  Sure everyone has said the following, which by the way appears not to have even a vibe of a denial about it: 

Stapleton (nytimes.com):

“I believe that these guys that Landis named are playing by the rules and you have to judge them by the standards of today, and not look back to things that may have happened years ago, I don’t think a witch hunt will serve any purpose. I’m all for the older generation racing and succeeding and passing the drug tests, but they don’t define the sport anymore. Lance Armstrong doesn’t define the sport anymore. There’s a new generation of riders and teams who operate under a whole new set of rules. I think the fans should stay tuned for that.”

Hincapie (nytimes.com): 
“Whoever wants to talk about something eight years ago, fine, they can waste their time on that. I want to talk about the future of the sport and the sacrifices we put into it.”

“Dave is a very private and quiet person. I simply expressed to him that I believe he can win this race, currently, clean, and that we’re going to support him doing that. And that we can withstand any level of scrutiny anyone would place on us in that regard. I think Dave is going to focus on winning this race clean, along with the rest of our team.”

How can we trust that these people implicated are riding clean now if they were lying then? And if it turns out to be true, lying now? Through drug testing? Not if it’s easy to orchestrate systemic cover ups. And why should we ignore it if they're riding on teams like Sky or Garmin where they’re uber clean? Now they have a conscience but they kept their silence before because....why?   There were questions too about the cleanliness of Lance's current comeback e.g. the showers and the UCI delay, then Astana last year treating UCI to a coffee for an hour before testing at the TDF, and the scientists who questioned his blood values at TDF09 as opposed to Giro 09.

Of course I don't doubt every test out there or even all of these riders now, but you see my point how it’s not about the past.  If it's true, for their own sakes wouldn't they want the doubt now to not hang over their heads? 

It matters because some implicated are still running the sport.  This goes beyond Lance. Riders, fans and media will know it is more than fanciful to bribe the people who are in charge of cleaning up the sport. Then there’s Rihs. And Johan’s involvement in the former Astana rider Gusev’s case - and if Gusev really was innocent, it's possible to tarnish anyone if you wanted to.  This also calls into question Damsgaard’s integrity in relation to internal doping controls wherever he has worked (including with the other Riis).

This matters for the current generation, for example, the Meyers and the Bobridges. Not only have they watched the arse falling out of Olympic track cycling, how can they trust their governing body on anti-doping?

While Pellizotti is of the current generation (and he may turn out to be guilty), the processes around him and his blood passport values were more than questionable. Just one off the top of my head – they didn’t do any extra testing simulatenously with the passport, and also the timing of the announcement.  Another thing around Pellizotti too is the hypocrisy of the peloton.  Pellizotti has not yet had 'his day in court' but riders are tweeting, show him the door' 

Whether it’s true or not, at the very least, UCI’s Pat McQuaid sounds like he’s part of the Team Radioshack defence, calling into question his objectivity. His demonisation of Landis too could also dissuade many future confessors.  And again, at the very least, UCI is still far from establishing a robust system of anti-doping, including testing, for the people that matter the most - the riders. 

It matters because it’s OK to go digging in the past for some riders and not for others. For example - Valverde. This was pointed out to Wade on his blog who correctly commented there was evidence for Valverde.  But at one point, there never used to be. To get that evidence, UCI/Italian authorities went digging all on the word of a journalist who one day remembered interviewing him once and could’ve sworn Valverde said his dog’s name was Piti. A string of people have come out over the years and testified under oath about Lance, and maybe noone other than the crazy jealous French ever went officially digging.  

The other point is that Wade and Stapleton appear and I only say appear to be saying, well, there probably is evidence for Lance but who cares it was so long ago - let's move on.  But the UCI are still not letting go of Valverde and it’s been four years since Puerto. Everyone says, the DNA and the blood bags calls into question every victory he has had since then. But Valverde too has never failed a drug test. But sssh…let’s not talk about Lance.

It matters because he told everyone many times and under oath that he never doped and he built his wealth on that - his first comeback was drug free, he kept on telling us. Not only was it an amazing feat to beat all the cancer in his body, he then beat the best dopers in the peloton seven times without chemical assistance. He had cancer, he’d never do that to his body…he said. He said his comeback is not about showing Sastre he's shit, but so his kids would google his name and not find doper against it.  This isn't sleeping around on your wife, selling yourself as a family man, swing a stick on the weekend and win golf tournaments.  This calls into question everything that defines Lance and LanceCo.  This is fraud. 

It matters to everyone who’s been vilified, bullied and excluded at the word of LanceCo - and this list is long. Here’s just a few: The Andreux, Simeoni, Cunego (if he too is innocent of implication in latest scandal), French authorities, Bassons,  his former PA, his former soigneur, respected scientists, crazy journos like Paul Kimmage and Charlie Walsh. 

It matters because it shows us what happens to our sport when it revolves around the one man.  Stapleton said that Lance doesn’t define the sport anymore. For discerning cycling fans and press, no, he never did.

But not just America, for many in the world and for many cycling fans and journalists, it's still all about Lance - and his celebrity.  At least since his comeback, Lance seems to be the only story the cycling world has ever told.  Take for example the Tour Down Under 2010.  Not the first year of his comeback but the second.  I needed the word Advertorial to be put on some of the Fairfax reports in order to know the difference between what was Team Radioshack/LanceCo publicity and news.  It was disgusting and it all involved a formerly blacklisted journalist - if a blacklist ever existed that is. 

While SBS is nothing like this and is a large contributor to the success of Australian cycling (as is the formerly blacklisted journalist mentioned previously) - not just elite wise, but people getting out there even as commuters - it has admitted SBS often runs stories, even inane ones, on Lance because Brand Lance is news. (SBS also has news on many other riders so I'm not being nasty). 

Many mock, including me, Australian programs like Offsiders for only talking about Lance/Landis on the weekend not Porte/Evans/Rogers/Lloyd/Lancaster but prior to the Giro - which is coincidentally Radioshack free - hardly a few days would go by in the cycling world without some mention of Lance.  If Lance is all the rest of the world hears, then that’s all they’re going to talk about – his good and his bad.  While there are many other stories there too on cycling news sites around the world,he'll be all they look for mostly because of the hype he's self built but which we all have at some point given oxygen to. 

Stapleton also said, "There’s a new generation of riders and teams who operate under a whole new set of rules. I think the fans should stay tuned for that.”  This is true.  But this doesn't mean they don’t want the 'cancer' out of the sport.  I can cheer on muddy Cadel in bed with my iPhone app AND can endure like Myerson says, 'burning it down.'.  http://www.cycle-smart.com/blog/2010/05/20/pretty-boy-floyd  OK, maybe not burn it down because what will you replace it with, but let's at least send in the cleaners.   It will survive because there's people like you and me and Wade who want it to be about the Portes, the Meyers, the Rogers's, Evans', the Lancasters.  It won't be about one man. 

Wade says "Lance has done more good for cycling and cancer than almost anyone else in the world and I hope nothing comes out of this."  

Out on a ride this weekend, I saw lots of young kids out on their bikes.  All had that smile on their faces that you only get from cycling. None of them have heard of Lance. It's also the same smile I got after watching Stage 7, 11, or 15 of this year's Giro.  Cycling will go on without him and people will still fight and die from cancer without him.  Not only that, they'll still donate to cancer charities.   But IF IT's TRUE, in years to come, even if not soon, we'll still talk about 'the look' and his awesome battles with Pantani and Ullrich. 

We just won't think he's all that great a man. 

While I agree with what Mick said at his press conference, at the same time, the two GC contenders who sat on his wheel or alongside him on the mountain passes were implicated by Landis. Ever present, the past stole his limelight.  And that matters.  If it's true, Lance has done a lot of good for cycling, but I hope something comes out of this - for the sake of the riders.

If it's not true, I hope something comes out of this for the sake of the riders. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

That's so Giro/Couch/Cycling

No That's so Couch this week and taking a break - frankly, there's too much going on in the world of cycling - Australians winning every bloody where, Landis v Lance - and my brain has fried. But I did like this and is the:

Quote of the last few days:

"Anna, I won!"
Evgeny Petrov to his Italian wife on Italian TV after winning Stage 11 of the Giro, and who hasn't won for awhile....

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Floyd comes clean

This from ESPN.com Bonnie Ford (my translations underneath)
Landis' doping conviction cost him his Tour title, his career, his life savings and his marriage. He said he knows his credibility is in tatters and that many people will choose not to believe him now. He added that he has no documentation for many of the claims he is making about other riders or officials, and that it will be his word against theirs.

However, Landis said he finally decided to come forward because he was suffering psychologically and emotionally from years of deceit, and because he has become a cycling pariah with little to no chance of ever riding for an elite team again. Prior to speaking with ESPN.com, he said he made his most difficult phone call -- to his mother in Pennsylvania to tell her the truth.

"I want to clear my conscience," Landis said. "I don't want to be part of the problem any more."

Translation: Radioshack didn't offer me a contract. Now I go through with the threat. 
According to Landis, his first use of performance-enhancing drugs was in June 2002, when he was a member of the U.S. Postal Service team. The World Anti-Doping Agency's statute of limitations for doping offenses is eight years, and Landis said that, too, is part of his motivation for divulging his inflammatory information.

"Now we've come to the point where the statute of limitations on the things I know is going to run out or start to run out next month," Landis said. "If I don't say something now then it's pointless to ever say it."

Translation: I wasn't allowed to ride at the Tour of California.  Oh, is that thing on again?
Rest of story:  http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/cycling/news/story?id=5203604


And this a few hours ago from Cycling News:

Cyclingnews.com has been sent a letter purportedly from Floyd Landis to a senior cycling official with revelations of drug use in cycling in the period up to his Tour de France victory. We are awaiting responses from individuals involved and hope to bring you full details shortly.




Translation: We will wait until someone else writes something...

Friday, May 14, 2010

That's so Giro - Distractions not miscalculations, Greipel in therapy

Miscalculations or distractions?

Some pundits said it was miscalculation by the peloton that lost it for the sprinters yesterday.  That sort of takes away from the 'we won't sit up and wait for you in last kilometre' attitude of the breakaways. But Couch has another theory - the sprinters didn't factor because of distractions.

Robbie still had this on his mind:



Hendo and the team could only think about this:


And Greipel,well he was fresh from a therapy session:

Psychologist:  using the Shrek and Donkey dolls Andre, I want you to show me how Cav made you feel
Andre: Oh good choice that's a funny movie. Andre can't get sad about that. It's not my favourite movie though
Psychologist: Yes, we've talked about that haven't we, it's American Flyers isn't it, I remember
Andre: Good job doc. 
Psychologist: I'm not a Doc.
Andre: Bloody scheizer HTC!
Psychologist: OK Andre, when you're ready.

(Andre takes the dolls and holds them up)

Andre as Donkey (in perfect Eddy Murphy impersonation: You cut me deep, Cav
Andre in perfect Manx accent: "I'M SHREK??!!! F*k off. Look at yourself man, you're f*king Shrek
Greipel as Greipel: OK Cav, I'll change it for you, I am after all the second best sprinter in the world

Greipel in perfect Shrek impersonation: That'll do Cav, that'll do
Donkey: (in perfect Manx accent):  (CRYING) I'M DONKEY??  Why did you say that?  You know I'm sensitive about my teeth.  Oh man, the pain in me teeth, cut me deep.
(Greipel as Donkey as Cav assumes foetal position on ground) Mummy. 
(Greipel as Greipel still in foetal position): I WANT TO GO TO PARIS!!
Psychologist - who are you now Andre?   Um, maybe you should choose something else now.
(Andre grabs a women's magazine with Prince Harry on it and a nice flashy toy train.)
Psychologist - Interesting why did you choose that?
Andre - They're what I really need and want.  But they're in California. Stapleton!
Psychologist - I get the train, but Prince Harry
Andre - well who do you think he looks like?































Psychologist says as Andre starts to run the train into his HTC phone as if to smash it: O....K....think that's all we got time for today. 

Quote of the Day:

Arashiro 
"I was thinking of all the Japanese people who are watching the Giro d'Italia on J-Sport," he said. "This was my main source of motivation. I could imagine everyone in Japan shouting while I accelerated towards the finish. It gave me a lot of strength."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

That's so Giro

(wegelius twitpic)

Guess who's coming to dinner?

Hundreds of people at an airport signed up to a mystery dinner not knowing who the guests of honour would be.  Little did they know dinner organisers grabbed Giro cyclists as they came through the aiport.  Or rather kidnapped.

Wegelius tweeted- We are eating in a tent at airport at midnight while hundreds of people gawp at us and take photos. Remarkable spectacle.

Robbie Mcewen  tweeted: Caught in the crash @ 10k to go today. No result. Just made plane transfer to Italy+ to top off long day, a compulsory teams dinner@ 1130pm

Why the surprise? Do these guys just get driven around everywhere without a running sheet not knowing where they are going next? And just like Lib-Dems getting into bed with the Tories, is everything REALLY ‘compulsory’.

Then I read other tweets from other riders far more whingey than this, and then another rider not Giro-ing up about his airport travels.  I thought then what Twitter would be like if modern pro cyclists had every day jobs/lives:

- After a crappy long day at work, meeting deadlines etc finally come home and had to go to compulsory dinner with my family. The wife and kids are a real drag when I feel like shit….body needs rest….got big project at work…who does she think she is making me do this….

- Transfer from home to work, 1.5 hours at 6am in the morning, why could we only afford to buy house out here FFS

- Guy at work has same life as me… he says he takes drugs to survive, what a dick… a bottle of wine every night for me is enough….

- F*k I wish I could see more of the world…same every day place, every day…..want to go to Europe, or the US….house and the kids it’s not an option….

Sick, waited for 2 hours at the local GP clinic to cough and get told to have bed rest…crap…

- My stupid idiot of a boss said I have to go out after work to impress clients…dinner and drinks on the company, what a drag…Boss said I needed to impress the people who effectively pay my salary – he can go roger himself…

- F*k I wish I had the life of a professional athlete….

Shaking up modern racing – the organisers trying to do what riders aren't ready for yet?

If you just took some cyclists word for it, you would think - those organisers are playing with cyclists lives in the last few stages of the Giro in Holland. And in a way, they are. You feel sorry for them and you get out your red flag hoping to wave it when they slow pedal in protest.

But here’s an interesting perspective. If the roads have always been like that, and the route’s been out for ages, oh yeah, and most of the classics are raced on such roads, why didn’t they choose to race differently rather than the ho hum let’s get them with 30kms to go….straight run to the finish cycling that is a bore.

Does Joe Papp get it dead right here:

Knowing that the end run ins are following the usual pattern, and cruising on great roads to it, it just breeds that calculated let's have an escape group dangling out there and then reel them comfortably in when it's "that time"…..Here, that really doesn't work as a race approach.

The only thing that would have worked, as pointed out, is to make the race on Dutch roads hard from the get-go, to make that big group smaller, and thus the road less risky. I know we have a long 3 weeks ahead of us. So what? Isn't it the point that no stage should be "comfortable, controllable and predictable? We got waaay to used to "the normal way" a 3 week GT rolls out. The last 2 days showed that that doesn't need to be the way.

Everyone knew yard by yard where they would be racing. If they were so keen their main man really safe, teams were simply not deploying the right attack attitude: make the race a lot harder. They chose not to. And reaped the rewards for that attitude: Dutch lottery.

But why should only mountain stages run folk into the red in the last week and a bit? It proved to me that the current crop of GT specialists, riders and directors, can learn a trick or two from the classic folk too: how to race here. We have started to specialize over the last decade and a bit. Well, please let that era come to end quickly if the stages can be this entertaining from the start.

As a group, they were bloody nervous, out of their comfort zone, and, ironically, too careful. And that was responsible for more crashes than anything the road threw at them.

And the main riders who actually have more all-round skills knew it. Even after yesterday's crash fest, the only thing I got from most interviews by the big names was that the nervousness was fingered more than the actual route taken.

Cadel seemed to be one of those riders with this comment (quoted in various sites):

"Sometimes you have to wonder when on a dead straight road they crash like that, if riders don't know how to ride their bikes anymore or they don't know how concentrate or something. Obviously the traffic islands are very cycling friendly for commuters but there are a lot of things on the road from the peloton because were so small and low. That adds to the problems."

"I don't know what caused the crash. There was a big crash near the front yesterday and again today. Normally the guys at the front are at the front because they know what they're doing."
Other news

Wiggins and CW had a spat again on Twitter. CW went for the negative….Wiggins took offense. Rightly so if you look at their entire coverage…it’s pretty disappointing the angles they take – e.g. surprised at Weylandt win, let’s watch for the conspiracy theory on him to follow. However, to be fair, if you read article, most of it came from Sky’s DS himself

Quote of the day:

Wiggins (in Cycling News) on Vino et al:
"People ask me all the time, 'How do you race with these guys? Why do you not spit at them?' but you can't do that...It's only bike racing, and it's actually the system that fails us as athletes…..But what about the riders who were up there? All that talk demoralizes them....If someone beats me in the Tour but I finish up there, I don't want it rubbed in that they might be doped. As far as I'm concerned, they're clean and getting on with their job.
That's what THEY tweeted - and then promptly deleted

Giro Team Time Trial Start Order - from Cyclingnews.com

Go Cadel and Richie.  My bet's on Garmin, would love to see Bobridge and Meyer kill it. 

Australian times in brackets - think I got it right:

May 12, 2010: Savigliano - Cuneo (TTT), 33km


Start order
1 Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne 14:50:00  (10.50pm tonight)
2 Colnago CSF Inox 14:55:00 (10.55pm)
3 Footon-Servetto 15:00:00  (11pm)
4 BMC Racing Team 15:05:00 (11.05pm)
5 Quick Step 15:10:00 (11.10pm)
6 Caisse d'Epargne 15:15:00 (11:15pm)
7 Acqua & Sapone 15:20:00 (11.20pm)
8 Bbox Bouygues Telecom 15:25:00  (11.25pm)
9 AG2R La Mondiale 15:30:00 (11.30pm)
10 Androni Giocattoli 15:35:00 (11.35pm)
11 Lampre-Farnese Vini 15:40:00 (11.40pm)
12 Team Katusha 15:45:00  (11.45pm)
13 Sky Professional Cycling Team 15:50:00 (11.50pm)
14 Omega Pharma-Lotto 15:55:00 (11.55pm)
15 Cervelo Test Team 16:00:00 (12pm)
16 Garmin - Transitions 16:05:00 (12.05pm)
17 Rabobank 16:10:00  (12.10pm)
18 Team Milram 16:15:00 (12.15pm)
19 Liquigas-Doimo 16:20:00 (12.20pm)
20 Team HTC - Columbia 16:25:00 (12.25pm)
21 Team Saxo Bank 16:30:00 (12.30pm)
22 Astana 16:35:00 (12.35pm)

Monday, May 10, 2010

That's so Giro

'Dam it

After Lance, one of the things Paul Sherwen and Phil Liggett talk about to fill a few hours of commentary is the danger of traffic islands.  Noone must listen to their commentary when they go back to the bus to watch themselves coz apparently traffic islands helped cause lots of damage out there on the 2nd stage of the Giro.  I thought the US had killed more Afghani or Iraqi civilians but it was just the Twitter talk about the stage from riders, fans and journos alike. 


(watson)

Then there was another major accident 7km out that held up Wiggo and Sastre. 

Marco Pinotti blamed the organisers.  He sniffed the revolution of the workers against their overlords was close and called on a veteran Giro organiser hater tater for at the very least, sympathy:

@lancearmstrong are you missing the drama in Hiring stages? Glad for you that you'll do California
Others like Wiggo and Ted King dealt with it by turning to the works of Margaret Mitchell: 

Wiggo
'Great job from the boys today, shit happens sometimes that's cycling, tommorow is another day'

Ted:
'+/-10 crashes in final 50km. It's a safe bet that maybe 40% of the peloton hit the deck today. But who's counting. Tom'w is another day!

But Evans seemed to sum it all up and win quote(s) of the day: 

Maybe I'm getting old, but the level of etiquette in the bunch seems to be diminishing. I remember being yelled at by Musseuw as a stagiare (last century!) for passing on the right in the feed. That's how you learn respect...and you don't forget it...   (from his diary)
and this:
"I don't know why everyone was so nervous today. Maybe it's a little bit of inexperience or something where you take a Grand Tour group and put it on these roads, which are a little bit more of the Classics guys' environment."  (A F P)
Cadel's other quote of the day?

Anyway, they awarded a jersey to the best crash avoidance so far, and I got it. Yeah, I know...it's pink and all...but the Italian girls love it!



(watson)



Greatest impersonation of a Footon-Servetto rider by a Cervelo rider:  Ted King who ended up wearing chaps by the end of the stage...(alas girlfriends, couldn't find a photo)


Where's Wiggo



All the favourites got together for a conference and hardly anyone wanted to be seen as the favourite:
Cadel - I'm so not the favourite, you know how that works out for me....
Vino - I'm not the favourite, that means triple the testing, it's really hard to find a vein these days...
Basso - I'll ask my sister if I'm the favourite
Cunego - The investigation is still pending....
Simoni - I'm too old...
Pellizotti - If I was allowed to ride, I wouldn't be the favourite either
Sastre - OK fellas, I'll be the favourite...fellas...
Wiggo - f*k you doping bastards, you didn't even ask me along, I'm so the favourite...

Seamless




As noone feared, Wiggo didn't let the results of the UK elections get to him and took out the Time Trial.   But unlike Anthony Tan predicted, it wasn't a smashing.  People were more surprised by Bookwalter.  But it's time to shut that Big Medicine Cabinet conspiracy theorists, take a look at his palmares he's only ever done well in prologues/tt's.