Saturday, 2 January 2010

Living in the past.

The stake in your shorts is medium-rare !

This months Cycle Sport Mag highlights what the Italians have in their musettes.
Of course as part of the Cycling Weekly stable articles on food are no surprise, I firmly believe that the nations favourite weekly cycling magazine is positioning itself for a tilt at the slimming market, but I digress.
It seems that the Italians are pretty much old school, ride for an Italian team and you mid race feed will consist of a couple of cream cakes, a Mars bar and a bottle of water, occasionally there is a gel thrown in, but I suspect only if the swannies have found a few laying on the floor after the first feed.
The big question is why, I mean the benefits of Gels / Card/Protein mix drinks, energy bars etc etc are all out there for everyone to read, so why do supposidly 'professional' teams remain routed in the dark ages?
Well OK, maybe things aren't as bad as they used to be, I used to ride with a guy who grew up in Italy, his father told me that it was 'correct' for riders to have a little bottle of brandy in their back pockets and at the end of the race, knock it back to get a little extra gas for the sprint and you think modern sprints are crazy? Just imagine being in the middle of 50 pissed Italians all going full gas for the line. Apparently this was quite common across mainland Europe where each weekend thousands of bottles of cheap locally distilled fire water would be necked in an effort to emulate Darrigade and his chums.

As a coach poor mid race nutrition annoys me, but as a track coach poor race prep makes me apoplectic.
Turn up at any round of the world cup and indeed the world champs and you will see riders making their 200m efforts with a bog standard road helmet on their heads, WHY?
Which is more aero dynamic, a solid helmet, say a Casco Wrap, of a nice road helmet with plenty of nice head cooling slots that can trap the air and slow you down? The average road helmet can lose you 30 - 50 watts in your effort, so why not just start making your effort at 210 meters instead of 200, the effect will be the same, i.e. a complete waste of time.
All you need to do is look at who's currently using Casco Wraps on the track - GB, Aus, French & German sprinters. Now need I say any more, surely if you looked at that lot you might get the general idea that sticking a Wrap on your head could be worth while.

It seems that some teams are just being wilfully stupid here, why, when the research is out there, when the best in the world are doing it, would you continue to do what you've been doing for the last 120 years?

Time to stick a steak down your shorts for the race and have it medium rare at the dinner table that night.


Friday, 1 January 2010

At last - a way to stop dopers.

Pump up the juice.

You may or may not have caught up with the John Harty interview over on the mighty Bike Pure (and if you haven't - ).
But well worth a read, it really is.

In it Harty says
'The two main side effects of EPO are clotting (thrombosis) and high blood pressure. Of these the one we worry about daily is thrombosis. This happens as you administer EPO to the system, the number of red blood cells rise in the blood, and your blood effectively becomes thicker and more viscous, thus creating the conditions where the blood is likely to form clots.'

In other words take EPO and your blood turns to gloop. So surely that's the way to combat doping? Ditch all this 2 years bollox and make sure that caught dopes have a few months of extra EPO pumped into their systems - problem solved and what's more in these times of high unemployment it'll mean extra work for undertakers and grave diggers.

I will not use 'The Sky's the limit' as a headline, I will......

Oh dear, that young Wiggo Wiggins has left Garmin and moved over to the all new singin' n' dancin' team Sky.
Apparently there are bods out there who are outraged! Apparently the fact that Sky had money to burn and used it to buy one of the counties best bike races has been seen in some quarters a a terrible thing.
For God sakes, this cycling, since when has money not hold sway? Professional cycling was one of the first, if not the first, sports to sell it arse to the highest bidder?
As a sport we have NEVER had any qualms about buying and selling races for money. How many times has a potential traded a certain victory to a lesser rider on the promise of cold hard cash? Hundreds and bloody hundreds I can tell you.
How many times has one team bought the services of another in order to win a major stage race - plenty, or not, if you happen to be Peugeot and had Robert Millar in the lead of the Vuelta.

Suddenly there's supposed to be a shiny idealised past where races were won on pure athletic ability and nothing else - dream on.

A waste of newsprint.

This week I caught up with a couple of weeks of top quality cycling mags, well I caught up with Procycling, & Cycle sport, plent of time then over the holidasy to catch up with the doings of dopers.
Of course I read the interviews, I mean I enjoy getting myself worked up into a right old state when I could be doing something useful, like hitting myself over the head with a brick.
It was as I anticipated a total waste of time, it just confirmed the following:
Bernhard Kohl is a git
Basso is a twat
And Ricco just needs the living shite kicked out of him, on a regular basis, by a big crowd, all wearing steel caped boots.

Although out of all of this the mighty Cav became even more Mighty - Cav confessed that he want's to hit Ricco and who are we to disagree with the great Cavster? More power to his right hook I say.


Friday, 27 November 2009

I don't care who's it is, it's floating.

Who's got clean balls?

Glad to see CONI (Italian Olympic doh dah peeps) have decided to sue Rebellin for being a cheating git, Good. Lets hope that they're successful. In addition they want the 75,000 Euros he got for winning a silver back. It's about time scum cheats get hit in the pocket, I was going to say 'get hit where it hurts' but lets face it, if they haven't got the balls to race clean, they haven't got balls for you to kick.

And in Spain another doping ring has been uncovered, this one's called Operation Grial. What the fuck do they want a new anti doping operation for? They haven't finished the first one yet, greedy bastards.
Why don't they combine the two, Operation Puerto-Grail could then vanish up it's own arse, which would no doubt make a lot of people happy. Currently 12 people are being questioned and if we look at the form of the Spanish law we can expect exactly 0 people to be locked up.

And if there was any doubt about who kicks doper arse you only have to go back to Italy to see Gianna da Ros sobbing in the corner after being handed a 20 year ban. Wow, how great is that? Just think how much better the world would be if all the fuckers that doped over the last decade were banned to 20 years.

Once a floater, always a floater.

Jesus Christ, does a bloody week ever go by without Schumacher and his lawyer shooting their mouths off in public? This week Schumachers lawyer claimed that CAS decision to ban Claudia Pechsteinfor having irregular blood values, not I should add for actually failing a test, was “a witch hunt” and would inevitably mean that his lovely client would now almost certainly be banned.
Now you could argue the Pechsteinfor case long into the night, but IMHO guilty or not she has obviously been banned just to piss off Schumacher and his poxey lawyer chum. Which kind of makes it more than acceptable if you ask me.

And so David Kopp has almost served his 12 months ban (administered only this week) and will beck riding at the end of the year. And what was Kopps heinous crime? Shoving the Columbian nose powder up hi hooter like there's no tomorrow apparently. So, er, here's the bit I don't get, Boonen ! Both have powdered their nose and both have done it in Belgium, so er.... right, me neither.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Oh you little ray of sunshine

Back on that track, right?

Amongst the many and obvious highlights of this last weekends World Cup at Manchester were the return to the boards of a couple of 'old faces'.
Andy Tennant in the team pursuit and Matt Brammeier in the points and scratch, both have spent a couple of years in the proverbial cycling wilderness. Now I don't know where this wilderness is, but it must be bloody crowded, there seems to be a continual stream of cyclists in and out of it, but Andy and Matt have escaped and it was great to see them back in action.

Both are ex members of the BC academy, Andy had been a junior world champion, whilst Matt was in the first group of riders to join Rod Ellingworths 'boot camp', that first flowering at the academy included both Ed Clancy and Mark Cavendish, so just think yourself lucky that you were too old and too crap to ride with that lot.

Both had suffered illness & injury and whilst lesser riders would have thrown in the towel they continued riding and hopefully both have come through their dark night. And man did they come back in style? Andy rode to the 2nd fastest TP time ever and Matt whilst looking totally knackered showed that all those months riding the boards at Manchester were not wasted as he showed great positional sense and timing of a natural racer to make the winning break and come in 4th, a great result for him and a great result for the Irish team.

Oh and whilst I'm on the subject it was great to see a decent size Irish squad, riders in the womens points and scratch, riders in the mens points and scratch, riders in the IP and a TP squad. Come on, built a track in Dublin guys.

Didn't see that one coming did you!

Cadel Evans wins the worlds, how unexpected was that? Well, maybe not as unexpected as you would think, Cadel was clearly in stonking form after Spain and if the Gods of cycling were awake then he would have won his first GT. Sadly the curse of the English speaker befell him, but he was clearly on great form. So a top 10 place would have been a decent bet, but it's Cadel, come on Cadel would have to attack to win the worlds and well, you know, it's Cadel, right?
Well wrong, I for one was cheering and shouting at the screen when he went and IMHO it was a totally brilliant win, Cadel backed himself and proved that he is a winner, it was a great result and one I thoroughly enjoyed - Thank you Cadel, it brought a big smile to my day.

So, how many of you were surprised when he pitched up at BMC? Almost as many I'd guess, we all knew that Lotto wasn't the best team for Cadel so a move was always on the cards. The problem with Lotto was that they had a potential GT winner on their books but with a couple of exceptions the team was built for Spring Rain and not Summer Sun.
Signing Cadel was an odd move, I mean how can you sign a GT podium rider and not pack the team with climbers and TTT fast boys? No I don't know either, and it appears neither did Cadel or the Lotto management and as a result Cadel spent too many years lacking the support that he needed. So good luck at BMC Cadel, lets hope they get a few skinny blokes on their books to keep you company when the road goes up.


Tuesday, 3 November 2009

A plastic bottle cider and a packet of nuts.

Sod me, the bloody UCI are at it again, non?

So the UCI and AFLD are at each others throats again, each claiming that the other is shit and couldn't run a doping control if their life depended on it.
According to the AFLD the UCI testers were far from discrete at this years Le Tour. apparently their secret arrival at team hotels were heralded with the sound of klaxon and the man from the UCI shouting down a megaphone 'We're here for your blood, we're here for your blood', of course the UCI have responded with the claim that AFLD only took blood from hotel waiters and chambermaids.
Now I think the AFLD must be confusing the UCI with some other dope testing organisation, perhaps some other organisation who at a recent world masters in OZ selected a medal winning rider for testing, only to change their mind and go and find someone else when said rider couldn't find their racing license or any proof or identity.

Bend over and feel the force!

Still Uncle Pat is all for equality with in the sport, so it's inevitable that riders and fans should all get shafted in a fair and equal manner.

The UCI have excelled themselves this year, their recommendation to make changes to the Olympic track programme is sanctimoniously brilliant and a load of bollocks.
Obviously women and men should have exactly the same events, so why has it taken the IOC and the UCI this bloody long to realise this and do something about it?
But instead of expanding the programme we lose as many events as we gain and this a is apparently good for our sport.

But never mind, Uncle Pat has announced this is because 'people want to see exciting racing' so out goes the individual pursuit and in comes the Omnium. The IP was pretty straight forward wasn't it? I mean I don't have a PHd, but I could grasp it, everyone rides and the fastest 4 go into the medal ride offs, rider against rider, fastest wins, er pretty simple that. So that's out and the Omnium is in, even I dont' know what events will make up the fecking Omnium and I spend most of my waking hours at the bloody track, how the hell is Joe and Josephine public going to get excited by that?

Never mind though, because even though the brave new world now contains the Omnium the UCI have failed to include it in this years world cup. Christ you can tell Uncle Pat is not a trackhead, you really can, he obviously thinks that by somehow having a single event made up of a points race, a scratch, an IP, a Kilo and a 200, he is somehow sneaking a whole load of extra events into the Olympics without the IOC realising what's going on

Having the Omnium in and the IP out is a bit like the Athletics losing the 400m because there's a 400m in the decathlon. Brilliant.

I'm so excited, I'm so excited.

No really I am, riders leaving teams and going to other teams, sponsors leaving the sport and sponsors coming into the sport, riders getting banned for doping and riders getting unbanned for doping. It's really been a poor year fro those of us with a psychotic hatred of dopers. Now I don't mean that the 52 or so that have been caught with their pants down and the proverbial up their jacksey, oh no any doper getting caught is IMHO a bloody good thing. No, what's pissed me off is the feckers keep coming back, yes, yes I know they have served their time, I know they are all innocent and I know that it was all a mistake. But it really is taking the fecking piss when vinokourov, chicken boy and that twat Ricco are all either back with us or on their way. For some reason this unholy trio repulse me even more than Schumacher and Kohl. Still 52 this year, that's a bus full.

A bus full, what's he on about? Well, I used to work with a guy who when someone pissed him off would return to the office and say 'they're on the bus'. One day I asked him what this meant and I received the following explanation, a bus / coach has 52 seats on average, when someone pissed him off he would imagine them sitting comfortably on the bus and when he had a bus full he would imagine it plunging over a 200 metre drop and crashing onto the rocks below killing all inside.
Now whenever I read of another dopeer twat being caught I reserve them a place on the bus.


Friday, 2 October 2009

Cadel Evans - My part in his glory

I like Cadel Evans, there I've said it.

It's 1988, I'm in Katherine, a small town in Australia's Northern Territory, I'd gone there to paddle a boat down the Katherine gorge. I spent a few days there and I'd spend each night in a (the only?) local pizza place, eating pizza and getting wasted on the local brews. Now this happen to coincide with the Tour stage win by a certain Sean Yates and each night would see me holding forth with a great passion about the wonders of cycling and how the locals should embrace their true sporting heroes. Forget Alan Border and Wally Lewis, no Phil Anderson, Alan Piper, Hubert Opperman, Danny Clark and Dunc Gray where the men their kids should look up to. I like to think that my polemic encouraged a certain Cadel Evans to take up the sport seriously and whilst I have no proof of this I think it's far too much of a coincidence to ignore.

What a difference a day makes.

What a day for a day dreaming boy...... Cadel Evans, love him or hate him, you certainly can't ignore him - cos if you do he'll slap your legs. Cadel has got where he is today through the brilliantly pushing to his limit and perfect timing or following wheels and not attacking, take your pick. Me I'm a fan, I'll always give Cadel a shout, sorry, that should read I'll always give Cadel a shout of encouragement, I reserve shouts of abuse for other riders.
I love it when Cadel gets called for being crap, now a Tour podium is not a sign of being crap is it? In my book it's either a sign of class and dedicated training or a sign of too many visits to the doctors, In Cadels case it's class and dedication if you ask me.
And anyway, putting his riding style aside, how can you not love a man who threatens to chop of a jurno head for stepping on his dog? How can you not warm to someone who walks into a press conference, throws his smashed helmet on the table and says 'there's your interview'.

Poor Ned...

My favourite Cadelism was an interview with Ned Boulting. After a good stage ride poor Ned interviewed Cadel and said 'People are now talking of you as a favourite' to which Cadel replied 'Only now eh...' with a look which said 'have you written a will?' . Class, just class.
Poor Ned, I think they must sit around in the ITV4 trailer picking which rider is most pissed off by the stage and then send Ned out to interview them, no wonder he looks happier at the Tour de Britain, the locals are so much more friendly.


Thursday, 1 October 2009

Mistakes? I've made a few.

21 Months, why it seem like only yesterday.

We all make mistakes, we are after all human.
Amongst the mistakes I've made over the last couple of years have been, not tightening the stem on my training bike and going arse over head on the first hill I climbed, entering a bike race, entering a bike race that had a hill in it, etc etc. It's a reasonably long list, But to be honest I don't feel the need to apologise for any of them.

So imagine my surprise when Thomas 'Double' Dekker Admits after his B sample is positive that he ' regrets his mistake' and 'will apologise and be held accountable, where possible.'
How, just how is sticking a needle up your arse a mistake? What were you trying to hit that your aim was so poor you bent over, dropped you pants and as a result needle met crack? Thank God Thomas wasn't a javelin thrower or there would have been a few deaths by now.

Oh and this 'where possible' what the fuck does that mean? More crap doper double speak designed to wimp-out of naming names and helping to bring suppliers to the courts.
21 months, 21 months is the time from the sample being taken to the result of the B test being made public. Still not to worry, the UCI have it all under control and the dopers are on the run.

Two up, Two down.

Now far be it from me to sound of against the UCI or criticise the 'war on doping' or in anyway rant on in a negative, sarcastic and cynical way BUT. BBox & Cofidis get relegated from the Pro-Tour. So relegation to the lower division of cycling? What does this mean? Loss of a TdF place? Nope? Loss of a place at any other event run by ASO? Probably not, they are after all French. But lets for a moment suppose that the teams relegated weren't French what then? Pressure form a sponsor, pressure from the management? pressure from their home nations press? pressure on riders? pressure on coaches? pressure on doctors? Pressure to dope in order to get the wins that guarantee the points that guarantee a place at the top table?