Monday, 15 September 2008

City centre racing is back - YYYYEEEESSSSSS

Hot latest news from planet Lance on the comeback trail, is that he'll be racing all over the world to get his message across. A noble intent and one I'm sure will be successful, but what does this say about the speculated ride for Astana? I'm sure they don't intend riding in every corner of the globe. So will there be a new team? Well if there is that's bye, bye to a ride in Le Tour and I suspect many of the other major races that would be seen as preparation for it.
It will be interesting to see how this develops over the next few months. What ever LA has already succeed in his profile raising campaign......
If I was advising him I'd say ride some 6 days and a couple of cross events, that's what you need for the profile.

But on the real racing front Le tour de Britain is over. With a packed house in Liverpool there was no real change on the GC other than Steve Cummings gaining a second and Ian Stannard jumping up as place or two. Still from a Brit perspective Cummings and Stannard in second and third and Fleeman in 7th is a great showing and the quality riding by Team GB (that's the British National Team, if you're a cycling weekly poster) leaves a feeling that whilst the home side didn't walk away with much in the shape of wins it was none the less a great tour for them.
In fact both Fleeman and Cummings seemed to be upset that the course wasn't harder.

It's worth saying that there had been question raised on the men's Olympic road squad and hopefully this race answered some of them. Cav aside Cummings has been Britain's most successful rider this year, a couple of wins, a high place on a tough Giro stage (4th) plus places in many other events, Swifty and Bellis have records that speak for themselves and I can't believe that there would be any sensible disagreement with the 'getting them ready for 2012' argument, throw into the equation plenty of good results in Italy, ToB KoM and 3rd in the Worlds U23 and the case is in my opinion made.

We will now have the questions over the Worlds selection, how many is it? Six riders plus a U23 squad, Plus the Women's race.
Well the U23 pre selection list is incredibly strong, with a podium a real possibility.
In the women's race Nicole has to start as favorite, Olympic champion and winner of the recent Ardeche, where there was also a great performance by Emma Pooley.
So that leaves the mens event (that's men over 23 obviously, not casting anything on Swifty and the boys). Whilst I don't think we'll see the podium we have the riders to be in at the final selection, hopeful they'll get picked.

And so to the headline act. City center cycling is set to return. The ToB announced that in 09 there will be 10 City center races from the end of May to end of June. Tuesdays and Thursdays are the dates for your diary.
This is perhaps the best news of the week. CC racing was the mainstay of the British pro scene in the 80's and it's TV coverage spawned a number of teams. Hopefully with the offer of 10 hours extra racing on TV we will see new sponsors into the sport, and hopeful this will help Dave Brailsford in his quest for Nat Pro.
But it is just great news, it draws the crowds in and from a getting kids into the sport point of view it builds on the Olympics and ToB success. I'm sure BC will be getting their Go-Ride coaches working over time and unlike the 80's we are now (as clubs and coaches) in a position to numbers on the ground at the start of events and to promote the sport. The only question in my mind is they'll be a lot of late nights driving all over the country, ah well, it's all in the name of cycling so it's not a problem.

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