Wednesday, 25 March 2009

They came, they saw, they rode around in circles

A Brit wins Milan - SanRemo, so lets see just what Europe's press might have made of the event.

'A new champion is born', 'Glorious Cavendish' , 'A king is born' trumpeted the broadsheets in Belgium and Holland.
In France Cav was front page news 'Cavendish stakes his place at the top table' and , 'Cavendish eats snails and frogs legs, but rides much faster than either of these creatures on his way to victory',
In Italy Cav filled the front page, the back page and just about every page in between, with headlines that could well have read 'Cavendish, embraces Cipollini as cycling embraces a new champion' and 'By jove old chap, hang onto your London taxi as British Cavendish does rather well, innit.'

Meanwhile the British sporting press managed to overlook this exciting event to lead with, 'Slug found in Wayne Rooney's mouth', 'Darts made me irresistible to house bricks, says fat man' and 'English cricketers manage to tie own shoe laces'.

Ah well, not that I really expected anything else. Still the track worlds are now on and having whetted our appetite with non-wall to wall cycling coverage of M-SR we can expect more of the same in the coming week.

And talking of wall to wall coverage, let's talk Lance and his little accident. So am I alone in thinking good news for Levi? He is going like the proverbial train right now and with his ol' mucker injured and AC 'supposedly' saving himself till July there's a golden opportunity for Levi to have a tilt at the Pink jersey. Now that's got to put a smile on his face, start of the year he's a step down the pecking order as Lancey boy arrives, next thing you know, hello team leadership. Good luck fella.

If it ain't 250m long it ain't worth a ****

Over in Poland there is talk of team GB's demise as a track power. Well there is on certain on-line sites, as some not very good journalists get their knickers in a twist. Meanwhile at the BBC there is gnashing of teeth as GB only take 2 silver and 2 bronze from the four events on the opening night.

Give me strength, really, give me effing strength. The GB track squad had made it perfectly clear that this years worlds was just a stepping stone on the road to 2012, a chance to try new combinations, allow younger riders to gain experience. In terms of funding there is nothing riding on the results here, but there is a lot riding on arriving at 2012 with riders who don't have the right experience and exposure to international competition.

Jo Roswell set a PB on the way to 4th in the IP, Queen Vic herself picked up a bronze in an event she did zero training for, beaten by a world record and the rider who previously held the world record, how many would like to fail like that.?
In the points, always a lottery, it could have gone to any of four or five riders and a bronze to Newton is no disgrace. In the end a wonderful ride by Cameron Meyer took the rainbows down to Oz, Meyer is just a class act, end of, aggressive, with a great eye for the right move and good timing, he deserved it and I hope he goes onto make a great career on the road.
So the team sprint then? Silver for GB, beaten as so often by the French at worlds level. Big issue? Er no, not from where I'm sitting, Jamie was a little sluggish out of the gate, but Kenny (no longer 'young Jason Kenny') was on the money and Matt Crampton set the fastest time for man 3 in the competition. Yes he was a little of the pace initially, but, as I said new combinations, new options.

Wendy Houvenaghel slowed up in the final and looked a little knackered into the 2nd K. But take nothing away from Alison Shanks who went even faster than in qualifying (mark of a good coach and good coach rider relationship if you ask me). Her ride was stunning, backing up with a faster time is just so impressive it deserves respect. Have the Kiwis unearther a successor to the wonderful Sarah Ulmer?

So, what does any of that prove? Nothing much, except those that expected the GB track squad to dominate for evermore clearly know nothing about cycling, track racing or team preperation. If it does prove anything it's that the next few years are going to be just great for track racing and that is good enough for me.


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