Tuesday, 29 September 2009

4 more years, 4 more years, 4 more years

Cycling - really popular now - apparently.

Back in the arse end of the 80's football became popular. Well I say popular but let me quantify that. The arrival of the fanzine culture, the utterances of various footy loving 'beat combos' and the acceptance of football by certain 'media' types saw celebrity after celebrity jumping on the round ball bandwagon.
'Thank God that'll never happen to the worlds greatest sport' I stupidly thought. But suddenly the world of celebrity is queueing up to be seen on a bike and to admit a fondness for drilling out the chainring on their early 80's TT bike. First there was that bloke out of Spandu Ballet and then there was someone else I can't be arsed to remember, not to mention sever people I've never heard of. (I should point out that the only people I've heard of are cyclists).

I don't know much about cycling, but I know what I like!

Of course alongside this the filthy stain ridden scum that is your daily press has started pronouncing on all matter bike related. Sir Chris wins a bit of bling and suddenly every two bob hack in grub street is an expert on race tactics and power outputs.
This year has seen a level bollocks talked by the national press in relation to cycling reach an all time high. OK there have been many good and insightful articles, but there has been just as much codswallop.

The performances of various GB teams at worlds this year has for me highlighted who should be kept on the payroll and who should be offered retraining. First up the track worlds, GB finished 3rd in the medal table, with ten gongs, a couple of rainbows and a team consisting of young riders, riders in different events and a few old stagers (is it legal to call Queen Victoria an old stager? I doubt it - sorry) Any way the press almost to a slavering dog labelled the whole thing a failure. And so to the road worlds, again labelled a failure. But why? 4th in the U23, Emma sprinting for 5th (and I know Emma's no sprinter), Wiggos flato when chasing bronzeo and a lot learned in terms of operating a full squad.
So failure then? Not from my patch on the road side, but even if it was a failure there is still an issue here, and for me that is the lack of understanding about our sport and the tactics involved. I wouldn't be so bold as to pass comment on the tactics employed at a football match and yet it would seem that suddenly the world is awash with armchair DS's, what are they called? Monday morning coaches?

And talking of tossers.....

Have I ever told you about the UCI? . It seems that the land that sanity forgot - Ch. de la Mêlée 12, is again awash with brilliant ideas for revitalising our great sport. The IOC (more of them later) have said that cycling can keep it's 10 track events, but must introduce parity between the mens and womens events. The parity bit is brilliant new, it's about time women had the same opportunities as men, but hang on just a tyre pumping minute. The loss of track endurance? How does that work then? Well the UCI's argument is that the endurance riders have 'The Road' and they can bugger off and play there. I will now talk v e r y s l o w l y just incase anyone from the UCI is listening. Different ok, preparation for a road event is different from preparation from a track endurance event. Cancellara? TT yes, road race yes, Individual pursuit no, AC? (that Alberto Contador, not AC fromoperation Puerto) Road race, maybe, TT maybe, track endurance - no, Wiggo Wiggins? yes to all of em, just not at the same time. The point is similar base yes, road endurance, aerobic endurance supporting track endurance yes, but specifically in he same event cycle, at the same Olympics no.

Parity my arse.

Oh and this parity you speak of, it only works if the women's road scene is comparable to the men's road scene. It is clearly not. So Lizzy Armitstead no points and scratch race to fulfil your Olympic dreams, never mind you can go and ride the amazing range of road events that are open to women.
Oh, range of events not so amazing? Never mind I'm sure Uncle Pat has a plan to vitalise womens road racing.

The IOC - that body that insists all sports sign up to athlete whereabouts programmes and stringent anti-doping activities and yet does screw all when they don't, that's screw all except pretend that the rules and requirements never existed. The IOC Claim that staging the Olympics is expensive and numbers of athletes muct be kept to a minimum, totally valid point. But hang on, won't the riders that ride the Team Pursuit also contest the Individual as well? Won't the riders that make up the TP squad also be up for a little light points racing? Just as the argument for cutting the Kilo and 500 showed the IOC's complete lack of understanding of which athletes ride which events (as well as the UCI's lack of moral fibre - wasn't LMF a reason to go in front of a fireing squad during WW1?) the cutting of track endurance shows a similar level of blind ignorance & cowardice.

And another thing whilst I'm in full rant mode, changing the requirements for Olympic events 13 months into a cycle is not the brightest of things is it? Training and long term planning - Rewrite it! Sponsorship deals and Government finance - Redistribute it! Athlete hopes and dreams - screw it!


Friday, 11 September 2009

Wiggo to ride a bike next year - official

After much twittering and frowning I can exclusivity reveal that Brad 'Wiggo' Wiggins will spend next year riding a bike. Er, that's about it I'm afraid, sorry.
But lets be honest I'm not losing sleep over it, I only tell you this because it seems that some people are, and if your one of them, never mind, I'm off to the life shop soon, I'll make sure I pick one up for you.

Are you ready for the Shack?

Personally I couldn't give a toss one way or the other. Teams come and go and the only thing I ever remember is what the jersey looked like and how many dope tests they failed. But I have to admit I have been following the Sky signings saga with a little more than a passing interest. Now I don't know if this is due to it being touted as a British team, or because of my wearyness that soon all bike races will disappear up the dish or indeed because I'm excited by their anti doping policy, but what ever the reason I've been trawling the web for news on regularly sad and obsessive basis. Of course my excitement could well fade as we find out what make of bike they will ride and what the jersey will look like, but so far so good.

I have mused about riders being linked to Sky and then turning up in other squads. Why could this possibly be, could rumours on the web all be bollocks? Could journalists guesses be wrong? Is the money on offer just too much? Did Sky's request to see all blood passport data, other tests results etc. put some riders off?

And talking of being put off....

Vuelta, Vuelta, Vuelta, Fridge, Fridge, Fridge

Over in Spain fridge manufacturers report a surge in demand as the public, inspired by the fine Work of Alejandro Valverde, rush out to buy the product he has so famously endorsed.

Sadly poor Alexandre Vinokourov drops out sighting fatigue as the cause. How sad, if only there was a product available that would help combat fatigue, maybe something he could keep in a fridge to stop it going off.
And so to Basso, who has stopped thinking about doping..............