Today I Love Cycling More Than Ever 08/24/2012


Today I love cycling more than ever. The day after watching Jens Voigt, one of our sport’s true and most endearing icons, take a wonderful solo win, that even his DS had doubts he could carry off. The day after “Purito” and Froome turned on the afterburners in the last 2km of yesterday’s Vuelta stage and showed Contador and Valverde their wheels. But unfortunately today these stories of heroic and breathtaking riding have been pushed down the queue by Lance. Unfortunately, today all anyone who doesn’t follow this sport will want to talk about is not if Froome can take the Vuelta, or how long can Jens continue at the top. Or even about the year-by-year growth of Wiggins to take this year’s Tour. They will only have one question for us: “Did Lance do it?” And unfortunately, with how this story has unfolded, we still seem not to have full closure.

Not really knowing what the USADA had in their files will always still leave this story unfinished for me and many others. Although, to see one of the most determined and smartest athletes I have ever followed give up is a surprise. Choosing not to fight was his best form of attack? That sure feels like an admission of sorts, but in no way feels definitive, and still feels like it will let people read it how they want. Out of all of the reactions, the one that I keep repeating in my head comes from Jan Ullrich, “I know the order in which we crossed the finish line.” In a time when most of the podium were “on it” in some form, re-awarding the seven Tour titles seems kind of pointless. I don’t think we are going to see many of Lance’s other podium companions rush in to claim his titles – most of them are as tarnished as he is, proven or not.

So maybe it is time to take a leaf out of Uli’s book and move on. There is plenty to write and talk about with those that are riding today. I am so over reading and hearing about this story, and I don’t think it is over yet. So until those USADA files see the light of day, let’s write about something else, and remember why we love this sport. You know Jens is sitting in the RSNT Team bust today saying, “Shut Up Media…I won yesterday for the first time in ages.”

Categories: Riders / The Other Stuff

Frank Scherschel Photos Of The 1953 Tour 07/05/2012


© Frank Scherschel—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images

I just found this beautiful photo essay of the 1953 Tour, shot by Frank Scherschel for Life magazine. The images were mostly unpublished and have been released in time to coincide with this years Tour. The images over the top of the Tourmalet are amazing. If you have ever been up there you will know there really isn’t a lot of room to squeeze in a few thousand people. You can really feel the atmosphere in these shots. There was a great quote (below) written at the time that went with the images. Although I am not sure there was a lot of zooming going on over the top of the Tourmalet, especially on those bikes.

High atop the foggy Col du Tourmalet, one of the most difficult passes in the Pyrenees, thousands of Frenchmen gathered … to experience a single moment. It came when a group of cyclists zoomed into sight and zoomed right out again over the mountains.

See the full photo essay here: http://life.time.com/culture/tour-de-france-1953-rare-photos/#ixzz1znlNNBxt

Categories: Classic / Riders

Ode To A Sprinting Icon 05/21/2012


For 8 years I have had this copy of L’Equipe
I keep it in and around where my bike sits
For me it represents a “Golden Age” in sprinting
Zabel, Boonen, O’Grady, Hushovd, and McEwen
You were (are) all legends
But you were my favorite, still are
I loved how the French commentators shouted your name
McEwwwwwweeeeeeeeen
Seeing you burst out of a pack was a scary and amazing sight
You just never knew what to expect
It made us feel a little uneasy
You were unpredictable, all power and no fear
You were an entertainer
From pulling a “Wheelie” crossing the line at Alpe D’Huez
To “Head-Butting” Stuey at about 45mph – that was a first
Then there was the greatest sprint ever
Stage 1 in the 2007 Tour
Just how exactly did you do that?
You were on the ground with 20Km to go
And back on the back 5km out
Somehow you picked your way through
And showed up at the front with 100m to go
And still had time to salute
I have the frame in the picture above
I always introduce it as “the bike Robbie rode in 2004″
I am going to miss you in and around the pack
Although I have a feeling this won’t be the last we see of you

Chapeau Robbie – thanks for the memories,
And making the hairs on my neck stand up.

 

Categories: Riders

Wiggins Immortalized By The Royal Mail 08/01/2012


Maybe one of the cooler ways to mark a great day for British cycling, Bradley Wiggins immortalized by the Royal Mail on one of their Olympic stamps. It will make a nice commemorative piece to show the grand kids – although they will probably never have seen an actual stamp or used one, so it may need some explaining.

Categories: Design / Riders

Welcome To The Pack 05/30/2012


This is my mate Paul who I grew up with back in Ireland. Paul grew up playing the hardmen sports of Gaelic football and Hurling (not for the faint of heart). I took a fair amount of ribbing growing up for riding around in lycra with shaved legs, but I knew I was on to a good thing. Well I am happy to say Paul has joined the lycra pack and taken up the bike. He got himself a nice Felt and some Elcyclista kit and just finished his first Sportive in the Mourne Mountains last weekend with a very respectable time. Next up the Wicklow 200. That should be a descent test!

Categories: Riders

Nice Kit Spot With Leigh Holmes 05/13/2012


Thanks to Leigh Holmes for buying full kit and then proceeding to get it in between some of my favorite riders, Russell and Dean Downing. Ever since I saw Russell kill a bunch of Pro Tour riders going up St Pats hill in Cork I have had nothing but respect. On one of the worst days I have seen to race in, and on a day when thousands turned out to see Lance Armstrong (who climbed off at the bottom of the hill), they got to see Russ survive a succession of attacks from HTC to take a massive result. Cheers Leigh – the socks are in the post.

Categories: Riders

This Guy…. 05/05/2012


… is my tip for winning the Giro (Scarponi the guy in pink, not the pooch). I watched him in person “testing his legs” at Liege-Bastogne-Liege going up La Redoute, and he was definitely holding something back. Or, he was just very dis-interested and a bit cold. He comes out better and better every year, and last years performance should have given him the confidence to go for the top step. Also, now supported by a bigger and better team as a true leader he will be fresher when he hits the very vertical last week. The Tifosi who love him will probably give him an extra few watts and a little push up the climbs as well. This is all what I am telling myself because he is leading my fantasy Giro team. This post may well of course have completely jinxed him.

Categories: Races / Riders