Thursday, April 27, 2006

Aussies in Europe

Lots of action overnight, all of it building to an exciting set of Grand Tours for 2006. Well, it shows promise, anyway. Cyclingnews reports on a stack of Aussies racing in Germany, Hilton Clarke doing best with a 12th place in Stage 1, 17th overall. And Robbie McEwen picks up a win in stage 1 of Romandie after his early-March fall and subsequent broken rib. It's not easy riding with a broken rib or 2 - I can vouch for that - as it impedes breathing and hurts like hell at the worst of times - like whenever you have to pull on your bars. As you do when climbing or sprinting for 2 good examples. So it's good for Robbie that he's over that hurdle.

Note that Valverde is close on Savoldelli's heels in the GC for that race with McGee and McEwen just 2secs behind (after a great prologue for the sprinter). Cadel's not far off the pace and could gain time in the mountains... so it's looking pretty competitive...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cadel's woes

So what is wrong with Cadel? He's not riding off the pace for fun, indeed Cyclingnews reports rather surprisingly that he has been told he has "Hunter's Syndrome". But he says he's OK, too, and will be back. Confusingly he also says on his website that his osteopath suggests a problem with the C1 and C0 vertebrae... whilst he mentions the earlier Hunter's diagnosis on that site he also suggests that a neurologist has said 'no problem' and that his actual problem was 'a migraine'. Perhaps the Hunter's diagnosis was an educated speculation rather than a conclusive diagnosis?

Presumably, if he did have Hunter's Syndrome, his would be a late-onset form of the disease and fairly mild, but it would put a cloud over his longevity in the pro peleton, if true. Whilst treatment will help, it's not 100% reversible. In short it's a genetically-carried deficiency of the enzyme iduronate-2-sulfatase. In its absence, mucopolysaccharides collect in various body tissues, causing cumulative damage.

Or was it simply speculation blown out of proportion by eager reporters? He certainly rode well enough to get 13th in the Tour de Romandie prologue on the weekend...

Monday, April 24, 2006

More to note

Just an aside, but at La Doyenne both Rogers and Evans were in the moves but dropped back. Were they seriously hurting, done what was wanted (both T-Mobile and Davitamon made the final break) or saving themselves for a bit later, like July?

This race also turned the ProTour around a bit. Tom Boonen has slipped behind rising star Alejandro Valverde (Boonen's having a rest after his early season rampage)and CSC's Frank Schleck is now fourth with Sinkewitz from T-Mobile fifth. The Giro and Le Tour will tip all this on its head, too.

So how's your training going?

Which way to look?

I don't know which way to look. In Europe, Cyclingnews reports that Valverde is firing off 2 quick wins in succession, whilst Landis holds firm against Danielson in the US.

Check out the top-10 from La Doyenne:
1 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) 262 km @ 41.202 km/h
2 Paolo Bettini (Ita)
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita)
4 Patrik Sinkewitz (Ger)
5 Michael Boogerd (Ned)
6 Martin Perdiguero M.Angel (Spa)
7 Frank Schleck (Lux) Team CSC
8 Christopher Horner (USA) Davitamon - Lotto (all same time)
9 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 4secs back and
10 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 7secs off the leaders.

Nice to see Chris Horner up there with the big guns. Basso is close. probably as close as he needs to be right now with the Giro and Le Tour coming up fast.

Noted also in Cyclingnews that 10 Aussies finished the Tour de Georgia. Not necessarily stars now or in the future but guys who are hopefully making a living out of their sporting prowess. There are names here that just a year or 2 back were doing clubs races back home...

Monday, April 10, 2006

The cobbled climbs

Although he claims to have tired legs and doesn't deserve yesterday's placing, Boonen continues to win or place in the the classics and leads the Protour standings. I do have to wonder just what it's like to ride these famed cobbled roads and the infamous climbs... but then again I can just read about it. It's hard enough to ride 200 plus kilometres let alone face 22% climbs on slippery cobbles. With a bit of drizzle or dew on smooth tar I found it almost impossible to ride up my steep local street... that balancing act between maintaining forward momentum and keeping weight on the back wheel can be a challenge when it's wet and steep. Bravo to those who race on such climbs!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Euro musings, again

OK, so Boonen is top dog at the moment. He's tough, he can beat 'em on the cobbled nasties and hang in there on longer climbs - and he's a sprinter par excellence. If you can't get away from him it's game over, he wins.

But Le Tour is less about cobbles and more about the Alps. Sure Boonen can hang in there and probably pick up the green jersey but he won't figure in the GC. And look at this - Valverde beats Freire in a sprint (and Freire is no slouch). Lots of true GC contenders in that race too, including Iban Mayo and Cadel Evans. (That's a great report by, btw, with excellent shots of humbled riders on the cobbled climbs.)