Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Recent posts from GTVeloce

  1. Cars and the psychology of Malls

    An excellent article entitled 'More mall pall than Pall Mall' By Elizabeth Farrelly (May 24, 2006, Sydney Morning Herald). It begins, "Fantasise this: for some reason - dollars a barrel, airborne particulates or, conceivably, government backbone - petrol is all but prohibited. Car use, while not banned, has shrunk to maybe one-20th of present levels. Sydneysiders drive only as absolutely necessary. For the rest, we walk, cycle or take trams. What would change?". Indeed, lots would change - for the better, as Elizabeth goes on to say ...

  2. A summary of my recent posts

    Hotcakes and hydrogen By Robert Russell in http://thespiel.com 1 day ago cost via the small ongoing fuel saving, depending upon how much driving you do. They are also a 'safe' buy in that they still use the fuel you buy at gas stations (as against some alternative home brew, cold fusion or risky hydrogen). Read more... http://thespiel.com By Robert Russell in http://thespiel.com 1 day ago Rob's Guide, part 2 Track race tips Sydney's Velodromes What do those lines mean? ...

  3. Forbes on Google

    Let's face it, Google has entrenched itself. Why is that? When it first came to my notice - I guess around 1999? - they were just a cute name with a reputation for good search results. That reputation was a cult, underground groundswell much like that which had driven Altavista to be the previous search tool of choice - or arguably Yahoo!? Google entered the fray with a new idea - results based on the popularity of links to each site. That seemed to work, and they grew ...

  4. Read this post

    Hotcakes and hydrogen By Robert Russell in http://thespiel.com 1 day ago cost via the small ongoing fuel saving, depending upon how much driving you do. They are also a 'safe' buy in that they still use the fuel you buy at gas stations (as against some alternative home brew, cold fusion or risky hydrogen). Read more... http://thespiel.com By Robert Russell in http://thespiel.com 1 day ago Rob's Guide, part 2 Track race tips Sydney's Velodromes What do those lines mean? ...

  5. Can't resist this one from Wharton on...

    Entitled 'Microsoft's Multiple Challenges' the argument goes like this: (1) Microsoft's size can be a handicap. Updates take ages, new products even longer. Google is nimbler, for example (2) there's "brain drain" and Microsoft's ability to develop a new generation of leaders is questionable, especially when it's harder to offer the 'ground floor' opportunities of the past. It makes me wonder if Wharton isn't thinking of IBM rather than Microsoft, but there you go. However they also don't count Microsoft out - yet ...

4 wheels - and understeer

The other side of my addiction - back in 1982 I owned an Alfa Giulietta. I thought this photo was cool enough to share... if you like understeer and red Italian cars.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Aussie result wrap

From Cyclingnews...

At the Giro we have a few Aussies hanging in there, including Nick Gates, Scott Davis, Matt White, Mat Hayman and Henk Vogels. But let's face it, although they have the odd individual opportunity at times, they are supporting the big guys day to day. Basso leads, rubbing salt into Gibo's wounds in the mountains. At least Gibo is hanging in there.. but Basso is flying. Ullrich pulled out with a back pain.

Rás - 2.2 Ireland, May 21-28, 2006 Stage 8 - May 27: Westport - Clara, 168 km
4 Joshua Marden (Aus) FRF Couriers
7 Cody Stevenson (Aus) FRF Couriers
42 Peter Herzig (Aus) FRF Couriers (6th on GC)
63 Peter McDonald (Aus) FRF Couriers
86 Joe McDonnell (Aus) FRF Couriers

At the Montreal World Cup round the best Aussies were:
27 Katie Mactier (Aus) Argon 18 -Champion system
28 Katherine Bates (Aus) Nurnberger Versicherung

At the Tour of Belgium Stage 4 - May 27: Londerzeel-Hoei, 203.6 km we saw..
7 William Walker (Aus) Rabobank (Continental)
12 David McPartland (Aus) Team Tenax Salmilano
41 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.com (dropped to 11 on GC, Boonen down to 4th)

In the US...Bike Jam - NE Baltimore, Maryland, USA, May 27, 2006
2 Hilton Clarke (Navigators Insurance)

And in Germany... 27th International Bayern Rundfahrt - 2.HC Germany,
May 24-28, 2006
11 Luke Roberts (Aus) Team CSC (8th on GC)
34 Joshua Collingwood (Aus) Regiostrom-Senges

Ahhhh, to be young, fit and in a pro cycling team...


Friday, May 26, 2006

Bikes, pedestrians and street shopping - not cars and malls

An excellent article entitled 'More mall pall than Pall Mall' By Elizabeth Farrelly (May 24, 2006, Sydney Morning Herald). It begins, "Fantasise this: for some reason - dollars a barrel, airborne particulates or, conceivably, government backbone - petrol is all but prohibited. Car use, while not banned, has shrunk to maybe one-20th of present levels. Sydneysiders drive only as absolutely necessary. For the rest, we walk, cycle or take trams. What would change?".

Indeed, lots would change - for the better, as Elizabeth goes on to say. There have been reports in Sydney that the rising cost of petrol is driving people out of their cars and back onto public transport. Whilst we are a long way from returning to villages and corner shops, it's a start. I think also that the hypermarket malls will fight back, possibly by investing more heavily in public transport that feeds directly to their shopping plazas. We shall see.More from Elizabeth here.

Race wrap

We are into the hilly bits with most of the specialist sprinters out of the race. Which should leave Bettini in with a good chance, although he managed to miss the break yesterday, leaving Schumacher to take the prize. More mountains today, so expect to see Basso defend against Simoni, Cunego and the unexpected opportunists. If he is as strong as he looks he'll roll over the top in the lead, again. Meanwhile Jan is just completing his daily riding duties with no pressure - roll on July!

Aussie wrap:

Stage 18 - Thursday, May 25: Sillian - Gemona Del Friuli, 210 km (from Cyclingnews)
8 Matthew White (Aus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
78 Scott Davis (Aus) T-Mobile Team (best Aussie @74th on GC)
138 Henk Vogels (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
139 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank
151 Nick Gates (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto

Meanwhile...the Tour of Belgium - 2.1 Belgium, May 24-28, 2006
Stage 1 - May 24: Oostende-Oostende, 180.9 km
Boonen was 2nd, but it was good to see Baden Cooke near the
sharp end of the field...
4 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.com (6th on GC)
60 William Walker (Aus) Rabobank (Continental)
100 David McPartland (Aus) Team Tenax Salmilano
125 Michael Simms (Aus) Profel Ziegler Continental Team

Stage 2 - May 25: Oostende-Knokke Heist, 180.5 km
Boonen wins... and..again...
4 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.com
Walker, McPartland and Simms well back.

Also, Luke Roberts is 30th in the GC for the 27th International
Bayern Rundfahrt
Josh Collingwood is 73rd.

In the 35th Tour de Vendée we saw:
32 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole
33 Christopher Sutton (Aus) Cofidis
51 Simon Gerrans (Aus) AG2R-Prevoyance
53 Benjamin Johnson (Aus) Agritubel

At the 24th Volta ao Alentejo - 2.1 110th on GC is Ben Day (Aus)
for Carvalhelhos-Boavista
At the Rás Peter Herzig (Aus) for FRF Couriers is best Aussie at
7th on GC.

And at 20th place Julian (AUS) Blackwell (Team Emporelli
RaceInEurope.com) appeared in the "Men C" category at the GP
Buchholz - NE

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Aussies in action

Some more good Australian results coming in via Cyclingnews.

Josh Marden wins a stage of the Ras! You could've been riding club races with this guy - now you know why he beat you ;-)

54th FBD Insurance Rás - 2.2 Ireland, May 21-28, 2006
Stage 3 - May 23: Cobh - An Daingean, 173 km
1 Joshua Marden (Aus) FRF Couriers  (16th on GC)
7 Peter Herzig (Aus) FRF Couriers (11th on GC)
13 Peter McDonald (Aus) FRF Couriers
35 Cody Stevenson (Aus) FRF Couriers
41 Joe McDonnell (Aus) FRF Couriers

45th Vuelta Ciclista a Navarra - 2.2
Spain, May 23-28, 2006
Stage 1 - May 23: Ind.Lizarte (Pamplona)-Tudela, 141.5 km
7 Matthew Goss (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS (also best under 23 rider)
10 Simon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
59 Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
64 Shaun Higgerson (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
68 Jonathon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS

11th Clasica Internacional "Txuma" - 1.2 Spain, May 21, 2006
4 Simon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com - AIS
7 Shaun Higgerson (Aus) South Australia.com - AIS 8.38
8 Jonathan Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com - AIS 9.00
Best of the Aussies in yesterday's Giro stage:
35 Scott Davis (Aus) T-Mobile Team  
137 Matthew White (Aus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
138 Nick Gates (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
142 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank
147 Henk Vogels (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto

Best on GC:
81 Scott Davis (Aus) T-Mobile Team (1:17:08 back from Basso)

Basso stamps authority on Giro

Well it will take illness or a crash - let's hope neither occurs - for Ivan Basso to be toppled. He's looking good, dominating even. Can he freshen up and peak again in July? That's pretty much what he did last year, so it's not fantasy. Is Jan Ullrich (just biding his time now) the man to keep him from the top step in Paris?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Velodrome 101

Going riding on a velodrome for the first time? My advice? Stay high at first and go faster, not slower. You'll gain confidence as each lap unfolds and you'll keep out of harm's way. Slow is scary at first on a track bike, especially on a steep track. Check local rules, but generally the really fast lane is low down and you don't want to get in a fast rider's way... so stay high but cruise fast enough that you don't risk touching a pedal down on the banking.

As for the painted lines and stuff...obviously we have black and white start/finish lines. We also have markings (usually red lines, perpendicular to the track) for the common pursuit and time trial distances. Distances are also marked out on the side of the track. The flat, often blue-painted zone right at the bottom of the track is the duckboard. It can be absent, or it can be plain concrete (ie not blue at all). Some people refer to it as "the blue" or the "Cote d'Azure", but it's really not a place to take a holiday. It's not for race riding either, although you may use it to come off the track after a slow down lap and you cross it to get on the track. In time trials and pursuits long sponges (not your conniving relatives, I mean foam rubber sponges) are placed across the duckboard to discourage short cuts. You can often get away with a short cut in a scratch race though when diving underneath a slower rider (but it's not encouraged and if attempted during a sprint will almost certainly incur a disqualification). There can be a nasty edge rather than a smooth transition from duckboard to track, too so keep away - it can get a bit hairy if you get stuck in that transition zone, especially if you are on the duckboard at speed and try to get onto the banking before a turn. It's a good way to fall and bring down the pack. Read more...

Aussie wrap up

OK, since you asked, here's a wrap up of all of the recent race results for Australians that I can find on the WWW...
Giro'dItalia Stage 15 - Monday, May 22: Mergozzo - Brescia, 189 km
4 Henk Vogels (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
20 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank
21 Matthew White (Aus) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team
27 Nick Gates (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
97 Scott Davis (Aus) T-Mobile Team

Rás (Ireland)Stage 2 - May 22: Enniscorthy - Cobh, 180 km
1 Joe McDonnell (Aus) FRF Couriers (10th on GC)
18 Peter Herzig (Aus) FRF Couriers (16th on GC)
28 Joshua Marden (Aus) FRF Couriers (25th on GC)
29 Peter McDonald (Aus) FRF Couriers (28th on GC)
97 Cody Stevenson (Aus) FRF Couriers
Catalunya Stage 7 - May 21: Lloret de Mar - Barcelona , 121.6km
2 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Liberty Seguros-Wurth                         
4 Stuart O'grady (Aus) Team CSC
31 Trent Lowe (Aus) Discovery Channel
45 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto

Final GC:
21 Trent Lowe (Aus) Discovery Channel (also 3rd in points)
37 Cadel Evans (Aus) Davitamon-Lotto
92 Stuart O'grady (Aus) Team CSC
99 Aaron Kemps (Aus) Liberty Seguros-Wurth
Tri-Peaks Stage 1 - May 19: Criterium, 45/60 mins
1 Kate Bates (Nurnberger)

Course de la Paix-Peace Race - 2.HC Czech Republic, May 13-20, 2006
14 Baden Cooke (Aus) Unibet.com
61 Jason Philips (Aus) Heinz Von Heiden Team Hannover
77 Paul Crake (Aus) Naturino-Sapore Di Mare
79 Karl Menzies (Aus) Health Net Presented By Maxxis
93 Corey Sweet (Aus) Team Wiesenhof Akud

MTB World Cup XC # 3 - CDM Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, May 20-21, 2006
83 Chris Jongewaard (Aus)
98 Shaun Lewis (Aus)
135 Murray Spink (Aus)
153 James Maebus (Aus)
162 Perren Delacour (Aus)
191 Lachlan Norris (Aus)
DNF Daniel McConnell (Aus)

22nd Tour de l'Aude - 2.1 France, May 12-21, 2006
8 Oenone Wood (Aus) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung
10 Candice Sullivan (Aus) Australian National Team
14 Olivia Gollan (Aus) Nobili Rubinetterie Menikini Cogeas
40 Emma Rickards (Aus) Univega Pro Cycling Team
54 Hannah Banks (Aus) Australian National Team
56 Jenny Mac Pherson (Aus) Australian National Team
58 Kathryn Watt (Aus) Lotto-Belisol Ladiesteam
74 Natalie Bates (Aus) AA-Drink Cycling Team
78 Sally Ann Cowman (Aus) Australian National Team

Final GC
22 Candice Sullivan (Aus) Australian National Team
29 Oenone Wood (Aus) Equipe Nürnberger Versicherung
34 Olivia Gollan (Aus) Nobili Rubinetterie Menikini Cogeas
39 Hannah Banks (Aus) Australian National Team
40 Emma Rickards (Aus) Univega Pro Cycling Team
42 Kathryn Watt (Aus) Lotto-Belisol Ladiesteam
61 Jenny Mac Pherson (Aus) Australian National Team (2nd in Sprint class.)
62 Natalie Bates (Aus) AA-Drink Cycling Team
76 Sally Ann Cowman (Aus) Australian National Team

2nd Grand Prix Möbel Alvisse - 1.2 Luxembourg, May 21, 2006
8 Joshua Collingwood (Aus) Team Regiostrom Senges

Tour of Japan - 2.2 Japan, May 14-21, 2006
31 Peter Dawson (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
46 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
80 Michael Ford (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
81 Sean Finning (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS

Final GC
6 Matthew Lloyd (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
64 Michael Ford (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
79 Peter Dawson (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
83 Sean Finning (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS

60th Tour de Picardie - 2.1 France, May 12-14, 2006
6 Ben Johnson (Aus) Agritubel (2nd in Young rider class., 20th in Final GC)
12 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Credit Agricole (5th in Young rider class., 28th in Final GC)

31st Thüringen-Rundfahrt (U23) - 2.2 Germany, May 9-14, 2006
7 Matthew Goss (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
13 Will Walker (Aus) Rabobank Continental Team
20 Simon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
23 Daniel McConnell (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
40 Shaun Higgerson (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
66 Wesley Salzberger (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
74 Jonathon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS

Final GC

2 Will Walker (Aus) Rabobank Continental Team (just 51 secs off 1st)
9 Simon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS (4th in Young rider class.)
18 Matthew Goss (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS (8th in Young rider class.)
41 Shaun Higgerson (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
52 Daniel McConnell (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
57 Wesley Salzberger (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS
65 Jonathon Clarke (Aus) South Australia.com-AIS

OK, that's enough!!! There are lots more but I have to do some real work now ;-)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Giro TT - Jan wins

So our form guide is shaping up. We have Basso in the lead and clearly on top in the GC but with more mountains to face in the coming days he will have to keep pushing and digging deep. Cunego lost ground (TTs not being his specialty) but will gain in the steep bits to come. Meanwhile Jan Ullrich has nothing to lose and is using the Giro to gain race form. 2 weeks in he finds himself on a flat TT course with the win for the taking - and for the first time clearly shows his form. He wins, decisively. So he has TT power but at the moment is possibly off his best mountain form. We won't know for sure in this race - he'll only do so much to hang in there, he won't commit to a mountain battle in the Giro. So he will be race fit and relatively fresh for Le Tour in July. Will Basso, pressing hard for a win now, be even fitter and faster in July, or will the Giro sap his strength?

Top 10 on GC from Cyclingnews:
General classification after stage 11

1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 40.28.56
2 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 2.48
3 Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile Team 3.24
4 Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 3.26
5 Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team 5.38
6 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 6.37
7 Victor Hugo Pena Grisales (Col) Phonak Hearing Systems 6.54
8 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
9 Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 7.13
10 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 7.33

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I think you'll get the drift - it's bloody hard work just staying with the grupetto!

Robert Foster (Gerolsteiner) is racing the Giro and finding the time to write a blow-by-blow for Radsport. For me this says it all: (my rough translation) "We're still far 50km from the goal. In the back in the grupetto I torment myself on the mountain. McGee, who had today also no good day, still behind me, otherwise none. Ramps with 18, 19 per cent. In my head I wonder: For what do you make this shit and ride seven hours in the mountains? I see an advertisement somewhere: for "listen to your body", on a sign... What in the devil's name does that mean? If I had heard my body, I would have stopped riding and gotten in the car long ago. But one naturally torments oneself."

Here's an even rougher sample (from radsport.com, loose translation from German to poor English via Altavista):
"7.Etappe "listen to your body...???" POSTAGE SAN GIORGIO, 13.05.06. Outer one weiha, which was that a hard day. That was with the hardest stage, which I drove ever. Yesterday we spoke evening still in such a way with the mechanics. Those meant, we braeuchten the completely small translations, which one makes only completely rarely, only with the completely hard stages drauf. And one needed today really several times. Running began fast and I thought there already, now wirds violently. After 20km there was a fall, into which also Andre Korff was complicated. ME whom drove thereupon before and it calls that all should make now times calm. To it then also all adhered, only two outliers, the Belgian and the Frenchman, the opportunity used. However, it became then in the back fortunately only once calm. I make myself hopes already: Now a team, which controls, is then drives we relaxed the stage to end. But I did not believe that naturally. At the first mountain went attack loosely. Hiekmann was straight beside me, I legend only: "Hieke, Houston, we have a problem..." It began a wild Gefahre. Only 30 men away, then again 15. In the field fully one drove. At the next hill I caught already on too wackeln. We drove there so fast purely that I was located in the acid. I sweat, the shoulder do pain. At the food supply I could not eat much. Thus went to long rise with good conditions into the 16km. Down wars okay, but then I still see a sign: 18 per cent. Oh, oh, we have the next problem... I gondelte there completely in the back rum. Even my friend Loddo, which cannot at all drive mountains, overhauls me. Cars drive past. It stinks after clutch, the heat of the engines stands on the road. Everything completely badly. 7, 8 men was. One cannot call Grupetto that. The departure down full risk. So I have me then again sometime rank-fought in the main field. The next mountain. 7km, 18 per cent. I have a hunger branch, headache of the heat, the shoulder hurt. Today everything accumulated and I was totally broad. Cola was my rescue. Snaps energy, sugar. Were still far 50km in the goal. In the back in grupetto I torment myself the mountain highly. McGee, which had today also no good day, still behind me, otherwise none. Ramps with 18, 19 per cent. Goes to me only through the head: For what do you make this shit and do drive seven hours by the mountains? I see an advertisement somewhere: for "stands lists tons your body", on a sign... What to the devil is to now mean that? If I had heard on my body, I would have risen already long in the car. But one naturally torments oneself through and none rises voluntarily from the wheel the conclusion rise in a 80-Mann-Grupetto. In the goal gabs at all all could not roll back-up, over the target line. The result, as far as it concerns grupetto, is made rather arbitrary. After the 230km and then again 140km-Transfer in the car lined up to 4250 elevator meters. Of it I received however few. In the car I fell asleep. In the hotel it lasted with the meal eternally. All were provoked. After so one day one wants to eat only and then off in the bed. Tomorrow the stage becomes rather easier. Only flat, then an arrival of mountain, that are my favourite mountain groping. There one drives briskly to the conclusion mountain, there can the Kletterer and Klassementfahrer out-rave themselves and we drive comfortably into grupetto into the goal. So far the theory. Times look, how practice looks."

I think you'll get the drift - it's bloody hard work just staying with the grupetto!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Giro update

OK, so things changed substantially after the hills....

We now have the following riders inside 2 minutes...

General classification after stage 10 (all links today from Cyclingnews)
1 Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC 39.29.40
2 José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems 1.34
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital 1.48

We knew both Basso and Cunego would have a go on the hilly and long stage 8, and Cunego made the decisive move. Basso countered and overtook, leaving Cunego to just hang in as best he could. But it shredded the GC. Savoldelli and Di Luca had a bad day, but so did most of the contenders.

It's hard to imaging anyone taking back more than 5 minutes to overtake Basso, so let's look at the GC list after the top 3 are excluded:

Franco Pellizotti for Liquigas is a surprise just 2.05 back. Paolo Savoldelli for Discovery Channel is at 2.35, so he'll be looking to pull back some time in the mountains (perhaps on a descent?). Serguei Gonchar of the T-Mobile Team is next, then Danilo Di Luca of Liquigas and Gilberto Simoni from Saunier Duval-Prodir. Simoni could get away on a climb, so he'll be looking to peg back some time and Di Luca will be hoping to hang on the coat-tails of Basso, Cunego and Simoni when next they fly.

It's a sizable gap back to Tom Danielson of Discovery Channel at 3.31. Again a noted climber but he'll support Savoldelli unless the unexpected happens. Some other climbers lie under 5 minutes but they all have support duties for their leaders, so apart from stage wins or luck going against their leaders the best they can hope for is top 20. Which is a pretty good result in a Grand Tour!

Of the Aussies,
Michael Rogers is 33rd on GC at 9.50. He'll be looking to improve and recover some time if he can, but equally he needs to support teammate Gonchar. McGee has dropped out and McEwen is taking it day by day. He leads the sprinter's category and has 3 stage wins and a fourth place so far. Whilst he expects to pull out in the coming week he will also be hoping to claim another win when the stage suits.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Giro TTT - love 'em or hate 'em?

Ahh, team time trials... do you love 'em or hate 'em?

The TTT has moved the GC around, so let's take a look. In a nutshell, CSC won but T-Mobile was just 1 second back (see the Cyclingnews report), so they have both gained considerable time in the GC.

There are now just 56 riders under 2minutes and we are not yet one third through the race.

My arbitrary selection goes to 26th place, being Jan 'just training' Ullrich:
1st is Serguei Gonchar leading the GC for the T-Mobile Team. He's a real threat overall but we'll see how he fares in the mountains... then Jens Voigt for Team CSC,probably just a place holder for now but with top 20 ability, followed by Michael Rogers for T-Mobile - another top 10-er if he performs in the high stuff.

Olaf Pollack for T-Mobile is followed by Ivan Basso for CSC... Basso was felled by illness last year, otherwise he'd have won, or come very, very close. He's followed by last year's actual winner, Paolo Savoldelli of Discovery Channel. Clearly a battle brewing there. Then we have Nicki Sorensen, Team CSC and yesterday's leader Stefan Schumacher for Gerolsteiner. Hard to see Schumacher regain the lead, however he shows promise. Top 20, perhaps?

Bobby Julich is a proven performer for Team CSC, but will scarifice for Basso. Top 10 is possible. Then José Luis Rubiera Vigil and Tom Danielson for Discovery Channel,both close enough to launch an attack later in the race and grab the lead, but also handily positioned to support Savoldelli. If he falters, watch these guys bring him back.

Then Danilo Di Luca, Liquigas, and Davide Rebellin for Gerolsteiner, plus Dario David Cioni for Liquigas, all potential stage winners who could spring a surprise.Bradley McGee, Française des Jeux, at 59secs is a bit far back but could hitch a ride on a mountain express and gain that time and more. So would the whole mountain express, but one good ride would see him back into the top 10. (He's been 8th overall in the past, so it's possible.)

Of the rest I'll pick out Paolo Bettini for Quick Step-Innergetic as a stage winner and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-Fondital) as a key part of the mountain express just waiting to move out of the station. He'll have to drop Gonchar, Basso and Rogers though to gain more than just places on GC. At 1min 20secs back Jan Ullrich for the T-Mobile Team is just 'training for July'.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Giro part 3 - or stage 4 - McEwen wins again

McEwen wins again. With Petacchi out, McEwen is the sprinter with the confidence, speed and tactics that make the difference. Bettini is close, and will win when it suits him best, but McEwen seems to have just a tad more raw speed.

No change to the GC with Schumacher leading as before.

Take a look at this pic on the Cyclingnews site - the length of the peleton is amazing. Now try getting to the front of that bunch!

Full updates at Cyclingnews and La Gazetta.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Exercise boosts working memory

Interesting effect: exercise boosts working memory. I knew there was a reason why I keep riding, I just couldn't remember what it was!

Attrib: Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, Vol 5, 2006: Kate Lambourne, Utah State.

Giro rave

After the prologue and 2 road stages we can't really be sure who will be topping the GC by the end of the Giro, but it's fun postulating.. So let's say that 2 minutes is the cutoff point fo rour guesswork. In fact on some of the truly difficult stages a climber could shred the field and take back 5 minutes or more, but let's say 2 minutes is a reasonable starting point for now.

Who has a chance of a top 10 right now? 108 riders fit within our cutoff range. Of those, Stefan Schumacher (Ger) Gerolsteiner is in the lead but is a young unknown at this grand tour distance. So let's discount him. Paolo Savoldelli (Ita) Discovery Channel is a proven winner, so he's a definite contender, Top 5 at least. Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner has potential for top 10. José Ivan Gutierrez Palacios (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears is a maybe. José Luis Rubiera Vigil (Spa) Discovery Channel is a climber of note but will most likely support Savoldelli or Danielson, hurting his GC chances in the process. Serguei Gonchar (Ukr) T-Mobile Team is a possible top 20 but may fade, letting Rogers through in the mountains. Bradley McGee (Aus) Française des Jeux has shown good form at this race before so top 10 is a possibility as long as he doesn't have a really bad day or 2, which has happened to him in Le Tour before. Let's say top 5 maybe.

We also see Francisco Perez Sanchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne-Illes Balears and José E. Gutierrez Cataluna (Spa) Phonak Hearing Systems there with a chance, so let's say top 20. Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile Team is just 37 secs off the pace now and if past form is any guide could spring a surprise in the mountains. Top 10, maybe. Tom Danielson (USA) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team has top 5 potential, but helping Savoldelli will be a prime mission at this stage, so let's say top 10. Jens Voigt (Ger) Team CSC should be helping Basso later in the race, so we'll discount him for now. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas is a proven performer, top 10 at least. Marzio Bruseghin (Ita) Lampre-Fondital and
15th placed Olaf Pollack (Ger) T-Mobile Team will fade, so let's discount them. Which brings us to Ivan Basso (Ita) Team CSC who showed us last year that he could win, if luck and illness go the right way this time. Top 5. Next up is Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre-Fondital, another winner, so definite Top 5.

I think we have a good idea of the most likely big hitters - and we are only looking at 17 riders so far, less than 50 seconds back on GC. As you'd expect so early on it's tight.

Of the remainder I'd pick out Paolo Bettini (Ita) Quick Step-Innergetic for top 20 and to pick up a stage or 2, Roberto Laiseka Jaio (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi as a wild card who could be on form in the mountains, Gilberto Simoni (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir as a sentimental favourite who may not win as he has done in the past but will surely climb up on GC into Top 10 and Bobby Julich (USA) Team CSC who similarly may not win (he'll support Basso firstly anyway) but will improve on GC.

It will also be interesting to see how Jan Ullrich (Ger) T-Mobile Team improves from here on. He's 1m51secs back at this stage and not looking for a win, just for some form. His team mates Gonchar and Rogers will get his support. Most of the other riders under 2 minutes will be doing the same, supporting their teammates and maybe going for a stage win if it appears. Or like Robbie McEwen will pull out before the mountains, job done.

Should be fun in the mountains - where the cream will surely rise up the GC. You can follow the race in detail via La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Giro 2006 part 2

So Cyclingnews reports that Petacchi is out, leaving a definite hole in the sprinter's ranks. The weather has been bad, roads slippery and wet, so a fall or 2 expected. In a peloton of this size you have several options. Ride up front to see what's happening and risk doing the odd turn (or asking your domestiques to do it anyway); ride in the middle and risk missing some attacks and possibly getting involved in a few falls; ride at the back and risk the 'rubber band effect' as well as maximising your likelihood of falling; or ride on the edges and risk being pushed out the side into the gutter. Of course a peloton is a dynamic beast so at any one time you or your teammates may have a good reason to be in any or all of those positions... which brings into play luck as well as good knowledge of local conditions.

Giro 2006 part 1

So Aussie McEwen wins the 1st road stage of the 2006 Giro with a smart sprint that outfoxed Petacchi. And everyone else, for that matter. Robbie has form again and a proven record in regaining form when it matters. Barring injury or illness count him in for some wins come July. Will he win tomorrow, or is the stage set for Bettini? Check out Cyclingnews's report.

On the GC we have Savoldelli followed by McGee. Rogers is in there, within striking distance. The big Italian guns are also firing.

Thursday, May 04, 2006


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