Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dwars door Vaanderan and more

O'Grady just misses again.. Boonen reigns supreme. Again.

Results from Cyclingnews...
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep - Innergetic 4.47.00 (41,81 km/h)
2 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Chocolade Jacques - Topsport Vlaanderen
3 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC
4 Mathew Hayman (Aus) Rabobank
5 David Kopp (Ger) Gerolsteiner

And Rogers is on the podium at the Coppi-Bartali
1 Michele Scarponi (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo 4.28. (40.49 km/h)
2 Riccardo Riccò (Ita) Saunier Duval-Prodir 0.06
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) T-Mobile
4 Morris Possoni (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
5 Massimo Giunti (Ita) Miche

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Look to the future, forget the past

Interesting report in Cyclingnews today...about Bjarne Riis and allegations about EPO and other drug use in 1996... now I won't say what I don't know but Riis did do very well that year (especially in Le Tour) and held his young lieutenant (Ullrich) back in 2nd place. Riis was 7th the following year (Ullrich 1st) and retired shortly thereafter, I recall, having never reached the top step again; although his more recent days as team CSC boss has brought some vicarious podium glory. Riis had a string of high placings previously, including back in the Indurain days.

Anyway, here's the piece from CN... can you tell me what he (reportedly) didn't say?

Riis responds to doping allegations

Team CSC boss Bjarne Riis has brushed off allegations from former Team Telekom soigneur Jef D'hondt that he used EPO and other doping products to win the 1996 Tour de France. The allegations were made on Belgian TV program Panorama on Sunday evening and claimed, among other things, that "Riis had a hematocrit of 64 at one time during the Tour," caused by the use of EPO.

"I have never had a particularly close relation with Jef D'hondt and he has no validation for the allegations he is making," said Riis in a statement released on Monday evening. "There will always be someone out there trying to make money by talking about the past and in my opinion that is probably what he is trying to do here.

"This is probably not the first nor the last time these kinds of stories surface," he continued. "To me, it's all in the past and I do not wish to be held accountable every time someone finds it interesting to bring up some ten-year-old story. I truly believe the future is much more important than the past. I want to be judged on the work I'm doing with my team today, and the results we achieve - that is what's important to me."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The luck and chance of life

I just want to say how sorry I am to hear of Aussie cycling champion Damian McDonald's death in a road accident last week. I saw the aftermath on TV - horrific - and felt sorry for the 3 who died and more sorrow again for their families. I also wondered how and why a simple but unexpected incident - a tyre blow out - could cause such a momentous and needless loss of life. But these things do happen, often through simple inattention, a rash move, an over-reaction and - perhaps the biggest one in my book - insufficient space kept between vehicles; now I wasn't there, I don't know why the trucks and cars in question crashed, but I do ask that everyone act more carefully out there on the roads. There's a need to concentrate, a need to slow down, to be careful and circumspect rather than rash and bold on public roads. We can take enough measured and calculated risks in racing, so let's all play it safe when we are just trying to get around in our daily lives.

From CN:

Former cycling champion dies in Melbourne tunnel accident

The 1994 Commonwealth Games road cycling gold medallist, Australian Damian McDonald, was killed last Friday in a car accident in Melbourne's Burnley Tunnel.

The accident started when a semi-trailer loaded with paper blew a tyre and pulled to the inside lane to wait for assistance. A chain-reaction collision of four cars and three trucks behind the stalled truck and subsequent fire left three confirmed dead. The accident occured just after 10am on Friday, March 23. Other drivers in the 3.4-kilometre tunnel were immediately instructed via the tunnel's emergency notification systems to evacuate while emergency crews worked to reach the accident location.

Cycling Australia released a statement of condolence on Sunday morning, Sydney-time, after the cyclist's name was released on Saturday.

"The board and members of Cycling Australia were saddened to hear of the tragic death of 1994 Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Atlanta Olympian, Damian McDonald, in Friday's accident in the Burley Tunnel in Melbourne. "We offer our sincerest condolences to Damian's family and friends," said Cycling Australia CEO, Graham Fredericks. "Our hearts go out to his wife Bree and the couple's young son as they try to cope with the loss of a wonderful husband and father.

"Damian played a prominent role in Australia's road cycling high performance program in the 1990's and was a valued member of the Australian road cycling team in World Championship, Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games competition," said Mr Fredericks. "He will be sadly missed by his many friends within the cycling community."

McDonald, along with Brett Dennis, Henk Vogels and Phil Anderson, won gold for Australia in the road team time trial at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria, Canada and in 1995 his 42nd placing in the road race at the World Championships in Colombia secured for Australia the maximum number of riders on the start line for the 1996 Olympic Games.

Other highlights of McDonald's cycling career include his overall victory in the inaugural staging of the Tour de Langkawi in Malaysia in 1996, fourth overall in the Rapport Tour in South Africa in 1993 and a sixth place in the road team time trial at the 1993 World Championships in Norway. He retired from international competition in 1997.

Quite a result - Milano-San Remo

Oscar the cat pounces - again! But this time a clear winner. Nice result for the Aussies, too, with 3 out of the top five - just no 1st place - yet.

Results from - click to read their story...
1 Oscar Freire (Spa) Rabobank 6.43.59 (43.665 km/h)
2 Allan Davis (Aus) Discovery Channel
3 Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep-Innergetic
4 Robbie McEwen (Aus) Predictor-Lotto
5 Stuart O'Grady (Aus) Team CSC
6 Erik Zabel (Ger) Milram
7 Gabriele Balducci (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffè Mokambo
8 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Milram
9 Vicente Reynes (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
10 Robert Hunter (RSA) Barloworld

Monday, March 19, 2007

Early days, yet...

It's only March, nowhere near July, yet... I can't help but speculate on form.

Let's look at the Paris Nice final GC:
1 Alberto Contador (Spa) Discovery Channel 29.55.22
2 Davide Rebellin (Ita) Gerolsteiner 0.26
3 Luis León Sánchez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 0.42
4 Tadej Valjavec (Slo) Lampre-Fondital 0.49
5 Franco Pellizotti (Ita) Liquigas 0.57
6 David López García (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1.00
7 Cadel Evans (Aus) Predictor-Lotto 1.01
8 Fränk Schleck (Lux) Team CSC 1.08
9 Samuel Sánchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 1.12
10 Joaquím Rodríguez (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne 1.22
11 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Crédit Agricole 1.29
12 Sébastien Joly (Fra) Française Des Jeux 1.36
13 David Millar (GBr) Saunier Duval-Prodir 1.46
14 Jérôme Pineau (Fra) Bouygues Telecom
15 Patxi Vila (Spa) Lampre-Fondital 2.10

What can we say? Disco look strong, with multiple stage winners on song and not only several GC contenders but a GC winner as well. Hmmm. Too early in the season, or just demonstrating their options for July?

Evans looks strong in what must be just his first race of the year (is it?). Great work in the mountains and 7th overall. Hmmmm. Without really trying? Schleck also looks ominously good for similar reasons, as does Millar for that matter.

Contador is obviously flying, and Disco clearly have some stars that can pace themselves throughout the season. Rebellin is getting back to the form we know he can achieve, so expect a big result soon. Ahhh, so easy to speculate, so hard to do.

CN reports on Paris-Nice here and BTW Pez has a nice set of pics on that similarly important form-guide, Tirreno Adriatico.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Aussie Henk wins for Toyota United

CN reports here on a stage win by Henk Vogels, for Toyota United, in the Central Valley Classic.

Rory Sutherland scored a 2nd place in the previous day's TT.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Nice result for Brown and Cooke at Murcia

Brown wins for Rabo, helping his cause no end, and Cooke takes over the lead for embattled Unibet. The drug-scandal-smeared (but apparently innocent) Sevilla back and racing well, too.

CN reports:
1 Graeme Brown (Aus) Rabobank 3.12.48
2 Baden Cooke (Aus)
3 Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
4 Joaquin Sobrino (Spa) Relax-Gam
5 Danilo Napolitano (Ita) Lampre-Fondital
6 Angel Vicioso (Spa) Relax-Gam
7 Rodrigo Garcia (Spa) Fuerteventura-Canarias
8 Jose Joaquin Rojas (Spa) Caisse d'Epargne
9 Giuseppe Palumbro (Ita) Acqua & Sapone-Caffe Mokambo
10 Juan José Haedo (Arg) Team CSC
11 Manuel Vazquez (Spa) Andalucia-Cayasur
12 Mario De Sarraga (Spa) Relax-Gam
13 Oscar Sevilla (Spa) Relax-Gam

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Speedy result at Heffron

Nice to see Rochelle 'Speedy' Gilmore win overall at a Tuesday night free-for-all at Heffron Park in Sydney's south-eastern suburb of Maroubra. From Cyclingnews:

Results - Heffron Park Summer Series #6, Maroubra, NSW - Tuesday, February 13, 2007


1 Rochelle Gilmore (Menikini Gysco)
2 Mark Ardouin (Easts)
3 Andrew Duggan (Easts)
4 Jason Webb (Randwick Botany)
5 Gemma O'Brien (Sutherland)

Yes, it's a group handicap and one of the biggest lotteries in sport, but she still had to out-sprint everyone else in C-grade!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Geelong Women's tour

Mt Wallace looks tough. I've raced and trained in bunches containing top-class female cyclists and it takes some doing to drop 'em. Let alone force them to walk up a hill! It looks steep, but I'd like to know how steep it is... anyway, CN reports on the stage here. also shares some data on 3rd placed Rochelle Gilmore's effort:

Road Stage 3

Distance: 108km
Time: 3hr 6min 10sec (unofficial time)
Average Speed: 34.7km/hr
Average HR: 162bpm
Max HR: 211bpm

I'm impressed, especially with the Max HR of 211!