Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Evans takes win on day 2

You train your heart out but can't be sure until race-day. You hold back and start easy in a multi-stage race with good team support. The first day goes OK so you take a few of your teammates into an early break. It's a tough day and you work hard, but then you see a chance to win, so you go for it. Well it's really a personal fantasy of mine to be race-fit straight out of the box, yet it seems to be do-able if Cadel is any guide.

Last year's Tour de France runner-up, Cadel Evans, has taken an early season victory after winning the second stage of the 54th Vuelta a AndalucĂ­a. His win in just his second day of competition this year, proves the 31 year-old Australian's training during the off-season was not hampered by the many commitments he had with various charities and other functions. It also indicates that his preparation is right on schedule as for his assault on the 2008 Tour de France where he is a noted favourite after Astana's non selection, which leaves last year's first and third placed riders, Alberto Contador and Levi Leipheimer out of the coming edition.

It's hard not to be impressed with SuperMario

AT 41 it's cool to come back. Heck, if he works on it a bit he could be World Champ on the right circuit..
Team-mate Paco Wrolich set up the sprint for Haussler, but he admitted to having been very impressed by another sprinter, Mario Cipollini. "His comeback is more than perfect. Despite stars like Bettini, Boonen, Leipheimer or Hincapie, he is the absolute hero of this Tour. I take my hat off to him for his performance, that he can still ride like this at age 41. Nobody would ever have believed it! He is a star, which cycling very much needs right now." It was that "star allure" which most impressed Austrian Bernhard Kohl. "The entrance of his Rock & Republic Racing Team was really very cool. The team arrived in Rolls Royces, and were accompanied by a lot of promotion girls. 'Super Mario' appeared at the start with four bodyguards, all in black."

Friday, February 15, 2008

London invests in cycling

Go London. Frankly, whilst I love cars I'm realistic enough to realise that they take up too much space and are out of step and scale with both the people they are meant to serve and the environment we live in. There should be a better balance struck between the use of private cars and the alternatives, like public transport, walking and cycling. For our health and well being if not for the planet's survival we have to act soon to reclaim the streets for people, not over-subsidised, over-weight machines. (And yes, we subsidise car production, distribution and use to an enormous extent, far more so than for any other manufactured good. If you think that's not so, try reducing the subsidies and protections for car manufacturing, petrol refining or road building and see who squeals - you'll find a lot of people are addicted to the free cash we dole out to the car industry in the name of "freedom to move". So 'Go London!'
The Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said: “The aim of this programme is nothing short of a cycling and walking transformation in London. We will spend something like £500 million over the next decade on cycling - the biggest investment in cycling in London’s history, which will mean that thousands more Londoners can cycle in confidence, on routes that take them quickly and safely to where they want to go. “The cycle hire scheme in Paris has proved a huge success, and I have now instructed Transport for London to work with the London boroughs and interested parties to develop and implement a bike hire scheme in central London, accessible to all Londoners. By ensuring that Londoners have easy access to bikes in the centre of the capital, as well as making our city a safer and more enjoyable place to cycle, we will build upon London’s leading position as the only major world city to have achieved a switch from private car use to public transport, cycling and walking.

Monday, February 11, 2008

I don't know why, it just is...

I don't know why, but I didn't get interested in the Tour Down Under 2008. OK, I watched the last stage live and enjoyed it, but somehow - and promising sprinter Andre Greipel won it overall BTW - it just didn't get me in, not in that stage-by-stage build-of-tension kind of way. Lack of decent race-splitting hills, perhaps? Same guy winning - seemingly - every day? I may have well been watching Big Tom clean up, as always, in a small, rich desert nation somewhere.

But the lesser-ranked Tour de Langkawi in Malaysis is a different kettle of fish. The sprinters are under the hammer already. Stage 1 - a 19-man break succeeds, only to see Sprick step away 3km from the line to grab the stage and the overall. Stage 2 saw a 2-man break, a pursuit, a likely catch foiled and another split winning the day with Jeremy Hunt taking the win. Well it seems pretty lively to me.

Thursday, February 07, 2008