Thursday, October 28, 2010

Excuses, excuses. Cancellara excuses his poor road race form because he was concerned about next year. Didn't stop him in the TT though.

It's hard to think under pressure, especially when fools like me will analyse every word. English may also not be kind to Cancellara's meaning. And he may have been misquoted. True, also, that he does have a lot at stake personally. But telling the world that he was distracted by next year's contract during the World Road Champs and that it "played into" his performance does boggle the mind somewhat. Didn't he win the TT? So by extension we can assume that he only thinks about next year when getting dropped in a road race? Is that what he meant?

Cancellara Set To Join Luxembourg Pro Cycling Project |

"The most important thing is to be with the people I feel comfortable with. I need my mechanic and my soigneur. I need to be in a perfect environment. In joining an environment that I don't know yet, I could lose one year. I thought a lot about it at the Worlds and this played into my performance,” he said.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Compare and contrast Gilbert attacking crashed Nibali with Andy whining when Alberto didn't wait

Funny how Andy Schleck's supporters got so much currency out of Alberto Contador's apparent (and opportune) ignorance of Andy's unfortunate gear-shift stuff-up during Le Tour yet Phillipe Gilbert gets nothing but praise for his decisive attacking style, even when it's at the expense of a crashed rider. Yes, yes, Grand Tours aren't like one day races. Yes, yes, it's different when you are racing for the last monument of the year - there's no "next day" to make amends. But it's still in stark contrast to the "Contador should have waited" pleadings. Has anyone criticised Gilbert for taking 'undue or unsportsmanlike' advantage?

Oh, in case you don't know, I think that mechanicals and crashes, like illness and weather, are all part of racing and you should just get over it. Whilst I always appreciated a bunch waiting for me (or at least wondering what happened) after a mid-race mishap I never expected them to...  it's not a training ride, it's a race. Some thoughtfulness and diligence applies, sure, and there's always room to ride fair and clean - but it's still a race littered with obstacles and what-ifs. And those who get around the obstacles best win.   

Gilbert Relishes Cold And Wet Conditions At Lombardy |
Gilbert admitted he heard Nibali crash and accelerated to make sure the Italian did not get back up to him.

"I didn’t see him crash but I heard it. I thought it was him because I didn’t see him and then Lastras told me. I went hard so that he couldn't get back up to us. But that's all part of racing."

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I almost agree with Mark Cavendish. Am I going mad? A balanced view on India and the Commonwealth Games

Given the intensely critical and largely anti-Indian drivel written and broadcast prior (and during) the Commonwealth Games it's somewhat refreshing to read Mark Cavendish's honest and balanced opinion. Whilst I may not say it exactly the same way I tend to agree with the overall tone. The lead-up to the Beijing Olympics was similar with the old media focused on the delays, disease, displaced homeless and poor air quality rather than the opportunity. Yes, these are common problems in developing nations. And so it is with these games and the host, India. Of course it hasn't been plain sailing and there are problems, and it may all go pear-shaped from here. But for mine I think India is doing a great job - and for such an enormous time-critical project it appears to be going - if not perfectly - quite well.

I'm sure they'd do even better if they had the surfeit of public resources that the Western so-called "developed" nations have. Indeed what the Western nations - or at least their old guard media - haven't developed is a sense of decency and fair play in their reporting. That doesn't mean covering up, it means balance. Bravo to Mark C. for his remarks.     

Cavendish Frustrated By Lack Of New Contract Deal With HTC-Columbia |
“We’re in India,” said Cavendish. “It’s not a Western country. “I think it's quite ignorant to assume we were going to going to be in a Western-style country. I've been to India before on holiday - I knew what it was going to be like."

“I think it's ignorant not to respect the way those countries are, it's how it is. The reason India's got the Commonwealth Games is because it's a developing country, so you can't expect it to be like going to Hong Kong or something."

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Haussler kicks himself for missing out when most kneeded (pun intended). And for Hushovd, what a way to make your season.

Now that was like a real race. One moment the sprinters were in and then they were out. Gilbert made his expected bold bid but too far out; yet it wasn't his fault - where else could he attack? And when it looked like a faltering Gilbert would get caught by the defending champion, they were all swallowed up by the dropped yet regrouped riders instead. And when the name "Hushovd" was seen to be included in the re-combined front group - well the obvious was about to happen, and it did.

I bet Haussler was kicking himself for racing too soon on that crook knee.  

UCI Road World Championships: Elite Men Road Race, Route Maps & Results |
It was a course for the tough sprinter; a man made of iron that could get over the climbs and launch a brutal uphill sprint: enter Thor Hushovd (Norway). The final sprint in Geelong, Australia was perfectly suited to the Norwegian rider and with a clear run down the left hand barrier, Hushovd secured a year in the rainbow colours of UCI Road World Champion.