11.30.2011

Velomania and more

A nice smile by Andy Schleck signing the book Velomania 2011.
First of all: today is Steve Schleck's birth day, so Alles Guddes and my best wishes. Few days ago it was Johnny Schleck's b-day but I had no time to remark it - just retweeted Andy's stuff. 
Dad Schleck is for sure a great father but I don't know him very well, just met twice at races and never talked with him really. I chatered a few times with Steve Schleck  instead, I don't dare to say we are 'friends' but good aquaitances could be a fair definition and I can say he's one of the nicest persons I ever met. 
They celebrated and will celebrate in Mondorf but that's private. It was public instead Velomania 2011 presentation. A good opportunity - if you were in Luxembourg - to meet Frank and Andy Schleck. The picture above is from here: http://www.leopardtrek.lu/news/velomania-highlights-luxembourgish-cycling and I like it because that is a 'typical Andy' smile :) 
Yesterday in Denmark there was Saxo Bank team presentation: I saw nothing in the web yet but Tim De Waele was there so I guess we will have soon some good pictures. I got an invitation for it as you know but honestly it was too far and expensive. I'd have liked to see Contador's face in real after his hearing at CAS and to ask a few questions, but am sure the serious - payed - reporters who were there made an excellent job. Now Riis' cyclists and staff flought to Israel for a unusual training/surviving/charity camp.
I payed this morning for my planes and hotel in Calpe: Radio Shack Nissan Trek will be there to train next week and the press is invited for the 6th of December. There is a 'Calpe trend' in cycling world this winter! many teams are there enjoying the sun. Sun and no snow also in the Alpes, at Passo San Pellegrino, where team Liquigas has having is traditional first meeting.
I got a terrific cold but will be ok for the next week, no doubts: I already feel much better while browseing Calpe hotels web pages...!

11.29.2011

Bauke Mollema awarded

YEAH! what a satisfaction! in English you read more here:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/mollema-vos-top-dutch-cycling-awards?ns_campaign=news&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=cyclingnews&ns_linkname=0&ns_fee=0
In short: 
1. The annual gala honoring the best cyclists in the Netherlands took place yesterady (28th) in 's-Hertogenbosch
2. Bauke Mollema and Marianne Vos have been awarded as best male and female rider according to the vote of  Wielerland Magazine readers and "and their colleagues in the sport" Cyclingnews says (a cyclists jury I guess).
3. Cycling hero Joop Zoetemelk got the Peter Post Career Award.
4. Lars van der Haar, the U23 cyclo-cross world champion, was given the prize for the best espoir rider.
In French here:
http://www.cyclismactu.net/news-divers-mollema-et-vos-recompenses-au-pays-bas-20889.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter 
...Mollema and Vos rich palmares 2011.

11.26.2011

Cyclocross fever: WC Koksijde

I wanted to write immediately but my son has got a bad flu, his front was burning and his eyes were wet while he was watching the race close to me, in my bed, under two duvets. After it I had to put a fresh wet towel on his head, to misure again his temperature, to give him a treatment and something to eat in spite he didn't feel like to have a proper lunch. At the lunch time he was sleeping: collapsed with 39 degrees of fever.
"He closed him, mom. Agaist the barrier". I didn't think he was really watching "What a jerk. He was angry, wasn't he? coz that sand etc is more his field, isn't it? and Pauwels was doing so well anyway... Pauwels is faster then Nys, right? He was geting nervous Nys. When a child closes another child in our race they stop him, the officials. That's fair. Closing people is dangerous, you mustn't do it.", "Right. You mustn't.", "I don't", "You are a correct rider".
Meanwhile the replay of that sprint was showed again and again. But the decisive moment of the race had been another one, few meters and minutes before: Nys realized that Pauwels was NOT going to be droped that time, not even on that hellish climb and descent in the heavy sand of Koksijde. Moreover: Pauwels helds his bike and passes Nys by an higher track, litterarly put his bike in front of him and sprint away where the road is flatter. They arrive together to the last curve, Pauwels kept turning back, Nys attacks, enters the curve first, it's a sprint and everybdoy know that Pauwels is faster. 
Watch that finish: there is a moment when Pauwels stops pedaling because he has no more room to move, they aren't shoulder to shoulder anymore, he's closed against the barrier and rises his arms. First both of them as a winner. Then just one to say... well, you know to say what. "He said fa....!", "Yep, Liv, I know.", "But he was right, no? or maybe they give him a fine for that, coz he said him..." Maybe no, given that the UCI officials decided to give Nys the victory in spite that obvious unsporty behaviour. 
Hard to watch a race with a little cyclist, even a very sick one. What can I add? Two remarks: 1. Nys understood that Pauwels grew up. Stybar (4th) already did. But Nys reacted according with his character. Wasting a race made sofar splendid by a thrilling duel.  2. Pauwels completed his change of gear: he's no more the outsider and know it. Finally: Freire lost a race because one of his mates pushed him at the sprint, he didn't won because of that push and the reason of the push was his mate needed a bit of room to not crash. Freire lost that race anyway because to be pushed is forbiden always. Also to close people should be forbiden always. Also in cyclocross.

11.25.2011

A pic from Belgium...

Kevin Pauwels - Superprestige Asper-Gavere Pic by Dirk Bruylant (thx)
... just to remember you to VOTE in the PRO/CONTRA CYCLOCROSS POLL :) Personally.... I'm looking forward the next race!

11.24.2011

A comment by Radio Shack Nissan Treck - finally

 http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/530869/greenedge-and-radioshack-sort-through-worldtour-paperwork.html
"It's administration, that's all," the team's press officer, Philippe Maertens told Cycling Weekly. "Two teams are coming together, each with its own structure, it's harder than you'd expect, but there are no fundamental problems. Johan [Bruyneel] already gave all the documents, but the UCI still needs time to look at it. It's just a matter of commas and periods, we are not worried."
Good for you. I am.

11.22.2011

Velomania 2011: sign the date!

"Den 29 November um 18.00 Auer grouss Présentatioun vun "Velomania 2011" am Chapitô vum Casino 2000 zu Mondorf a Präsenz vum Andy a vum Frank Schleck an eisen aaneren Velosprofien
— with Roland Miny and Serge Waldbillig." Luxemburg Cycling News
Send pics if you go :)

Andy Schleck in Eindhoven

Suspance: UCI licences and Radio Shack

Green Edge and Radio Shack Nissan Trek must "provide additional documents". I wonder about what given that they had plenty of time to do it before. Green Edge is new brand team but Radio Shack Nissan Trek let us belive - if you wanted sure - that it was the same team as before with a different name, still holding Leopard Trek license till 2013. I didn't work obviously. And I guess Becca's troubles didn't help.
The reasons of the most sudden and mysterious collapse of  the most mysterious but on the paper solid team in the peloton are still quite obscure. Becca fired Nygaard - offering him a lower job in his financial group - saying he failed in assuring a sponsorhip. Nygaard always protested that wasn't his job - and I agree it wasn't even if Bjarne Riis spends half his team manager time in doing exactly that... but Riis Cycling is owned... by Riis so things are a bit different.
We could wonder: why such a strong team couldn't find a sponsor? My personal answer is: because the economic resources behinde it - very 'behinde', in the shadow somewhere - were and are quite dubious and in time of crisis nobody want his name linked to a scandal. A scandal is possible when the team owner bussines aren't clear at all, when police serches his home and offices - even if nothing was found - and the comunication strategy is irritatingly elusive. That's why I personally wouldn't invest one cent in Becca's team.
I'm not Snow White, you don't have 'good' against 'evil' here - and nowhere probably - but just a mafia clan against another one. In mafia wars - the real ones not the game - outsiders rise and win sometimes. More often the old clans cohalize to stop them. You can change rules if you are really strong, rich and without conscience but you must respect procedures and moreover hierarchies.
I am not telling Becca is a mafioso: not my job, not my bussines. Lots of honest people come back from a bank with empty hands nowadays just because they didn't 'trust' on them. That's the point.
Radio Shack. Why did they decide to stop, to give back their licence? Maybe because an European (Luxembourgish) licence is more convenient then a USA license at the moment. Especially when LA judjement is coming to a end... but that is just an idea, I have no clues.
Hard to imagine Cancellara's team off the WorldTour. Sad to imagine my favourite racer - Andy Schleck - waiting to know what he exactly signed for. He and Frank Schleck - maybe more Frank as far as I know - spent all their reputation in recruting riders for Becca's project and still say they belive in it firmly. They probably know things we ignore.
Anyway UCI says there are two available spots yet in the WorldTour. Maybe that's just a made up suspance. Well, suspance sucks!
Press Release: Registration of UCI ProTeams for the 2012 season
21.11.2011
At 2nd November, UCI had registered the teams already holding a current licence and whose  applications satisfied the registration conditions set out in the UCI regulations.
The following teams were concerned:
- Astana Pro Team
- BMC Racing Team
- Garmin-Cervélo
- Lampre - ISD
- Liquidas - Cannondale
- Movistar Team
- Rabobank
- Sky Procycling 
- Vacansoleil-DCM* 

*UCI decision on November 9th
In accordance with the UCI regulations, the Licensing Commission was requested by the UCI administration to adjudicate on the refusal to register as well as the issuing of the UCI WorldTour licence to an applying team.
As a result of the hearings held on 15th, 16th and 18th November 2011, the Licensing Commission has ruled as follows:
The UCI WorldTour licence was issued to the following teams:   
- Katusha Team      2012-2015
- FDJ           2012-2014
- Lotto Belisol Team     2012-2015
- Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team 2012-2014
Team Saxo Bank     2012
 
Team Europcar’s application for a licence was rejected.
In addition, the Licensing Commission acknowledged the withdrawal of the GEOX-TMC team’s application.

In accordance with UCI regulations, the applications of these two teams have been forwarded to the UCI administration, so that the latter may assess the possibility of registering these teams as Professional Continental Teams.
Finally, the Licensing Commission granted registration for the 2012 season to the following teams: 
- AG2R La Mondiale 
- Euskaltel-Euskadi 

The decisions concerning the GreenEDGE Cycling and RadioShack-Nissan teams will be announced later – the Commission is currently waiting for the teams to provide additional documents.
Therefore, as it stands, 16 teams will take part in the UCI WorldTour 2012. In accordance with UCI regulations, a maximum of 18 UCI ProTeams may take part in the UCI WorldTour.
The full list of UCI Professional Continental Teams registered for the 2012 event will be announced on 12th December. 

UCI Communication Service

11.20.2011

The rising star of Kevin Pauwels: Superprestige Gavere

There was a beautiful light in Asper-Gavere today: golden and warm. The race crossed a forest, it was superfast and looked like a road race on 'strade bianche'. The absence of articficial climb, stairs or 'heavy' ground - mud or sand - made it difficult to gain a gap and the peloton didn't split till the true last laps. There were some attacks, some attempts to catch - bravo Bart Wellens (4th) if I'm not wrong - but nobody could really follow when Kevin Pauwels opened the gaz. 
Nice, weird funny guy: looking his face you always think he's cooked. Not the friendly firmness of Stybar, not the grit of Nys, interviewed he's always calm, mild, unassuming. His light blue eyes barely make contact and a shy, stifled smile finds hardly its way to his pale face. His voice is low and he talks as if he has a potato in his mouth. On the podium he looks happy but moreover grateful and very very tired.
Today he kept the last place in the group of Stybar, Nys, Aernouts for almost all the race. I thought the itinerary was perfect for him. He was saving his energies but the speed was immediately very high so nobody could really save anything. He excaped 2 laps an half to go, managed to fly away like a bird and kept pulling till the finish. It was impressive. All his body was shaking for the strain of the road: arms, shoulders but also his head and his eyes, opening and closing like dolls eyes. 
Behinde Stybar went in front pulling the group and turned angryly to Nys - it seemed to me - who didn't help how he expected. I don't know that much about cyclocross but sometimes I get the impression that Stybar and Nys 'use'/'help' Pauwel against each other. On Friday Stybar went away with him but was beated at the sprint - what a victory by Pauwels! Stybar said: "I can't be happy I lost a race at the sprint". Maybe he underrated "il terzo incomodo' - as we use to say in Italy. The battle isn't anymore only between him and Nys: Kevin Pauwels is the rising star. 
He isn't a star though. Down-to-earth, modest and brief he climbed on the highest step of the podium two time in two days  and many times already in a row. Nys The King said he was impressed and really looked so: suprised, exhausted, defeated. Down the podium for a change (5th). Stybar, on the podium (3th), was amazed too: in control but worried, sporty able to applaud his opponent and to smile. Super happy Tom Meeusen, 2nd after a great race. 
Who did say cyclocross is boring? today race was fast and furious, tactic and power. The landscape was splendid - not various but even many TdF stages are yellow fields and gray straight roads - the fight was thrilling. I had some troubles at the begining because my streaming didn't work and want to thank again Pete Geyer by who helped me to solve the problem and always gives us the opportunity to watch races WWW :) Thanks also to Kevin Pauwels who made my day. I like Stybar very much - he's not only a super champ but also a really good guy - apreciate the class and strenght of Nys but Pauwels is more my kind of racer. I noticed him last year and now he's my favourite in cyclocross: you must take some satisfation somewhere, musten't you? ;)

11.19.2011

Best Lux sportman/woman: candidates

There we go: on the 8th of December in Mondorf, Casino 2000 the awards will be assigned. Andy and Frank Schleck made history with their bors podium in Tour de France - first time ever and first time ever also for two Luxembourgers. Here you have the list of the possible winner: 

http://www.sportspress.lu/actualite_450.html

Trophée du meilleur sportif
BLASEN Steve, quilles
BOCKEL Dirk, triathlon
CARNOL Laurent, natation
EWEN Marcel, équitation
HENCKELS Jeff, tir à l’arc
MULLER Gilles, tennis
MUTSCH Mario, football
PALGEN Sacha, gymnastique
PICARD Samy, basketball
SCHLECK Andy cyclisme
SCHLECK Frank, cyclisme

STACCHIOTTI Raphaël, natation
Trophée de la meilleure sportive
BETTENDORF Charlotte, équitation
CALMES Carole, tir aux armes sportives
FAUTSCH Lis, escrime
LAMBORELLE Nathalie, cyclisme
MAJERUS Christine, cyclisme

MAY Liz, triathlon
MINELLA Mandy, tennis
MOSSONG Lynn, judo
MULLER Marie, judo
NI Xia Lian, tennis de table
Challenge de la meilleure équipe
Déifferdeng 03 hommes, football
Equipe nationale hommes, football
HC Berchem hommes, handball
Equipe Davis Cup hommes, tennis
Equipe nationale dames, tennis de table
Prix du jeune espoir
HALLER Bob, triathlon
Prix d’honneur
KAYSER Paul, équitation
Prix du fair play
STOFFEL Yvonne et Josy, gymnastique

11.18.2011

In Short: Frank Schleck via Velonation

A good long interview, read it here:
In short:
1. No Giro Frank says: "We love the Tour; we have already had very, very good results at the Tour; it's a race that makes us dream. This is the number one goal and we both need to be in great shape to win.”
2. Next Tour isn't ideal but no matter: “The course is as it is and we will fight."
3. Bruyneel will make the difference: “He's a true leader who can guide a team." 
4. Working for TT: “We are working on fitness, indoors, to make stronger back muscles and thighs that are needed in time trials; we will also do wind tunnel tests and work on a vélodrome with Trek."
5. The same schedule as 2011 plus World Championships in Valkenburg and maybe Dauphiné: "We have seen that Evans took advantage of the Dauphine in July. We will discuss this with Johan and Kim [Andersen]."
6. Training together - and not: "I would say eight [times out of ten]. Sometimes he calls me and says, let me go alone, I want to be quiet, I'll do two hours nicely. But normally, we still go together. He lives 200 metres from my house so it's pretty easy. But then he is always late…” :)

Rollin' in the Garmin

Team presentations aren't all the same. Also because some riders are...ehm... special. David Zabriskie is a must of pro cycling. We can spend the day telling each other "Hey, do you remember when DZ did this or that?". He should have a personal YouTube channel - maybe he does. Anyway he can play in a movie - we know from his DZNuts commercial - and he can sing - we know since the Giro - Look here his last performance, well: LISTEN:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/videos/david-zabriskie-performs-at-the-garmin-cervelo-gala-2011-1282038444001
DZ pic from here: http://www.sideshowtoy.com/?p=6349 Have a look!
Note in the list some racers from Radio Shack and Wegman from Leopard Trek. Nice nice nice Charly Wegelieus in the staff: great rider, great man. It really looks like a strong good team.
2012 Team Garmin-Cervélo
Returning:
Andreas Klier
Andrew Talansky
Christian Vande Velde
Christophe Le Mevel
Dan Martin
David Millar
David Zabriskie
Heinrich Haussler
Johan Vansummeren
Martijn Maaskant
Michel Kreder
Murilo Fischer
Peter Stetina
Ramunas Navardauskas
Ryder Hesjedal
Sep Vanmarcke
Tom Danielson
Tom Peterson
Tyler Farrar
New riders:
Alex Howes (neo)
Jacob Rathe (neo)
Raymond Kreder (neo)
Nathan Haas (neo)
Jack Bauer (Endura)
Thomas Dekker
Koldo Fernandez (Euskaltel-Euskadi)
Robby Hunter (RadioShack)
Sebastien Rosseler (RadioShack)
Alex Rasmussen (HTC-Highroad)
Fabian Wegmann (Leopard Trek)
Directors:
Johnny Weltz
Bingen Fernandez
Eric VanLancker
Geert Van Bondt
Charly Wegelieus
Director of Competition:
Allan Peiper

Coming soon: RadioShack training camp in Calpe

Danny In T Van in Liège 2011. He is still LT-RS bus driver YEAH! Pic by (c)Ilaria Pranzini
According to http://www.cyclismactu.fr it will be December 4-12. More here: http://www.cyclismactu.fr/news-pre-saison-radioshack-nissan-trek-en-stage-a-calpe-20686.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#ixzz1e4v9Ef1M

11.17.2011

In short: Rigoberto Uran

Uran is one of 'my racers', with Mollema, Taaramae and a few others he is one of the cyclists I beted on when they first appeared on the road - old posts can prove it - and am really proud when they do well and confirm my expectations. Uran is one of the best pure climbers ever. I think that Sky is the right team for him. You can read his interview here:
http://www.teamsky.com/article/0,27290,17553_7298807,00.html
Uran in Pinerolo TdF 2011 Pic by (c)IlariaPranzini
In short:
1. A great season: "The 24-year-old Colombian began the season strongly with top-five finishes at Liege-Bastogne-Liege and the Volta a Catalunya, and also enjoyed a late-season flurry by claiming podium positions at both the GP de Quebec and Giro dell'Emilia"
2. A super TdF: "a superb climbing display on a mountainous 14th stage saw him finish in fifth place on the day and move to the top of the young rider’s classification. Urán would stay in the white jersey for a further four stages and only relinquished his prize after crashing hard and picking up a fever during the final week of action" 
3. Happy with his results especially because "right from February through to October I was able to be on the front in the mountains and I’m really pleased about that"
4. Memories of TdF: “Riding the Alpe d’Huez was perhaps my favourite moment of the Tour, although I was absolutely shattered by the time I crossed the finish line. To ride iconic climbs like that is a dream come true and it was great to get that chance. [...] The stage finish in Montpellier [stage 15] is another one that sticks out. On the way back to the bus after I’d been on the podium there were hundreds of Colombian fans chanting my name and waving the national flag for me. That was an overwhelming experience and one I would definitely like to sample again.
5. A missed victory: ”I actually thought I had won my first race for the team at the Coppa Sabatini last October. I started celebrating when I crossed the finish line but there was still one lap to go and by the time I’d realised it was too late to do much about it"
6. A winning mentality: "As a professional cyclist you obviously dream about victories and as someone who has that winning mentality it’s a big goal of mine. I have confidence in my ability and know that if I continue to work hard I can be right up there again next season and hopefully the wins will come.”
7. Next year goals: Ardennes Classics and Tour again. Finally Il Lombardia.
8. A new old mate: Sergio Henao: “I’m very happy to have Sergio in the team. I used to ride with him a lot in Colombia. [...] I’ve been a professional over here for five years now so I have got to know the European way of life and cycling scene, but Henao is coming in fresh. The culture shock is going to be massive at first but I think he is at the best place possible to adjust to this new way of life.”
I like to interview riders myself and often am disapointed by banal questions and ritual answers. It isn't the case with this article where Uran shares some personal memories and feelings going over the profetional side of things. Maybe there isn't a 'news' here but you can know that guy better by his own words.


11.16.2011

Bob (Jungels) in Bob (Kit) - and misery of cycling journalism

Sorry, I know :P But the idea that Bob Jungels went to race for a team I decided to re-name in short Bob is so hilarious.... Anyway he got the kit and the bike, already had class and talent... lets see next year in the serious game. 
BDW
I'm kinda annoyed to read stuff like: "Andy could win the Giro". LOOOOL of course he can!! the point in Merckx's interview is that Andy should ride the Giro instead of the Tour next year because THIS Giro suits him better then THAT Tour. Not in general. Very sad to read: "Andy should aim to win the Giro instead that targeting the second place in the Tour". LOOOOOOOOOOOL!!! where did you ever hear Andy saying he's targeting a second place?????? 
....What a pity cycling 'journalism' is sometimes....


11.14.2011

Contador: finally!

I often said I am not very interested in doping cases. I didn't comment in fact the last news in Riccò's saga. Turn off the light I wrote and keep thinking that's the best thing to do. Dopers became smarter or cycling really turned the page because lately we had only few doping cases - expecially compared with other sports and regarding the number of tests done. 


Contador's case is different because it involves Andy Schleck's victory in Tour de France 2010. I'm very interested here. I went to Paris to celebrate a long expected and well deserved victory. The mood was awful. Of course Contador isn't guilty till a sentence that says he is. A sentence is finally going to arrive. FINALLY. After another Tour de France. Crazy. 
BDW Di Luca won the Giro d'Italia 2007 probably doped. There isn't a sentence because times were different. Maybe in a cleaner cycling Andy Schleck would have had a better palmares and a stronger motivation. Just my opinion. 

Velonation posted a good summary about the Contador's case also quoting El Pais. Read it here:
In short:
1. 21-26: Alberto Contador’s hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport will start in one week.
2. Transfusion thesis: "According to El Pais WADA seeks to prove that a transfusion is the most likely origin of the rider’s clenbuterol positive." 
3 New tests: "It was recently announced that WADA would not continue funding to develop the plasticizer test. An anti-doping expert has told VeloNation that this does not imply faults with the test, but rather that alternative methods are now being explored instead. The test can only be used to try to identify transfusions which came from certain types of blood bags, meaning that alternative storage containers could sidestep detection." 4. What about that pee? "El Pais states that group also includes a biostatician who will try to show that to return a positive test for clenbuterol, a very large amount of meat would need to be eaten to show traces in urine."
5: He's gonna lose that Tour... if guilty: "If found guilty of a transfusion, Contador will lose his 2010 Tour de France title plus the results he has achieved since, as well as facing a ban of at least two years." If not: cleaned and free.
 
He married meanwhile. Finally I'll add :)

11.13.2011

Trofeo di San Martino

Today it was cold and sunny. I felt very bad and had no will to get up early in order to bring my son to his MBK race. Fever, weakness, low blood pressure. I'd rather stay in bed! "Don't you come with us? Mom I'd like you do..." 'Us' is 'Liv and hid dad'. So what? should I spend the day in bed? "Ok, I come". He was all dressed in his nice team kit and standing by my bed looking at me from above - such a different point of view for mom and child. I went.
The race was in a small town near Florence, Rufina. We were early and almost the first ones. Liv started riding to keep himself warm. I had brought my camera so killed the time taking some pictures. The sun rose, people came: parents, children in colored kits, team cars and vans, Sport Directors - young and old - brothers and sisters of the little racers - younger and older but younger the most - some grand parents and finally the race officials and volunteers. 
The itinerary was fast and hard: my son liked the jumps and climbs, less the coming and going in a flat field. Anyway he was happy to be back on his bike, back to compete I mean because he rode it often in the last months. I wasn't really happy: first because I'm not happy in general, second because I was feeling cold, finally because Liv's dad, that's my hub ignored me all the time as he usually does. Why to be hurted by an usual behaviour, you could ask. The answer is easy: we are - were? - back together and that was supposed to be over. Well, it isn't. Do you remember my post about old places looking new? probably they do when you come back after a long while but after some days or weeks you can see they are exactly the same. Or maybe you understand you have exactly the same feeling you used to have about them: not a good one. If you went away, you had a reason. I did in fact.
My sickness doesn't help to be happy in the cold wind and to enjoy annoying people. The race was good. My son climbed well but in the flat was droped with some others and at the last curve he lost his pedal while a child was trying to pass him. Result: exhausted, disappointed and furious he fell from his bike just after the line crying and screaming: "I can't breath! I can't breath!". Mom, volunteers, SD... we tried to confort him, but he was uncomfortable. His dad was... I don't know where.
Pictures were good too, some of them at least. I'm working on black and white in this period and the country landscape was a good subject. After the race many children went back to ride up and down in the MBK field and also my son: he could breath again, rage was gone and I must say he was stronger then before. I think he feels the stress of a race. He definitely rides better out of the competition. No matter: it's about to have fun now. 
I watched him riding and amusing with his mates. Their parents were chatering together by the buffet. I was alone with my camera and suddenly felt like to go home. It wasn't possible but I went back to my car: the sun made it warm inside. I turned on the radio and waited. The beautiful hills of Tuskany were shining in gold and green. But beauty isn't enough to make you happy it seems. For that door I lost the key.

11.10.2011

Interview with Fabian Cancellara by Cyclism'Actu

1. Promoting his book and meeting his supporters: "Je suis en Belgique, ce mercredi, afin de présenter le livre que j’ai écrit sur ma carrière et un peu sur moi-même." "je suis en route pour rencontrer mes fans dans un de mes clubs de supporters. C’est quelque chose de très important pour moi. Nous allons pouvoir partager quelques moments ensemble."
2. Normal holyday: a few days in New York with family then at home in Swizerland.
"Il ne faut pas croire que les cyclistes soient différents des autres êtres humains. Je ne suis pas un extraterrestre. J’ai passé des vacances normales comme tout le monde. C’est à dire quelques jours à New York avec ma famille, ma femme. [...] et après je vais prendre un peu de temps chez moi en Suisse où je vais me reposer"
3. Season 2011: quite satisfied, missed a big victory but he was present since the start to the end always in front in the most important races. "Je pense que j’ai fait une bonne saison, je suis assez content. Il me manque peut-être une grande victoire mais j’ai été là du début à la fin et c’était un de mes objectifs. L’autre satisfaction, c’est que j’ai quand même été à l’avant sur toutes les grandes courses."
4. Too many podiums but gave all so it's ok: "Après le hic, c’est  que j’ai fait peut-être un peu trop de podium [...]C’est très difficile à accepter sur le coup mais c’est le sport. Je fais tout pour être au maximum sur ces courses. [...] Si je ne me donnais pas à fond alors là, je pourrais être déçu mais ce n’est pas mon style."
5. Motivation? Will to win, that's all! ...and he's dreaming about the Hour Record but it will take some time: "L’envie de gagner, tout simplement. [...] Le record de l’heure est, par exemple, quelque chose qui me fait rêver. C’est historique cette épreuve mais je ne me mets pas de pression et cela viendra plus tard."
6. Merger RS-LT: "I don't go to RadioSshack, I stay in the same team", "It will be new in some way but in the end it's all about to do my work".
"Je ne vais pas chez Radioshack. Je reste dans la même équipe [...] Alors, certes, il y aura des nouveautés. Mais au final, à la fin de la journée, il faut tout de même faire son boulot et tout donner."
7. Goals 2012: Classics - "I really love those races. I'm made for them and have just them in my mind" - Tour but moreover Olympics Games. "J’aime vraiment ces courses. Je suis fait pour ça et je n’ai que ça en tête."
8. Tour de France to help Andy Schleck in TT - "I know he's working hard on it, it's a good guy, he is going to get it"  - to play his cards and to get a top shape for the Olympics: "Je pense que je peux aider Andy Schleck dans cet exercice. Je sais qu’actuellement il bosse dessus. C’est un gars bien, il va y arriver. [...] tout en essayant de jouer ma carte sur des chronos qui me conviennent bien."
9. VTT, ski, a step by step coming back to bike training: "Je vais reprendre doucement effectivement"

11.07.2011

Interview with Bauke Mollema by Cyclimactu

FINALLY! a good long honest interview! it's hard to find a real interview with him. The most of them are just a collage of  obviousnesses. Here no, here Bauke talks openly and you can recognize his strong, ambicious personality. Thx dudes, a great job. Read it here:
Pic by (c)IlariaPranzini: Lombardia 2011
http://www.cyclismactu.net/news-interview-bauke-mollema-laquo-je-veux-passer-la-vitesse-superieure-raquo-20473.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter#ixzz1d0JEm046
In short:
1. Vuelta 2011: 3 weeks of good training to be soon competitive for a big Tour podium. "Pendant cette Vuelta je pense avoir fait trois semaines d’apprentissage. Ce que je retiens surtout c’est que je sais à présent que je peux faire de très bons résultats dans les grands Tours."
2. Top 10 expected but results went over: "J’espérais vraiment faire un résultat, mais on ne peut pas dire que je m’attendais à faire aussi bien."
3. Best sprinter! what a suprise! good coz it assured Bauke a place on the final podium in spite he was  just (!) 4th in the final GC.
"Oui, je n’aurais jamais pensé remporter un maillot de meilleur sprinteur sur un grand Tour! [...] Je suis vraiment très heureux d’avoir décroché ce maillot sur le dernier sprint à Madrid. J’ai ainsi pu avoir une place sur le podium à Madrid, malgré ma quatrième place au classement général.
4. A quite good TT: he trained for it and it worked.
"Depuis l’année dernière je m’entraine spécifiquement sur un vélo de contre-la-montre, ça aide. Je l’ai encore plus travaillé pendant la première partie de saison. Ça paye.."
5. Big Tours are the goal so he keeps training for TT also by breathing tests: TT makes the difference between 2nd and 1rst place in stages race. YEP!
"...faire un bon chrono, c’est ce qui fait la différence entre la seconde et la première place sur une course par étapes."
6. Aiming to become one of the best climbers in the world: "Si ma progression se poursuit ainsi, je pourrais devenir l’un des meilleurs grimpeurs du monde"
7. Saison 2012: Tour de France and Ardennes but also the World Champioship in the Netherlands.
"Mon principal objectif l’an prochain sera le Tour de France. C’est la plus grande course du monde!"
8. To the Tour with big ambitions: "je veux à présent me frotter au plus haut niveau sur le Tour de France. Le Tour, c’est la course par étape la plus difficile et j’ai vraiment envie de faire mieux que cette année. Je viendrais donc avec le général en tête pour faire aussi bien voire mieux que sur cette Vuelta."
9. No rivalery with Robert Gesink: the strongest will get the help to win.
"S’il l’un de nous deux est plus fort, l’autre doit se mettre à son service. Ensemble, nous serons plus fort que chacun de notre côté."
10. Other goals: Tour de Suisse, Paris-Nice. Bauke loves stages races and hard races" . "En fait, j’aime les courses par étapes et les courses difficiles."
11. Classics: short climbs suit him, he wants to race the hardest races against the hardest opponents. It's time to make a change of gear. "... je veux disputer les courses les plus difficiles, contre les adversaires les plus coriaces. Comme pour les grands Tours, je veux passer la vitesse supérieure."
12. Winter training in Spain from the half of November. "But the most important is I still have 2 weeks of holyday!" "Mais le plus important c’est qu’il me reste deux semaines de vacances"

11.06.2011

Is it becoming an habit?

I'm joking of course but when I read that Andy Schleck ended second in the Anstel Curacao, couldn't help to think to a funny t-shirt I saw in the web: a TdF podium with just one racer on the second step  and Schleck-nd written above. Of course there is nothing strange about Andy beated by Kittel in a sprint in such a criterium. Quite surprising when Andy won it, a few years ago. But criteria aren't serious races, you know. Nice anyway to see him racing again and on the podium. Good holyday now, I'll try to enjoy the mine.
Results
1, Marcel Kittel (1t4i) 1 hour 59 mins 32 secs
2, Andy Schleck (Leopard Trek) at 1 sec
3, Johnny Hoogerland (Vacansoleil) at at 3 secs

4, Jelle Vanendert (Omega Pharma) at 10 secs
5, Marc de Maar (Quickstep)
6, Johan Vansummeren (Garmin-Cervélo) at 0:13
7, Frans van Winden (Payroll Group) at 2:11
8, Gyasi Sulvaran (pedal pushers cycling club)
9, Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank) at 2:28
10, Peter Sagan (Liquigas) at 2:31
11, Wilfrid Camelia (padel pusher cycling club) at 3:15
12, Wout Poels (Vacansoleil) at 3:16
13, Bryan van Rutten (Generation Next) at 3:18
14, Joeri Clauwaert (Morgen Blue) at 3:20
15, Stijn Neirynck at 3:21
16, Frank Schleck (Leopard Trek)
17, Juraj Sagan (Liquigas) at 3:23
18, Pim Ligthart (Vacansoleil)
19, Stefan van der Elst (WTOS) at 13:49
20, Sebastiaan Ton (Belissima) at 14:09

11.05.2011

About RAAM, me and more

I don't feel great. Better: I feel definitely sick. Not morally, I am not in a bad mood or sad or pissed off. I am not in fact. I feel sick physically and probably have got some disease. Yesterday I had my blood and urine tests done, next week results are supposed to arrive and I don't know what to hope for: if they find nothing I keep feeling sick without an explaination so any cure is impossible, if they do find something... well... it depends on what exactly they find!
Last night we were watching "Fino alla fine del mondo" on DJ Tv: it's an interesting programme about endurance sport experiences. Last night it was about the RAAM: Race Across America Check the official site here http://www.raceacrossamerica.org/raam/raam.php?N_webcat_id=1 DJ Tv was following an Italian rider, Nico, who came back racing after 5 years. In the end he got a good result: 5th. But he was disappointed because he the last time he was 2nd and faced big expectations. I wondered: why did they chose to follow him? was he the only Italian in the race? No: there was another one, younger and stronger. Nico turned 40 during the race. He didn't look fit. For sure he was because he rode 400 kms a day for 9 days, 15 h a day and more. In the heat of the fucking flat Kansas and in the rain storm, in the mountain and in the desert, night and day. Solo. Because the RAAM has a final GC but you are alone the most of the time and fighting against yourself. 
I watched and thought: "LOL I'm so tired and weak!" I'm not an athlete but used to be sporty and strong: cycling, ski alpinism, trekking used to be normal activities for me even when my son was very young. Since last winter I lost all my strenght, suddenly. I often get a low annoying fever, pain everywhere like when you have got a flu but there isn't a flu here, nothing. No cold, no cough. Just breathlessness all the time, weakness and need to sleep. 
Niko's story made me reflect about the power of determination: he felt quite bad since the first day of the race, legs didn't work like he wanted and in the 3th day spent the night throwing up. He could have said: ok, I tryed but am too sick to go on. - Instead he took a longer rest - 3 hours - and started again racing harder to make up the lost time. He was doing great now but they met a tornado! "I could stop yeah, but I had already lost so many time that to lose someting more because of just a bit of rain... No way. I went on". That 'bit of rain' was moving toward him at 70 km/h. He wasn't worried nor scared. He felt finally ok and wanted to go straight to his aim.
Probably a goal is what makes you able to fight against your weakness. But it must be a real goal not something you pick up random: a true motivation. One reason I feel so down is I lost any motivation, kind of. I am not sad or desperate, nothing tragic. But at the moment I can't find a goal and have no real motivation to fight against that disaese - anything it is. 
There are things I would like to do, and I do. However life seems a little too long from here, if I adsume it lasts. Maybe I'll write that essay about Hegel and Derrida I'm working on, maybe I'll go to BMC team presentation in January. It looks all the same from here. Lets wait my tests results and watch more cyclocross then pics from Curacao: that's healtier.
BDW 1
Johnny Hoogerland won Jan Thiel criterium in front of Kruijswijk and Joeri Clauwaert. Today is the Amstel race day.
BDW 2
Today Xavier Tondo would have turned 33. Left a message here: to say how bad we miss him. He had got one of the most beautiful smile in the peloton. He was the only one to say the police he was offered doping. I still can't belive his death was just an accident.

"I still feel that I have something left to give.” Interview with Jens Voight

Jensi is one of my favourite racers ever, more then that: he's a true cycling hero. His way to take racing and life - strong, optimist and caring is great. He had some bad crashes, isn't that young anymore but never gives up and honestly I was ANGRY when I didn't find his name in the list of the new Schleck team riders. Eventually he got a contract. That's simply fair: that man gave his blood for them, is a part of cycling history and a true friend of them. When Andy was down last year, went to spend some time with Jens. It would have been sad if the crash in Tour of Britain had been the excuse to put him out. He is in and that's great. He is back to training and here you have an interview with him by Velonews.  Nothing special but it's nice to hear from him.
http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/10307/Fractured-finger-healed-Jens-Voigt-motivated-about-his-return-to-full-training.aspx
In short:  
1. Back to training this week after his crash in Tour of Britain.
2. Running and home training first: “I have been doing lots of running and home training before now, so I was back in training already for some weeks. But I only had permission from the surgeon who did surgery on my hand to go outside on the road from Monday.”
3. About the crash: “We went around the corner too fast, someone slipped away and there was no way to avoid the crash. If one guy slips, he takes two or three more and we are all sitting on the road then.”
4. A long way to go: “I am back in training, but I am right back at the basic level. There is still a long way to go.” 
5. A 1 year contract with RadioShack Nissan Trek: “It is good that I have one more year ahead of me, I can focus on something. I have got a goal. I still feel that I have another year in me, I still feel that I have something left to give.”
Of course you do! see you next year on the road! :)

11.03.2011

Frankie goes Curacao

Pic by Renaat Schotte
Ok. He is there. DEF O.O

Tour of California 2012

http://www.amgentourofcalifornia.com/news/press/Thirteen-Host-Cities-Announced-for-2012.html
In short:
1."The seventh consecutive edition of the 2012 Amgen Tour of California will travel more than 750 miles from May 13 – 20, 2012." 
2. Top Cycling and promoting tourism: “Our goal for the Amgen Tour of California has always been to create a route that not only provides a challenging race for the world’s top cyclists, but one that highlights the beauty and diverse terrain that make up the great state of California as well,” said Kristin Bachochin, executive director of the Amgen Tour of California. "From epic climbs to fast and flat stages to rolling hills and thrilling finishes by the sea, California has it all.”
3. A stage for Levi: "Stage 1 of the race will start in Santa Rosa, hometown of three-time Amgen Tour of California Champion Levi Leipheimer. “I’m so proud to have the Amgen Tour of California coming back to Santa Rosa and Sonoma County in 2012." he said "I’m looking forward to introducing some of the best cyclists in the world to some of the best cycling in the world – right here in my back yard. The 2012 Amgen Tour of California will be a hard fought battle as we march away from Santa Rosa towards the mighty Mt Baldy.” 
4. New roads: "Stage 3 of the race will begin in San Jose [...] and end in Livermore, traversing an entirely new part of the State not showcased in previous editions of the race. 
5. ITT in Bakersfield.
6. A finish in Big Bear Lake
7. From Ontario to the top of Mt. Baldy. 
8. A cool final fnish "in the heart of Downtown Los Angeles sending riders in and around L.A. LIVE, the sports and entertainment district which includes STAPLES Center and Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE within its footprint, for an epic overall finish to a thrilling race." 
9. Ameng race sponsor again: “Amgen stands ready to collaborate with this year’s Host City communities to spread awareness about our company, our mission to serve patients, and the incredible support services that are available at no cost to people affected by cancer through Amgen’s nonprofit Breakaway from Cancer partner organizations,” said Stuart Arbuckle, vice president and general manager, Amgen Oncology.
10 2HC:  "Carrying an elite distinction, the Amgen Tour of California is listed on the international professional cycling calendar (2. HC, meaning “beyond category”), awarding important, world-ranking points to the top finishers." 
  • Stage 1: Sunday, May 13 – Santa Rosa
  • Stage 2: Monday, May 14 – San Francisco to Santa Cruz County
  • Stage 3: Tuesday, May 15 – San Jose to Livermore
  • Stage 4: Wednesday, May 16 – Sonora (new for 2012) to Clovis
  • Stage 5: Thursday, May 17 – Bakersfield (Individual Time Trial)
  • Stage 6: Friday, May 18 – Palmdale to Big Bear Lake
  • Stage 7: Saturday, May 19 – Ontario (new for 2012) to Mt. Baldy
  • Stage 8: Sunday, May 20 – Los Angeles/L.A. LIVE
I'm curious to see if Andy and Frank Schleck will include again TOC in their TdF preparation or the new team mangement will make any changes.

11.02.2011

Curacao...

...a pic from, a thought to...

In, out and we'll see

UCI ProTeams (first division) as of Nov 2:
Astana Pro Team KAZ
BMC Racing Team USA
Garmin-Cervélo USA
Lampre - ISD ITA
Liquigas - Cannondale ITA
Movistar Team ESP
Rabobank NED
Sky Procycling GBR
UCI Professionnel Continental Teams (second division) as of Nov 2:
Accent Jobs – Willems Veranda’s BEL
Androni Giocattoli ITA
Acqua & Sapone ITA
Bretagne - Schuller FRA
Caja Rural ESP
Cofidis, le Credit en Ligne FRA
Colnago – CSF Inox IRL
Colombia - Coldeportes COL
Landbouwkrediet BEL
Project 1t4i NED
Saur - Sojasun FRA
Spidertech powered by C10 CAN
Team Netapp GER
Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator BEL
UnitedHealthCare Pro Cycling Team USA
According to the UCi: “The new teams (GreenEdge Cycling Team, Lotto Cycling Project) along with the ProTeams which have asked for a licence renewal (Saxo Bank Sungard, Omega Pharma – Quick-Step Cycling Team, Katusha Team), as well as teams from the second division (Geox – TMC, FDJ, Team Europcar) and also those which are ranked between 16th and 20th in the ranking of sporting values (AG2R La Mondiale, Euskaltel – Euskadi) will automatically be called before the Licence Commission.”
Vacansoleil-DCM and RadioShack Nissan teams "will be examined in accordance with article 2.15.071 of the regulations." 

Schleck(s) new preparation: article by Marca...

...via Velonation
http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/10274/Schleck-brothers-working-to-transform-time-trial-and-descending-performances.aspx 
In short:
1. Schlecks are working with some Spanish 'advisors' of Radio Shack. The main piece of the Marca article is an interview with their chiropractor, Josué Arán. "They have a tremendous talent, but in a matters of training and preparation they are a bit lost and work the old way, he told Marca. “Cycling has changed greatly in recent years and is now so difficult to win that the small details which seem unimportant are decisive."
2. Talent isn't enough: "They were so good from birth, they have so much class, that they believed they didn’t have to do anything.” 
3. TT, descent and more: “One day I told them was wrong and yes, they are very good, but they can progress. And to win the Tour have to improve on the descents - especially Frank – and in time trials.” “We not only want to improve their functional threshold power, essential in the time trials, but also coordination and stability, very necessary for the descents plus a more efficient pedalling."
4. Specific exercises thrice-weekly: “Both Andy and Frank are very strong for cycling, but nothing more. We look for an athletic body, not just legs. A bit like Armstrong, but not much.”
5. Nutritional changes: protein shakes
6. ... and ice baths - poor guys! - to recover from tough training sessions.
Well, I hope it works!

11.01.2011

Kevin on Koppenberg

I am not interested 'in general'. I loved this race, this place, this racers and people watching under their umbrellas. Kevin Pauwels revange. He looked so light compared to Stybar and Nys. He said: "The itinerary didn't suit me at all" after his disappointing result in Zonhoven. Disappointing because he was disappointed: actually 3th. That had been an hard race, brutal I'd say. Koppenberg was a completely different scenario: a fast, pedaling road in the grass more then in the mud. Wet anyway because he was raining. And misty. All green and gray as Belgium is supposed to be.
Pauwels attacked early, Nys immediately reacted with the arrogance and strenght of a master. Look at him: not a smile, strong eyes and an incredible power. Nys dominates the race even when he doesn't win and on the podium he seems allowing the winner on his personal step, just for few pictures. Albert was the strongest in Zonhoven, in Belgian national champion kit he was flying on that muddy nasty climb where others put their feet on the ground. And Nys just behinde like a hunting dog. 
Today there was Paowels in front, escaping from his destiny with a pale concentrated face. And Nys just behinde still chassing, again on the podium. Unhappy of course. But crossing the line also Pauwels looked sad. Exahusted maybe The last lap was made by will and breath. The wheel turning by itself on the gray track, down the last descent, to the last curv, to the finish where he could finally rise his white skinny arms and open his mouth in an empty smile. Empty eyes too. Like climbers on epical climbs. Here you have just a park or a field somewhere in Belgium but all the epic of cycling.
Nys just behinde, then Stybar in World Champion jersey. He fought in Zonhoven, here he made it to the podium. What a guy! he just finished his first road season with Quick Step, had a difficult start because of healty troubles but is back and will defend his title for sure
I don't know that much about cyclocross. Maybe I wrote bullshit :) I don't want to 'explain' anything - in road cycling I try, here no. I only say what I saw and share a feeling. The empty look of Pauwels, the children waving Flemish flags, the rain on the camera. That was today. I enjoyed it widely.

A bloody Halloween


Taylor Phinney Halloween costum

It isn't a typical Italian holyday, we just go to bring flowers to our dear deads and cheer up celebrating 'All Saints'. That has few to do with religion for the most of people. Exactly like Halloween. And that's why I can't understand why the Church spent so many words against it. It's just fun for children and nobody expect miracles by pumpkins really. In add nothing is 'original' in a country after some centuries of history and I find that mix of cultures is cool. 
Anyway many kids went around asking for kandies last night and a few adults were ready for that. Many others - kids and adults, and also some riders ehehe! - took it like an early Carnival and just put on a costum or a mask. Taylor Phinney here is pretty sweet. My son and I opted for something scaring...That's what it was supposed to be! 
We walked our way to the bar where we had arranged to meet with friends in the indifference of people coming home for dinner. The bar was almost empty, the food was few as if they didn't expect clients at all. I asked for a beer, we got a table and my friend Najmeh said: - OMG! WHAT A MORGUE! -, - Right for Halloween! Isn't it? - I replied trying to be amusing. The music was on and a few guys and girls arrived wearing Halloween costums. "Ok: it isn't the wrong day!" I thought. 
No need to say we ate and went away. But the funniest - or the more depressing! - was the owner stped us telling: - Hey! you just paied for the beverage! with buffet is more! - EHM! I don't know in your country but here when there is an 'aperitive' you pay the beverage a bit more and the biffet is included...  
- We go to bed - my friend said - Sofia is tired - Her 5 yo daghter made up as a cat looked bored and sleepy. Her hub looked drunk. What an evening...! - See you then. We go asking for kandies! -
That was fun! My son was supposed to go away three days by camper with his dad but he was late of course so he ended to spend Halloween with me instead then with his school mates. He couldn't go around ranging doorbells at night alone but he really wanted. Lets go together, I did worst things in my life!
We gathered a few candies and cookies on the way back home. We rang many bells and only few doors opened. My son ran up many stairs while I waited screaming: UHHHHHH!!! pretending to be a ghost.
The best candies we got by a Japanese family: they had prepared a basket with nice Japanese sweets and Liv filled his pocket without any shame. I was standing next to him a bit ashamed to be honest, not because of him but because of myself. The Japanese family - a man, a woman and a little daughter, maybe 2yo - instead smiled at me really friendly and I understood they found it cool and rather normal.
My Iranian friends, some Americans in the Center of Florence, that Japanese family made my day - or night! I firmly belive foreigners will save Italy from itself!