12.29.2012

New Year's Resolutions 2013

Pic by Adam Hansen
There we go: it's again that period of the year. I leave tomorrow to Luxembourg where my son and I are going to spend New Year Eve. He asked me many times to bring him to visit that country I love so much, he's curious to see la Petrouse, the Bock casemates, the Golden Lady and all the splendid places I talked about so often
I know many people in Luxembourg but those are special days: many are away in holyday, others are there but busy with their family. We will be quite busy too because we arrive on the 30th evening and go back on the 2nd of Juanary, sleeping one night in Basel. That's just to explain why I post today my New Year's Resulutions: on NYE I'll be in a restaurant in the City and at midnight somewhere around celebrating with a heart ligher than usual.
Yes dudes, I'm very happy and serene lately. I'm happy like that and don't need anything more. So lets have a look to my 
New Year's Resolutions 2012 
1. To go ahead about that sickness and to heal hopefully DONE: I found out it was  a severe anemia and after many blood tests and many months of iron therapy I'm fine! Yes, I feel very good and am sure that also contributes to my happy mood.
2. To go to watch Paris-Nice and Amstel NOPE: I was hardly working in school in April, in add Andy Schleck wasn't performing that good so my motivation was very low. I went to few races this year but I keep a splendid memory of some of them, especially the Eroica, with Fabian Cancellara's victory in piazza del Campo... Great day!
3. To write new good reportages and interviews DONE Ah yes! and so well done I even got published on paper! but my reportage on Ciclismo isn't the only good stuff I wrote, I'm very satisfied of my work.
4. To bring my son to the TdF finish in Paris  DONE I told you here: it has been weird Le Tour without Andy Schleck but a nice family travel. I liked it.
5. To improve my Luxembourgish WELL... I did. But then put it aside because I was too busy and with languages it's like that, you must pratice if not you forget. Anyway I reached a basic level and am proud :)
6. To get a new frame for the kitchen window and to have the kitchen painted NOPE No time, no money. My house has been fortunately crowded of guests all the summer and you can't change a window in winter time, can you?It's still on my to do list.
7. To ride my bike and to go almost once a week to the gym WELL... A severe anemia is incompatible with an even moderate effort. My doc strictly forbidem me to do anything unecessary. Moreover I was working in Empoli and had to wake up at 6 am almost everyday: when I was back home I just and simply wanted my bed.
8. To write my essay about Hegel and Derrida or to improve my study about it at least. YES n NO: I imporved, read some stuff I needed to but couldn't find an important book by Derrida about Hegel (Glass) and that stopped me. Moreover: I started by a personal concept but I should write down a serious bibliography to go on seriously... It's still a stimulating project. By the other side I'm back writing about philosophy on Chora in a way that probably suits me better... I have a lot to do!
9. To work (I mean money): school, B&B and publishing DONE That's the bright side of the story: finally I got some money. I worked many months in school, my B&B was crowded and Ciclismo payed me. I'm very proud. I don't work for money but when you get them everything is easier including... working. You finally realize you were right insisting and not wasting your time as your parents said - the mine always say. That subject makes me think about Martin Solveig, almost informatic engineer, telling his dad: "Listen, I'm going to be an international DJ"- Ah what?! a philosopher, a writer, a cycling reporter! Uhm... are they going to pay you? sometimes YES.
10. To hold on this percious feeling and demostrate I'm worth of it. Sometimes I get nuts without a reason, just because of a silence or a glimpse. Like a child I must learn to belive things don't change when you turn off the light.  DONE Yes, this year I got nuts a few times and it's quite reasonable given the situation. But it's definitely over, I'm sure. Love isn't about possesion, it's about caring and when you live it deeply and truly everyday in your life it's pure joy.  
So my balance is summ up positive.
New Years Resolutions 2013
1. To work
2. To go to watch as many races as I can
3. To go to Renon (OberBolzen) for summer holydays: I used to go there when I was a child...
4. To get a new kitchen window
5. To be active: bike, gym, trekking...
6. To get involved in politics again: I really don't know how but feel like to.
7. To write
8. To spend more time in my country house and to make it more confortable
9. To get rid of all that mess (I know what I mean) 
10. To keep my joy :)

I wish you a splendid new year! 
I'm sure the mine will be perfect: I'm the only one who can sabote it and I'm done with that.

12.28.2012

A Big Hole of Mud

Pic by Renaat Schotte
That it was and many fell into. Somebody even fell twice. It was a rude race. Very fast and very tricky given the weather condition: the easy route became dangerous because of rain, wet mud and deep pudles. Only few laps and Taramarkaz fell in front of Pauwels forcing him to stop. Vantornout was leading with Peeters and the front group gained a small gap. Few more laps and Nys fell! he went against the foot of a barrier, had to stop and lost positions. Meanwhile Pauwels was back to the front, Around in 4th position. It was fun to see riders jump like rabbits on the green series of artificial hills! less fun to see Tom Meeusen fall against a barrier beacuse of the wet mud. Yes, that race was rude.
Exceptionally cameras were showing the back of the peloton where Nys was fighting to come back. Many riders changed their bike and at the head of the race there were now only three men: Vantornout, Albert and Stybar. Nys fell again!!  the big hole of mud swallowed his front wheel and he got thrown over the barrier amongh the people. Surpised, honoured, a little shocked to have the national hero on their feet, they watched open mouth but didn't help. Nys doesn't need help by human beings. In front Vantornout and Albert had dropped also Stybar who was anyway ahead all the rest.
At that point Kevin Pauwels attacked from behinde and was 4th chasing Albert, Vantornout and Stybar. It looked like Vantornout was waiting for him and that's natural for a loyal team mate... even if... Sometimes I wonder if Vantornout should do his own race instead... A mistake by Albert where Nys fell  slowed down the group, Pauwels was close but didn't join yet. Then Aernout. Nys fighting behinde. It was a very fast route: no dead points where dropped riders could gain some seconds, they just must push hard and try to be faster.
Three laps to go the three men in front crossed the line together, Vantornout turned to watch where Pauwels was and he was really close now, neverthless failed to join. All the four riders changed their bike, small gaps opening between, and exiting the boxes area Pauwels fell: he slipped in the curve, was standing immediately and back on his bike but Albert and Stybar speeded on and went away together. Only now Pauwels joined Vantornout, but the opposite is also true...
Behinde an amazing Nys was already 6th just behinde Aernouts!  In front Stybar attacked. Albert couldn't follow and got dropped. At the last lap Stybar crossed the line solo, Albert slightly behinde, then Pauwels and Vantornout. But with an huge effort Albert caught Stybar. You could see the white Stybar's teeth in his black muddy face while he was furiously trying to resist. Albert eventually passed and even dropped Stybar, avoiding a risky sprint. Behinde the camera showed Sven Nys hit by a bottle thrown by a spectator stopping and going to talk with him passing under a commercial banner! incredible! 
http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza/videozone/v_opvallend/MV_121228_Loenhout_Nys_supporters
So Albert won and Stybar was second. 3rd Pauwels, 4th Vantornout, 5th Peeters. The cameras showed Nys finishing at the back but with honour. 6th was Van Ameroengen and 7th Denuvelaere. Albert interviwed didn't smile as usual and seemed a bit shocked: on the line he celebrated in a very aggressive way looking like a 'Fuck you everybody!' quite unusual for him. I guess the last races have been really frustrating and he really wanted this victory. Moreover I have got the impression that Stybar isn't welcomed by the regular cyclocrossers..Final remark: without Vantornout Pauwels couldn't be on that podium. Klaas deserves a BIG Xmas gift.

12.26.2012

Team MTN-Qhubeka Preparing For Greatness

Ah yes, they are! and I'm eager to see them racing! that project is simply cool. You can find out more on their facebook 
https://www.facebook.com/MTNQhubeka
and fllowing them on twitter Team MTN-Qhubeka @TeamMTNQhubeka
Read here a short press release about the first team camp:
 
"Team MTN-Qhubeka powered by Samsung recently completed its training camp in South Africa. This was the first get-together with all riders and staff as the team prepares to be Africa's first ever Professional Continental team in 2013. Upon completing the camp, captain Gerald Ciolek had the following to say.  
 
“I really enjoyed the first get together with the team. We had good training days in great summer conditions in Johannesburg. To me, the team is very professional and well organised. I never imagined the team management would care so much about the riders. I see great potential in this team; with an average age of 24 we can expect some good progress.” 
 
“Our first focus of the year will be the spring races. We are very excited to receive an invitation to Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. We hope also to get invitations to Milan-San Remo and Tirreno-Adriatico which would be a big goal for me.”
 
“We have great equipment on the team. The Trek bike feels great, even if it always needs a few weeks to get used to the new set up but I can already say I'm looking forward to racing on the bike.”
 
“There are some young really talented riders on the team, but they are not only future potential. I can see there's already a good level so we don't need to hide in any of the first races.”"

A fast wet day in Zolder

Nys: The Number One
Light brown muddy water. A muddy hill to climb by feet and hands. A muddy descent to fly on. Not a beautiful scenary today in Zolder but a very beautiful race where Sven Nys ruled, Niels Albert freaked out and Zdnek Stybar showed a solid condition. Kevin Pauwels felt the pressure maybe after his superbe victory in Namur. But the most shining stars in today cyclocross have been two of the youngest guys: Lars Van der Haar and Tom Meeusen. They did great and will do better soon.
It was 8 degrees and rainy. A fast route commentators said, so a good one for Kevin Pauwels. A good one also for Van der Haar. A fast start indead: Van der Haar and Vantornout once again leading the race, then Stybar and Meeusen. The fast racing on road and path was stopped by the sudden rising of the muddy hill: what a climb! and what a descent! steep, viscid, tricky. And there Vantornout crashed and in my opinion that affected Pauwels results. At that moment he was behinde, still in the midle of the peloton while Sven Nys, cautiously started, was already in 5th position. 
In a fluid situation where the head of the race was changing soon, Albert and Meeusen attacked together and got a gap. No time and a back rider fell: disaster! his bike remained in the midle of the track and many crashed while many others had to slow down, Pauwels included. The front group was: Albert, Meeusen, Nys, Simunek, Van der Haar and Aernouts. More or less in that order they crossed the line with seven laps to go. Pauwels and Stybar were leading the chasing group.
Very soon Albert and Nys dropped the company. Behinde Pauwels fell climbing the monster hill and Simunek passed him, then there were Meeusen, Stybar and Van der Haar.  The fight already was for the 3th place: Pauwels or Stybar? or Van der Haar? Tom Meeusen was leading the chase now but things were far to be settled. It was: Albert and Nys, a big, still increasing gap and then Stybar, Van der Haar, Meeusen, Pauwels. For me it was exciting to see how Van der Haar managed to stay there, to come back every time he got dropped and even tryed to gain positions every time he can. 'Obvious' you'll say, 'what should he do?' Yes but you must have the guts to do it, the strength, the will. I really like the young Dutch's determination!
And then Nys begane to play mouse and cat with Albert: attacking, waiting, attacking again, changing the route and finally shouting down in that bloody descent like only a mad or a brave can. "I did it risky but for me it was better like that" he said after the race "You must have a good control on the bike" he admitted. Well he has a damned good control on his bike and a damned cool blood. Not so Albert who evidently freaked out: dropped he looked resigned, almost relieved that the duel was over. Dueling with Sven Nys must be thrilling but... ehm... it can affect you nervous system!
Behinde it was: Pauwels, Stybar, Sinumek, Van der Haar, Peeters, Meeusen and Aernouts. And it was fast. Incredible fast. Too fast. Pauwels fell again and lost some position. Falling in such a race is a shock for your body and you have no time to recover. The camera was just and only showing the triumphal ride of Nys: behinde they could be all died. He crossed the line, rose two arms and two one finger from each hand, then only one arm and one finger: a number one. 

RESULTS


1 Nys 
2 Albert 
3 Stybar 
4 Pauwels 
5 Simunek 
6 Peeters 
7 Van der Haar
8 Meeusen

12.23.2012

Pauwels wins the battle of Namur

Crossing the line Pauwels cleans his jersey by his hands: it's so covered in mud you can barely read the sponsor's name. He won solo. He doesn't look strong. Fragility is one of the qualities I like in this racer, who smiles so rarely, the shy blue eyes avoiding contact. He made the race today: determined and solid since the start.
He was in 3rd position when I finally managed to make my streaming work in front, Lars Van der Haar on his wheel, Albert in front. Who was leading? It took a bit to me to recognize the French Mourey. There was a lot of mud and the route was flooded with water but not it wasn't raining in the forest: hight, rare, bare trees and commercial banners red and blue. Red and blue was also Pauwels' jersey, lap after lap more brown. Lap after lap the leading group consolidated: Pauwels and Mourey, then Albert, then Nys leading the chase with Vantornout, Aernouts and Van der Haar.  A little mistake for Nys and Vantornout passed him, soon Aernouts passed Van der Haar  who was now the last one in small group, obviously suffering but not giving up.  
There was a hill to climb and descent: muddy, steep... It became harder and harder. Riders couldn't run anymore and painfully walked the bike on their shoulders trying to keep the pace. Atop Albert passed Mourey and Pauwels accelerated going away solo. It's a decisive move. Van der Haar got a little dropped with 5 laps to go, managed to join again the back of the chasing group but they were riding too fast. At 4 laps to go Pauwels crosses the line alone. It was impressive to see all those campers in front of the boxes area: like in the Tour de France but it's december! not exactely a month for camping!  Van der Haar got dropped again and now it was very hard to come back. 
Atop the hill again: Pauwels passed the last rider in the race - I think he's Revel: lon hairs and moustaches. Van der Haar had got already 2'' of delay. Cyclocross is like that: dropped from the front group your race is over and Pauwels was pushing hard to put a gap between himself and Albert. The wet concrete reflected a wonderful silver light while Pauwels slaloumed between the barriers. Red and blue, like his jersey under the mud.
You must be very focused to solo as Pauwels was doing, carrying his bike all alone, no opponents in sight. Time is eternity. Two laps to go: behinde  Nys attacks! only Mourey hangs on his wheel. Vantornout got a little dropped. There is a technic passage where riders must balance themself with a leg and even push to not get stucked. Amazing to see how skillful they are, fearless and firm.
Last lap for Pauwels. I'm thrilled: allez! not crashe, no fall! Pauwels won and Nys passes Albert! Incredible!
Albert also changes his bike on the way to the lowest step of the podium. 1st Pauwels 2nd Nys 3rd Albert 4th Mourey 5th Vantornout 6th Aernouts. Lars Van der Haar arrives 8th escorted by a team mate.  J.Page is 15th, Franzoi 16th.
 Spectators are cautiously descending the hill to go to watch the podium ceriumony. Good place has got its price.

12.22.2012

In the mud

I didn't like it but who cares? It was dirty, ugly and nasty. It was hard to recognize riders and jerseys, you could see Stybar white teeth on the line while he was grinding in his muddy face. It was raining, the path was flooded and passing bikes rose loud muddy spurts. The front group cutted the deep dirty water like a convoy of boats. 

VIDEO final lap Bpost Bank Trofee @ Essen http://bit.ly/Wxnutg
They were: Nys - who sprinted at the start but couldn't make the difference - Albert - who did a great race till when a mistake costed him the lead - Peeters who was flying to the win but crashed - Vantornout who endured the heavy field at the front but got it wrong - his team mate Pauwels who had a mechanic problem and got irreparably dropped - Denuwelaere and Stybar who struggled till the finish with a huge determination. 
Stybar was amazing. Denuwelaere was a surprise. I didn't think Stybar could be so strong in his first cyclocross after so many time. Class is class. He dominated, managed his strength, attacked in the last laps with such a power nobody could resist. Denuwelaere kept the front all the race, effective in the mud, fast on the concrete. It was a great duel. I understand that Stybar greatly wanted the victory. He humiliated his old contender Nys in spite his very good road race season and few cyclocross training. But there is no doubt that at the finish he closed Denuwelaere against the barriers. Then he lost his balance, touched the other and made him fall. I think he didn't touched him on purpose but he willingly deviated during a sprint and that's forbiden. Moreover that's dangerous.
Stybar crossed the line first rising his arm in an angry gesture while Denuwelaere remained on the ground covered in mud holding his shoulder in pain. Then Peeters and Albert arrived side to side. Impressive to see the photofinish: Stybar and then a bike, then a rider still linked by a foot, then his body projected on the ground, then the chasers in the background. And water, mud, silver brown asphalt.
Stybar has been relegated to the 4th place and the victory assigned to Denuwelaere in front of Peeters and Albert. That's fair. But it's the first time I see a race victory assigned to somebody who didn't cross the line. I mean: he did walking and after Peeters and Albert. Anyway those two were dropped and the jury decided the crash was only Stybar's fault. 
A bitter end for a too nasty race. Stybar of course said sorry. Down the podium Denuwelaere still looked shocked.
RESULTS
1. Jan Denuwelaere (Bel) Style & Concept Cycling Team
2. Rob Peeters (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
3. Niels Albert (Bel) BKCP-Powerplus

4. Zdeněk Štybar (Cze) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
5. Sven Nys (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony
6. Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
7. Thijs van Amerongen (Bel) AA Drink
8. Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Revor
9. Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea
10. Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea

12.20.2012

Ballan injuried in crash: BMC press release

20.12.2012, Denia, Spain

Alessandro Ballan suffered a broken leg, a broken rib and an injured spleen Thursday when he crashed on the penultimate day of the BMC Racing Team's training camp in Spain. The injuries require at least two separate surgeries – the first of which was taking place Thursday night, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Max Testa said.
Spleen Will Be Removed
Ballan was descending the Coll de Rates climb near Parcent toward the end of a four-hour training ride when the high-speed accident occurred. After being taken to a local hospital by BMC Racing Team Dr. Dario Spinelli, Ballan was diagnosed with a mid-shaft, displaced fracture of his left femur, a fracture of his ninth rib and some abdominal trauma. "The broken rib actually made a small puncture in his lung," Dr. Testa said. "The first priority is the spleen injury – that is considered a medical emergency." Ballan was undergoing surgery to remove his spleen Thursday night and a decision on when and where his broken leg can be operated on will come at a later time, Dr. Testa said.

Lelangue: 'His Loss Means A Lot'
BMC Racing Team Directeur Sportif John Lelangue visited Ballan at the hospital and said the team's first priority is making sure the 2008 world road champion can rest and recover properly. Ballan had been scheduled to compete in the season-opening race, the Santos Tour Down Under, in Australia next month. "Of course his loss means a lot since Alessandro is one of our key riders for the classics," Lelangue said. "But most important right now is that he can recover and just get back to his normal process. We'll wait for all the medical information before even beginning to think about what could be his plan for coming back." Ballan won two races in 2012: the final stage of the Eneco Tour of Benelux and the one-day Giro della Toscana. He was the team's best finisher at Paris-Roubaix (third), the Tour of Flanders (third), Strade Bianche (fourth) and Milan-San Remo (eighth). He also helped the BMC Racing Team earn a silver medal in the team time trial at the UCI road world championships.

ALAD about Frank Schleck: 30th of January...maybe!

There is an article here:
http://www.lequotidien.lu/les-sports/40676.html
In short and translated:
1. Frank Schleck's defence presented a 20 pages document and the ALAD is going to respond it before the last date fixed for the 30th of January.
2. ALAD's 'conseil de discipline' presented  its closing speech and it seems Frank's lawyers didn't find it very precise.
3. The problem is Frank must explain the presence in his body of a banned substance. The ammount of it is very very little and compatible with many causes, contamination included. 
So... lets wait!
 

ALAD: Frank Schleck said...

According to  
http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/two-hour-anti-doping-hearing-for-frank-schleck?ns_campaign=news&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_source=cyclingnews&ns_linkname=0&ns_fee=0
" "I explained myself again that I was not at fault," Schleck told AFP following the two hour hearing on Wednesday evening. "The investigation is continuing but it's not over." No statement was given after the hearing by the ALAD."
Mah...!

12.19.2012

OPQS NEW JERSEY: a sexy one :)

ALAD decides today - HOPEFULLY - about Frank Schleck

Few to say. There is an article here http://www.lequotidien.lu/les-sports/40652.html but it says nothing. Hopefully today Frank Schleck will get his sentence and I'd say it's a rider's right to get it but to get it IN TIME. 
He autosospended himself so - like Le Quotidien also remarks - he anticipated a possible bann in order to be at the start in the Ardennes and morever in the Tour. In any case.
Is it realistic to think he will get no bann at all? In my opinion no because a rider is responsible for anything found in his/her body with no regard to his will or awareness. I believe Frank didn't anything wrong but the ALAD could hardly send him away with a pat on his back. Rules are rules even if we know all the story and it excludes he doped in order to achieve better results: his  results in the Tour has been... well... not that good. But not so bad to make you tell he was doping in order to start the day after! 
I think that Frank will get a short bann today and will be able to start his season soon. There are riders in the peloton who got three months because of their frequentations of Ferrari not at the time he was a famous sport doctor but now, when he's an inhibited counsellor of dopers. Frank can't explain  why that substance was in his body - you can believe him or not: I do - but Scarponi, Pozzato, Visconti can't tell they didn't know about Ferrari or that they didn't actually have contacts with him. Why did they do? they acted willingly against the rules and just got a three months bann in spite they have no excuses. BDW Offredo got a two years bann because of a three time no show at antidoping tests: that's a lot. That's too much in my opinion. But ok: things went so bad in cycling in the past that now everybody must pay for it. Ok. Be strict then. BUT WITH EVERYBODY.  
Finally: fortunately Frank has got a long term contract and his team supports him. What if his contract was ending in 2012? what if the team decided to use the part of it allowing the release in case of doping? what if today, after months, the ALAD said he's absolutely clean to ride? now teams have already got a complete roster. That's deeply unfair. Sentences should be quicker and allow both riders and teams to manage the situation decently.
Ok. Two hours to go. Fingers crossed and lets hope it's over. I'm looking forward to the start of the new season.

12.17.2012

My umbrella

It's raining hard, the sky is gray and a gray compact mist hids the hills of Florence. The Christmas lights shine on the wet concrete and few brave city bikers cautiously ride all covered in large colored rainjackets. Shops are open all day and people incessantly walk up and down in the commercial streets and in the city center hunting gifts they MUST buy. Don't worry, I don't mean to be moralist: it's nice to have a definite period of the year to give and get gifts. It's a kind of game and for sure a play. It's fun in spite so many people tell it's stressing. I think it's stressing if you are already... stressed. 
As far as me I'm so used to not have money that I truly enjoy strolling around watching shops windows and shopping people, feeling no will nor envie to have anything but neither that bad judging mood son of frustration more than of a high concept. Now I have money enough to buy what I need and what I...don't need I simply don't want because my home is big but I don't want it full. Beautiful things should have some room around.
Yesterday Liveri and I went to enjoy the Christmas shopping in via Gioberti - a piece of center lost in our historical periphery, just out the Viali. A friend of mine who since many years runs a jewellery told me people ask but don't buy: the economic crisis hits hard and the political incertitude does the rest. Via Gioberti looked like a big aquarium crowed of fished crossing each others again and again. We just bought a big, long red rose for our kitchen.
Today I have got a day off because my school is occupied. Not by protesting students this time but by poor temporary and/or unemployed teachers trying to get a fix job taking part in a stupid humiliating exam. I refused to. I spend the morning with my mother who's no more that young and even a little sick so enjoys to have somebody bringing her around, especially in the pourring rain. No fear! I have got my umbrella and it's a special one: it's small but not too small, it's resistent and well made - that's a kind of miracle, isn't it? - it has got a quick and useful opening system and a cute tartan design. I bought it in a very special place: on the Tourmalet! it was 2010 and the Tour de France was a breathtaking duel between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck. What a day that day! and it was raining so hard we couldn't reach the finish in time so we stopped by the way, in the last village and watched the race pass. I was under my umbrella when the Yellow Jersey dashed in front of us but in front of the tv in a crowded bar when the two best climbers in the world went away together in the mist... What a memory! and I always remember it when I use this umbrella...
Maybe a little boring, I know. And maybe Andy thought the same answering the same questions as ever: how do you feel about 2010 TdF? are you angry with Contador? did he dope or not? and what about Frank? and what about Bruyneel? what finally about doping in general? ah well: what about the Giro? Andy's last interview - or press conference maybe better to say - isn't exactly 'new'. But there is a part I like: when he says "I want to win races again". Good to hear that. I had no doubt but it's good because in the last months, after Andt's crash, there has been too many bullshit going on in the media. 
Watching the video I thought he didn't look that happy though. I don't see him in person since one year now and it's a lot of time. I would like to put a big smile again on his face but that's growing up: you stop crying and smile much less. A beautiful victory is what he needs and the next season is rich of opportunity. It seems he'll come for Tirreno and I'm glad... I'm fed up about that funeral mood: allez Andy! lets rock that cycling show again! 
BDW
I got the Christmas gift of the Fanclub! it's a cute bracelet :) you can also buy it on the Fanclub site: http://www.schleckfans.com/ What are you waiting?

In short: interview with Andy Schleck by Cyclingnews

read and watch it all here:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/features/video-exclusive-andy-schleck-interview
In short:
1. 2010 Tour de France: "I believe my condition was even stronger in 2011" and "I don’t feel myself as a Tour winner. [...] They gave me the yellow jersey in a ceremony in Luxembourg but it’s not the same. [...] from the memories 2010 is the best, also because I won two stages but also 2011 was the Galibier stage and that’s something I’ll never forget. [...] I’m not angry. I was angry with Contador when he attacked when my chain came off but it’s not like he’s my enemy"
2. Season 2012 "There was of course my injury but the whole season started badly. [...] The whole Tour was the toughest time for me. For three weeks I couldn’t do anything. I was just a couch potato. [...] There was a moment when I didn’t feel like a bike rider at all. [...] I really believe that this has made me much stronger mentally. [...] Since I started as a pro everything was going up hill, with the results, everything, but last year it all went downhill. It made me realise how much I enjoy cycling and how much I like to be in racing"
3. Frank: "He called me [long pause] it was not a positive test though. [...] I will never stop. Frank has the support of the whole team. [...] We have races coming up and we believe in justice and we’ve not thought about a ban or him not racing. He didn’t do anything wrong and think it will be resolved quickly"
4. Bruyneel:  "There was a lot of misunderstanding in the press. We tried to pull on the same string, we had the same goal of wining the Tour but we had different approaches and ideas on how to get ready for the Tour and it didn’t work [...] [his dismissal] came as a blast to everyone when he left"
5. Tour and Giro: "At the beginning he was maybe not that happy to do the Giro but his crash was three days to go. [...] If he’d not had the crash he would have finished the Giro in a good way. The ideal scenario would have been that he had prepared 100 percent for the Tour. That’s one for the future."
6."The one thing that keeps you going?": "One thing is for sure, that I want to show people that I’m still here. [...]  what keeps me going is that I want to win races."
7. Contador: "Yes he broke the WADA code but he didn’t get caught with his hand in the cookie jar. [...] I don’t point my finger at someone if it’s not clear."
8. Doping: "The UCI and WADA know every minute of everyday where we are."  [...] they can’t judge my generation with something that happened ten years ago. We can’t do more now to prove that we don’t dope. [...] It’s a lot of publicity, people coming out and saying they want to change cycling but I believe cycling has already changed. [...] Everyone can have a second chance and everyone can change they way they think. I just take an example. David Millar was caught and today he does a lot to help cycling. [...] maybe they’re the people who can make the difference today because they’ve learned from the past"

12.16.2012

Leuven: Albert's win, Pauwels' podium, Nys' show

That's all. Quite boring Soudal Classics Cyclocross in a gloomy scenary: no sky just mist, no grass just blak brown mud covered in black brown dead leaves. Fast at the start Lars Vand der Haar couldn't keep the pace and finished far behinde (19th). Albert went away solo and soon on the technical route marked by brutal ascents and descents. Bart Wellens badly crashed against the barriers while jumping some artificial obstacles but finished and is fine. The group remained together for almost all the race, pulled by Klass Vantornout till when Kevin Pauwels attacked with Rob Peeters and a few others. The fight was for the podium already but Sven Nys - who looked cut off, dropped behinde - showed all his class coming back, passing Peeters and hunting Pauwels. At the last lap the three front men weren't so far from each other! incredible! 
After the race each rider was siting in front of a basin of hot water and cleaning his face with a bath glove. It was cold and you could see the warmth cloud in the air. On the podium nobody looked happy. 
Results: 
1Albert 
2 Pauwels 
3 Nys.

"Not a couch potato" Andy said...

There is an interview here:
 http://www.perthnow.com.au/sport/more-sport/andy-schleck-eager-to-head-down-under-early-to-prepare-for-his-debut-in-south-australian-classic/story-fne88wsh-1226537914208?sv=afa6677d744414495c165b6e3525b2cd#.UM3PIXpwa30.twitter
"For me personally, just to show that I am back again. My last race (this year) was the Tour of Beijing and now I go for a new season, a new start and we've been training in the south of Spain preparing for Down Under and we'll come with quite big ambitions. We are coming quite early to do a training camp and get used to the heat and time (difference). Christmas is always a time for family tradition so I will stay at home but I don't have big plans, there's no big holiday. I have already forgotten about it (2012). I can learn from it and go with good ambitions in 2013 and show again that I am a professional cyclist and not a couch potato."

Andy Schleck to Legends’ Night Dinner...

... in Adelaide 20-27 January 2013. Read here: 
http://www.tourdownunder.com.au/gilbert-schleck-meares-star-legends-night-dinner.htm
In short: 
1. Who: "UCI Road Race World Champion Philippe Gilbert, 2010 Tour de France winner Andy Schleck and Australia’s golden girl of the track, Anna Meares, will become the latest in a distinguished group of riders to be honoured at the event."
2. What: "The Legends’ Night Dinner is a major part of the Santos Festival of Cycling, which also includes events such as the ŠKODA Breakaway Series and the Santos Best Dressed Town Competition. It will be held at the Adelaide Convention Centre on Saturday January 26 next year.
3. How much: "Tickets are $250 per person and are on sale until Friday 11 January 2013 at 5:00 pm."
4. Minister for Tourism Gail Gago said: “We are delighted to be welcoming Philippe and Andy to Adelaide to compete in the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under, and their presence at the Legends’ Night Dinner is also very exciting. These two men continue to lead the world cycling field and are sure to have captivating experiences to share with dinner guests.”

12.13.2012

2012 cycling season: a personal summary

'Highlights' isn't the right word, not this year. Working on this post I couldn't find many 'lights' really and deep shadows were everywhere. I lived the last season as the coming true of a nightmare. It was a bad feeling at first, confirmed month after month, disaster after disaster till the day Andy Schleck crashed in Dauphiné TT. I think 'my' cycling season finished there. 
But reading through my blog entries in order to prepare this post, I have been forced to recognize the many great days of racing I lived and how much I love this sport. Riders I like very much achieved splendid results: Martin Kohler in the Tour Down Under, Maciej Bodnar in De Panne, Rigoberto Uran in Catalunya and in the Olypics. New promising riders started a brilliant pro career. One for all: Moreno Moser. I'm so proud I interviwed him in a Yes We Like!
Many races gave me big emotions and the main characters on the stage were of course Bradley Wiggins, Tom Boonen, Fabian Cancellara, Peter Sagan, Vincenzo Nibali, Purito Rodriguez, Ryder Hesjedal, Thomas De Ghent, Taylor Phinney, Mark Cavendish, Tony Martin. Did I forget anybody? 
Daily heros: Sep Vanmarcke in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, David Millar in Simpsons' day (TdF 12),  Bauke Mollema in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco TT, Daniele Bennati in the Vuelta a Espana, Rabottini in Pian dei Resinelli (Giro), Iglinsky in Liège.
2012 has been deeply marked by Contador's bann and Armstrong's case. I think an age of cycling finshed. Not sure if a new one already started.
As far as me... I suffered in each race Andy Schleck was supposed to ride: each one was a complete disaster. Moreover after it I had also to listen to people writing and talking bullshit about his 'lazyness' or 'few seriousness' or even worse... He has got a very bad luck and that didn't help his moral. His big - unique? - goal, le Tour, didn't suit him at all and I think he was aware of that. Few motivation, a complicated situation in the team and a quite bad mood were probably enough to waste his season in such a hopeless way. "Andy  didn't have a season" Kim Andersen said and I completely agree. It has been a pity and honestly wasted also 'my' season: I didn't enjoy it at all. I only remember some great moments, I see them reading my old post, I know I got moved or excited... but no: I kept very few.
Best moment of the year? I can't remember. The first and only race I think about is a cyclocross race: Lars Van der Haar on the podium in Hamme-Zogge Superprestig. You can so judge of my condition. No, really. I'm happy to archive this year and hope the next one will be better. I pray for that!

A pic from Valencia


More here: http://www.radioshacknissantrek.com/gallery/training-camp-part-iii-track

Blanco Pro Cycling

Bauke Mollema pic by NOS
















Ex-Rabobank found a sponsor.
And it has got a new jersey: do you 
like it?
The new twitter account has already 
got many followers in spite it nver 
tweeted yet. It's:

So...

...one day you wake up and everything is different in spite nothing changed around. My materialism prevents me from saying 'all is in your mind' but how you look at things makes things different to a certain estent. The point unfortunately is you can't decide it. Something happens inside you, some longlasting processes come to a end and you find yourself bursting out: What a fuck! - You are free.
Something similar happened to me and it made me think about a drastical pc cleaning: you know - I'm sure you know - when your pc becomes sooooo slow... eventually stop working and you have to 'clean' it, that is to delete almost all on it, saving maybe - if you can! - some old e-mails and addresses. You turn it on and... delight! it's soooooo fast now! sure, because is memory is sooooo freer! That's the feeling: I realize how many energy I wasted in the past years and how many things I can think, create and do instead. A great feeling, I assure you.
At first it was like riding a race bike: flying! after a while it settled down: possibilities became projects, projects got started and I'm at work. Happy, effective and serene. After some more time it began crackling: panic! is the old shit back?! hell no! I don't want to waste energy anymore! ... and it came back so subtlely, in a beautiful dream. Damn! you can't control your dreams. But you can tell yourself that they are dreams, nothing to do with reality and when you wake up you can be aware that you miss the sweet feeling of the dream, not something real you never had. You can and it works, to a certain estent.
The best way to cut with those kind of thoughts is to get healthy and unfairly angry, to tell yourself you are all right and all the fault is by the other side. "What a jerk!" you say all satisfied and move quickly on. It isn't that easy when you insist being fair, being realistic and respectful of your feelings. In fact you invested in something, you cared - I still care - and saying it's all shit you say that... well... you made a big mistake. "What a jerk!" means also "What a stupid I was!". And yep, keeping on with something that doesn't make you happy is stupid. But be honest: you can't forget how happy, haw madly joyful it made you sometimes. I don't want to tell me it has been nothing because for me it has been important. It is STILL important. 
However I'm jealous of my new conquered freedom. I'm trying to go for the hard way: keeping loving and respcting my feeling AND moving on. 
Then you run into a picture and all your zen go to pieces :) 
Wish me good luck. Now it's your turn.

12.11.2012

UCI about Bakala's project

The International Cycling Union (UCI) confirms that it has been in discussions with Omega Pharma-QuickStep owner Zdenek Bakala and his business partner Bessel Kok since late 2011 about the possible development of the professional road cycling calendar.
These discussions have included their potential financial investment in a new joint venture company with the UCI and other cycling stakeholders that would promote and organise elements of this new calendar. The UCI has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with them as the initial investors in the joint venture and will now enter into extensive dialogue with the teams and race organisers before any final agreement is concluded.
The possible development of the professional road cycling calendar will be subject to comments from the wide-ranging consultation “A bright future for cycling” that will involve all the stakeholders in the sport and which will take place in the first quarter of 2013. This consultation will have a considerable bearing on this proposed joint venture and the future road cycling calendar.
No agreement has been reached on the reforms that will take place to the calendar and as such any media reports about the future of the calendar are pure speculation at this stage. However, the UCI will retain full control over the calendar, including sporting and technical elements. The UCI and the investors are also committed to ensuring that the final structure of the joint venture will avoid conflicts of interest.

A few reflections about pro cycling

1. The breakaway league or Cycling World Series or how you prefer to call it is probably a good idea regarding to the interest of big teams and big races organizers: they get more money, pay top riders more, have a financial continuity garanted. All the rest of cycling - small teams, small races, youths, women races die because they get no money at all. I'd like to pay and sit just on the finish line of a Classic but I prefer to NOT pay and be able to fight for a good place at the barriers in front of the podium or in the last 200 m of a race. That idea of cycling involves that start and finish areas are only for money and 'normal' people stay out. In add: that idea of cycling is for circuits of course. Milano San Remo or Liege don't suit it at all. OR/AND that idea of cycling is like that idea of football: something you watch in tv so made up FOR tv. Must I add more? I understand that project, I see its point. But I don't think it's a good idea really, not for people who live for/by cycling. What do you think?
2. UCI World Tour Licences: what a shame. How can cycling be a clean sport when licenses are assigned in such a UN-transparent way? Katusha didn't get it and they ignore why. Is that possible? but the UCI, asked by Cyclignews, confirmed: "They don't know but will know soon". WTF!! And the winner of UCI ranking, Purito Rodriguez, is now - in DECEMBER! - wondering what to do! That's simply ridicolous. Not only that. The whole iter is. 
3. Florence 2013: Worlds in Tuskany. I live here so wanted to be part of it. Just as a volonteer, just to collaborate. Well: there is - was? - an 'official comitee', formally 'open'. I asked to partecipate: silence. But no worry, I missed nothing! Basicly it never worked. Decisions have been made in private places, by wellknown people, as a private bussiness. Are you curious? have a look here:
http://blog.cyclingpro.it/2012/11/24/ecco-i-costi-folli-di-toscana-2013/
It's in Italian but you can google translate it. 
In short: next Worlds will cost 3 times more than Mendrisio. Yep, you understood right: 3 times more. In number: they asked 50 milions of euros and 'only' got 32 milions and 601.035 euros. Mendrisio costed 13 milions of Swiss Francs (11 milions of euros). What are they going to do with those money? They say they are FEW so will be used to asphalt the worlds roads. But those are NOT the only money wasted in mafia bussiness. Read here:
"To understand how a World cycling turns into a bottomless pit you have to look at '"program agreement" of 2011 (the award by the UCI is in September 2010), between the Tuscany Region, the provinces of Florence, Lucca, Pistoia, Prato and towns of Fiesole, Florence, Lucca, Montecatini and Pistoia. Yes, because while anywhere in the world Worlds are on a unique circuit with possible variant for the time trial, in Tuscany we speak of "global spread" to involve the whole region and "multiply the effects on tourism". Well, the program agreement established a Technical Institutional Group that measured the routes and estimated costs (public) for only external works in the sum of 157 millions of euros and 244,090.15. How much? 157 MILLIONS, divided into 71 million for basic stuff and 86 to complete things. In Switzerland they would have done FIFTEEN EDITIONS of Worlds."
But on 23 June 2011 the Italian Government said money are not sure so... the Comitee decided to focus: "focus on what, with the remaining 71 MILLION? On asphalting and the elimination of obstacles along the race track! Let us understand: 71 MILLION for asphalt and removing obstacles? Right." O.O  Yep because they say  they must fix "a minimum of one million square meters of asphalt 373,763.93, which amount - just to give you an idea - a scarifying and resurfacing a square of 37 kilometers per side."
But also those 71 millions of euros are in doubt and all they can get is the " "modest" amount of 49 718,088.21 million euro.": not enought they say! so "the technical group suggests to "scarify and repair the binder (bitumen) on half of the surface of the path (in width!) and repair the floor of wear over the entire surface. In short, it is a work in half: half good, half as it comes." O.O
But also those money are not sure at all. The
only sure money are the "32 millions allocated by the local authorities. In Switzerland, they would have done anyway THREE WORLDS". In Florence... they aren't enought to asphalt... so "they should be used sparingly, only for the recovery of individual anomalies to reach the lowest level of security required to guarantee the performance of individual races!" O.O
In add: "the only "definitive work"
planned in favor of cycling, the cycling track in Ponte Buggianese - cost  2 millions of euros (normal price for a velodrome in Italy: from 80 to 800.000 euros), almost certainly will not be realized and the money used for ... asphalting." O.O
There is much more in this beautiful and very interesting article. I'd like that the international media would talk about a bit louder...
Finally:
4. Training camps: I'm thinking fondly about those guys starting their season in THAT cycling mess...

A pic from Spain

More here:
http://www.radioshacknissantrek.com/gallery/training-camp-part-i

12.10.2012

LICENCES: UCI PRESS RELEASE

10.12.2012
As of 2nd November, the UCI had registered in the first division the teams already holding a current UCI WorldTour 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
  • Cannondale
  • Lampre – Merida
  • Omega Pharma – Quick Step Cycling Team 
  • ORICA GreenEDGE
  • Sky Procycling
  • Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
  • Movistar Team (UCI decision of 16 November)
 
In accordance with the UCI regulations, the Licences 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 applying teams.
As a result of the hearings held on 19, 21, 22, 28 November and 7 December, the Licences Commission has issued a UCI WorldTour licence to the following teams:
  • AG2R La Mondiale 2013-2016
  • Euskaltel Euskadi 2013-2016
  • Former Rabobank 2013-2014
  • Garmin Sharp 2013-2014
  • Team Argos–Shimano 2013-2016
  • Team Saxo – Tinkoff 2013-2014
Finally, the Licences Commission has granted registration for the 2013 season to the following teams:
  • FDJ
  • Lotto Belisol
  • RadioShackNissan
The request from the team Katusha for registration in first division has been rejected.

In accordance with UCI regulations, this team’s application has been forwarded to the UCI administration, so that the latter may assess the possibility of registering this team as a UCI Professional Continental Team.
The full list of UCI Professional Continental Teams registered for 2013 will be announced at a later date.
 
UCI Communication Services

VASIL KIRYIENKA to Team Sky! Yes we like!

Kyrienka on last Worlds podium

Kirienka is a very good rider and we well know him from many and many audacious break-aways. He's a rider every team would like to sign. Tean Sky is one of the best team at the moment and probably the best one looking to the last season. I'm sure we will see something great. 

TEAM SKY SIGN VASIL KIRYIENKA:

Team Sky have continued to strengthen for the 2013 season by signing Movistar rider Vasil Kiryienka on a three-year contract.
Since turning pro in 2007, Kiryienka has earned himself a reputation as one of the hardest-working riders in the peloton and his versatility will be of huge benefit to the squad.
Not only is the 31-year-old Belarusian a talented climber, he also packs a mean punch as a time trialler, and has claimed numerous stage wins from small breakaway groups.
The highest profile of those came in the 2008 and 2011 editions of the Giro d’Italia, where Kiryienka dropped his rivals on both occasions before soloing to victory with more than four minutes to spare.
The three-time national time trial champion has also tasted success at high-profile races such as Ster Elektrotoer, Vuelta a Burgos and País Vasco, and in 2011 wrapped up the overall title at the Route du Sud.
His 2012 campaign was also impressive, and saw him make his ninth Grand Tour appearance at the Tour de France before claiming the bronze medal at the World Time Trial Championships in Limburg.

Vasil Kiryienka said:

“I am very happy to be joining Team Sky and I’m confident I will fit in without any difficulty as there are people I've known for a long time in the squad.

“Team Sky have enjoyed a fantastic season in 2012 and I’m looking forward to contributing towards even greater success over the next three years, whether that means working for myself, or for someone else.

“With the help of Team Sky I want to continue developing as a rider. Everyone has made me feel welcome and I am keen to getting started.”

Sports Director Nicolas Portal said:

“Vasil has won some big races and put in some impressive performances at the very highest level. His stage win at the Giro d’Italia last season was phenomenal, and we were all impressed with the way he was able to battle on and take the victory.

“He was third at the World Time Trial Championships and has a lot of other victories to his name. He’s such a strong rider and is going to be a great signing for the team.

“He can perform very highly in his own right, or in a team capacity, and we know what he is capable of. It puts us in even better shape heading into the big tours of 2013.”