Monday, 22 September 2014

Catching Up

Spotted a trend? Yeah that’ right I keep missing Fridays as other pressures in the week ramp up to the end and this informative portal slips a little.

So, news I should have covered.

Jens Voigt is another big and well-liked name retiring from the ranks of the pro peloton and he is the first high profile rider to take a shot at the hour-record in an effort to cement his place in history. He successfully beat the record but I can’t help feeling that if Wiggins has a shot at in the near future he may quickly lose his title.

There was comedy in the news as a policeman got something wrong:

Also a bike manufacturer had a bit of a moan that they weren’t seeing the benefits of this whole biking craze. The guys behind Dawes and Claude Butler claim that while people are buying high-end bikes and potentially buying bikes form Halfords they are not buying their brands. There does seem to be evidence that the boom in cycling isn’t limited to the top end, so maybe it’s an issue closer to home for this manufacturer?


Thursday, 18 September 2014

Teams and Champions

You speak Welsh, right?

So you’ll enjoy this report form S4C on the Bike Park Wales round of the British Downhill series, focussing, inevitably, on Manon Carpenter, the local girl who arrived to race fresh off a World Championship win.

To be perfectly honest I just wanted to watch to remind myself of a great day riding there.

Meanwhile we can begin the build up to the Road and TT World Championships with the naming of the British squad. Led by Froome, the team will have a solid road captain in the shape of Dave Millar, racing for the last time in GB kit, and however way you look at it a great depth in a squad of Thomas, Kennaugh, Swift, Simon and Adam Yates, and Rowe. Wiggins and Dowsett will race the TT and all of the riders willhavethe pressure of performing better than last year’s awful showing where none finished the World Championship race in torrential rain.

The women’s squad is just as strong, with Armitstead leading a team including Alice Barnes, Hannah Barnes, Anna Christian, Lucy Garner, and mountain biker Annie Last.


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

More Scrabbling

It’s come to something when I’m suddenly trawling for something to write about and wondering if my commuting near-misses would be interesting enough to fill a blog post. Considering I’m here to write this up I’m guessing not.

Instead I thoroughly recommend Scott Mitchell’s view of the Tour of Britain and will refrain from mentioning how I (and hundreds of other people) saw him on Saturday.

In other news I saw this invention which absolutely comes into the category of “oh that’s a good idea… hang on, you mean everyone has to download it…”. In summary this is never going to work, any more than approaching the idea of cyclist being killed by producing covered cycle lanes across every city (neatly also encouraging people to ride in the rain). I am a fan of realistic safety solutions but let’s not approach them from the idea of cool stuff you can do with tech, but from a premise of solving an actual problem. Thanks.


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A Slump

Well what is there to talk about now? Suddenly we’re in a strange dead spot where the big races have suddenly ended and while I’ve had an embarrassment of things to tell you about big stage races in Spain and Britain and now they’ve finished, with only really the road World Champs to come to provide professional interest.

So, what now? Luckily Gee Atherton has been making news off the back of his second World Championship win by putting forward the idea that downhill mountain biking should be in the Winter Olympics. Despite not needing snow this makes a lot of sense in terms of making the winter games more friendly to extreme sports as with the inclusion of snowboarding disciplines, and with the UCI wanting to push the popularity of cycling into more Olympic visibility.

Otherwise I think as we look towards the winter it’s worth seeing some BMX in the rain to remind everyone that there’s still riding to be had:

Now I guess it’s time for me to actually start looking for interesting stories for you, rather than relying on the race scene.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Tour of Britain Finale

Well there was a lot of cycling going on this weekend. I mean for a start I went to Lordship Rec on the BMX for a couple of hot laps and learning to jump another roller.

But that wasn’t all.

The Vuelta reached a climax with Chris Froome finding a significant amount of form as the race went on and riding himself into a very very solid second place man to man with Contador in the most brutal of Spanish climbs. He would hang onto this in the time trial and take his second second place at the end of the race. A stunning come-back from injury for both top podium placed riders and a race that started a dull in my eyes but developed into a thriller.

Nearer home there was genuinely thrilling racing in the Tour of Britain. We left this race on with it being shaken up every day and on Friday the race was set alight with a stunning ride form Alex Dowsett who went in a very strong break and powered through cross country to result in a brilliant snatching of the race lead in Hemel Hempstead. His break-away partner Brandle took a second stage win in a deal that gave them both what they wanted. Behind them the peloton both seemed to misjudge the break and then fail to organise themselves to chase as OPQS put everyone form Cavendish to the yellow jersey Kwaitkowski on the front to try and chase it back with no luck at all. Dowsett was exhausted but wore the yellow jersey into Saturday’s stage with many people hoping he could hold it.

On Saturday it became apparent that he couldn’t. He was dropped on climbs and the race lead would go to the young Dutch rider Dylan Van Baarle form Garmin Sharp who finished the stage third behind winner Vermont. This left the final day’s racing in London for the title. The first part of this was an individual time trial, and as expected this was dominated by Bradley Wiggins moving himself up to third overall with a very solid ride that also gave him the stage win in front of a partisan crown in the Capital.

FMFT headed into town in between this part of proceedings and the final city centre circuit race that should set up a classic Kittel-Cavedish sprint.

The cycling circus was in town with the range of vehicles from massive team busses to the odd camper van and transit lined up in front of iconic London landmarks, with a chance to peek into the envy-inspiring lorries and get a glimpse of the stars of international cycling as they warmed up and then rolled to the start.

The race was much as the script expected. Breaks went and gave some excitement, but all would be swept up by the peloton when the big teams decided enough was enough. Wiggins was looking for 22 seconds, but this was always going to be a tough ask over such a short race and at the speeds that were being seen. To cut a longish story short it was dragged back together and we lined up for a sprint. Cavendish and Kittel were placed in perfectly and went for the line. Whether thanks to Kittel’s dominance, or the effort in Cav’s legs after his huge work over the hills to work for his team leader, it would be the German who took the win by a small margin to give his second stage win on the race. The overall lead stayed with Van Baarl to give him am slightly unexpected but deserved race win for a young rider. If history teaches anything on this race that should make him a huge talent to look out for in the future.