Archive for July, 2008
While the riders use the rest day to take a recovery ride the managers of the seventeen teams present at the Tour together with the three Grand Tour organisers used their day off to kill the ProTour series. Greenjersey welcomes this development. There are two reasons why I was not a fan of the series. Firstly I hated the way top riders would ride the season ending Tour of Lombardy not to win but to preserve their ProTour lead. We have enough of that tosh in the three week tours (step forward Cadel Evans and Denis Menchov) without it ruining the Monuments of the sport. Secondly I could never see the sense in forcing teams such as the old Kelme squad or Euskaltel to ride Paris-Roubaix just so they could pack at the first feed while smaller, better suited, teams were denied a ride.
As my old mum used to say, good riddance to bad rubbish!
Most English cyclists will be aware of the tragic death of 17 year old Rhiannon Bennett from injuries sustained when she was knocked over by Jason Howard, a cyclist. Miss Bennett was standing with a group of friends when Howard approached riding at an estimated seventeen mph. He shouted “move, because I’m not stopping” apparently making no attempt to swerve or slow down. He hit her with sufficient force to knock her over and her head struck the pavement.
Not surprisingly most people, including club cyclists, are amazed that Howard, who was charged with dangerous cycling, received only a £2200 fine. A police spokesman has, however, revealed that Ms Bennett “was probably a few inches or a foot into the road.” That is precisely where Howard, and all other cyclists, is supposed to be, as near to the gutter as possible.
Why Jason Howard behaved in such an incredibly stupid and reckless way only he can say. It would seem though that this was not, as reported, a fatal battle in the war between cyclists and pedestrians over the use of pavements. I would only remind readers of the facts. Last year 136 cyclists were killed on Britain’s roads and a further 2428 seriously injured. In the same year the number of pedestrians and motorists killed by cyclists was one. I will continue to ride on the pavement but I shall keep an eye on the statistics and if the odds ever look more favouable I will then ride “responsibly” and stick to the road.
Riding in last week-end’s world marathon mountain bike championship Liam Kileen took the opportunity to check out Italian A & E services. They proved to be far in advance of the much vaunted NHS provision.
Kileen crashed at about 50km gashing his arm. He took himself off to hospital where, apparently, he wasn’t issued with a ticket and told to expect a wait of about four hours in the British style. Instead he received six stiches in his arm, returned to the point of the crash, and then finished the 120km race in 85th place 1hr 23 min down on the winner.
This photograph is of American Veronica Tunucci checking into the final control after 89hrs 58min with just two minutes to spare. The look on her face says it all really. More photos can be found on http://picasaweb.google.com/rob.hawks/ParisBrestParis