Archive for March, 2009

Time to ban pavement jumping?

pavement-de-ronde1 greenjersey photo (1997 Tour of Flanders)

It is, of course, understandable that bikers jump on to the pavement to avoid pave but that doesn’t mean it is right. At a kermesse at Wervik on Sunday a 47 year old woman from Waregem sustained life threatening injuries when she was hit by a rider who had jumped on to the pavement in an attempt to move up the bunch. There have been two or three such incidents caught on Eurosport in the last couple of years which suggests that there will have been more not caught by the camera. It certainly makes the racing more exiting to see a long line of riders, full on, jumping from pavement to pavement but serious injuries to riders or spectators or both is the inevitable concequence. Time for the police to enforce the law.

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Steegmans to miss De Panne and De Ronde

Gert Steegmans has finally convinced Katusha manager Andrei Tchmil that he must rest if he is to regain his fitness. The Belgian developed a problem in the Tour Down Under that has failed to respond to treatment. He says that he is OK in training but if he makes a serious effort he develops a tingling in his buttock and has no power in his left leg.

Steegmans feels that it may take an operation to resolve the problem although he is hopeful that more conservative treatment could put him on the road to recovery. No doubt Tchmil feels that Filippo Pozzato, who is in good form, could win De Ronde and Steegman’s contribution could have been crucial to the Russian team’s hopes. Having watched today’s Brabantse Pijl and the sterling work of  QuickStep, particularly  Jerome Pineau, I am sure Boonen will not be short of willing helpers in Flanders next Sunday.

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Cadel Evans’s wag

Cadel Evans, favourite to win the 2009 Tour, in Australia at least, pictured with his wife Chiara. The Italian piano teacher lives with Cadel in Stabio (Italian speaking Switzerland). Chiara is a big fan of Cadel, and not just for his rugged good looks and ready wit and she even writes a regular column about his exploits.

evansbabe

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Ben Swift second in Nokere Koerse

podium2009nokere

Ben Swift was second to Aussie Graham Brown in Wednesday’s 64th running of the Nokere Koerse over 193km. The young Team Katusha Brit survived an hectic sprint over pave to snatch second from top French sprinter Sebastien Chavanel. Last year’s winner Wouter Weylandt fell in the last 250 metres.

The Nokere Koerse has been held since 1944 and the record includes the cream of Belgian and Dutch cycling. Indeed the first two winners Marcel Kint and Brik Schotte were both world champions.

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Alberto, You are a dope!

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Luis Leon Sanchez wins at Fayence

How can “the best stage racer in the peloton” ride like a clown? greenjersey had serious doubts about Contador’s tactical nous the day that Rabobank launched their attack and Alberto was left floundering alone in the cross wind. Today he threw the race away. Why oh why did he keep on chasing down Toni Colom who was nearly three minutes behind on gen. class.?  Colom was a threat to Voight, Schelck, Chavanel and Sanchez and had he got a gap they would have all pulled together. But when Contador chased down Colom he did two things, he made an enemy and he created a position where a far more dangerous rival in Luis Leon Sanchez could escape. What’s more as Sanchez was already second overall the others would lose nothing by allowing the move to succeed. So they left Contador to do all the chasing and he wasn’t man enough for the job.

Who was in the team car? Surely it was not Bruyneel’s work so it was probably Alain Gallopin or Viatcheslav Ekimov. Whoever was in charge  should be ashamed of himself. The other big winner today besides Sanchez is Lance Armstrong as Bruyneel must now have doubts about his two leaders strategy.

One last point. Does anybody know how far Jens Voight rides in a 200km race? It must surely be at least 205km.  How do you get to be a fantastic pro without developing the ability to ride in a straight line?

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Wiggins abandons Paris-Nice

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Wiggins in sombre mood

Bradley Wiggins did not start today’s fourth stage of Paris-Nice and he has returned to his West Lancashire home to attend the funeral of his wife Cathy’s grandmother.

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More confusion from Harman

greenjersey enjoyed tuesday’s Paris-Nice stage so much that he is reluctant to take a pop at Harman but if Eurosport cycling commentators aren’t fair game who is?

As the break formed due to the efforts of the Rabobank team David kept banging on about the good understanding between Sylvain Chavanel and Juan Manuel Garate due to them being former team mates which is, of course, complete tosh. True Garate was at QuickStep between 2006 and 2008 but Chavanel wasn’t as until this season he has spent his career with French teams.

Chavanel is clearly in super form and as he has twice won the Trophee des Grimpeurs he must be a handy climber so hanging on to the jersey until Nice isn’t an impossibility. That said yesterday he was clearly riding for the stage not the jersey as neither he nor his team mate battered along at the front to keep the pace high when the jockeying about started.

Last year Chavanel won Brabantse Pijl and Dwars door Vlaanderen so he is at home on flemish roads and now with the strength and knowledge of QuickStep behind him he is greenjersey’s favourite for the Tour of Flanders.

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