Archive for October, 2009

Gilbert or Boonen?

This is the finale of the Worlds road race champs at Madrid in 2005. The first commentary is from the Belgian French language channel and the second is from the Belgian TV Dutch language channel. Gilbert is a Walloon who speaks French and Boonen is a Flandrian who speaks Dutch. He is known as Tommeke.

It is worth pointing out that Boonen’s jerky sprinting style is instantly recognisable to anybody who is not suffering from a severe case of wishful thinking.

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Ten days in October that changed the World

Ok, so I got a little carried away but what about Philippe Gilbert ? Four rides in ten days and four wins. And not just any old races, One Monument, one Classic, one semi-classic and a top class catergory 1.1 race. Gilbert’s achievement must surely be unique. I think Cipo may have won four Tour stages on the trot but that just isn’t at all comparable.

Gilbert’s  October can be awarded the greatest complement in cycle racing; it is something that was beyond Eddy Merckx. Which leads me on to another feat that defeated the great Merckx. In the six years between 1977 and 1982 Gibi Baronchelli won all six editions of the Tour of the Appenines. Isn’t that extraordinary. Can you imagine the scene in the changing room by 1982. Moser, a double winner, saying to Saronni, Whatever happens don’t let that f*****g Baronchelli win again! And blow me up he pops.

My old mate Luigi Ortenzi previously of Harrow and now back in Italy was a big fan of Gibi and told me of  this amazing achievement. Not that Luigi’s judgement was reliable in matters of Italian cycling. He once told me how Hinault “stole” the 1980 rainbow jersey from Baronchelli. I have since watched some of the race on video and truth be told Gibi was stuffed by the Badger

But to return to Gilbert’s triumphs I don’t expect it will change anything. Boonen will still be the man with the bike mad Flemish public more interested in what Boonen puts up his nose than anything the Walloon Gilbert achieves.

For the record:
8th October, Coppa Sabatini
11th October,  Paris-Tours
15th October, Tour of Piemont
17th October, Tour of Lombardy

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VDB’s bike for sale

Nico Mattan is to arrange the auction of Frank Vandenbroucke’s bike to meet the cost of repatriating his body.

Mattan is organizing the auction, which will take place over several weeks, at the request of the family of VDB. The cyclist appears not to have travel insurance to cover the substantial expense of returning the body to Belgium.

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