Archive for January, 2010

Museeuw says Molenberg could be the key to De Ronde

De Ronde passes the front door. greenjersey photo

Three times winner Johan Museeuw thinks that the Molenberg could be a crucial point in the Tour of Flanders. The climb with three hundred metres of cobbles and a maximum gradient of 14% is often the first climb of the race. Normally at half distance  this year it will be just 45km from the line.

No doubt it will be important in that for some the race will be lost on the climb but it does seem too far for a winning move. I recall  when  Museeuw attacked on the Tenbosse with 30km to ride and that seemed a risky move, although it paid off for the Lion of Flanders.  Stijn Devolder, who is chasing a third win, thinks that the main contenders will still be together at the bottom of the Muur  at Gerardsbergen 15km from the aankomst but by the chapel at the summit the winner will be known.

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Latest excuse no good for men

Riccardo Ricco’s babymother  Vania Rossi who tested positive for Cera at the Italian cyclo cross championship on 10th January has declared her innocence.  As “evidence” she says she would not dope as she is breast feeding her baby son who was born in July and would not endanger the child’s welfare.

I am dumbstruck.

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Words of wisdom from Wislon

L.A. at TDU 2009

Last year I was contacted by an occasional poster, Wislon of West Lancashire, who expressed the view that Lance Armstrong was sitting lower on his bike than in pre-comeback days. Oh really Wislon I thought, I can just see a perfectionist like Armstrong getting the basics wrong. I replied politely about his “interesting” observation and forgot about it.

Wislon didn’t though and he has now sent me this recent quote from Johan Bruyneel. What can I say? Respect Wislon.

“His position looks good right now. He’s currently looking very, very differently on the bike and he feels a lot better,” said Bruyneel. “There’s quite a bit of difference. Last year his seat height was a lot lower and we don’t really know why, he’d kind of lost all the references of earlier on [in his career]. Since the 2009 Tour de France finished we have started to work on his position and it’s a bit different but I think the biggest difference people see is he’s a lot smaller. His upper body is very different.”

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Flemish cycling surge continues

Membership of the Flemish Cycling Union (VWB) has continued its remarkable increase from 28,485 in 2007, 40,508 in 2008 followed by a 48 % increase to 60,132 in 2009. With a doubling of membership in just two years the VWB is the fastest growing sports federation in Belgium.

Werner Ingelgem of the VWB commented “Cycling in recent years become a lifestyle phenomenon. Everyone wants to stay slim and healthy and wants a young, sporty image and cycling is eminently suitable. For ladies and seniors the social relationships during and after the bike ride are important and younger men enjoy the flexibility.”

Perhaps taking his cue from Harriet Harperson he continued ” the working class has remained but we now have many VIPs, politicians and businessmen as members. Furthermore the word “Flandrien” is an honorary epithet that inspires many. Or as Gordon Brown would put it a sport for the many not the few!

As De Ronde fever mounts it is impossible not to be infected. This year the race will be particularly poignant as it will be held on the sixth anniversary of the death of “The last of the Flandriens” “Iron” Brik Schotte. With such a history it is perhaps not surprising that Flandriens are getting on their bikes in record numbers.

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Cav wins again

You may recall when Peter Crouch was asked what he would be if not a Premier League footballer he replied “A virgin.”

Now I am not putting Cav in the same boat as Crouchy but, let’s face it, if he was still a Douglas bank clerk it is unlikely that he would have pulled the stunning Fiorella Migliore. The Paraguayan beauty was Miss Italia nel Mondo in 2008 and I feel I must congratulate the judges, and indeed the Manx Rocket on their superb taste.

I understand that entrants must be of Italian descent but not resident in Italy. There are more rules than Cycling Time Trials have but I think the ones relevant to Cav are:-

be of irreproachable conduct and not ever having been implicated in the events or acts offensive to the common morality;
never having posed nude or poses otherwise inappropriate;
have never participated, or even appearing as extras in films, performances, shows in general, pornographic.

How about that? the lucky Manx spurter has got himself a girlfriend that come with a guarantee of good behaviour. Not many can say that in modern Britain!

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Strange but true (possibly)

As it is not fit to ride a bike I have been wasting even more time at the computer and in particular the Amstel Gold race of 1968. First the facts; the winner was Harrie Steevens from Roger Rosiers with multi monument winner Jo De Roo fourth.

What follows may be true if I interpreted the mangled Google translation of an old article correctly. In the bunch that day in 1968 were Henk Nijdam, Eddy Museeuw and Johnny Schleck  fathers of Jelle, Johan and Frank all three winners of the Amstel Gold race. Spooky eh?

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Quick Step wear short shorts?

Firstly I must say that I love the retro look of the 2010 Quick Step kit and I think black shorts are great but what about the length? Aren’t they shorter than in previous years? Not quite as scandalous as Sean Yates wore perhaps but certainly a revealing mid thigh look.

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