Archive for My thoughts on recent races and events

Cookson takes a pay cut.

No need to worry though as he is unlikely to starve. It has been revealed that Brian Cookson the new head of the UCI will be paid a salary of £235,000 p.a. Apparently this is £75,000 less than former boss Pat McQuaid “earned”. I was going to say that perhaps this kind of money is justifiable given the expense of living in Switzerland but really it is an outrage. No doubt the UCI will have an expenses scheme that makes the MPs perks seem penny pinching and hopefully Cookson will, in time, provide details of this.

But what to do about it? If you don’t like Starbucks’ tax arrangements you can always patronise Costa but what can a cyclist do? Stop watching UCI sanctioned races?  take up rugby? I can’t with hold funds from BC as I am a life member and they already have all they will ever get from me as I no longer race.

What possible justification can the UCI have for this excess? Big business say they have to pay inflated salaries to “attract the best”. I know Brian Cookson quite well from my days in Lancashire and I am certain he would do the job for a fraction of the salary he will receive. In fact I suspect he would be happy to pay the UCI a modest sum to have this job.

Oh well it’s not my money so why should I care? Just another thing, how much pension is McQuaid getting? Now there is a thought to make you weep!

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Prizes for All?

In 2012 the VTTA introduced revised Standard tables as they, quite rightly, believed that the original tables gave an unfair advantage to the pensioners among their ranks. I recall that I calculated that if a sixty year old beat Comp. Record for a 25 mile TT he still wouldn’t have the record “Plus”, which must be wrong.

Not surprisingly the new scheme wasn’t popular with the old boys and as a sop to them a new Performance Award has been introduced.  VTTA official Bill Lloyd (Southport CC) has provided a guide to the new awards that I think I understand.  If a sixty five year old rode a 25 mile TT in three hours ten minutes he would then add 40 seconds to that time to produce his target time for the coming season and if he then beat 3hr.10min.40sec. he can receive a performance award medal!

Does that make any kind of sense? No matter how useless you are so long as you don’t get even more crap by more than forty seconds a year you can leave a bunch of medals to your descendants who may even treasure them in the mistaken believe that you were a half decent cyclist. Some years ago I was a member of a famous club with an illustrious past and a very mediocre present. At the club dinner I was presented with an armful of trophies that I politely accepted but declined to take home. Why? Because my wife and children know how good a cyclist I am  and they would know that if I had won the trophies they must be worthless. At least to win those trophies I had to ride less slowly than a few other guys unlike under Bill Lloyd’s new scheme where all you have to do is finish before the time keeper goes home!

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Sixty years on.

Coppi Worlds 53Somebody asked me if Dave Bedwell finished the 1953 Worlds so I turned up this result sheet. What struck me apart from the good men in the top ten was the distance and time. Compare with today’s race at Florence, 272km in 7hr 25min.  As the Lugano result is loaded with Gen. Class. men I must assume it was a tough course. Are you as surprised as me that today’s super heroes can’t go any faster than those old plodders on their 22lb bikes and wearing baggy wool jerseys.

World Championship 1953

30th August 1953
Location: Lugano Distance: 270km


1. Fausto Coppi (ITA)
7h30:59

2. Germain Derijcke (BEL) +6:22
3. Stan Ockers (BEL) +7:33
4. Michele Gismondi (ITA) +7:34
5. Nino Defilippis (ITA) +9:11
6. Charly Gaul (LUX) +9:12
7. Ferdi Kübler (SUI) +12:57
8. Louison Bobet (FRA)
9. Raphaël Géminiani (FRA)
10. Marcel Ernzer (LUX)
11. Martin van Geneugden (BEL) at

12. Pasquale Fornara (ITA)
13. Wout Wagtmans (NED) same

time
14. Ludwig Hörmann (GER) +14:38
15. Antonin Rolland (FRA) same time
16. Thijs Roks (NED) +14:44
17. André Darrigade (FRA) +19:39
18. Brik Schotte (BEL) same time
19. Andres Trobat (ESP) same time
20. Gerrit Voorting (NED) +19:47
21. Valentin Petry (GER) +27:13
22. Francisco Massip (ESP)
23. Bernardo Ruiz (ESP)
24. Jesus Loroño (ESP) at same time
25. Adolphe Deledda (FRA)
26. Vincenzo Rossello (ITA)
27. David Bedwell (GBR) +28:55
– 70 starters finishers 27

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McQuaid goes mad

Just before he loses his post Pat has committed one last act of lunacy. He has decided that the women should be chasing the same prize money as the men at the Worlds. He said  “This is a simple, but very important step in our pursuit of a healthy and fair future of our sport,” No it’s not the decision that is simple Pat, it is you.

Just on distance ridden there are no grounds for equal pay but there is more than that. I have attended the Worlds since 1965 although I can’t recall when there was first a women’s race, maybe in the seventies. There just isn’t the same level of competition and intensity and public interest is a fraction of that for the pro race. What do the U23s win? Surely not less than the women and surely not the same as the Pros.  The problem is that Brian Cookson, who is deeply immersed in the local government P C culture, is likely to support Pat’s decision. 

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De Ronde

I settled down to watch De Ronde on my daughter’s laptop expecting to be underwhelmed and I wasn’t disappointed. I like to think that I am not a prisoner of the past but the Tour of Flanders without a finale on the Muur and the Bosberg is surely a joke in the worst possible taste. Why when you have the perfect race course would you change it for one totally without merit? Well, of course, we know the answer, money..

As for the race itself it was crap. All the bulldust about Cancellara was just hype. When the Swiss eventually showed on the Oude Kwaremont he and Sagan quickly caught Kwiatkowski (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) who despite having done the lion’s share of the work in the break quickly latched on the back. Only fifty metres from the junction with the main road did the elastic snap and the twenty two year old Pole lost contact. If Cancellara had truly been on a great ride he would have passed the Pole as if he was standing still.

This morning I read the race report in the Daily Telegraph which concentrated on Sagan’s indescretion on the podium. The unidentified writer also mentioned the crucial move on the “Vieux Quaremont”!!  Presumably he or she cribbed the report from a French paper.

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Sky missed out

I had it all worked out. A short piece bigging up Sky for, probably, being the only team to have taken the GC in two major stages races run concurrently. I say probably as I am at present homeless and my records are in storage so I can’t “research” the topic. Anyhow whether or not it was unique it would have been a major achievement to win both Paris-Nice and Tirreno-Adriatico.

I have only been able to find the last few kms on t’internet so I don’t know how Chris Froome screwed up but clearly three ascents of a 30% climb would make it impossible for Sky to control the race but why couldn’t Froome hang in with the leaders? Was it a repeat of the overgearing they suffered in the Vuelta?

Nevertheless Sky are having a great season and that is without bringing Wiggo in to play. Roll on July!

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Oliver Zaugg shows how it should be done

Oliver who? I watched Lombardy on Gazzetta TV and when he attacked the commentator shouted ” Fuglsang” so I was not alone in not recognising the Swiss. But what a great move, it should be in the racers’ manual.

Clearly Nibali had lost the plot. When he attacked 55km from the line Gilbert was perfectly positioned to follow but thought better of it. Quite right too. What to say about the attackers on the last climb? I think stupid twats covers it. Sky’s Lovkvist immediately hit the front at a steady pace on a big ring climb. Well obviously he is keeping it together for a team mate, but there was no other Sky rider in the group. When Lovkvist had shagged himself  Basso took over at the same fast but steady pace. Just like Lovkvist he didn’t get a gap of a metre. Dan Martin was well positioned but when Zaugg attacked as the road kicked up he couldn’t follow. Nevertheless he was clearly the best of the rest and he must surely win a classic.

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