Friday, 25 November 2011
Monday, 4 July 2011
I really like the TdF version of the Team kit. It seems to have really lifted the Team from the dark cloud of loads of pressure and not much success.
The Team looks happier, in my books keep the jersey JV, or at least make this the jersey for next year as it's more Garmin than Cervelo and I think that's really cool.
Thursday, 2 June 2011
So where will Tom go. This I think is a pretty tough one to call and not many teams scream out as being obvious. Quick Step will have first dibs and his relationship with key members of staff could signal a return signature. The likelihood if he does is that he'd finish his career there. BMC have been rumoured, but they seem to be connected to everyone at the moment. Boonen is reported to like Americans and American Teams (he was a Neo Pro at USPS) & would rejoin him with Hincapie (after 10 years). My gut reaction is that if he doesn't stay at Quick Step my punt would be Saxo. Since the depart of Fabian (& many others) to LEOPARD Trek they are lacking a real Classics leader. I know Nuyens had a great Flanders, but adding more firepower would offer a repeat chance of victory for the Team. Also Riis is renowned for reigniting riders careers when the embers are still flickering.
So to Cavendish and who will vie for his signature. Many will think that the SKY gig is a done deal, whereas I think it's the least likely destination for the Manx Missile. Staying at HTC would require some bridge building to make sure their star rider stays. I reckon it'll be a challenge as there is a lot of stuff that needs to be resolved. My top tip would go to BMC who seem to have a large cheque book. They were in the running for Fabian Cancellara's signature last year, supposedly offering a crazy amount of money (double LEOPARD) but he opted to stay with his 'band of brothers'. So cash won't be a problem for them. Instrumental in making the switch maybe the decision to reunite with old team makes, and especially Hincapie who has a key figure in Cavendish taking the San Remo win as he was Shepherded to the Poggio by the veteran rider. I do agree with certain commentators that he'd take Renshaw 'the fastest leadout man in the peloton' with him as a package deal
I'm sure that Cav would like the Impec technology, although from what I hear from the Specialized camp is that if he does go they'd better make a good aero bike (& quickly) as Mark has fallen for the Venge in a big way.
Wherever these riders go I'm sure it will be a busy period around the Tour de France, as officially they can't speak to Teams outside of their own until then. If you've any thoughts on where they, and the likes of other stars like Gilbert, Pozatto and others pop your response in the comments section below.
Saturday, 28 May 2011
But spotted on the Garmin Team cars I spotted that all the spare bikes had Continental tyres fitted. I didn't get close enough to the actual riders bikes as I was talking to the HTC riders to see if they had been fitted to them.
Thursday, 26 May 2011
Before the days work had started I had the chance to take a look over the HTC bikes, and as a bonus managed to speak to Marco Pinotti & exchanged a few words with Lars Bak.
What was interesting is that this year the Team is using more HED wheels, albeit with a low key set of graphics. My guess is that they supply the Team but don't financially contribute in a way that warrants big graphics (please HED or HTC put me right is I'm wrong). What was really interesting is that the Teams bikes that where there all were fitted with 25mm Conti Competition tyres. I presume that due to the wider rim track these just work better. I'm sure that the lower resistance is welcome, as well as a little more comfort.
It's not the first time the Team gave used a larger volume tyre for 'normal' racing. Previously they'd used 25mm on their TT bikes, in 2010 at the Tour if California.
From a saddle point if view the riders seem to be able to rude whatever they want from either Fi'zi:k's or Specialized's catalog. This must be great from a riders point of view as they able to find a saddle that will work for them.
The riders spared a few words, which was very kind considering they where just about to have another long day in the saddle. The way that they conduct themselves makes me a bigger fan of the Team, even though they must have been tired after this long and difficult Giro.
Oh, for the record Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD won in a controversial finish, but for me that wasn't the story of the day.
Sunday, 22 May 2011
As much as the next fan I enjoy watching these epic stages in the Giro, but and there's a but sometimes they are a little unbelievable. Spain seems to have produced a bunch of riders that currently are smashing the Giro to bits, but happen to make it look like a regular Sunday Club run.
Saturday, 21 May 2011
I had an interesting discussion with a friend over dinner and we debated at length trying to put the cycling world to right. He argued that racing would be boring and viewers would switch off. My repost was that I thought it'd be more exciting as the collapses could be greater as we are asking the body to do more than it's possible of doing. This was his argument that PED's were not going away as the demands are high on their bodies. The omertà culture lures riders into the belief that they need to do it. I can't imagine the pressures and stresses on the body & mind as I've never raced at that level, many have families and the pressure to perform so that they can provide must be great. I think as fans all we are looking for is belief in their performance rather than the best medical help.
With Contador dominating the Giro and making the hardest stages look easy it promotes more questions than answers. His technique is amazing to watch, so smooth and fluid, a bit like Lance; but I watch it with a sick feeling in my stomach, rather than with jaw dropping awe.
If we come to the table with a child like belief and take Teams like Sky, Garmin Cervélo and HTC on face value what are these Teams doing to enable their riders to even compete in the same races. This isn't something often asked or talked about, but how close to the WADA banned list line do these Teams skirt. They may not want to disclose this as it would give other teams an edge, but in the spirit of openness I think it'd be a big positive to declare how, why and what the Teams are using/doing to help their riders.
Many commentators over the years have said that an amnesty is the only way forward. But I think that's the tip of the ice berg as there seems to be corruption at all levels, and I'm afraid that in the human psyche many will do everything to win, while thankfully there are those that won't and will hold a flag of ethics to ask the questions others dare not.
Having kids changes you, and for me they ask hard questions about the Sport I love All I ask is as they grow is that they have heroes to believe in.