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Thursday, 29 December 2011

BEST RIDER 2011

Picking the best overall rider for 2011 for me is extremely hard as it has been another year of amazing performances. Mark Cavendish with the Green Jersey and World Championship, Cadel Evans with a stunning a perfectly timed Tour de France victory, Alberto Contador total control of the Giro d'Italia, Cobo's gutsy ride at the Vuelta (with Froome a deserving runner up), Voeckler with hard man of the year award (and yes Hoogerland too), Hushovd at the Tour....and so on.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

MY FAVOURITE DOMESTIQUES 2011

Geraint Thomas Team Sky
All rounder domestique who, I hope, will soon be a team captain as his skills demonstrated in the spring classics bode well for the future. Strong and fast and with an increasingly good tactical sense.



Pierre Rolland Europcar
An impressive Tour de France campaign has launched this rider to new heights, very strong in the inclines and vital to Voeckler's titanic performance.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

CAV'S SPRINT


Watching Cavendish at the Revolutions' meeting at the weekend was confirmation of my theory on his sprinting. He doesn't need a train to win a sprint. He shouldn't use a train to win a sprint.
Cavendish took the win on the last race by going from the front and even though he wasn't in his best form he managed to keep the other riders behind him...and on track. Sure enough he would have loved a few gears to shift up but he still rotated those legs at just the right cadence to cross the line first. 

At the Worlds he took the win despite, yes despite, Team GB's tactics. Yes I'm the only person in the world to think that but not ashamed to admit it and if Cav hadn't had that last kick, most would have to admit Team GB's tactics had been foolish.

Friday, 18 November 2011

(SOME) PEOPLE IN POWER

There seems to be a type of person who'll always make it in high positions, be it in politics, business, religion, who have the tendency of not knowing much, being prone to gaffes and being generally clueless and obnoxious.

To name a few: Silvio Berlusconi; George W Bush; David Cameron; Pat McQuaid; Max Mosley; Nicolas Sarkozy; Sepp Blatter; Vladimir Putin; Sarah Palin

They get elected and climb up the ladder of power, and more to the point they stay there for years. They behave like buffoons, constantly make gaffes and continuously display a lack of general knowledge.

And they're still coming, look at the American election campaign, where the Republican candidates where having a debate and one of them (allegedly the top candidate) was unable to answer the most basic questions. Has he withdrawn? No. Why? Because people don't take notice of gaffes as a negative but find it amusing as they circle the various social networks and media circus.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

OLYMPICS, DOPERS AND LIFE BANS

A lifetime Olympic ban for dopers is a duty.
Unlike in various sports' federations, the Olympics has a specific message to deliver and allowing dopers back into the fold goes against those values.
The Olympics was created with the ethos of peace and inclusion.
In Ancient Greece, wars stopped for the duration of the games, enemies faced each other in healthy competitions instead of throwing weapons at each other. The purpose, to get a glimpse of equality in the eyes of the Gods, recharging and motivating patriotism by the inclusion of all. The Games have values, of freedom, peace and above all respect.
It was not meant to be for professionals to take part, but money talks and professionals are invited to take part. Money has ruined the Olympics as it has created a commercial monster, aimed at companies' wealth and trade. That has brought fierce competition which has pushed doping to stellar heights to gain results.
The only way to try retain the original spirit is to stop the win-at-all-cost attitude. That means dopers should be banned and stay banned.

MY TOP BOOKS

Arthur C. Clarke  
2001 A Space Odyssey
Science fiction's best novel. Complex, edgy and visionary. He wrote it before man landed on the Moon and he was so spot on on many of the dynamics of space travel. Spawned from a short novel, The Sentinel, it describes the finding of a beacon of sorts on the Moon. From there it's man against Machine against understanding... an endless quest.
Ronan Bennett   
The Catastrophist
Love, adventure, politics, philosophy. An Irishman goes to the Congo to be with his Italian lover. He has no interest though in the deepening independence crisis of that country led by Patrice Lumumba. His business is love.

CYCLING, THE BIG MOVERS FOR 2012

Only the big names.....

AG2R LA MONDIALE: Casper; Belletti
ASTANA: Kashechkin, Gavazzi, Guarnieri, Murayev, Brajkovic, Bozic
BMC: Gilbert, Blythe, Hushovd, Pinotti, Van Garderen, Cummings
COFIDIS: Di Gregorio
GARMIN-CERVELO: Rosseler, Rasmussen, Hunter, Wegmann, Bauer
GREENEDGE: Meyer, Bobridge, O'Grady, Weening, Gerrans, Clarke, Cooke, Vaitkus, Tuft, McEwen, Beppu, Albasini, Goss, Sulzberger, Davis, Lancaster, Dean, Durbridge, Hepburn

BOOK, ANOTHER SKY

A collection of stories, thoughts, poems, from persecuted writers from all over the world. It's published by Profile Books in association with PEN, an organisation aimed at promoting literature and freedom of expression.
The stories are most poignant and harrowing.
One example is the "little mistake" that led a writer to be close to be executed in an Iranian prison. Writer Reza Baraheni wan blindfolded and led to a hall to get food, walking with the arms on the shoulders of the prisoner in front. There he accidentally lost contact but after a struggle and panic found the shoulders again, only this time they belonged to the wrong line of prisoners. He was then led in the open and while enquiring about the different route he found out they were the prisoners about to be executed.

CYCLE SUPERHIGHWAYS & (UN)ETHICAL SPONSOR

Cycle Superhighway. Let's dwell on the name. Highway is a public road... Super implies bigger, wider, with extra powers. You almost hope when you ride on them that a special force will propel you to your destination in no time and in safety, like in a scene from Tron, zooming around these Super lanes barely seen by the slow traffic around you.

It gives more room than conventional cycle lanes, but apart from being able to overtake slower cyclists it has no great impact on safety.
Vehicles still drive over it, turn left through them without first checking, they are slippery in the wet as most of the lanes are simply painted.

THE FULL MONTI

So the Monti's government goes live.
The Full Monti.
The gargantuan task ahead calls for behavioural austerity as much as an economic one.
So far (day one) it seems the collective of ministers is sedate and boring enough to let Italy produce a massive sigh of relief.

The Vatican has commented favourably on the "team", that worries me, especially for the Health Secretary, Renato Balduzzi. He has a strong catholic background, which can interfere when Health reforms and modernisation require to deal with abortion, fertilisation and research, choice and rights.