TotW: Pantani is a Paradox, Jens rides the New Forest and Boom goes the Urals

What a task sifting the tweets from the chaff this week! So many stories, from Froome’s first win in Oman to the sky falling in Russia (and being propped back up by CAS)! I’ve also linked to articles and embedded any interesting videos mentioned, just to make sure you’ve not missed anything. With that in mind, let’s go to …

Oman!

Chris Froome took his first ever professional stage race on Saturday at the Tour of Oman. Good for him! He did a gutsy job of holding off Rodriguez, Contador and Evans, who were all in great form. Bradley Wiggins was also in the race, although he kept pretty much to the back when he wasn’t working for Froome. I think these two pictures from Sky really illustrate the yin and yang of Wiggins and Froome (or yang and yin of Froome and Wiggins).

Oman Sky Froome pic

Oman Sky Wiggins pic

And speaking of Contador, here is a lovely picture of him congratulating FroomeDog. I posted a picture of Froome in the red jersey on Facebook earlier in the week and I have to repeat what I said there – he looks like he’s wearing his dad’s shirt! Give the man some cake, for God’s sake, he’s wasting away!

Oman Contador Froome pic

But it wasn’t just the GC contenders who thrilled – it was the return of the Velvet Samurai! One fabulous classy hunk of Slovakian talent was back on the scene! And thankful we all are for it! I think Heather said it all …

Oman Peter Sagan 1

Oman Peter Sagan salute

And thank goodness, Tom Boonen was back as well. You hear the words ‘septic elbow’ and you don’t think it’s that serious but apparently it really was. So welcome back, Tom! Looking forward to seeing you this weekend on the cobbles!

Oman Boonen still have arm

But before we leave Oman, have a look at this really rather beautiful little film by the tour organisers. The music is fabulous!

Oman beautiful film

Watch out New Forest, the Jensie is coming for you!

Jens and his mate are planning a little charity ride on April 27th down in the New Forest. How big a crowd is that going to be, do you think?!? I reckon I might just have to go down there to see the man himself! You *know* that he’ll sign every autograph and take pictures with every fan who wants them so let’s give him a big welcome and raise some money for the Epilepsy Society.

Jens charity ride Jens ride 3 Jens ride 4 Jens ride 5 Jens ride 5a Jens ride 6

The Pantani Paradox

Okay, I admit it. I just don’t get it. Before I jump into this, let me qualify my upcoming remarks. First of all, I have nothing against Marco Pantani. His heyday was a bit before I started watching cycling so I’ve never had the chance to see him race and his story is certainly a tragic one. And I also don’t believe that just because a cyclist has doped means he’s a bad person or should be drawn and quartered, ridiculed and reviled. I say, take your punishment like a man and when your ban is done, you are free to race and hopefully race clean. I might think you’re a bit of a dick for acting like you’ve been persecuted in some way – Alejandro, I’m lookin’ at you – but you’re allowed to race, so race.

And, most importantly, when I talk about dopers I’m not talking about Lance – he’s in a category all his own because he tried to destroy everyone and used his power for evil. So when I’m comparing riders who have doped, I’m talking about anyone who’s been caught who isn’t Lance. Okay? Now, there are a lot of people on Twitter who come across very much as the drawn and quartered brigade these days yet they were waxing lyrical about Pantani last week, as it was the anniversary of his death. So, huh?

Anyway, here are a few tweets that start to show the paradox of Pantani.

Pantani hero or not 1

Pantani hero or not 2

Pantani hero or not 3And here is that blog link to Velorooms. I’m still mystified, to be honest – so because he has panache, he’s a hero even though he was a proven doper and won major races through doping? (Let’s not be coy – he doped to win these races, not just for the love of riding them.) Because his life was cycling, it didn’t matter that he cheated, thereby denying any clean rider a fair shake? His name was on the Fuentes list – so the other riders who are on that list get eviscerated by the Twitterati yet he doesn’t? Again, personally I understand not letting doping stand in the way of loving a cyclist – as might be borne out yet this year – but isn’t this a bit hypocritical from the tweeters who are so vocal about cheaters having no place in cycling?

Which is why the exchange below mystifies me even more. Festinagirl is one of the most vocal when it comes to doping yet this exchange … As of the time of writing, Festinagirl has not responded to Dave. I wish she would. I really would like someone to explain this to me – and I’m not being facetious! I know that you love who you love and sometimes it doesn’t make sense, but I do feel that there seems to be one rule for some riders and ridicule for the rest of them.

Pantani festina girl

The discussion continued into Monday and here is an interesting exchange.

Pantani Gerard 1 Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.45.30 PM Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 1.46.00 PM

Have you been Schlecked?

Andy Schleck. What can we say about him? He really needs to have a word with himself because it doesn’t seem like he’s going to have much of a cycling career left if he doesn’t get his head together. Not to kick a guy when he’s down, but honestly, these are some of the funniest tweets of the week. I would be remiss if I left them out.

Andy Shleck main goal

Andy Schleck peaking too soon

Andy Schleck 3

Andy Schleck Landside

That last one was my favourite. Andy, please, get it together so you can tell us all where to get off when you start riding like the cyclist we know you can be!

The Russian sky is falling!

Last week, a meteorite came shooting through the sky, landing in Russia, in the Ural region, causing a sonic boom and tearing all the windows asunder! Here’s a little clip in case you missed it.

And here is the explanation for this phenomenon.

Katusha meteorite Menchoff

Katusha Makarov  wilderness 1(Here is that CyclingNews feature that fmk is talking about.)

Katusha press release all of Russia

Katusha Makarov appeal

But this CAS ruling that gives Katusha back its WorldTour licence has caused quite a headache for race organisers, not least for my favourite Michele Acquarone, the Grand Poobah of the Giro d’Italia.

Katusha Giro Velocast licence

Line ‘em up at the bar, boys, Kitty loves a good cocktail! Especially if Velocast is buying.

Verbruggen has a stampie-footie

Heins letter START

Heins letter 1

The Inner Ring did a great post on this letter of CAPITAL LETTERS!!!! and here it is, as it’s well worth reading (as is every letter that is tapped out by the Ring’s keyboard).

Looking forward this week

It might be a new race but it certainly feels like it’s been around forever. Strade Bianche should be used by the UCI as a case study for how to launch a new race successfully. No Beijing bollocks here!

Strade Bianche promot

One of my favourite times in the racing calendar, next weekend is when Belgium starts to see a whole lotta road action.

Pic of Omloop

Strange one-off tweets

amateur hematology use

millar qotd one rider

Hein UCI PR too many people

Wild prediction Overlord 1Phinney valentine 1

And the last word goes to …

Only holding back our tears END

Have a great week, tweeties. I’ll be driving the Tweetmobile for the Omloop and KBK races this weekend! Come join me!

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One thought on “TotW: Pantani is a Paradox, Jens rides the New Forest and Boom goes the Urals

  1. Excellent blog.

    Love the Wiggo / Froome observation of the Ying and Yang.

    Strongly agree on the Pantani piece – don’t buy the good, the bad and the ugly doper classification. Some were clinical about it, e.g. LA. Some were relatively innocent young men who were misled by dominant managers and senior riders. But Pantani was not in the innocent young man category. Possibly mentally frail at some stage, but that isn’t a new phenomenon in elite sportsmen.

    Talking of mentally frail, I worry very much for Andy Schleck. I notice the comments of his father last year. I wouldn’t be surprised if he retires, and it may not be the worst option for him.

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