It was the weekend of Strade Bianche – a race that, though young, feels like it’s been around forever with all the goodness and tradition age brings. It was also the weekend of the Track World Championships, held in the Olympic Velodrome in London. Both got a lot of attention from the cycling tweeties so here we have: Cancellara and Armistead, Wiggins and Cavendish – plus a fond farewell to the man who never hesitated to throw people off the podium, Bernard Hinault.
Gravelly roads, take me home …
If I were told I could only watch two races in the cycling season, Strade Bianche would be one of my choices (the other being Paris-Roubaix). There is nothing I don’t love about this race (except the fact that EurosportUK doesn’t seem to think it’s important enough to show live. But I’ve been bitching about Eurosport on Twitter for the past, oh, four years, so we can just leave that for now). It’s a difficult race, it’s a beautiful race, it has a parcours like no other – and it’s for the toughest of the tough to claim victory. Everything I like in a race.
That Boy Phinney rode on Saturday – but not before he captured the horse in Siena.
It was cold and it was *supposed* to be rainy and gloriously muddy. It was just glorious.
The only reason I would think of signing up for Strava … but even this doesn’t convince me.
Two of the favourites have a quick ‘May the best man win’ handshake before the start – World Champion Peter Sagan and returning champion Zdenek Stybar. Note: the best man is not in this picture. (Love the black rainbow-striped rain jacket.)
Fabianese is a whole body experience.
Just *look* at the faces on this climb. This is what I love about sport – the pure emotion and energy.
You can just feel the disappointment in this tweet.
Swiss precision at work again.
No faffin’ around in the back of the peloton for Cancellara this year. Looks like he wants to make his last year of racing one of his most memorable.
The effervescent Dan Wuori has been praying for that double rainbow win for WEEKS now. And he *still* didn’t get it on Saturday. He was so sure, he even had his tweet cued up … (For those who don’t understand the reference, just go here. You won’t believe what happens next … )
I think maybe Spartacus should get a haircut before Lois does it for him.
Me and the Rev. We are of one mind about this.
I love Stybar and loved his win last year. One of the reasons I am such a fan is that he is gracious in both winning and losing. He is a class act, no doubt about it.
Prosecco rain (a little known Prince song)
There was a lot of energy on that thar podium.
And, in addition to the paving stones on my front walkway being christened The Cancellara Walk, Fabs also gets a stretch of the gravelled roads named after him. I hope it’s a five-star sector. And I hope they call it Spartacus.
And he hasn’t lost his sense of humour.
A final word from the lovely Jered Gruber. I have to agree with him. Although I think Paris-Roubaix is the greatest race, I think the final kilometre of Strade is the greatest finish.
The World Champion is victorious again
Looks like Lizzie Armitstead is going to have a stellar year. Looks like those rainbow-stripes really motivate her. And maybe her winning ways will motivate one of the sports channels to televise the women’s races. Or the BBC red button. Or something. Somewhere. Somehow. Then I might actually get more tweets in my TL as well …
One love that is shared by two
Well. My TL exploded on Sunday for the Track World Championships. Now, as many of you know, I am not the biggest fan of Bradley Wiggins – I know, I know, I hide it well. And, being an ArgoSunGod fan, I can take or leave Mark Cavendish (mostly leave). And I really couldn’t care less about track (The Wrath of Khan was on – had to watch that). But even I couldn’t ignore some of the best tweets of the week that centred around all three. (Don’t ever say I don’t sacrifice my own feelings for this column…)
So, it seemed that there was a lot of drama during Cav and Wiggins’ Madison race. That’s all I know. Oh, and that in the midst of it all, Cav crashed and possibly was concussed. But … ‘he’s alive!’
After some tense laps, they did it. They being any number of duos: the Morrissey and Marr of cycling, the Lennon and McCartney of cycling, the Hale and Pace of cycling, the Sonny and Cher of cycling … But this is the thing. Why can’t they just be the Cav and Wiggins of cycling? Why does anyone who does anything great have to be ‘the new …’ or any other comparison. Because it seems that being the Cav and Wiggins of cycling is about as high as you can get at the moment. (Morrissey and Marr – my ass!)
The cats got a dousing, it seems.
Tattoo talk – I think Sarah and Sara Eva were inspired by Wiggins’ full sleeve.
It was a total love fest. There was a lot of PDAs and gratuitous kissing.
See, Morrissey and Marr. No. No. No. Stop it. Although the Taylor and Burton does hit the mark … volatile emotions.
High socks, black socks, stupid socks, no socks. One never knows with Wiggo.
Cav getting some first aid on his bloody knee. The expression on his face reminds me of those action films where the hero gets shot, run over, etc but hardly bats an eyelid. Then when the love interest tries to clean his tiny scratch with cotton wool and antiseptic, he winces in pain.
Was it Wiggo’s last race on that track … or wasn’t it?
Conor is here, just to balance things out, although Christina is not happy about him showing up to the party.
Once again, the effervescent Dan Wuori has come to the rescue.
Au revoir to the Enforcer
We’ll miss that frisson of menace and bonhomie during the podium presentations.
However, he was more than gracious to the winemakers who threatened to hold a protest during the Tour de France this year.
The existentialist FDJ: Existence precedes and rules essence.
@PulpLibrarian is one of my favourite Twitter peeps. And it seems getting doored is not a 21st-century problem.
Great picture of Tim Wellens with his curlicue hair.
Travel tips from Rory Sutherland.
Hannah Grant has taken over the kitchen truck for Team Dimension Data!
A leftover donkey picture from last week. It’s not often I get to say that.
You know, the Microsoft screen blue looks good when they’ve applied an instagram filter but I can’t say the same for when they’re racing.
Race to the sun – I think the guys have got a bit of extra incentive.
The Velvet Samurai with a well-constructed wig.
Speaking of Velvet Samurai and hair – L’Equipe’s photo essay.
A kilo of M&Ms. A KILO!!!!! How have I never seen these packs?
This is just lovely.
This is the most we’ve seen Pippo dressed in ages.
Barney looks thrilled. Just thrilled.
Tom Dumoulin is not into self-censorship.
To pick up on our boyband injury from last week, Bas gets his stitches out.
The last word