We have much to get through this week so let’s get pedalling!
First off, the talk of the weekend was the CycloCross World Championships, which were all run on one day as the Ohio River decided to flood the next. So there was mud. Mud all over, especially on new Champ Sven Nys. I thought I’d start with this picture because it really does sum up a lot about why we all love cycling. Continue reading →
My name is Tim and I’m one of the founding members of VeloVoices. I’m the blog’s editor-in-chief, our resident stats and tactics analyst and I have a teensy-tiny man-crush on Mark Cavendish. When I’m not working on VeloVoices I have three kids and two other blogs to look after, so my natural state is one of sleep deprivation! Here are my ten wishes for 2013.
1. In common with many others, I’d like to see Pat McQuaid replaced as UCI president by someone credible who can be more than just a figurehead and who can operate effectively in the political minefield of international sports administration. I’m not sure who that person is, but it almost certainly isn’t a populist choice such as Greg LeMond or David Millar.
2. The 100th Tour de France to be a race worthy of both the occasion and the marvellous parcours which has been designed specifically for it. It’s up to the best riders in the world to give us a truly memorable spectacle now. I have every faith that they will.
3. Mark Cavendish and Peter Sagan to duke it out in the final metres of Milan-San Remo. No surprise that I’d be backing Cav to win, but I think 2013 will be the year SuperSagan wins (at least) one of the big one-day races, having finished second, third, fourth and fifth in Classics last year. I wouldn’t bet against him pulling on the rainbow jersey either. But I’m really looking forward to some heavyweight battles in the sprints this year, with Argos-Shimano’s Marcel Kittel and John Degenkolb snapping at the heels of Cav, Greipel, Sagan, Goss and co.
Wish 4: Would Schleck the Younger please realise his potential already? (image courtesy of Danielle Haex)
4. Andy Schleck to turn up to a race (a) without Frank [which, of course, may yet be enforced on him – Ed] and (b) with just a smidgen of Alberto Contador’s attacking flair, Mark Cavendish’s raging desire to win and Jens Voigt’s grit and determination. It is frankly ridiculous that he has a grand total of zero general classification victories on the road in stage races (having won the 2010 Tour retrospectively) – that’s one fewer than Cav, for God’s sake! I have no great love – indeed, no love at all – for Andy, but I hate to see great talent failing to live up to its potential. Schleck the Younger remains, quite categorically, a talent unfulfilled.
5. Much though I admire David Walsh and Paul Kimmage for fighting the good fight against Lance Armstrong and doping in general, I really do hope they stop being so bloody sanctimonious in dancing on his grave. Armstrong may have been their Watergate but I would hate them to be forever remembered solely for this one sorry tale. Let them go back to being simply great sporting journalists. They – and we – deserve better.
Wish 6: Riders! Twitter is fun! Really! Come on – Cav is doing it!
6. More riders joining Twitter. The world would be a poorer place without the honesty, humour and occasional outspokenness of the likes of Jens, Cav, Fabian and Kittel. And it brings the riders closer to us, the fans.
7. As my ‘home’ race, I want to see the Tour of Britain continue to build on its recent successes. It’s great to see our own national heroes such as Cav, Wiggo and 2012 winner Jonathan Tiernan-Locke performing at close quarters, but last year’s race also brought Samuel Sanchez and Ivan Basso to British shores. It’s all about the race continuing to build its reputation as a varied and challenging race, and continuing to attract bigger names. How cool would it be to see the Tour of Britain attain WorldTour status in the next few years?
Wish 7: That the Tour of Britain builds on its success (hosting such luminaries as Bernie here). AND Wish 8: Hoping Bernie will not be selfless *all* season and actually win a race or two for himself! (image courtesy of Francesca Starbuck)
8. A moment in the limelight for some of the riders who selflessly give everything in the service of others. Jens is an obvious example, but also the likes of Geraint Thomas, Bernie Eisel, Adam Hansen and Greg Henderson. Every faithful dog deserves to be thrown a bone every now and then.
9. Personally, to get to watch a race in the flesh, something I haven’t done for a few years now. That’s easier said than done given that I have three children aged five or under but cycling – as much as any and more than most – is a sport which is best experienced in person rather than watched on a TV.
10. No doping scandals. None. Zip. Nada. Well, I can wish, can’t I?
Funny, cruel, odd, personal … you get it all on Twitter. Each week, we’ll have a rundown of some of our favourite tweets. Here are the tweets for the week ending 23rd September 2012, although I fudged it a bit this week, due to the nature of the content.
Over the past week, we’ve had a cracking World Championships and have come away with worthy wearers of the rainbow jersey. We also have a number of riders climbing off their bikes to start enjoying their off-season and tweeting about their adventures in the real world. But in the Twittersphere, there was really only one subject that truly electrified cycling fans and that was the UCI‘s pending lawsuit against Paul Kimmage for defamation. If you don’t know the background, read this.
There are a number of tweeters who have been at the forefront of calling out the UCI – @millarmind, @UCI_Overlord and @velocast are the stars of this column, with healthy support from @PaulKimmage, @inrng, and @tourdejose, among others – and I’m pretty much giving over the column to them. If you aren’t following these people, you should. [Don’t forget @DavidWalshST too – Ed.] Whether you agree with them or not, this is the most important anti-doping issue in cycling and anyone who loves cycling needs to get informed now.
Let’s raise some money
Let’s start with the Kimmage Fund, which was set up to help offset his legal fees and has (at the time of writing) passed the $20,000 mark. For background on this, here is InnerRing explaining it all.
And in the most ironic case of the left hand not knowing what the right is doing, we have this little gem spotted by @dimspace, posted up on the official UCI Twitter feed.
David Millar calls out the UCI
David Millar has never been backwards about coming forwards and he was in full flow last week. (Here’s some background if you missed it.)
Velocast opens up a new front
The sartorially superior Scott O’Raw goes short and sweet on the velocast blog. Click that link now to see what we’re talking about.
(Sorry for the crappy split in the middle of this headline – my laptop screen wasn’t big enough to capture the whole screen grab. See what I have to work with?) [If you’re looking to buy a new laptop on expenses, tough luck. You emptied the expense account restocking the VeloVoices drinks trolley, remember? – Ed]
But what does it all mean? Scott and Derek from @flammecast work it out on the channel.
Who you callin’ nom de plume?
There was much exploration of legal options this week by the ‘Nom 5’ …
These tweets are, of course, the tip of the iceberg. And, again, whether you agree or not, it is imperative to read up on what is happening. If we want a clean sport, we need to fight for it. There are some who think that the debate raging on Twitter is just a bunch of idiots shouting their mouths off – and sometimes that’s a fair definition – but revolutions have started with much less. Whatever you do, get informed.
And now for something completely different
I am ending this column with my own little campaign … It was reported this week that My Beloved™ Fabian Cancellara had tried to break his contract with RadioShack but his lawyers couldn’t find a way (seriously, Fabs, put in something about moral turpitude next contract you sign, yeah?) and he wouldn’t/couldn’t stump up the approximate €1.65m to buy himself out. Well, I want that man out of his RadioShackles so I have a subtle and cunning plan. [And you say Tim’s man-crush on Cav is out of control? – Ed]
And on that note, I leave you for another week, tweeties. Oh, hey, Scott: meet you at the top of Bruges Tower: 1pm, 10th November.