Autumn Action - Part 2
Sir Bradley due the won the time trial in the Tour of Britain - and took over the gold jersey for the rest of the race. The challenge from Alex Dowsett in the TT never happened and it was Ian Stannard that provided the Team Sky with a reserve leader as a result. But the real bright spot for the future was a stage win, the best young rider prize and third overall by GB’s Simon Yates.
In Italy the trade team time trial provided a win for Omega Pharma and Tony Martin - but only just. According to the GPS tracking they approached the city centre finish with a good four seconds lead - but on the line they only managed to beat Orica Greenedge by 0.8 seconds. Despite this fade at the end Tony Martin remains the bookies favourite for Wednesday’s individual time trial - just ahead of Wiggins with Cancellara and Phinney as joint third favourites. [Extensive coverage this week on RAI Sport 2]
But the biggest race will, as usual, be the men’s elite road race. And here the betting is much more open. Today the riders with the most support were Cancellara, Sagan and reigning champion Gilbert - with Valverde, Nibali, Froome, Rodriguez and Moreno not far behind. But with such a long season it could well be that the least fatigued of the top-rank riders is the one that conquers the 272 km course and crosses the line first on Sunday.
But whoever wins the bike race they can expect to get their rainbow jersey from a newly elected UCI president - and the bookies are not giving odds on who that will be ...
Update: 14:00 27-Sep-2013
Brian Cookson has beaten current president Pat McQuaid by a surprisingly close 24 votes to 18 to become the new president of the UCI. The right outcome for the sport despite a series of last minute twists and turns by McQuaid in an attempt to cling to power. After the vote Cookson resigned from his role as British Cycling’s president and contacted the UCI’s headquarters staff to reassure them of their continued role. Hip, Hip, Hooray!
Back at the racing, favourite Tony Martin beat Wiggins and Cancellara for the predicted result in the elite men’s time trial. Just the road races to decide now in Italy ... but possibly some late night shredding back in Switzerland?
Despite the rain, the distance and the crashes the last lap of the World Championship circuit started with over 40 riders still in contention. But the final lap saw enough of a break-up to have just four riders with a chance in the final few kilometres. And in the desperate struggle to the finish line it was a first ever victory for Portugal as Rui Costa caught and then out lasted Joaquim Rodriguez in the final metres. With Valverde beating a shattered Nibali for third place it was an all Iberian podium line-up. Hard luck to Nibali who had an earlier crash and chase back - and also for Uran who crashed out heavily while with the leading four on the final lap.
In Spain Chris Horner looks set to achieve the highlight of his career with a hard-fought victory in the Vuelta. With today’s stage into Madrid being the traditional victory parade the leader’s red jersey looks safe on his shoulders.
Meanwhile in the Tour of Britain will start shortly in Scotland and provide plenty of local interest - despite the treats of rain and strong winds. But for the top riders it will be little more than training for the next big event - the world championships in Italy.
But apart from the actual racing Italy will also provide the next chapter in the political in-fighting for the UCI presidency. Sadly the much criticised Pat McQuaid is hanging on at all costs. And sticking to his unpleasant management style typified in this latest press release against Brian Cookson his low-key opponent - “It is already very clear that Brian is seeking a coronation instead of an election. Now he wants to become a ceremonial President ...” and “I appreciate that Brian has retired but the UCI can not reform its governance and management to accommodate his retirement plans or to facilitate being remunerated while keeping his feet up at home in Lancashire."
If McQuaid is re-elected - and probably by the votes of nations with little role in top-flight competition - then the end of the UCI as the sole world authority is surely just a matter of time.
Tour of Britain
The SweetSpot Group have today issued their provisional start list for this year’s Tour of Britain - due to start in 9 days time. The two big names for the UK fans, of course, are Wiggins and Cavendish and they certainly drew the numbers last year. The difference this year is that the Tour has a time trial, so setting up Sir Bradley for a crack at the overall and providing a warm-up for the Worlds that will then be just a week away.
With both Cancellara and Martin showing fine form in the current Tour of Spain Wiggins will need to be at his absolute best in Italy to have a chance of winning the world title. Indeed it will be interesting to see how he fares in the ToB against Alex Dowsett after being beaten by him in this year’s Tour of Italy. After a disappointing season for Sir Bradley it is hard to judge his current mental state. Is it give up on this season and start afresh in 2014 - or show everyone how good he can be?
Wiggins has never really shone in the previous British Tours - but this year he has the chance to make the headlines in his speciality. Let’s see how Tuesday the 17th turns out ...
The Junior Tour de France - the Tour de l’Avenir - rarely gets much mention (like the women’s races) but this time has been different with GB twins, Simon and Adam Yates taking first and second on Stage 5 into Morzine. Adam also took third place on Stage 4 while Simon won again on Stage 6 with Adam again third on yesterday’s final Stage 7. With Adam second and Simon tenth on the final GC - to Ruben Fernandez of Spain - parallels are already been made with triathlon’s Brownlee brothers.
Meanwhile the World Championships are becoming the main focus for some - especially the elite men’s time trial where Wiggins, Martin and, possibly, Cancellara are all aiming for victory. And after Martin’s epic solo break in the Vuelta this week everyone else is going to have go some to beat him. The men’s TT comes in the middle of the world championship week to be held this year in Italy. And if you want to watch the main road races on the climb of the Via Salviati in Florence it will cost you 100 euros for a three day pass - standing room only!
ps The IOC have recently announced "The programme for the 2016 Rio Games will be the same as the 2012 London Games regarding events and disciplines in cycling." So the UCI’s attempt at diversion from their bigger problems simply adds to their sliding credibility.
McQuaid Sees No Problems in Another Term
Even though the rank and file confidence in the UCI in general and Pat McQuaid in particular are at all-time low; El Presidente is fighting to keep his post for a third term.
With various online polls showing 80% or more of cycling fans against his re-election it is clear that any popular vote would be clear cut. But that’s not the way it works. And just to make sure some friendly national associations have submitted rule changes that can only benefit one person - Mr McQuaid - if approved. Despite this need for approval the UCI President seems to have already taken the proposals as passed. Perhaps he knows something that we don’t.
The fact that these sudden rule changes come via Malaysia, with backing from Thailand and Morocco, without any prior discussion certainly looks like an attempt at vote rigging. Especially when the federations in question are not major international players and lack the numbers of cycling members to justify them making fundamental changes to the UCI’s election process.
Given the strength of the opposition it is a surprise that McQuaid would still want to cling to power. Clearly he feels unable resign with dignity - even though the situation is getting steadily worse. Now many are assuming that he, and possibly Hein Verbruggen, has fears that someone new taking over could expose facts that he would like kept secret.
With key figures in both Russia and the USA already denouncing these latest rule changes and Pat McQuaid’s candidacy in general you would think that he has no hope of another term. But don’t be surprised if lots of cycling federations you have never heard of vote McQuaid’s way come September.
[Apologies for bring up cycling politics during the racing season - but too much is happening to ignore it until October]
Now that the national championships have been decided the riders and fans are preparing to travel to Corsica for start of the 100th Tour de France on Saturday. And again we have a British rider amongst the favourites. The final team line-ups will not really be confirmed until the team presentations on Thursday (watch them on Rai Sport 2 from 18:25 local time - via satellite and, possibly, web streaming) - but there are not likely to be changes at this late stage.
Clearly Team Sky’s Chris Froome will get the most attention starting as both favourite and the first British wearer of dossard number 1. So that alone is enough to put him in the record books. But can the Brits really expect to go from not having any TdF winners to having two in two years? Well the hope is certainly there - as the betting on Froome shows - and with a British grand depart booked for 2014 there might just be that extra incentive. Sticking with the Brits it will be hard for Mark Cavendish to keep winning stages as more new sprinters emerge. His chances of taking the green jersey - to go with his GB RR one from today - look slim; especially if Sagan can repeat the form of 2012. However if Mark can win stage 1 then that will be extra motivation to keep fighting all the way. To win again on the Champs-Elysees must be a realistic conclusion.
Looking at the other favourites - Alberto Contador, Joaquim Rodriguez and Alejandro Valverde together form a strong challenge for another Spanish victory in Paris. It’s only Ritchie Porte and Cadel Evans for Australia with Tejay Van Garderen for the USA and Nairo Quintana for Colombia that seem to have a real chance of taking a podium place from the Spaniards - and Froome of course ... more at Tour-Racing
It’s the second rest day and Chris Froome has exceeded all expectations. Yesterday’s solo win at the top of Mont Ventoux was not only a great stage victory - but it showed his challengers that the remaining climbs are not going to be to their advantage. And for me, Froome’s win at this particular place completed a story that had been left unfinished since that fateful day in 1967. Tom would have been proud to have been there.
Is The Big Cheese Past Its Use-by Date?
Mr McQuaid’s eight year residency in Switzerland may be coming to an end as more voices start to question his suitability for a third term as UCI President. His initial endorsement by Ireland was subsequently suspended and his next endorsement by Switzerland has, this week, been the subject of complaints by federation members. With a Swiss Cycling arbitration tribunal case expected - sometime - it feels like the national cycling federations have just woken up to the fact they could be dragged into some serious, and expensive, litigation if they get too close.
This whole sorry story may well continue until the scheduled election in September - but there is always the chance that Mr McQuaid will go - or be pushed - sooner. That might just save a little of the UCI’s much reduced credibility. But as Brian Cookson has said “The passion I and many others have for cycling cannot hide the fact that our international body, the UCI, remains hugely distracted, continuing to flounder in waves of damaging historical controversies”.
The Irish Cycling Federation members have voted 91 to 74 against the nomination of Pat McQuaid as their candidate - so reversing the decision made, then suspended, by the federation board members. This seriously weakens Mr McQuaid’s chances of winning a third term as UCI President. It also casts doubts on the Irish board’s ability to accurately represent the views of its member clubs - and puts the Swiss federation under the spotlight if they continue backing a candidate who lacks the support of his home federation. The threat of a messy, and expensive, legal wrangle has just increased.
The Big Names Prepare
With just a month to go to the start of the Tour de France in Corsica any rider wanting to make headlines - and money - is busy in preparation; either through public racing or private training. But now there is the news that Bradley Wiggins will not be on the Team Sky start list. Today’s team announcement cited a knee problem arising from the Giro. So with Uran never a possible starter it is Chris Froome that should have a clear run as the undisputed, if low-key, team leader at the Tour.
Now there are already cynics saying that Sir Bradley’s injury is just an excuse put out by the team to avoid internal team conflicts during cycling’s biggest world showcase. But that seems more like a conspiracy theory from people with no first hand knowledge. More likely Wiggins has had his mental outlook badly affected by his experiences at the Giro. Nothing went right, the weather was terrible and even Eddy Merckx commented “He's ridden the past few days like a novice on the downhills ... he has no confidence”. After a great 2012 this year needs to be a time to refocus.
For me Wiggins is a rider in the style of Ferdi Bracke; the Belgian pro who mainly rode for Peugeot during the 1960s and 70s. For those who don’t know - Ferdi was a great pursuiter and time trialist who combined two world pursuit titles and the world hour record with winning the 1971 Vuelta and taking 3rd in 1968 Tour de France. His weakness, however, was in handling tough weather on difficult roads - especially descents in the rain.
So British hopes for a Tour victory now rest solely with Froome (?) - just like last year’s Vuelta. Let’s hope Chris can do better than his fourth there and that second to Wiggins in the 2012 TdF - but if not then we should be able to rely on Mark Cavendish to liven-up the sprints.
With the Dauphiné being used these days as a guide for the TdF the pundits have been watching for any favourites to reveal their strengths - or weaknesses. Today’s time trial was supposed to be the stage where Froome would put some time into the other GC contenders. But Tony Martin came back from sickness to win the stage with Australia’s Rohan Dennis just 47 second behind -and taking the leader’s jersey. So now Team Sky have four riders (Froome, Boasson Hagen, Porte & Thomas) in the first six on GC, all within 1 minute, making Froome just one of a group of potential victors. However the Tour prospects for Alberto Contador took a hit as he struggled through the stage and was caught by Ritchie Porte for two minutes. With Alejandro Valverde and Joaquim Rodriguez both posting similar times to Contador this year’s Spanish stars look like being less of a treat in the 2013 Tour - but then there are still over three weeks to go ...
At the finish of the Dauphiné just a few minutes ago Chris Froome confirmed that he has the form to be a top challenger in this year’s Tour de France. Looking back at the historic Team Sky and the British victories in this race we have -
In 2011 it was 1. Bradley Wiggins (Sky): 2. Cadel Evans (BMC) at 1:26 and 3. Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) at 1:49
In 2012 it was 1. Bradley Wiggins (Sky); 2. Michael Rogers (Sky) at 1:17" and 3. Cadel Evans (BMC) at 1:26 with 4. Christopher Froome (Sky) at 1:45
Now in 2013 it is 1. Christopher Froome (Sky); 2. Ritchie Porte (Sky) at 0:58 and 3. Daniel Moreno (Katusha) at 2:12
So Froome’s advantage over the second placed rider was a bit less than either of the victories of Wiggins - but that was (again) over a team mate. The winning margin over other teams’ riders was more than Sir Bradley acheived either year. A good indicator for the Grande Boucle?
This outcome means that Britain now has five victories in this race. And let’s hope Britain’s first winner, Brian Robinson in 1961, does get the honour of starting the Tour de France in Leeds next year - irrespective of who wins the 2014 Dauphiné.
Grand Tour Time in Italy
Tomorrow sees the start of the Giro d’Italia in Naples with Bradley Wiggins as the favourite - ahead of Nibali and last year’s winner Hesjedal. Now Wiggins may start favourite but the Giro is very different to the Tour - and unlike the modern Tour de France the home nation always does well. In fact Hesjedal, Menchov and Contador were the only non-Italians to win over the last 16 years.
Today’s Betting - 2013 Giro
B Wiggins 10/11
V Nibali 2/1
R Hesjedal 7/1
S Sanchez 18/1
M Santambrogio 33/1
C Evans 33/1
S Henao 33/1
M Scarponi 33/1
R Gesink 40/1
C Betancur 50/1
F Pellizotti 50/1
R Uran 66/1
R Kiserlovski 80/1
B Intxausti 80/1
Plus the route does not give Sir Bradley an easy start; with his speciality - the time trial - not coming until the second Saturday [stage 8]. Hopefully Sky will do well in the early team time trial [stage 2] and so put the whole team in a good position for the hills of stages 3, 4 and 7. But considering just how difficult it is for any rider to get safely to the end of a grand tour - let alone win - the odds-on quote for Wiggins seems disappointing.
If he does take the prize in Brescia in three weeks time that will go down as another British first - but doing that then completing the Tour de France double may be a bridge too far. But one step at a time - first we have three weeks of streaming / TV to get through.
On stage one Mark Cavendish avoided the crashes to achieve his objectives of a stage win and becoming the first to wear the Paul Smith design of Maglia Rosa. This puts Mark career results up to 11 Giro and 37 Grand Tour stage victories - even though there only a few chances to add more on this year’s Giro route.
On stage two Team Sky put in a great ride to give them all the top five places on GC going into the hills tomorrow. It also means that Nibali is already at 14 seconds behind Wiggins (and the Sky climbers) before the race gets really serious. Meanwhile Garmin-Sharp’s self-proclaimed TTT heritage did not help much and they had to settle for 7th place - so leaving Hesjedal 25 seconds down on GC.
However it is not all plain sailing. The number of crashes on stage one were the usual cause for concern - but Sky also seem to be having repeated problems with their gears. Certainly Sir Bradley made the national news with his bike problems in the Giro del Trentino just a few weeks ago. Some earlier reports said that Sky were still using mechanical Shimano Dura Ace groupsets but the Trentino failure was put down to electronics. Is this true or is there some other issue with the Shimano transmission?
more at Tour-Racing ...
All the Giro news as been published and analysed by now .. so it’s time to look forward to the Tour de France.
Ireland Returns for a Classics Victory
It’s 24 years since Sean Kelly last won Liege-Bastogne-Liege - and Dan Martin added to this past Irish success with a fine victory in the oldest and final Spring Classic for 2013. And he had enough seconds in hand to celebrate - beating both Joaquim Rodriguez (at 3 secs) and Alejandro Valverde; who lead home a three man group at 9 seconds down. [If you missed it then it’s on Eurosport again on Monday morning]
Meanwhile the British domestic racing was headed by the big field lined-up for the Rutland – Melton International CiCLE Classic. No less than 34 teams entered from as far away as Azerbaijan and Paraguay. And even though the Paraguayan team leader looked strong through out the race-long break in the end it was Ian Wilkinson that took the victory from Ian Bibby and Eric Berthou. Photos on flickr
Classic Classics and the Rain in Spain
With the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix behind us we are in the middle of season of spring classics - and, despite the cold, the racing so far has been excellent; with Paris-Roubaix living up to its reputation especially well. It was lacking the mud but otherwise it was complete; right down to the traditional battle on the track between the tired and dirty survivors. This year it needed all of Fabian Cancellara’s reserves to win the dramatic sprint from Sep Vanmarcke by just centimetres. Possible British contender, Ian Stannard, finished 51st at 3 and a half minutes down. And it was good to see Russell Downing make it to the finish within the cut, along with Luke Rowe.
Meanwhile the mid-week racing in Spain - Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco - was a terrible trial of long, rain soaked days up and down too many hills. In the end the Sky duo of Sergio Luis Henao and Richie Porte lost their chances of overall victory to Nairo Alexander Quintana of Moviestar in the final time trial. Conditions were such that only 70 riders out of 161 starters made it to the final tt stage
But the week’s unsung hero was Team GB’s Tao Geoghegan Hart who took third place in the Junior Paris-Roubaix to maintain Britain’s excellent record at this level. And we do need to nurture our junior talent - since Cavendish, Wiggins and co. will not be able to carry the nation’s hopes for ever.
The Cycling Gods Are Still Angry
The terrible cycling weather in Europe continues as today’s Milan-San Remo riders get bussed over the Turchino Pass - due to the snow! Some are saying that it’s because the race has been moved from its Saturday slot thus breaking a tradition of over 100 years. [But then I’m sure the Met Office will soon be telling us that it’s been the warmest spring on record!]. Now it’s time to catch some live TV action - while wondering how this shortening of the route will effect the final run into San Remo.
Update: Great to see Ian Stannard leading a 7 man group under the 1km banner - after being away with Chavanel on the Poggio. But in the end it was Gerald Ciolek who out-sprinted favourite Sagan and past winner Cancellara for the first classic of 2013.
Still No Spring as Riders Suffer
As predicted the snow was a problem for K-B-K and it was cancelled. But that was over two weeks ago and the poor weather is still making racing in Europe even harder than normal. And not just in the north - rain and snow have been all too frequent at races in Spain, France and Italy as well.
But the weather did not stop Richie Porte from becoming the first Australian to win Paris-Nice last Sunday - and so repeating Team Sky’s victory in 2012. Then it looked like Chris Froome was heading for a double Sky victory over in the Tirreno-Adriatico. But that was before yesterday’s terrible stage - where the combination of cold, rain and too many climbs put Froome some 34 sec down on Vincenzo Nibali going into the final time trial today. At least 50 riders retired yesterday forcing the organisers to issue an apology. Hopefully the weather will improve in time for Milan-San Remo this weekend and the Belgian classics starting 22-March.
Meanwhile the UCI has been conducting an open survey under the heading Express your opinion, contribute to “A Bright Future for Cycling”. But it closes on 15-March-2013 so you will have to move quickly to submit your views. However other bids for power are still bubbling away - so the UCI may end up being sidelined.
More Winter than Spring as Classics start
It was around 0 degrees in Ghent for the start of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad - the beginning of the hard races of Northern Europe. But in the end it was riders from warmer climates that ran out the winners. Luca Paolini, the Italian on Team Katusha, out sprinted breakaway companion Stijn Vandenbergh to take victory - and show the UCI that his team is good enough for the top division. Sky’s Geraint Thomas was fourth. Meanwhile in the women’s race Australia’s Tiffany Cromwell (Orica-AIS) had 3 seconds lead at the finish over Megan Guarnier of the USA.
Tomorrow the weather could get worse with snow predicted for Sunday’s Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne - where Mark Cavendish is one of the pre-race favourites.
Irish Start for the 2014 Giro?
Rumours are circulating that Thursday (21-Feb-2013) will see an announcement by RCS Sport that the starting stages of the 2014 Giro d'Italia will be based in Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic. If correct this would put the Irish start two months before the Leeds start of the 2014 Tour de France.
The 2014 Giro d’Italia will start in Belfast on Saturday 10-May and be in Dublin by Monday 12-May - but the details of the stages have yet to be worked out. Apparently one of the problems is “.. the new UCI regulation barring Grand Tours from having rest days during the opening week”. This begs the question as why the UCI have now introduced a rule that restricts the format of just three specific races. Given the UCI’s weak position they would be better advised to let the race organisers get on with planning the race formats themselves. To quote Giro organiser Michele Acquarone “I’m not saying the UCI works badly ... I’ll just say that there’s a problem ...”
Brits Grab Headlines - 2013 Starts Like 2012
Now for some better news - British riders are winning at the start of the 2013 season just like the start of the exceptional 2012. Not only has Mark Cavendish been racking up stage wins but Chris Froome has now won his first stage race; after being so close before. And victory was that much more appreciated since it was ahead of Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans in ASO’s Tour of Oman.
UCI Takes More Hits
Yesterday the UCI dropped the Tour of Hangzhou from its WorldTour calendar (below) and apparently the race is not going ahead at all; since the Tour of Beijing will now start on the 11th of October instead of the 16th. Also yesterday AFLD (the French Anti-doping Authority) declined to handle this year’s Paris-Nice testing - citing the UCI's "serious mistakes that have been previously identified and on which all the light has not yet been shed" as the reason.
Today the UCI has been overruled again - this time by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS). They have upheld the appeal by Team Katusha that they should have a UCI WorldTour licence - after the UCI downgraded them to Pro Continental status earlier. Details of exactly why the UCI’s decision was overruled by CAS will be published later - but already the credibility of the UCI seems to be going downhill at increasing speed. Train wreck ahead?
Dateline: 4-Feb-2013 - Updated: 15-Feb-2013
The UCI’s latest management meeting has proposed adding the track points race, BMX freestyle and mountain bike eliminator events (for both men and women) to the Rio 2016 Olympics. Bringing back the points race would be a step in the right direction - but BMX freestyle would be a joke; especially when the number of athletes will still be restricted. This rule has already stopped track racing having some of the highest ranked cyclists even being in the Olympic competition. Dropping all BMX would save building one (or now two?) cycling venues and allow more track competitors. And there are still no signs that the individual pursuit or the 1,000 / 500 metres will ever return - despite the petition given to McQuaid, by the sport’s grassroots, years ago. Yet no one has been reported as petitioning for BMX freestyle ...
But this news was just a diversion from the big issue - the UCI’s credibility. Brian Cookson, BC president and UCI management committee member, apparently told Cyclingnews.com that he was fully supportive of the UCI’s current leadership. However the fans at the Louisville World Cyclo-cross championships last weekend certainly gave Pat McQuaid the thumbs down. And since Cookson was also fully supportive of the Tour de France starting in Edinburgh his backing may be of little comfort to McQuaid and Verbruggen.
Another Year - Another Problem
It’s the end of January and the first European road races are already here. Meanwhile the first of the stage races are completed in Southern Hemisphere and the first ranking points of the year decided. So a typical start to the new season - especially now that the UCI have messed things up again.
The war between WADA and the UCI has continued unabated over the winter. And yesterday Pat McQuaid was forced to announce the closure of the UCI’s Independent Commission after WADA refused to play ball. So that’s three more, high profile, figures (Sir Philip Otton, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and Malcolm Holmes QC) who will be less than impressed by the current - and seemingly permanent - UCI leadership. (Update - the UCI IC web site has now disappeared)
The response from WADA - reported on cyclingnews.com - was "WADA is dismayed by the press release issued by UCI yesterday, both in terms of its content and its deceit" - and - "WADA has not and will not consider partaking in any venture with UCI while this unilateral and arrogant attitude continues".
Late last night cyclingnews.com reported a shot back from the UCI - Mc Quaid “I am very saddened that it has come to this, but I cannot allow the latest blatant and aggressive misrepresentations contained in WADA’s most recent press release to go unchallenged" - and - “I would therefore urge the President of WADA one more time to try to set his personal vendetta and crusade against cycling aside and to support the UCI in doing what is right for cycling”.
And then later we had Lance Armstrong saying “Pat [McQuaid] is just in constant CYA (Cover Your Ass) mode. Pathetic.”
Meantime a journalist who has interviewed some involved in the saga comments “Pat McQuaid has surrounded himself with a new cadre of advisers charged with whispering wisdom to a crumbling leader. Enrico Carpani, who has worked hard as the UCI communications liaison for over a decade has been outmanoeuvred and is set to leave.” - and - “Of course we all know that the UCI disbanded their commission but behind the scenes the reality of politics is somewhat different. The commission was within days of resigning and McQuaid and his cohorts merely jumped the gun ..”
Where will it all end? Who knows? It could turn into a long-running and very expensive struggle that could bankrupt the UCI - and leave a re-structured UEC responsible for Europe. But the racing has started again so the politics can take a back seat ... for the fans at least.
Griepel has already won the warm-up - so now see what the local press has to say as the first big event of the 2013 Road Season kicks off in Adelaide, South Australia ...
Lance as calculating as ever with Oprah
By now you will have already seen and read as much as you can stomach about Lance Armstrong’s corrupt career. Looking at my personal Tour photos, a row of Armstrong Tour DVDs and the stack of magazines with him making headlines makes me feel that I, like every other fan, have their own personal injury claim against him. One that will never get to court but which is still deeply felt. If Armstrong does ever make it back into any level of sport then he is likely to get much more than a few choice words from other competitors and spectators. Hopefully there will be nothing too violent - but there is always the chance of a random nutter.
Adelaide can be hot in January - but this year it is looking hotter than ever. And with the Tour Down Under just two weeks away many European riders will be already in Australia getting in some sunny training miles. Looking out on a damp grey morning in Europe makes the prospect of riding in the sunshine very appealing - but you can have too much of a good thing.
Checking the web site of the main Adelaide newspaper showed that the Adelaide area weather forecast for the next 5 days has highs of 36, 41, 38, 37 and 40 degrees centigrade and, of course, no rain to cool things down. It also carried a story that a German tourist had died while out walking in 40 degree heat in Victoria; a “cooler” place than South Australia! So let’s hope that the heat moderates before race day - or else some stages may have to be cut-back or started early.
Great Choice for 2013?
The UCI have approved something similar to this as their mascot for the 2013 World Championships ;-)
The UCI have today confirmed that the following Road Worlds will be at Ponferrada, Spain - 20 to 28 September 2014 “.. on the condition that remaining guarantees are forthcoming”.
2013 UCI World Tour Road Races
Here is a quick summary of the headline races for 2013 - this one being taken from the UCI World Tour list. The only changes when compared to the 2012 calendar are the addition of the Tour of Hangzhou, San Sebastian moving to July and Lombardia moving back to October. The Spanish races that were in doubt in 2012 have made it into the 2013 calendar.
The World Championships are in the Italy this year from 22 to 29 September. The European season again opens with the Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise on 27 January. The only UK mens events are the Rutland Melton International CiCLE Classic (21 April), RideLondon Classic (4 August) and Tour of Britain (15 to 22 September) - one more than 2012. (But again no womens events to match the ranking of the GP of Wales in 2005!).
22.01.2013 27.01.2013 Santos Tour Down Under
03.03.2013 10.03.2013 Paris - Nice
06.03.2013 12.03.2013 Tirreno-Adriatico
18.03.2013 24.03.2013 Volta Ciclista a Catalunya
22.03.2013 E3 Harelbeke
24.03.2013 Gent - Wevelgem
31.03.2013 Ronde van Vlaanderen / Tour des Flandres
01.04.2013 06.04.2013 Vuelta Ciclista al Pais Vasco
07.04.2013 Paris - Roubaix
14.04.2013 Amstel Gold Race
17.04.2013 La Flèche Wallonne
21.04.2013 Liège - Bastogne - Liège
23.04.2013 28.04.2013 Tour de Romandie
04.05.2013 26.05.2013 Giro d'Italia
02.06.2013 09.06.2013 Critérium du Dauphiné
08.06.2013 16.06.2013 Tour de Suisse
29.06.2013 21.07.2013 Tour de France
27.07.2013 Clasica Ciclista San Sebastian
27.07.2013 03.08.2013 Tour de Pologne
12.08.2013 18.08.2013 Eneco Tour
24.08.2013 15.09.2013 Vuelta a España
25.08.2013 Vattenfall Cyclassics
01.09.2013 GP Ouest France - Plouay
13.09.2013 Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
15.09.2013 Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
05.10.2013 Giro di Lombardia
09.10.2013 13.10.2013 Tour of Hangzhou
16.10.2013 20.10.2013 Tour of Beijing