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Showing posts from March, 2011

Videos of the day: Freddy's Ghent-Wevelgems

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While we're on the theme of being 'much more than a sprinter', here's a bit of an hors-d'oeuvre for Sunday's upcoming Gand-Wevelgem, wielersuppporters:  Freddy Maertens slaying the greatest in 1975 and 1976.  


Yesterday we woke to a light snow dusting here in Rhode Island.  Winter is going out kicking and screaming.  A scheduled hour and a half of power intervals shifted indoors on the trainer for me though, so deduct 10 flahute points from my season total.  Suffering a-bloc inside still counts though, doesn't it?

The Gent-Wevelgem1975 race (short clip below) was held just during/after a similar snowstorm, with the peloton racing over the Kemmelberg.   Descending the cobbled Kemmel after a coating of snow?   One shudders to think about doing that.  In recent years they debated taking it out of the course completely cited as too dangerous...even with radios ;)    How'd they do it back in 1975?  Maybe those old steel bikes and spoked wheels handled bett…

Nuyens' Dwaars Door Vlaanderen

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Nice to see Nick Nuyens take a hard-earned win today in the Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

The Saxo Bank man forged, and then did most of the work in the escape during the final 20k or so.  And despite all that work, still having enough juice to out-sprint the very rapid Gerraint Thomas with the bunch breathing down your  neck at only 5 sec back with 2k to go never easy.

A well needed victory for Bjarne's boyz.   I read things in the press that said Nick didn't have the stuff to be a classics leader for Saxo Bank.   And that it was 'over' as top team for Saxo Bank after the defections.

Well, today Nuyens proved both premises false.   First, he was smart enough to go just as Spartacus was ending a massive surge.  Then once away, Cancellara and the Garmin boys were all trying to pull back his escape, but none of the classic-king horses could bring him back.

Nuyens has been on podium in Tour of Flanders before, so being off the front in the Flemish Ardennes is clearly familiar…

A San Remo to Savor

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Whew, what a weekend.

8am Saturday was time for TTT time trial training with my new BikeWorks -Flandria teammates.   53x16, 15 rotating for about an 1.5 hrs on a windy 4.5 mile circuit.  Pulse on the upper limit several times.  Well to be more accurate, almost always on the upper limit.  What I'd originally programmed as an 'over-unders' day turned into what fellow flahute Dr. Brad more accurately described as 'over-overs!'

Good hard training though.  Pace line work is still as fun at 50 as it was when I was 20.  Some of the guys were pretty strong.  Tom and Joe in particular were true beasts toward the end.  Good guys, good company.

Sunday afternoon saw a long hilly training ride in Rhode Island's Blackstone valley on an undulating loop from Lincoln Woods I nicknamed the 'Rik van Bastard' about a decade ago.  Why?  Because it's as 'haaahd as a baastid' as we like to say in Boston.  Up and down every steep hill you can string together in t…

A photo for St. Patrick's Day

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Despite all evidence to the contrary, I'm here to report the Celtic Tiger is alive and well.

March 17 requires a photo of the quintessential Celtic tiger - Stephen Roche.  This one was taken in the '83 Tour de France, his first.   You've just got to admire the relaxed perched, split fingered hand position on the levers.   The early vitus-carbon Peugeot too.   I think this picture was the from the mountain TT to Morzine-Avoriaz.   Best part is the fighting Irish snarl.  


I did my best to imitate it this morning during six, all out 3 minute power intervals.  Went to my absolute limit on each one.  I didn't look anywhere near this good, but can relate to the expression.   I've earned a pint today, off to the pub.

Happy St. Patrick's day wielersupporters.  Slainte!

Quote of the day from the godfather

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"The problem today is how to be persuasive when we ask our kids to struggle. This is the key to everything. Cycling isn't a sport like others, it's not a game: it's sacrifice, sweat and blood. With the bike you can find treasure, but to stimulate a child to look for it is more and more difficult. How do you get them to understand the value of labor?"

"Because today we live by playing, even as adults. Playing with mobile phones, sending millions of useless messages, we play games on the computer, in front of the television and on the internet. Football is a game that pulls well in a society like this. Most other sports are games. Cycling is something profoundly different: It is a way of life."



   Alfredo Martini, Interviewed in Cycling Pro, May 2010

The Radio Cup Final: Which side are you on? Take the survey.

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"Don't scab for the bosses, don't listen to their lies..us poor folks haven't got a chance unless we organize."   
"Which side are you on?  Which side are you on?"
The Dropkick Murphys

It's time to choose your side wielersupporters.

Rumor on the street today is that the AIGCP and UCI have decided to have a football match - some say it will be a real rumble - this Sunday after the Paris-Nice final stage ends to settle, once and for all, the interminable race radio debate.  Winner take all.

Starting line ups for the two sides have been secretly released to Flandria Cafe  this morning.  Here's our exclusive match preview:


'UCI-Killed-The-Radio-Store' (Geico) Wearing red shirts featuring the Geico caveman in homage to Jens Voigt's taunt that they 'want to bring cycling back into the stone age', this team of dogged traditionalists favoring the radio ban has a definite celtic ethnic slant and francophone flavor.

Appropriately, they&…

Photos of the day: Hugo

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While we're on the theme from yesterday's post, here's some more old Hugo Koblet photos.













The ordeal is almost over:  The victorious Swiss team smiles on the final stage of the '51 Tour.  From left, Gottfried Weilenmann, Leo Weilenmann, Hugo Koblet, Marcel Huber, Georges Aeschlimann.




Hugo Koblet and Fausto Coppi climbing in the 1951 Tour de France.

Fausto had just lost his brother Serse in the weeks leading up to the Tour, and was literally riding through a nightmare.  He'd lost a ton of time, but later came onto form in the Alps, winning the stage into Briancon.

For Coppi, the fact that he was 'let go' by the peloton because he was about 50 minutes or so behind on GC was a humiliation that would simmer all winter, fueling his 1952 Tour domination.




















Hugo kept his Tour form through to early September, dominating the '51 Grand Prix des Nations Time Trial, 1'42" ahead of Coppi.  

Back then, the Nations was an approximately 140k time trial.  Have…

Must see film: 'Hugo Koblet, The Pedaleur of Charm'

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Late last year, a new Swiss film was released about the life of Hugo Koblet: the Swiss champion of the fifties they 'called the pedaleur of charm'.  It's now out on DVD.

Most of you wielersupporters likely know Koblet's icarus-esque story.  He was the proverbial shooting star.  A boy who came from neutral Switzerland after WWII and used the reference of early 6 day track successes (including one in Chicago where he fell in love with the USA and taught himself English) to rocket to iconic wins in the 1950 Giro d'Italia, and 1951 Tour de France.  More career detail here, here and here.

His 1951 Tour de France win included what the French Velo magazine readers ranked as  one of the one of the 'top 5 greatest escapes' in Tour history.

It was the stage from Brive to Agen.  A hot day in la France profonde, in more ways than one.  Not a mountain stage, but plenty hard enough.   Hugo rolled off the front solo with 140k to go, riding easily on the tops.  Behind, the …