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Showing posts from May, 2011

Photo of the day: Pollentier in the '77 Giro.

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Style, schmyle.    It's overrated.


Case in point.  Flandria's Michel Pollentier in the '77 Giro.   Team leader out with broken wrist, the man from Nieuwport just stepped up and took command.    Pollentier may not have looked very good on a bike- sitting sideways, kness sticking out, lots of upper body movement.   But he had the fitness and the motor to make the thing go.

Some say his success was chemically induced.  I'm inclined to believe it came from riding all winter into the wind off the nordzee, and marathon cyclocross sessions in the dunes with Freddy Maertens.

Lake Sunapee Road Race Report

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I always liked the Lake Sunapee Road Race.   It's a new England classic - a race that's been held since the mid seventies.   The 23 mile loop on rolling hills around a beautiful New Hampshire lake is a superbe venue for a race, and the Lake Sunapee bicycle club that puts it on does a great job.   The race used to be a fixture at the end of August, where it served as the New England Road Racing championships.   Now it's held mid-May, but still gets a good turnout.

For me, Lake Sunapee has been the scene of both success and disappointment over the years.  It's a circuit I know like the back of my hand, and know that it's one you can't get a result on unless your form is pretty good.  But on the other hand, it's one where the hills aren't so difficult that a sprinter can't hang on and maybe do something.   Good all around course, with a little something for every kind of rider.  I've seen climbers win there, rouleurs and sprinters.   Makes it inte…

Photo of the day: L'Equipe Tricolore 'Les Judas'

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Cool photo of the French national selection for the Tour de France, 1958.  Those classic jerseys, like flags.  Le Coq Sportif used to make them up for all the Tour teams back in the days when the Tour was contested by national selections.   There's a good story around this one...


Let's meet the guys!  Front seat, well, that's for the leaders:  From left, three time (53,54, 55)  winner Louison Bobet (back after missing the Tour for a few years) Jacques Anquetil (the 57 winner), D.S. Marcel Bidot, Andre Darrigade (multi green jersey winning sprinter).  2nd Row: Roger Walkowiak ('56 winner, still getting 2nd billing and no respect), Louis Bergaud, Francis Pipelin, Jean Stablinski.  3rd row: Joseph Groussard, Gilbert Bauvin (2nd in 56), Rene Privat.  4th row: Jean Forestier, Francois Mahe.

The smiles masque the brouhaha and intrigue that surrounded this selection, for this French national squad's destiny was to be most impacted by the star rider who wasn't in the ca…

RIP Wouter.

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Today was an ice cold shower.  A reminder of just how dangerous our sport can be.

Wouter Weylants is overleden.   Tragic.  There's not much more I can say.

I'm embarrassed to admit I didn't really know much about Wouter's career.  I don't know much more than the fact that he was a great, selfless teammate of Tommeke on Quick Step for many years, a man who could win sprints himself when let loose to do so.   I knew he'd joined Leopard Trek this year.  And that he was a man who always seemed to have a smile on his face.

I just finished watching a distraught Michel Wuyts and Karl Vannieuwekere on Sporza paying tributes.   Both guys - my favorite commentators -are real enthusiasts who live for the sport.  Both looked a little in shock and pain.  

I don't have words suitable, but read Johan Bruyneel's blog post here.  He puts it perfectly I think.

After the high of 2011's super spring for Belgian cycling ... with a near clean sweep of the classics by N…

Grossglockner, the Giro and Gaul.

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The Giro d'Italia this year looks like it's going to be one of the hardest editions in recent memory.   Angelo Zomegnan and co. have put together a route seemingly with more killer climbs than any Grand Tour in recent memory.

Monsters like Etna, Zoncolan, Fedaia, Giau, Nevegal, Finestre, Sestriere - and the newly discovered Monte Crostis all will doubtless provide launching pads to a festivale scalatore that has most of us cycling fans licking our chops in anticipation.  Some of these climbs are veterans of the Giro, and some are recent discoveries over the past few seasons.  The melange is a potentially explosive mix.  Alberto Contador has been quoted that this will be his hardest Grand Tour yet, expressing open worry about the Monte Crostis - Zoncolan combo.   A bevy of super climbing challengers with nothing to lose, and bearing names like Rodriguez, Scarponi, Anton, and Nibali, are all teeing up to take a tilt at the campionissimo from Pinto.   If you love climbing battle…

A confession from Blue Hill Pack Fill

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That's what I was today wielersupporters.  Unabashed pack fill, but happy to finally see the finish of a race in the main group.
That should get an asterisk though.  After all, the 42 mile Blue Hills road race isn't exactly what one would call 'selective'... a nice seven mile circuit around the Blue Hill reservation just outside Boston, with a winding, moderately uphill finish.   Big ring all the way around.  Sprinters race, fast.    Still, I'm satisfied with being pack filler today - a concept that goes against the grain for me.
But sometimes you need to be realistic.  I came into today 0-for-3 in staying with the pack so far this season.  And even worse, this race came after a week of no (yes that's no, as in 'zero') riding.   After the apocalypse formerly-known-as-the-Quabbin-road-race last Saturday, I got, as we say in Boston, 'wicked sick'.   Wasted.   Fever, aches, night sweats, stomach bug... you name it.     Compounded by a very busy week …