Saturday, December 24, 2011

MARK CAVENDISH MBE

2011 is all but over but there is still time for more plaudits to arrive at Mark’s door ! After all the achievements of 2011 what can he do in 2012 that will move the “ goal Posts ” further ?



Winning the Green Jersey of the Tour de France would be enough for most Cycle Racers but he has put in the work and thus conquered the Road Race World Championship and then took the victory at the Olympic Road Race trial event !

After the announcement of the demise of HTC high road Team most of the racers signed on with other teams but Mark bided his time and thus created a suspense filled with speculation on which team would win the race for his signature . Previous commitments to sponsors would have been part of the reason for the delayed announcement but the eventual decision in favour of “ Sky ” has been greeted with favour by his new team mates . Quite rightly they have recognised the “ added value ” that he brings to the team . Some people are able to motivate others to raise their sights and Mark is one of those individuals .

Normally the person wearing the World Champions Jersey has a quiet year and many speculate that it is a “ poisoned chalice ” but Cadel Evans was able to win one of Cycling’s Monuments whilst wearing the Jersey so it is conceivable that Mark will also raise the bar during the coming season . During his time with High Road Mark was advised by Eric Zabel amongst others and he appears to be the type who absorbs all the info fed to him and puts it to good use . Losing some of his former leadout train will not be of any great consequence as he has demonstrated his ability to do a “ Robbie Mc Ewan ” on more than one occasion including a lone winning sprint in this past Tour de France .

Missing out on medalling in the 2008 Beijing Olympic will only motivate him to greater efforts in the 2012 London Olympic Games . Should he be successful there it is quite possible that he will get the “ Royal Nod ” and be invited to Buck House once again to adjust his credentials . I am sure Peta would enjoy being Lady Peta !

Recently he has become quite the Media Star cleaning up all the “ Sporting Awards ” in which he has been proposed . Cycling and Bike Racing in recent times has become very much the “ In Sport ” thanks to his efforts and those of Sir Chris Hoy and Brad Wiggins . There is a wealth of talent in the British Cycling Team now and we should not overlook the talents of the likes of Geraint Thomas and others who will compete strongly for any of the places available for London 2012 !

2011 as been a great year for Mark and as he enjoys the festive season no doubt he will be reflecting on his great good fortune and seeking the inspiration to raise the stakes and make 2012 even more successful .

I for one would wish to be at ALL the events that he will be competing in as the wealth of talent out there will produce some memorable clashes of the Titans in 2012 !

Saturday, December 17, 2011

TOUR de ROMANDIE 2012

The Tour de Romandie 2012 will for the first time in my 12 visits cross into France with the third day starting there and continuing on to finish at Moutiers which the Tour de France has passed through on occasions . Whilst I can picture in my mind’s eye the start and finish towns I am wondering which climbs are en route ? Having cycled around Moutiers in training rides I am also mindful of passing through there when those clowns dressed as “ Kelme Racers ” butted into that Tour de France as it climbed to Courcheval nearly a decade ago , that sunny Sunday I climbed to the 1km mark before the Gendarmerie turned me back and so I arrived in Seez in time to watch the whole “ Soap Opera ” on the TV .

Below is a summary of the 2012 event lifted from Cycling News :

“ The 2012 Tour de Romandie starts with a prologue in Lausanne and ends nearly 700 kilometres later with a time trial in Crans-Montana. In between, the peloton will take on 13 ranked climbs in western Switzerland.
The race opens on April 24 with a 3.34 km prologue in Lausanne. Stage 1 the next day runs 184.5 km from Morges, on the shore of Lake Geneva, to La Chaux-de-Fonds. There are two Category 2 climbs and a Category 3 climb along the way, and the stage ends with a 67.7km loop course.
Stage two features for the first time a start in Montbéliard, France, and has a tricky end with a false flat 149km later in Moutier. The stage also has three Category 2 and 3 climbs. The third stage also throws in only Category 2 and 3 ranked mountains, as it goes 157.6 km from La Neuveville to Charmey.
The queen stage comes on the fourth stage, 184 km from Bulle to Sion. After crossing three category 1 and one category 2 climbs, the peloton will again face a circuit course at the finish.
The race ends with what it calls a “very difficult” time trial of 16.24 km around Crans-Montana. It features a climb halfway through which “will probably hurt the legs and be decisive” in determining the final overall winner.
All 18 WorldTour teams will be at the race, with a wildcard invitation going to “ Europcar” . A 20th team may be invited later. ”

The “ difficult ” ITT can’t be any tougher than the one that Lance won some years back when it started in Sion and finished on the summit village of Crans Montana Resort . I recall riding on the pavement alongside Lance as he spun the cranks to victory , even the short distance that I rode at a high tempo wasn’t enough to hold his pace as he climbed that steep pitched mountain so I don’t envy the racers the task this time around . Should it be warm then those racing will be glad that it is the final day !

Friday, December 2, 2011

TOURING THE TOUR de FRANCE

So many people are aware of my 14 rides on the Routes of the Grand Tours and since i started blogging with " Parrabuddy " about two years ago they have enjoyed insights of behind the scenes action during each July .

There is one character originating from Holland that does the route the day before towing a trailor and starts as the signs go up . Spoke briefly with him on the 2010 tour as i had decided to do two stages the same day so as to have extra time in Morzine visiting friends in that area . This middle aged gent was also doing a film with a support team so whilst he knew about my episodes on the Tour he was not too keen to ride any of the route together . Suited me since i was travelling light and thus travelling faster and of course had far more distance to cover those two days . Whilst i slept at the finish in the Jura that night i guess he was camped along the route .

Uncharacteristically i took the car to Britany for the start one year expecting to connect with some acquintances who were to drive my car supporting three riding , with two on the road throughout each stage .

They on the other hand after a few days decided that they were not so interested to cover each stage in full so we went our separate ways . Thus i found that i was doing far more than the scheduled route each day with having to go back for the car and move it down the next days route so as to take advantage of any shortcuts that would be created by the Tour dog legging rather than when it travelled in a direct line . Similar situation occured in 2009 when in the last week the car was abandoned by the driver at the start in Martigny and i was looking for him in Bourg St Maurice .

Whilst on the Tour route that year i picked up with a couple of Americans for a few days and was introduced to the star of this post .

" GEORGETHECYCLIST " travels the world on his bike and if you go to www.georgethecyclist.blogspot.com you will enjoy a smorgesbord of stories from all over . Somewhere in his tales he has mentioned yours truly several times . So to start the third year of my blogging i will leave you with his story of our meeting . Sometime later i hope he will return with links to the various posts where he has mentioned many of our escapades :

" George on Skippy


Every June the week-long Dauphine-Libere in France is the final tune-up race for many of the riders planning to compete in the Tour de France. I too made it a preparatory race before attempting to follow my first Tour in 2004. It was in fact the first professional bicycle race I witnessed in Europe. It gave me a small glimpse of what La Grande Boucle would be like riding its course and submerging myself among the throngs along its route. I was hoping to find others similar to me on loaded touring bikes tagging along with the peloton. Unfortunately, over the years I have only happened upon a very small handful, rarely more than one or two a year making the attempt.

I did notice though at the Dauphine on several of the stages a tall, lanky, distinguished looking gentlemen with gray facial hair decked out in Lycra on a quality racing bike riding the course at a near racing clip. He was clearly a devotee of the sport, one of those cyclists who have logged so many hours on their bike they look as if they are at one with it, as if they virtually live on their bike. I immediately recognized him as a distinctive character, someone I would like to get to know. He was wearing an Italian club jersey, implying that was his nationality. That seemed natural, as the Italians are the most rabid of cycling fans. I doubted that he spoke English, so I did not make any effort to track him down, nor did any opportunity present itself to casually meet him.

It was no surprise to see him a couple weeks later at The Tour. He was looking as Italian as ever. Bike racing was clearly his life. I saw no others who even remotely compared to his dedication or flair. He was most definitely the ultimate of racing fans and followers.

Over the next couple of years I'd continue to catch glimpses of him, but without any contact. It wasn't until I met a German cyclist with panniers on his bike doing what I was doing did I finally learn who this Godfather of Tour followers was. The German said he had met him and claimed that he was an English-speaker, if Australians can be said to speak English. When he said "Australian" I didn't think I heard him correctly, thinking he meant Austrian. But no indeed, this fellow was Australian and was known as Skippy. It was towards the end of The Tour that year and I didn't see Skippy again. I returned the following year determined to finally meet him.
Coincidently that year I met an American cyclist from Texas by the name of Jesse who had teamed up with Skippy. Jesse was trying to ride The Tour route in its entirety, though using trains for the transfers between stages, in tribute to a cycling friend who had died of cancer. His brother was accompanying him, biking some, but also hopping aboard trains with their gear so Jesse's bike would be lighter. About a week into The Tour they met Skippy, who was trying to bike as much of the route too as he could, but also with the assistance of a car. He was looking for a driver. Jesse's brother assumed that role.
Jesse was experiencing pain in his knee so wasn't rocketing along as fast as he would have otherwise, more at my pace, allowing us to periodically ride together. He began telling me some of the extraordinary stories of Skippy's Tour experiences dating back to l998 when he was befriended by Marco Pantani. A day or two later when Skippy joined us as we were riding along, and I got a first hand dose of his stories, I quickly learned he was as well known in the peloton as The Devil, and knew quite a few people along The Tour route as well. He'd stopped and have a glass of wine with someone he knew and then catch back up to us.


In the years since our meeting we have become fellow comrade in arms making the effort to meet up as often as possible during The Tour to share our different perspectives and experiences. He hasn't stopped amazing me with who he has last bumped into and with anecdotes from his many Tours past, not only of France but Italy and Spain and others, hanging out with the riders at the start and finish of the stages and also riding with them on their rest days. I was thrilled when he finally started a blog in December of 2009 http://parrabuddy.blogspot.com to put some of them in print.

If I had had any doubts as to his celebrity, they would have been laid to rest three Tours ago at the Grand Depart in Monaco, I was on the outskirts of the principality, just arriving on my loaded bike, when the French AGR2 team passed me as they were out on a training ride. One of the riders blurted, "Hey it's Skippy," a joking reference to me, as other than my similar gray beard and skinny figure, I would not be mistaken for Skippy, not wearing Lycra and chugging along on a loaded up bike. When I mentioned it to Skippy later in the day he said he would give those guys a scolding for having a laugh at his expense. For me though it was a high honor.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

OFFICIAL 2012 Giro d'Italia route unveiled in Milan

2012 Giro d'Italia route unveiled in Milan

Leaked info last week was CORRECT as was shown in this day’s GIRO Presentation in Milano !

Great to see that the Third Etape is Dedicated to Wouter Weylandt , this being the third year that his name will be prominent . All of you will recall that he won the third etape in 2010 and died this year on the Passo Boca during the third Etape , now 2012 , and perhaps future editions also , will memorize his contribution to the Giro’s History !

I know that there was an Event in Italy during September to celebrate his contribution to the relationship between Belgium and Italy . The original intention was to run said event on his September Birthdate !

Below once again the basic “ Etape details ”:

2012 Giro d'Italia, May 5-May 27
May 5, stage 1: Herning - Herning ITT, 8.7 km
May 6, stage 2: Herning - Herning, 206 km
May 7, stage 3: Horsens - Horsens, 190 km
May 8: Rest day
May 9, stage 4: Verona - Verona TTT, 32.2 km
May 10, stage 5: Modena - Fano, 199 km
May 11, stage 6: Urbino - Porto Sant'Elpidio, 207 km
May 12, stage 7: Recanati - Rocca di Cambio, 202 km
May 13, stage 8: Sulmona - Lago Laceno, 229 km
May 14, stage 9: San Giorgio nel Sannio - Frosinone, 171 km
May 15, stage 10: Civitavecchia - Assisi, 187 km
May 16, stage 11: Assisi - Montecatini Terme, 243 km
May 17, stage 12: Seravezza - Sestri Levante, 157 km
May 18, stage 13: Savona - Cervere, 121 km
May 19, stage 14: Cherasco - Cervinia, 205 km
May 20, stage 15: Busto Arsizio - Lecco/Pian dei Resinelli, 172 km
May 21: rest day
May 22, stage 16: Limone sul Garda - Falzes/Pfalzen, 174 km
May 23, stage 17: Falzes/Pfalzen - Cortina d'Ampezzo, 187 km
May 24, stage 18: San Vito di Cadore - Vedelago, 139 km
May 25, stage 19: Treviso - Alpe di Pampeago, 197km
May 26, stage 20: Caldes/Val di Sole - Passo dello Stelvio, 218 km
May 27, stage 21: Milan - Milan ITT, 31.5 km


Those of you who are involved with “ Couchsurfing ” or know people that participate could help me by putting me in touch with people who are able to assist me with accommodation within 20km or so of each depart point . Would prefer to ride this last Giro without a support vehicle since the past two events have generally been hampered by having to travel back to the car at the end of each day ! Not much fun to be had with riding 200+km each day !

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2012 Giro d’Italia ?

Nearly every year we hear speculation of what the Grand Tours will serve up several days before the Presentation ! So with the TDF “ leaked ” and now the “Giro ” will we see an early release of the “ Vuelta Espana ” ?

Thanks to Velonation you have an early " Heads Up " !


Photo of Alberto C. !

IS THIS ROUTE SPECULATION or essentially the real thing that will be announced on Sunday the 16th October ?


Giro d’Italia stages (to be confirmed by RCS Sport)
5 May: Herning – Herning ITT (8,7 km)
6 May: Herning – Herning (206 km)
7 May: Horsens – Horsens (190 Km)
8 May: Rest day, transfer to Italy
9 May: Verona – Verona TTT (32,2 km)
10 May: Modena – Fano (199 km)
11 May: Urbino – Porto Sant’Elpidio (207 Km)
12 May: Recanati – Rocca di Cambio (202 km)
13 May: Sulmona – Lago Laceno (229 km)
14 May: San Giorgio nel Sannio – Frosinone (171 km)
15 May: Civitavecchia – Assisi (187 km)
16 May: Assisi – Montecatini Terme (243 Km)
17 May: Seravezza – Sestri Levante (157 km)
18 May: Savona – Cervere (121 km)
19 May: Cherasco – Cervinia (205 km)
20 May: Busto Arsizio – Lecco/Pian dei Resinelli (172 km)
21 May: Rest day
22 May: Limone sul Garda – Falzes/Pfalzen (174 km)
23 May: Falzes/Pfalzen – Cortina d’Ampezzo (187 km)
24 May: San Vito di Cadore – Vedelago (139 km)
25 May: Treviso – Alpe di Pampeago (197km)
26 May: Caldes/Val di Sole – Passo dello Stelvio (218 km)
27 May: Milano – Milano ITT (31,5 km)


Read more: http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/10056/A-strange-day-for-the-Grand-Tours-as-Giro-dItalia-route-also-leaked.aspx#ixzz1af6TWu9m

TOUR de FRANCE 2012 ? leak or what ?

A.S.O. has had a “ leak ” of the official version of the 2012 TDF ?

Not likely that what “ Podium Café ” has reported will be 100% correct but I am sure that some of the rumours are likely to be true !

2012 Etapes ?


2011 route in photo , but sidebar shows 2012 details





Some of the comments to “ Podium Café’s ” announcement report :

If this is true
Some ASO employee will have had a very bad day at the office. L’ouch!
Me like bike, no?

me thinks it's a bad day out of an office after this one.
OR they released this to hear if it will float and the real course will be announced and be a doozy.

I'm sure this will be the course...I saw rumors of ASO wanting to show off the medium mountains next year
so they won’t be doing insane Giro amounts of climbing…though I’d love to see them get some tough finishes for flatter days


what ASO needs to do,
in my arrogant DDIFP-opinion
is to figure out a way to make the GC guys race the middle climbs and not just the last one.
The Alps rocked this year cuz of that.

mountain top bonifications, perhaps?


and shorter stages
moo


Absolutely
Alpe d’Huez was the best day of Grand Tour racing this year.


Should I find myself in Europe next July the ITT in Chartres will allow me to get to Paris to see the finish on the “ Champs Elysee ” ! This year I finished in the Alps since a return trip to Paris to watch the jostling on the Sunday had no appeal .

OF Course this “ LEAK ” could be deliberate as “ Giro d’Italia 2012 ” is also available !

OOPS ! Go to www.Tourdafarce.blogspot.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Alpe D'huzes and Handbikes


Group photo from the " ALPE D'Huzes Cancer Event


This is the link for the hand biker chat :
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5onL81D2tY



















VIEW to Mt Blanc from across the valley near Bruno's house .






















View from Bruno's house over the valley with Sallanches where he works , with daily bike ride up 12% gradient each night .










Sunday, September 25, 2011

CNF on Money Laundering

SO as to save ALL a trawling job i have listed below the sites referred to in the many pages of the thread that has been spawned inrecent days :


http://sports.espn.go.com/oly/cycling/news/story?id=6361564&campaign=rss&source=twitter&ex_cid=Twitter_espn_6361564

http://espn.go.com/olympics/cycling/story/_/id/7000881/lance-armstrong-paid-banned-doctor-via-front-company

http://www.luxprivat.lu/News/EILMELDUNG-Hausdurchsuchung-bei-Flavio-Becca!-Ermittler-durchsuchten-auch-das-Gebaeude-mit-dem-Leopard-Trek-Sitz

http://www.sofoot.com/blogs/pedale/les-schleck-n-ont-pas-d-intelligence-de-course-145226.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/iteam/2011/09/22/2011-09-22_paper_details_lance_ties_with_dope_doc.html#ixzz1YhAkJBTD


http://www.53x12.com/do/show?page=article&id=100


http://velonews.competitor.com/2006/04/news/six-years-later-strock-case-comes-to-court_9763

http://guyism.com/lifestyle/10-childrens-characters-who-were-definitely-on-drugs.html

http://www.fnp.de/fnp/sport/ueberregional/rmn01.c.9226552.de.htm

http://go.redirectingat.com/?id=92X588377&site=cyclingnews.com&xs=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.usatoday.com%2Fsports%2Fcycling%2Fstory%2F2011-09-23%2Flance-armstrong-banned-doctor%2F50530468%2F1&sref=http%3A%2F%2Fforum.cyclingnews.com%2Fshowthread.php%3Ft%3D15363%26page%3D15

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/more/09/23/Armstrong-training-advice.ap/index.html?sct=hp_t2_a16&eref=sihp

http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/9887/Betsy-Andreu-critical-of-Dr-Ferraris-claims-that-Armstrong-work-had-no-doping-links.aspx


http://www.53x12.com/do/show?page=article&id=73



http://vir.sgmjournals.org/content/79/3/573.full.pdf



http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18539403


http://www.shorel.com/faust.cfm



http://news.yahoo.com/ge-invest-1-billion-cancer-research-133252266.html


http://forum.cyclingnews.com/showthread.php?t=15363


http://www.2009tourdefrancenews.com/tourdefrance/article/0,6802,s-3-12-13773-8,00.html


http://gooutside.uol.com.br/lancenobrasil/index.html


Charles pelkey :http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/09/news/the-explainer-reaching-the-threshold-and-a-doping-explainer_193156?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=http://velonews.competitor.com/2011/09/news/the-explainer-reaching-the-threshold-and-a-doping-explainer_193156


http://www.scribd.com/doc/31833754/Lance-Armstrong-Testimony]


http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/9887/Betsy-Andreu-critical-of-Dr-Ferraris-claims-that-Armstrong-work-had-no-doping-links.aspx



http://espn.go.com/olympics/cycling/story/_/id/7013734/lance-armstrong-says-ferraris-friends-not-trainers



http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1180944/1/index.htm


ENJOY !

i will try and read some in the next month as this story unfolds !

Sunday, July 31, 2011

AN OPEN LETTER to CHRIS PRUDHOMME

Letter to Chris Prudhomme


Swanning around in your Limousine with a variety of " notable personalities " you will rarely see the " Glitches " that the everyday visitor to " Le Tour " has to overcome ! Certainly your subordinates have done their best to see that you have a " Trouble Free Ride " each day . No doubt you have briefings with your personnel each day to keep you abreast with potential problems .

Whilst you were with France TV you were quick to pick my brains about my activities on the periphery of " Le Tour " and also whilst " understudy to JM Leblanc ", but since becoming " The Man " you rarely deem a simple "hello" as appropriate for a man of your importance . Amazing then that i get to meet some of the General Officers of the Sapeur Pompiers , Army and Gendarmerie as well as assorted Politicians whenever i find the time to be at a " Depart " or " Arrivee " ! Some i have advised of my Blogs , so it may be that their staff have been detailed to have the occasional read . Phillippe Sudre is also aware of these blogs but as to whether he deems it worth his time to read my offerings i couldn't say .

In previous " Open Letters " to you i have suggested ways to improve the security of the " Signage " but neglected to point out that many of the large Roadside Signs proclaiming " Road Closure details of route nos with dates and times " could be better . All Media receive a looseleaf book , known as the "Guidebook" and this is a very helpful tool to ALL , but it neglects to coordinate that very important issue of "Road Closures" ! Surely you want the world to know WHEN the routes of the " Le Tour " each day will close , don't you ? Many of those i speak to at the " Le Tour " tell me that each Department of France has a Web Site that offers info on these " Route Closures " but the general public are rarely aware of this , let alone the Overseas Visitor , many of whom do not understand the French Language whether written or spoken .

BY adding an additional column in the “Guidebook “ to the Caravan and the Racers anticipated passing certain points times , " ASO " will in consultation with the various authorities be able to advise the WORLD of the "Road Closure " times . Media of all persuasions will no doubt pass on to their readers this information , as they tend to copy out your pages as if it was their own work in the effort to inform their audience . Each Department has it's own branch of the Police National and Gendarmerie responsible for the "Security of the "Le Tour route" and since these signs have to be constructed to inform the public then the information should be accurate and All will see a coodinated result !

During one Etappe i had a Gendarme as he passed me in his car as i rode up the "Col" tell me that i should stop as the "Col" was closed ! This was more than an hour before the Sign Posted Closure time ! When i arrived at the " Col" there were several " touring cyclists " but none of the private cars that passed me after this rash statement was made . The " Major " then again told me that the road was closed even though there remained 35 mins until the posted time . My solution was to pick up the bike and walk off the road until i reached a point beyond the " Col "
where i could ride once again . Further down the road i found that the times posted had been extended another hour and half as is normally the case when you pass into a new area of control . As to what happened to the " touring cyclists " i could only speculate , but had they relied on the published information then they were sadly inconvenienced and carrying a "touring bike " with luggage in many cases is out of the question .

Expect to hear more points of interest from me over the next months as i know how hard it is to get action when too many issues are raised at the same time . Have your people read my " OPEN LETTER to Pat Mc Quaid “ about the " Authorised Driver Permit " that i feel is required to avoid a repeat of the incident that nearly killed two racers .

No where on page 7 of the " Guidebook " does " ASO " refer to driver conduct in relation to the Racers or even the ordinary cyclist AND since the " Le Tour " as an event is about Cycling , one wonders who was responsible for coordinating the material published ? No doubt Phillippe Sudre after our discussion took a look at that page . After publishing my blog post about the RMC Radio Stationwagon i saw the driver many times but he never again caused me any problems . Whether this was good luck or he had the matter brought to his attention is not for me to say .

Security of the "Le Tour " route is an important concern but having the Public sit on the side of the route for 5 hrs each day is asking too much particularly since the "Tour de Suisse" is able to run an event with "Private Security on motorcycles " and Army reservists causing the routes to be closed for periods ranging from 10 mins to 30 mins before the arrival of the racers unless in the mountain passes when longer periods may be required . Could be that your people need to look at the abilities they display and adopt some of their expertise !

A Bientot

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

SPIVS AT WORK !

Driving around the last kilometres of today's etappe of St Paul to Gap i came across the "vermin " stopping the traffic to impose their flags on the " unsuspecting public "at 8.40am ! Wearing " hazard /reflective jackets " they were just visible in the heavy rain and most thought they were official so wound their windows down and had the flags thrust in their face ! As i drove through one of them kicked the car denting the rear offside panel but as there are usually five of them i decided " safety first "! Could not find a Gendarme all the way to the centre of Gap so decided that a report elsewhere would have to suffice. No luck on the way to Briancon as there was heavy continous rain with the lightning !

Here in Briancon the sun has broken through finally mid afternoon and reading the Eurosport's early reports states the "Depart " was sunny but the racers were expected to arrive in bleak weather after riding through the storms . Driving through from Gap to Briancon i saw lots of cyclists riding towards the " Ville Arrivee " most wore light rain jackets but some were without and with no backpack one wonders how they will survive the period until the Racers arrive . Since there were so many groups it seems certain that the majority were with tour companies and thus were happy to suffer through ! Saw some standing on the side of the road laughing and chatting so those guys must have been enjoying the conditions !

Personally getting on the bike to ride in the rain no longer appeals but i will continue on a rainy ride after donning the rain jacket ! This is the first of my 14 years of the TDF that i have failed to ride the start and finish of a stage but yesterday's ride with " georgethecyclist " will i guess count for the start of today's etappe . Now the sun is out , the bike will hit the road for a circuit of the district until the TV coverage attracts my interest !

Friday, July 15, 2011

ASSAULTED !

Whilst walking uphill with the bike on the shoulder after passing the 2km mark before the finish i came to a junction where there were 3 Gendarmes about 14.45hrs or about 2 1/2 HR before the racers were due ! One Gendarme called " Descend the velo " , did he mean put it down since i was carrying it ? Then his colleague with 3stripes rushed across Grabbed the front of my cycling shirt and pulled me off my feet causing the bike to drop to the road , regardless of this he dragged me like a toy in the teeth of a Bulldog off the course ! I completed the journey to the finish along the back of the barricades and when i climbed over the grass embankment there was the "Turd Brigade guy " who photoed me with the 3 star General at Cap last Wednesday . When some Belgium media people tried to give me a cup of coffee he sideswiped it out of my hands and told everyone that i was in the wrong area , they were inside the metal fencing and i was on the outside !

Eventually i found the Gendarme with the 4 bars signalling he was a " Commandant " and reported the " assault " , his deputy wearing 2 bars heard me out and wrote down details . What annoys me is that this was the FRench holiday , " Bastille Day " and to be treated in such a cavalier fashion in front of "jeering spectators " dishonours the uniform and causes his fellow officers embarassment . Could this 3 striper walk into the Gendarme Canteen or office and relate this story with any pride ?

Normally Gendarmes are easy going but firm , but this was extreme and considering the efforts i had made earlier in the day to help them with the " spivs " i feel hard done by ! Hopefully the 3striper will get a dressing down or a demotion . Considering the public attitude to " law & order , he brought the force into "disrepute " !

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

More for " Chris Prudhomme " !

Whilst you " swan around " the " 2011 TDF ", there are those out there on their bikes and with loaded panniers trying to find their way from start to finish of each etappe !

When i started riding the TDF route with the 1998 edition i just followed the signs a couple of hours in advance of the racers but this year it is necessary to be more than 5 hours in front of the racers because this is the time the "Gendarmes " are being posted in the "Interests of Security(safety?) ! This Policing organisation is being required to go against their " better nature " for no other reason than your Organisation , " ASO " thinks that making the ordinary cyclist invisible to the general public increases the prestige of the " Racers Efforts "!

RUBBISH ! This pathetic behaviour is souring the experience of those arriving with the " BIG ACCREDITED TOUR COMPANIES ! They pay big money to come to the TDF with their bike and then find that YOU & YOUR ORGANISATION don't want them to ride the Tour Route UNLESS THEY GET UP AT THE UNGODLY HOURS NEEDED TO BE CARTED TO THE COURSE BY THEIR TOUR OPERATOR ! Rather than increasing your revenues you are now "Advertising a stay away policy " !

As for myself , it costs me little to be here and just being here reminds people of " Handisport " which is the ONLY REASON i persist in putting up with the " pettiness" dished up by your minions ! Do you think i care about the "Turd brigade( your laughable security force) " or those wearing "dog collars" so that people can direct them back to the "reserved area " they have PAID BIG MONEY to inhabit ! Noticed that you even scan their "accreditation " going in & out of the village to make sure you get your monies worth !

ALL OF THE ABOVE IS SURPLUS TO THE REAL REASON FOR THIS LETTER !

Last night and this morning i found it al but impossible to find the route laid out in the " Guidebook " ! THE SIGNS had dissapeared or not been erected , not your fault you say ? WRONG ! Some signs are "screwed " to the attachment and with large "washers" can deter the thiefs from removing them by "twisting " them where anchored by wire ! Your erectors will take a little longer to complete their assignment BUT the signs will stay in place ! ANOTHER TRICK would be to apply a "date stamp" to the vrear of the sign so today's signs will have 13/07/11 on the rear and any caught with them before 1800hrs today will be clearly identified as " Thieves " and so you can "Prosecute" for lost revenue !

LOST REVENUE OVER THE PAST 11 DAYS HAS ALSO COME ABOUT THROUGH " Drapeau & Nougat vending " ! Read my blog for my attitude to that !

Don't care how much ASO misses out on BUT I DO CARE ABOUT THE VICTIMS !

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

RECAP on " Conned by Spivs "

Observed Gendarmerie detaining 2 " spivs(vermin)" on saturday evening on the outskirts of Issoire ! Seems like the others escaped on foot . When I arrived on the scene i saw these Gendarmes interviewing one but noticed the second coming out of a shop with his tray in a plastic bag and pointed him out so that the Gendarme was able to open the plastic bag and discover the tray !

Sunday i did not see any of these " spivs " but today i found them heading out of Carnoux in the northerly direction about 20 km from the finish of the day's etappe . Once again they were coercing a elderly couple who parted with 8 euros , i pretended to be phoning the Gendarmerie and the driveer gave me the finger and then the strong arm gesture and called his hawker who was wearing the " TDF " dog collar lanyard " and "phony pass" back to the car ! Incredibly the " Bumble Bee man " told these victims in french to NOT buy but they were intimidated and could not recover their money ! This happened on the incline from the narrow bridge about 8.26 am , which is probably a cat 4 climb on the TDF route ! Car reg no was BJ 871 SR and was a black Renault Megane 5 door S/wagon , a vehicle that these vermin tend to use .

Further along towards Carnaux i stopped a Gendarmerie vehicle and reported these details , that vehicle was ~~639 JJ and a 3 stripe in charge ! Took my report but did not ask for contact details in the event of detaining these miscreants . I also told them how to find the victim so that they had a provable incident but doubt that this registered or was necessary !

Good to see the Gendarmerie is acting but doubt it is down to my Blog postings . I am sending a link to these posts to the 2 star General of
Gendarmes so that he can compliment the officers for their actions .

AS in Doctor WHO !

ERADICATE , ERADICATE , ERADICATE !

Saturday, July 9, 2011

LETTER FOR "CHRIS PRUDHOMME "

Chris
Thankyou for taking my hand yesterday evening but had you not been in a hurry i could have passed this info in private , check this link :

http://www.independent.ie/sport/other-sports/nicolas-roche-the-riders-are-just-the-show-and-when-the-show-is-over-we-become-nothing-again-2814997.html

Nicholas Roche is not the only rider who has made the point about the exit from the Cap on wednesday ! Frankly i knew it was going to happen so arranged for my transport to wait at Matignon 10 km along the road to Dinan !

Every year there are these " cockups " where the " evacuation plan " becomes chaos ! ONE WAY TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM is to use the " Presedential Motor Velos " to lead out the TEAM PULLMANS before anyoneelse is allowed to move ! The VIP s can have that extra drink in the VIP areas that they have paid to use and the public should be held back for the required 30mins or so and if they think they are so important to break the " curfew " then the Gendarmerie can collect " Penalties " after they are turned off the road into holding areas .

IMPORTANT TO MAKE SURE that traffic goes in one dirrection ONLY ! About 6 km down the road i took to Matignon i found a grey Skoda " Decalled S/wagon " with a driver in a Lilac shirt telling the Gendarmerie Officers he was entitled to drive against the oncoming traffic to pick up his passengers ! Had he been allowed to do so he would have found the road was too narrow and countless thousands of cars would have been trapped and delayed further . I did see Three roads of traffic come together in the Village beside the " Cap " and the rear of the SKY TEAM bus dissappear led out by a Motor Velo ! Could be some Teams are more equal than others !

I have not seen you at the Tour de Suisse but believe studying their traffic management methods would be worth your time ! Of course they also have the odd calamity , one of which resulted in me riding my bike from the Team Telecom bus parking and leaving there at the same time but having me waiting in their hotel at Bellinzola wondering why they were not there ! Yes even in Switzerland the racers get treated shabbily when " evacuation procedures " break down !

Many more ideas are available but since you picked my brains whilst awaiting " JM "s departure and you have done little for " Handisport " since i wonder if you will act if they are offered !

By the way , one of your security guys (turd brigade ) photoed me with the " 3 star General " on Wednesday night and i would appreciate a copy of the photo which he could email to skippi@ausi.com ! Thursday morning i met the General's colleague a " 2 star General " but i have that photo on the blog already !

Friday, July 8, 2011

CONNED by SPIVS !

Each day as you travel the routes of the Tour de France you will find " spivs " stealing from the public !

YES STEALING ! What happens is this , you are cycling or driving down the TDF route and usually at a corner or " halt" sign there will be two or three guys with a box in one hand and a small french flag in the other . As you are going slowly , since there is a queue created by these mongrells they will demand you buy one of their flags and nag on at you if you are french that " you are not patriotic " if you refuse; should you be a visitor then the monies are going to a " charity ( yes their pocket ) so you are a cheapskate if you refuse ! Generally you need to rev your motor or keep moving so they get out of your face . Of course you will see them again the next day and the next !

"Georgethecyclist.blogspot " has many stories to relate from over the years about what he has seen since he gets to sit and observe occasionally . After finding him and Vince on the road today i saw a grandfather with three young children , he had been fleeced ! Mongrells stopped and gave one flag to a girl then asked if they would like "nougat ", of course the children did and so they gave the girls the nougat and DEMANDED 10 euros from the man , he wanted to give it back but they would not leave without the money but by now the children were in tears !

Operating so early in the day they surround a village and canvass the shops and homes and control the traffic and the authorities are presently " powerless " to prevent this behaviour ! George will tell you that they have swerved in front of him causing him to run off the road on occasion , whether this is deliberate or in the attempt to canvass " donations " from the unsuspecting public they stop without thought for others he is not sure ! As regards myself when i am on the bike i stand up and pedal harder thus they get the message and get clear , of course there is occasion when i have had to avoid hitting one of them since they work in gangs from a variety of station wagons or people carriers .

In past years i have gone to the nearest Gendarmerie and reported their location but there is a reluctance to act since there are more important things to be done whilst the TDF is in the area . How many more Grandfathers have to be coersed into parting with their pension monies before this pestelence is eradicated . TDF officials are aware of this problem just as they are aware of the " gangs " that prey on the cyclists careless enough to leave their bikes unattended and with removable items . Locked bikes pose no problem as they carry " bolt cutters " and these are effective at solving that nuisance !

Time marches on and more riding to be done , thanks to Laurent in Nouans les fontaines and some Aussies living in this village i was able to overcome the problem of another closed Library (biblioteke )!

Since arriving in Chateauroux i have come across one of the many " Commandant rank officers of the CRS " and in my poor french explained this situation . Should he take the time to look at this blog post after "googling " for " skippydetour " he will see that this is a blight on the " honor of FRANCE "! Just why the authorities have known the problem but not acted remains a mystery to all .

Thursday, July 7, 2011

FAT CYCLIST

Riding into Dinan today i passed another cyclist who was heading to the start and eased up when he hollered " skippy " . Turned out he was a " fatty follower " and had seen me numerous times over the years . He told me that he had read a " comment " that i had made a few days ago and " fatty's " reply naturally i took the time at the tourist office to check what he said whilst the caravan passed through the centre of town .

Having got to 2m from the finish line yesterday i started from 75 km out to try and find " georgethecyclist and gang" as i rode into town for the start . There is no point riding the whole route to Liseaux as i will then have to head south to Le Mans so i will have done a fair bit of the route without seeing the usual tourists outside their campers .

Arriving in Dinan i was forced by a Gendarme( at least 9 mths pregnant ) to take a detour descending from the bridge to the river and then trying to walk up the cobbles for 2km with a Kiwi travelling with his parents . Lucky for me i wear SIDI MTB shoes as i doubt that a cyclist with plates would enjoy walking in bare feet .

Dinan " old town " has some beautiful ancient buildings and would be a pleasure to visit but today trying to get around the barriers with the bike is a nightmare . people expect you to leave the bike at home as they walk into the start to LOOK AT BIKES ! Amazing attitude and the intolerance of some reminds me why i rarely visit a start .

Some cyclists lock their bikes in random spots and return to find parts missing . The answer of course is to have the bike in front of you at all times . Told some people the other day to lock their front wheels as they stood at the barrier and they told me to mind my own business as they could see their bikes from where they were !

Guess who i sa
PROFESSIONAL THIEVES TARGET THE TOUR D4E FRANCE so why should anyone be surprised when their computer , bidons & wheels go walkabout ? BE SAFE , Be sure to enjoy cycling by taking precautions with planning & preparation !

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cadel wins as he holds off Contador

All day the pundits were predicting a clash between Cadel and Gilbert but it became a " cat and mouse " episode where Contador tried repeatedly to slip through on the line but failed as Cadel threw his bike more strongly than "el pistolero" !

Never learnt how this throwing the bike on the line is done but then i don't race so never had the need , but it is a skill that was needed today . Cadel at 20km had a problem which meant a change of bike but my french was not good enough to follow the explanation and as 3 or 4 of the team waited to pace Cadel back into the Peloton we saw the spectacle of two of his team struggling to catch him because of his determination to get back into the fray .

Turned out to be a clear day at the " Arrivee "but i was fortunate to find a bar as the racers passed through 30km and the screen was about 10ft by 6ft and funnily enough i was the sole patron so i was able to see detail that usually is lost on the smaller screen . The numbers on the " Mur " looked a lot less than i had anticipated so there were many others like myself enjoying the action in front of a TV .

Evening is falling and the sun is out so it should bev a nice day tomorrow even though the prediction is changeable weather . With luck i will find a campsite that is dry by the time the tent goes up .

Library Time on the TDF 2011

Cold wet and blustery here in Wintery Bretagne ! Stated out from north of PLouay to ride into Lorient with a promise of sun but after crossing 0km i soon saw what was in store for the day !

Seen always with a "fondriest jacket" around my waist even the last few days when close to the camping ground with temperatures in the high 30's and the result is i was well prepared for the drop in temperature today before the misty rain set in and became cold and uncomfortable .

Several hours of inclement weather after so many tours this year in sunny conditions has led to a stop in the library whilst i decide the best way to see out the day's action . Looks like the finish may be clearing and where to await the racers is now the question ?


Somewhat more hopeful than the photos published in the other blogs !

Sunday, July 3, 2011

STAGE 2 REVIEW

With a start before 7am today , sunday , i was able to ride over the finish line before making a rapid survey of the full parcours and as expected the "gestapo" was in place when i arrived back at the finish , first trying to stop me at 250m and then at 25m and finally strongarming me at 10m , just what is sacred at 8 hours before the racers compete remains a mystery to me !

Since riding the route each day tuesday night through friday the fields have been filling up with tents and camping vans mostly with french plates but the dutch wreck from the giro d,italia is there also . Funnily enough as i went around for a second time a guy in "skil maillot" passed me on the only descent of the course but was unable to hold the speed so i tucked in and let him draught me but after 16km he woke up to the fact i was there . i always check my rear regularly since i seem to be targeted by those who put their bike on the road at the bottom of a climb and expect a tow to the top . "no way jose" !

Les Essarts is a nightmare for those with bikes equipped with panniers since they cannot be easily lifted over the route barriers ! Vince (Aussie from Melb. now riding with Georgethecyclist and others) just came in to say his bike is stranded at the camping ground because the Gendarmerie have closed the roads .

Last night i did a TV program to highlight the message "aider handisport" but whilst people are telling me they saw the program they did not discover why i was there , useless for my purposes but when i get the DVD of the program i will be able to see if it was of any value .

Today i am riding the 1998 frame with the Magna saddle and carbon seatpost being recent additions . Lent the bike yesterday to a guy who has lived in Oz so that he could go with Vince and others others to the finish yesterday , but he had the use of a soft saddle and was thankful for that .

Whilst composing the post last night a lass arrived at the tourist office who had seen me riding the route and of course the staff of the Les Essarts Tourist Ofice saw me on the TV so it is Brioche and coffee whilst composing this report .

Thursday, June 30, 2011

WIN A TREK MADONE !

YES YOU CAN but not from my blog !

Fatcyclist can win TWO trek bikes with your HELP ! Of course he doesn't know the level of interest that my "Conti Tyres " attracted , no point in telling of the LACK OF INTEREST IN HELPING OTHERS , is there ?

Link to his blog HERE ! Would be an irony if i referred a winner ?

Today is the last day for these "Conti tyres" then i give them to a"Para Athlete" of my choice !

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Les Essarts on 2011 TDF



Courtesy of the "Les Essarts Tourist Office" i am able to post today , coffee also is on the menu , showing how friendly they are here ! Contact by this address the next days , george the cyclist was here yesterday but a&s usual has found a hiding place whilst i used a really nice Camp site provided by the Municipe for 8 euros !

http://www.tourisme-paysdesessarts.com/



After writing a comment in the Camp visitors book "Madam Custodian" came to thank me , somewhat unusual is it not ?

Driving through from the 20 pound channel crossing I made a visit to see Christine and Bertrand in St Martin de Landelles , close to Mont St Michel in Normandy . Daniel the TDF Speaker hales from here and the small museum is overflowing with Donations of "Cycling Artifacts " thanks to the three of them ! Photos will be uploaded when i get batteries for the camera since i was flash happy whilst inspecting the exhibits . Bertrand has been very involved over the years with the Criterium there which is the last Sunday of July , follows the TDF . Surprised me that so many ancient champions have won here and will enjoy reminding Marc Madiot , Richard Virenque ,Laurent Jalabert and Thiery Marie of their success there .

Weather today is Sunny and breezy after the dismal day of yesterday as i drove across France , did not feel inclined to divert to visit Mont St M. seen through the haze and just as well since i found C & B at home but preparing to get in supplies after Casey Gibson &wife Ruth had left that morning . The supplies are to celebrate Bertrand's 70th birthday . Lovelly lunch and visit to the museum filled the afternoon .

Georgethecyclist arrived in this tourist office yesterday so i hope he returns for directions to make contact . So now to ride the local roads and enjoy contact with the teams . Noticed Omega Lotto passing on their way to their hotel .

Note that unless you have a ticket there is no welcome at the "Teams Presentation" on thursday afternoon , 7000 capacity means the TV Audience will see a timid performance orchestrated to make ALL believe that the TDF is as good as always !

At Les Herbiers the staf of the Commune invited me in for a beer so it was a pleasant interlude whilst watching those awaiting their "dog collars" !


During the last days i have found the head ofice of the " eurocar " team and taken a few photos of the bikes stored there during the training period for the Team Time Trial .

Monday, June 27, 2011

TDF 2011 Starters As Advised on Monday Preceeding START

Are you curious about who i may get to ride with later in the week ?

So far i see 6 Aussies but thought that there would be many more , 1998 was my first TDF and there were 6 then !

Link below will throw you to the current list of participants :

http://www.sporza.be/cm/sporza/wielrennen/Tour/1.809973

Friday, June 24, 2011

Start Line at GRINDEWALD

Stuey holding forth to Robbie and others as they await the signal to go to the start .








Al Ballan giving me the benefit of a close up shot , having been World Champion Road Racer it is a shame that there is a cloud hanging over him .








Thanks to shamilton'confession Eki now holds 3 Olympic Gold Medals although who knows when the third and the prize money will arrive at his doorstep ? Eki was kind enough to step out of the car for me to take the shot . Always thought of him as an inspiration to the younger racers .














Christian VDV shooting the breeze with the "Robbies" . George the cyclist is getting new "garmin gear" because of "home town Advantage" according to C VDV !











Thor preparing to race and win this stage .


















Bobridge on the way to being Lanterne Rouge .






















Damiano on the way to signing on for this stage .























Liquigas racers awaiting the start gun .




Tuesday, June 21, 2011

COMPETITION TIME ENTRIES

WHEN i go to edit my "nav bar" it shows a "FOLLOW" button but when i look at what you are seeing on the blog , this button/device is not showing !

TO Those who have been frustrated in the past i apologise as it is beyond my control !

Register through the "FOLLOW BY EMAIL " and then we can see how to solve this problem ! Apparently those coming through this way are visible to me on my email account .

MEANWHILE i will try and find a better solution so as to get the results we are all seeking .

TRIED TO MAKE SENSE OF THE FOLLOWING from blogger "help" !

http://www.google.com/support/blogger/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=141483

Spent too much time getting nowhere as my "design " section does not have

POSTINGS SETTINGS LAYOUT headings but has the following headings:

POSTING COMMENTS SETTINGS DESIGN LAYOUT headings

Tried a variety of options w/out result

Friday, May 13, 2011

Wouter Memorial Material


Checkout http://yfrog.com/h0opgmsmj this item from Christian VandeVelde



This is the item regarding the TV coverage of the crash : http://www.nowpublic.com/tag/Cycling

should you wish to view what was shown on the TV .

ESTABLISHED TODAY @hill108 and www.hill108project.blogspot.com so that you the cyclist can do something positive to honour the memory of Wouter !


Some efforts by the public to memorialize Wouter's passing :





My last encounter with Wouter was at the team presentation :





Today Wednesday 18th is his funeral and there will be many who will mark this occasion in their diary as is his due .

R.I.P. Wouter !

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wouter R.I.P.



Sunny weather in Regio and a guy going about the day's business , one wonders if he recalled that last year he stood on the podium as winner of that year's stage 3 ?







Statements and Condolences flow from yesterday's tragedy , Wouter was a popular rider born 27/9/84 in Ghent and leaves a pregnant wife , Anne Sophie who has been flown into Milano .
Hopefully the Media will stand back and allow her to grieve in peace . Wouter's colleagues will no doubt be faced with the decision as to whether to continue .

From RCS the holder of the rights to the race :






"Angelo Zomegnan, Director of the Giro d’Italia:"First of all, we want to express condolences to Wouter’s family and to his wife Anne Sofie that we're going to receive at Malpensa Airport at 22.30. As Prof. Tredici explained, what happened was inevitable. The doctors have done everything they could but the situation was hopeless from the very first moments. We also thank them for their efforts and for the immediate intervention. We have received messages of condolence from the UCI President, Pat McQuaid, the president of Federciclismo, Renato Di Rocco, and the president of the professional riders, Gianni Bugno. We had already planned to remember the victims of Lamezia Terme in St. Eufemia, during the eighth stage from Sapri in Tropea. Unfortunately, will have one more to remember. I want to emphasize that we respect the choices of the Leopard Trek Team and those of other teams to decide what to do in the coming days. Before considering other details we would like to meet the family."


Show your support by adding Twibbon from www.twibbon.com

As a mark of respect i will ride in Black today but will add ribbons if i can find them , my Italian not being that good . My last encounter with Wouter was in Torino at the team presentation as seen in the photo :



ESTABLISHED 1st June 2011 @hill108 and www.hill108project.blogspot.com so that we the cyclist community can do something positive to honour Wouter's memory in an ongoing way . Add your comments and suggestions to either entry point please .

Those with the authority may wish to take over responsibilit for this idea and propose additional " Hills " where the cycling community can participate .

As always email : skippi@ausi.com

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Romandie Tour

Uploading photos has proved difficult since i am away from home using other people's computers and thus learning new tricks .

Photo following is taken in the arrival village which sponsors the Tour de Romandie and presented me with a bottle of the local premium white which went down well at dinner with friends in Les2Alpes a few days later .


The following morning i did the two Cat 1 climbs , short cutting the course from the descent on the second peak i went to Valorbe over the first climb and took a detour to go up the descent on the second , both have been used in previous editions of the Romandie so i felt at home . On arriving at the peak of the first climb i found a group of guys who provided the action in these photos . No doubt they are wondering why it has taken so long to upload to the blog .





These guys have created their own team shirt which caught my attention when we met .



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Giro d'Italia

Take the time to bookmark this blog as i will be sending all my Giro encounters to this site .

Today i had the pleasure to visit with the Major of Torino whom i met during the 2006 Winter Olympic Games on many occasions . He went out of his way then to help me enjoy that visit by arranging access to many of the available facilities .

As a volunteer then i saw much that the general public did not have access .

Parrabuddy will of course have items posted from time to time .

More follows in the next days .

Photo from day 4 of Trentino shows Francesco with Cristina who hosted me to lunch at her home with her daughters . hristina's brother trained with the young Moser as he was starting his cycling career ! Flowers are the bouquet that Michele Scarponi presented Cristina when I made the intro as he stepped off the Victor's Podium.



Photos of Moser and Motta from Palermo 2009 are still in my motorola phone camera , anyone with the download tool in their computer please advise .

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 3 GIRO del TRENTINO






Another sunny start to the day in Riva del Garda cooking my porridge in the YHA grounds after having the cappucino in the restaurant . This place has had a make over 8 years ago but the old fellow serving the coffee is as cantankerous as ever .

Start was near yesterday's finish so a long haul uphill which allowed me to make contact with a number of personalities before the start , which incidently was down the road to where i started the day. Rode alongside Popovitch for a while until he reminded me we met last year on the route of the Giro d Italia in this same region .He had just returned at that time from the Tour of California . Later stopped to chat with Garzelli and then Rory Sutherland . Like myself he has not heard of an Organisation of the same calibre as Help4Heroes of UK or Wounded Warriors of USA that operates in Australia .

Ledro has a tourist office where the character in the photo with me hangs out , he is representing the 5000 year old (skeleton that was dug up ?) found in the Otztal in recent times .

Short cut the course today by going through Storo and Tiene so as to arrive at the finish line well before the racers using some of the roads from 1999 routes . Probably as many kilos as the official route but the scenery was spectacular . No big screen to watch the action which is something the event needs to address .

Another tight finish with Duarte (94) crossing the line in front of Scarpone and Machado with the rest of the peleton following in their own time . Scarpone looked quite fresh as he passed into the ceremonial area as did Machado . As usual i got to meet some of the local political personalities to whom the journalists were able to explain the reasons for my prescense . Amongst others here , I was able to chat with Francesco Moser and Maurizio Fondriest several times during the afternoon . Most of the UCI officials supervising this Giro i have met at previous ProTour Events .

Tonight i am a guest of the Local White Cross that provides the Ambulance service in this area . Luckily for me the Ladies speak better English than my Italian . As usual the men are reticent to use their English for fear that they will make mistakes , little do they realise that i can't string two words together outside talking about bikes or food .

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

GIRO del TRENTINO day 2





Beautiful scenery and sunny weather is part of the scenario that you enjoy in the Lago di Garda area . Today i started out and came across Liquigas guys in the form of "Silvo Smzd and Vincenzo Nibali who were visiting a store that was showcasing the bikes they use . earlier i had been in the store with my bike as i needed to replace the "chain drop guard" that i had acquired which was too big to stay in position .

When i went in the store earlier with my bike i was told to put it outside ! Fat chance as i had already been told several "stolen bike stories" from that area and i needed the bike to show what i wished to replace had they the item in stock . On a scale of ten the shop scores zero and not being an Italian speaker the use of mime was the only alternative available .

Craig is the superlative mechanic who worked for Bjarne Riis's team before joining Radio Shack and when i showed him a squeak told me the solution . He also related several stories from his time with Linda Mac Cartney's Team and how Paul was also involved for awhile before that team folded .

Rode to the podium with Rory Sutherland and was told he had not met Tim Roe the other Aussie in this event . No doubt they will have met up during today's parcours .

Towards the end of the etappe the race passed through a couple of tunnels and as they were slightly uphil and the tank was about empty i was happy to get back out in the sun after 5 km of dismal lighting . Fortunately for me there was little traffic and i was only passed by a couple of cars in the tunnel . Returning to Riva del Garda after the finish of the race i passed a speed indicator that flashed up 68kph before the next vehicle moved through the sensor at 73kph . BMC's van showed no interest when i pulled alongside asking for a lift through the tunnel . Thus i pushed as hard as i could knowing that i had passed many vehicles in the 8 kilometres from the Arrivo . Those vehicles were now free to drive at the posted speed ( can an Italian drive below a speed limit ? ) now that they had a straight road after the switchback corners of earlier .

On the switchbacks i had managed to catch the Radio Shack Pullman that started at the same time and pass on the inside as he slowly rounded a severe downward bend . The driver may recall our previous encounter where i followed him from the Col Lauteret towards Bourg Oisans during the Dauphinee Libere and he only got away after passing the exit road to Les des Alpes and the road started climbing for a while .

Later i had to pull up sharply when the BMC bus was forced to pull over by oncoming traffic . After the tunnel the road continued downhill into Riva where traffic forced a dramatic reduction of speed .

Saw the sprint finish of the Etappe with Thoma Voeckler the winner and was pleased to see that he changed from the white uniform to his French Champion Maillot for the ceremony . Scarpone congratulated Thoma after they passed the line and i got to do a High five with Thoma as he returned towards the podium and collected his water bottle also . Bruno the speaker has difficulty pronouncing "Voeckler" , offering a variety of pronounciations in a matter of seconds , "vecler" being the most common .

When i crossed the finish line an hour earlier Bruno was kind enough to give the audience a few words about my being the Australian that has come to the "Trentino" for the past 13 years but failed once again to let them know the "raison d'etre " , that i am doing this for "Challenged / Disabili Sport" ! Bruno's wife is English so have had the chance on Tuesday to remind her to relay the message so i guess he is another guy who fails to listen to his wife ?

Not looking forward to riding uphill to the start in the morning at Molina but will enjoy returning to the area of Madonna which was where Pantani finished his Giro d'Italia riding in 1999 by pulling out of the event .

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GIRO del TRENTINO

Controversy at the finish of the Time Trial left Kloden bewildered and frustrated amongst others. Standing opposite the electronic screen i was able to watch Andy cross the line and saw the result flash up showing him as No 1 at that time . Several more racers passed through to finish the day's action and by this time i had moved to the back of the ceremonial area and had greeted Paulo Bettini amongst those waiting to go on the podium . I had hoped to see Francesco Moser there but so far he is a no show although the "Official Race Brochure" has several items about him and his growing interest in Hospitality and Wine production .

Eventually we saw Andreas Kloden pull on the winners shirt but then Vincenzo Nibali and some others took shirts also . Paulo Bettini is obviously popular with "Bruno" the speaker since there were several requests to applaud him . My Italian is virtually non existent so i can only conclude that his Olympic exploits were amongst the items relayed to the audience .

This was my 11th appearance at this 4 day event and the weather was exceptionally warm reminding me of previous years that i have enjoyed the area and scenery . It is easy to see why Lago de Garda is so popular with the tourists from all over Europe , and with a Sailing Dinghy Competition and a Musical Event in the Congress Hall the area is bursting at the seams . End of April also has a Bike Festival run by a German Magazine and thus there are plenty of mountain bikes to be seen and i am sure some here will be preparing for those events .

Earlier in the day i found myself following Garzelli and Codol around this 13km course as they were reconoitering a course which they are very familiar with from previous visits. Not difficult to keep up when they were just loosening up but later when the wind sprang to life i found the course much more challenging even though it was as flat as a pancake . Impressive stuff to see average speeds in excess of 51 kph on the results board .

Coming across country from Treviso i passed through a variety of places that the Giro d'Italia has taken me to over the years . Marostica , thiene and Schio on the way to Rovereto the road passes over a Pass i don't recall ever cycling let alone following the route markers . Looks like a challenge worth vising on another occasion since it was a series of sharp turns on a narrow road with grades of 12 & 14% both up and then down and with several false flats also. Lack of parking places may have discouraged it's use for the Giro d'Italia .

Tomorrow is a series of loops throughout the area so the teams will enjoy staying in the same hotels for another night and i will have the chance to short cut some of the route since i have seen most of it in previous years .

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

CNF once again

THIS is the latest of the CNF conspiracy threads that i have come across and it makes me wonder about the lives that the "Top racers" are supposed to be living IF all that they are speculating about turn out to be the true state of the Cycle Race scene !

Following material copied from Cyclingnews Forum ;

Originally Posted by Merckx index 
Maybe. But LMG, you were the one who pointed out to me that riders could start in the off season with very small amounts of blood withdrawn/transfused, and work up. 3% of total blood volume is 150-200 ml., one could certainly begin with that or less. One could also get a significant PE effect with volumes on that order.

If it is a game-changer, I think it will catch riders not during the off-season, but when they transfuse before a major race or GT stage, without an immediately preceding withdrawal. I think that's when they're most vulnerable.

But also keep in mind that riders are strongly opposed to this CO test, they claim, correctly or not, that it may be detrimental to their performance. This test has been around for a long time, I think they need a better one.

i resisted responding b/c it's hard to do so without getting into the nitty gritty of how i think autologous transfusions occur and that would turn this into the longest post ever. you are correct, i implied that if you were exercising extreme caution (not necessarily the case) you could begin an autologous transfusion cycle with small amounts but the goal would still be to pair withdraw/reinfusion/dilution/microdosing in such a way as to avoid detection and gradually build up banked blood volumes of a full unit or more. IOW, always withdraw slightly more than you reinfuse and correct a little quicker with microdosing - if you do it right there aren't any big withdraws to cover up and there's hardly even a need to dodge DCO's. 

tHb-mass makes reinfusing that banked blood in larger amounts during a peak/priority event nearly impossible - not the case at present.

3% increases are seen over a longer timeline - not suddenly right before an event or in the middle of a stage race. i would think that when cross referenced with retics, 150-200 mL of whole blood (approx 30g Hb-mass) would be enough to get you into trouble.

could a rider transfuse less than 150 mL and get away with it? possibly. would that result in noticeable PE? yep, some. would a talented athlete unwilling to take those measures now be able to compete? maybe, but we're getting a lot closer. it's reasonable to think that risk reward will shift in a measurable way and the graph below (from OP SoS articles) suggests that the even small innovations can act as an effective limiter. mass measurements force some to think about whether or not the benefits of such small transfusions are no longer worth the risk.







also, tHb-mass irregualarities are a stronger and more defensible position for authorities pursuing a case of ABP abnormalities than we have at present. based upon the independent observer report last summer i'd say that the UCI is stuck in no man's land at the moment. they're commited to the ABP but not nearly enough for it to make a profound difference. new and better parameters are needed and sampling is too infrequent and predictable. at the same time they appear to have diverted resources away from testing blood and urine for specific substances. some see it as convenient negligence but it might just be a difficult period of transition. i honestly don't know.
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"In great attempts it is even glorious to fail" -V Lombardi

Last edited by lean,mean,&green; Today at 17:08.

What is going to happen in the Giro & TDF this year ?

Friday, April 1, 2011

COURAGE in the face of Lung Cancer !! Revisited

Karen's ride from Adelaide to Melbourne was well supported and had a few diversions as a result of flooding in Victoria . Had requested a link to her blog so that it would automatically appear amongst the blogs that i follow but as yet this has not come about . YOU can go through this link to her website and make your own arrangements : www.ridehardtobreatheeasy.com.au There have been a number of interesting events take place in support of her campaign and make interesting reading , certainly the 500 event was well worth visiting and i congratulate those that took part .







Courage comes in all forms but this story affects us all !

I never was a "Marlboro Man" but had the few puffs at a younger age like most have done in their journey through to Adulthood . Even had a puff or two on Cigars but decided not for me .

CANCER strikes in all forms but if there is a way to avoid Lung Cancer most of us decide that it is by not smoking or giving up the habit through Doctor's advice or seeing the effect of illness on others . Site to visit www.Lungevity.com.au Not so though !

Came across this item on SBS/CyclingCentral , here below are the links :

http://www.ridehardtobreatheeasy.com.au/

http://www.theage.com.au/national/big-c-is-for-cycling-in-the-ride-of-karens-life-20110122-1a0o9.html

When i had the Pumonary Embolisms after the 2009 TDF i was tested and prodded extensively , including a MRI scan then and again after the 2010 Giro d'Italia , so hope that recent aches and pains are only the onset of old age protesting that the 65yo body doesn't wish to respond to the urgings of a 25yo mindset .

Hopefully people will follow today this young Lady as she rides home to Melbourne. Worldwide we all face the same health hazards and there is a growing "No Smoking" movement but for many regretably it is already too late.

Wearing the "Ribbon" for Cancer Awareness is also becoming more visible ! There are over 70 million "livestrong" bracelets out there and there are reports that "Livestrong " has raised in excess of $325 million to fund their activities !

SENT THE FOLLOWING COMMENT TO RADIO SHACK, did not go through though :

"Communication is an important part of the team's equipment and UCI are trying to send Cycling back to the dark ages when Adam was a boy !
Training is also a key ingredient to success as demonstrated by my bumping into Wayne Rooney & Wes Brown as they were leaving the training ground near Manchester this morning.
Sunday and two of the top flight Soccer players were demonstrating their commitment to maintaining the supremacy of their team in the English Soccer Premiership !


Checkout my thoughts on the importance of Race Radios by this link:

http://tourdafarce.blogspot.com/raceradiosLooked like Horny was back at the car for his Mars Bar supply ! "



Follow my blogging with www.twitter.com/skippydetour or facebook (skippy Mc Carthy) where blogs are advised as they are published

Matt White revisited



On the road he was the support rider for people such as Francesco Casagrande, Lance Armstrong and the Australian Olympic Cyclones. If he had been treated more fairly and given more of the opportunities that his talent deserved he would have been a world and Olympic Champion . I voiced this opinion after I met him as a “Directeur Sportif”, he rounded on me and asked if I was criticizing his career, as he was proud of what he had achieved. For a while after this he ignored me as my choice of words were picked up by him in another context. At the 2009 tour he autographed “Skippys Legacy” so I hope that we will enjoy chatting once again.

As a Directeur Sportif he has had outstanding results with his athletes and leads the team from the front gaining podium results for his Sponsors.

I first met Matt at the 1999 Tour de Suisse which was a new event for us both. As he was an Aussie I had gone looking for him. The smaller tours were a good place to get close to the riders. At the Giro I was given accreditation so I was able to mix fairly readily with all concerned. When I presented at the Suisse the Media head told me I would not be given this accreditation as he said “the only time I see you in the press centre is “when you are eating or drinking”. Days later on the Saturday etappe on a mountain pass he sat as a passenger in a Mercedes coupe crawling up the pass with me continually overtaking him. A couple of times he made remarks and finally I lost it and said “the only time I see you is when you are sitting on your butt annoying cyclists and offering opinions above your pay scale and abilities!”

The next day I spoke with Matt before he made the Time Trial run. He was one of the first racers away on the course , so until near the end his time was the bench mark. Afterwards when we spoke I asked him how he felt about being on the Podium and said that I would like to see him on the top step in the next days. At that time Matt was in a cleft stick as on the previous Friday he had been told there was no Tour de France that year since Casagrande was “Persona non grata with ASO” that year because of his activities and suspicions relating to his "health", unproven of course .

Monday evening found us in Lichtenstein with Matt on the stage as victor. Whilst waiting for the presentation I found the local folk band and as they knew “Waltzing Matilda” I had them strike up whilst he was being presented on the stage to the crowd. Before he went on stage I gave him my “Aussi Cricket team cap” to wear but he had to wear the “Vini Caldarola cap”. I never got the cap back , it I was told was at one time worn by Alan Border. It had been given to me by the Aussie Rowing team at Leverkusen World Rowing Champs the previous October . Matt it was only a loan, mate and I would love to get it back!

Over the years I have enjoyed watching Matt in action. One of the last was disappointing as I thought when he passed through Bellinzola on the way to the finish at Lugano with Mick Rogers, Commesso and Freire that he might just podium once more. It was not to be as Oscar bunny hopped the median barrier and smoked them. Commesso sat up and so the three of them lost the initiative and whilst the Italian scored 7th place the Aussies were absorbed by the sprint.







These past months I have enjoyed seeing Matt voicing his opinion regarding a variety of cycling subjects.

Good luck to Matt and Garmin team in 2010.

Since this posting Matt has had a run in with Jon Vaughters at the Tour Down Under and is currently working with the Cyclones and there are reports he will be involved with the new Aussie Cycling Team , Greenedge , which is gearing up to enter the 2012 season as a "Protour Level Team" . With Matt's and Shane Bannon's race experience there is a good chance of their early success !