Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2015 Tour de France: A Classic Touch - Hitting The Wall & Tribute To The KoMs

Hitting the Wall,
2014 La Fleche Wallonne.

I wonder whether Dan Martin is thinking of the 2015 Tour de France? If he is selected to ride, then stage 3 can be most interesting. I'll get to that a little later.

A look at the course...

The course has been revealed and special thanks go to race organizers for creating a parcours suited for the climbers. Notably, organizers are keen to pay tribute to the 40th anniversary of the climber's polka dot jersey. Light on time trials and, thankfully, heavy on climbing. I think this Tour is one of my favorites - for the second year in succession cue in cobblestones. On stage 4, seven sections of 'nice' pave to keep everyone focussed. It's 211km long, 13.3km of pave and the riders will be wishing the weather gods will be fair.

A Classic Touch...

The Grand Départ is in Utrecht and then along the North Coast of The Netherlands. Stage 3 finishes on the steep ramp of the Muy de Huy in Belgium. Dan Martin came tantalizingly close to winning La Fléche Wallone and has a proven classic track record in a race that really suits his climbing abilities (2012: 6th, 2013: 4th, 2014: 2nd)...


The beautiful mountains...

A rest day in Pau before the Pyrenees, three summit finishes in a row and up La Pierre St-Martin on stage 10. Cauterets and then the Tourmalet on stage 11. Fearsome ascent up the Plateau de Beille on stage 12. But, the Alps will be mighty nasty. Four days in the Alps with three summit finishes on Pra-Loup (stage 17), la Toussuire (stage 19) and l'Alpe d'Huez. Stage 20 is the penultimate stage before Paris and just looks nasty...

The 21 hairpins (13.8km at 8.1%) of Alpe d'Huez is the perfect icing on this 2015 Tour. It promises to be a dramatic finish. Hugely popular appearing 28 times, last won in 2013 by Christophe Riblon.

The Penultimate stage killer.

The Players...

In my opinion, Nairo Quintana looks well suited to this mountainous Tour. Then again, he won't be alone. He'll have to stay upright along with these guys to the Alps: Contador, Nibali, Froome. But, wouldn't it be fitting for one of these French challengers to take la Grande Boucle? My French picks to break the 30 year drought are; Romain Bardet, Thibault Pinot and Jean-Christophe Péraud.

French dreams can come true.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sylvain Chavanel: Funkengruven

The national champ motoring to victory.
via Bettini

Sylvain Chavanel was doing a number on the roads by winning and ending the Euro road season nailing the Chrono des Nations. Great win for Chava, proving that he's a TT monster, and in a way sad for us cycling fans. We'll have to wait until next season for cycling. Of interesting note is that Chavanel has ended his season and have bought a camper van and is off for holidays. Many years ago, I've enjoyed many holiday adventures with my 1972 VW camper van. I'm sure Chavanel doesn't have a VW camper van but there's something extra special cruising in a VW van. 

"I'm keen to go on holiday with my family before starting up again calmly with 2015 in view. With my newly-purchased camper van, I'm going to discover the countryside and landscape around Mont-Saint-Michel and the beaches of the Normandy landings."

- Sylvain Chavanel.

Funkengruven: The joy of driving, VW style.

photo Red Dots Cycling

Friday, October 17, 2014

Friday File: 'Keep Your Eyes Out For The Little Fella', Paris-Tours: Watch It!, 2015 Giro XC: Unpaved This Way

The final world tour race of the season, Tour of Beijing, is featured on the quirky, eclectic and always entertaining Back Stage Pass. It's always interesting to discover something new and Back Stage Pass delivers. Here's their full race review with emphasis on the talented duo; neo pro sprinter Caleb Ewan and climbing sensation Esteban Chaves. 

Storm clouds: UCI president Brian Cookson decided not to continue the event and disbanded its organizer, Global Cycling Promotion. Back in 2011, this race was launched after the UCI backed Global Cycling Promotion was given WorldTour status. Suspicious times...

Back then the GCP was founded by then UCI president Pat McQuaid and former UCI president Hein Vebruggen, received preferential treatment to be fast-tracked to WorldTour status and debut.

Waving goodbye...
Philippe Gilbert (winner), Dan Martin (2nd),
Esteban Chaves (3rd, best young riders classification winner).

Paris-Tours was a raucous affair. It was long, at times with dicey slippery roads. For some riders, very nervous times just trying to stay on the bike...

Classically dangerous...

Exciting news: The 2015 Giro d'ltalia announced the Cima Coppi...

A painterly image of the monster, Colle delle Finestre...
2178m, 18kms long & look closely... unpaved!
via Giro d'Italia

From time to time, I'm more than happy to mention something non-cycling...

Last Thursday evening, Carolle and I thoroughly enjoyed the classic play, 'A toi, pour toujours, ta Marie-Lou.' Written by Quebec icon, Michel Tremblay. It's currently playing at Theatre la Seizieme in Vancouver. Performed in French but, thankfully, has English subtitles to help the French challenged audience (like myself). For me, I enjoy French plays and Studio 16 has recently included english subtitles. This is the 40th year of the Francophone Theatre la Seizieme, and if you are in the Vancouver area, please support them by enjoying their plays. 

Monday, October 13, 2014

The Dynamic Duo & Red Dots Cycling Today Only: FREESHIPPING

The top 3 on GC. Martin wins the stage now in second, Esteban Chaves (third),
Philippe Gilbert (leader with one stage to go).

Dynamic riding from Ryder Hesjedal to set up a rewarding finish for Dan Martin to win the Queen stage of the Tour of Beijing. Hesjedal attacked on the final climb and it was up to the rest to expend energy. With 2km remaining, Hesjedal was caught and his partner took advantage of the winning opportunity. Another win by the dynamic duo!

The Heron
photo Red Dots Cycling

Red Dots Cycling is celebrating Thanksgiving Day. For all online purchases, just use coupon code: FREESHIPPING 

Valid worldwide until the end of day.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Tour of Beijing: Extreme Riding

Unsafe to ride?
Belkin Pro Cycling Team

Watching the shorten stage 2 highlights from the Tour of Beijing, the cyclists are riding a difficult race made even more difficult by breathing in the dangerous smog. Which begs the question...

When is it too unsafe to ride?

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