Sep 2, 2015

Double Trouble

Bettini Photo

I can't believe it's happened again. Four days since Peter Sagan was hit by a neutral assistance motorcycle, Sergio Paulinho was hit by a TV motorbike and forced to abandon stage 11. I watched today's stage and saw the above image on Twitter and first winced and fell into disbelief that another reckless motorcycle incident has reared it's ugly head. A shame that Paulinho and Sagan are gone and race organizers are now committed to positively react before some rider really gets hurt.

Tinkoff-Saxo post.

This casts a troubling shadow onto an exciting stage 11- the hardest stage of the race...

"The hardest day of my life."

- Esteban Chaves

Sep 1, 2015

Tour of Alberta: Canadian Pave and Mountains

Time to turn it on!

Six stage, third edition of the Tour of Alberta starts tomorrow in Grand Prairie with the 19 km TTT. As this Canadian 2.1 race takes shape the mountains will be finally featured and a satisfying challenge for the likes of Ryder Hesjedal. I'm especially looking forward to stage 3, 206.2 km Edson to Spruce Grove - including 56 km of Canadian pave or dirt roads.

Key mountain stages will be Friday and Saturday in Jasper National Park - first from Grande Cache to Miette Hot Springs, the second from Jasper to Marmot Basin ski area.

“I enjoy it any time the pavement disappears and it turns into a dirt road. I grew up on it, I ride gravel all the time. I did a three-hour ride (last Friday) on a gravel trail. If you’re a rider and you’ve only ever ridden on pavement and you’ve never ridden through gravel, then it gets a bit complicated on a road bike. For sure, this course is more suited to my strengths than (previous years) with some selected stages, obviously, in Jasper. But you know, you’ve got to get through the first day. The team time trial is complicated, for sure. Already, from the first day, there can be time differences.”

- Ryder Hesjedal

Sadly, I won't be able to make it back to my home province to see it but I'll be watching eagerly and cheering on Ryder and the rest of the Canadian riders!

2015 Tour of Alberta: 
Stage 1: Grande Prairie - 19.6km (Team Time Trial)
Stage 2: County of Grande Prairie - 171.6km
Stage 3: Grande Cache to Jasper National Park - 181.8km
Stage 4: Jasper to Marmot Basin - 162.1km
Stage 5: Edson to Spruce Grove - 206.2km
Stage 6: Edmonton circuit race- 124.1km

Rest day in La Vuelta. Calm before the storm...

Team Lotto NL Jumbo

Stage 11...

No calm here.

Aug 31, 2015

MTN-Qhubeka: It's a great moment for us as a team

Stage 10's finish was tailor made for John Degenkolb but for all the fantastic positioning from his team he ran out of room. Kristian Sbaragli stormed to the line first giving MTN-Qhubeka their second grand Tour stage win. MTN is pulling sponsorship at the end of the season and quite an amazing success story they've become - here's hoping a new sponsor will step in and take this talented team into next season.

I was feeling really well on the climb and just didn’t want to miss out again. I came so close a few times already in this La Vuelta, so I decided to wait until 200 meters to go before leaving it all out there. It’s sensational, something I never tasted before. This win is good for our team, but especially for Qhubeka and our 5.000 bikes campaign.

- Kristian Sbaragli, winner of stage 10

It’s unbelievable, a milestone performance for Kristian. He rode really well in the first couple of days, but felt disappointed after his near misses. Today he did everything right and managed to get the team’s second Grand-Tour stage win this year. It’s a great moment for us as a team.

- Jens Zemke, MTN-Qhubeka Sports Director

Sergio Henao avoided falling over a cliff but this funny image showed him checking to see where his Pinarello landed...

Aug 30, 2015

They told me just to keep going

My low tech, worked.
photo Cycling Art

Yesterday's wind storm caused further havoc in the form of no internet service for about 20 hours. It just returned and I never thought I would 'miss' not having it. It's our portal for our virtual cycling cap business and also a gateway to know what's going on in the world. I haven't had cable tv for years and no plans to go back to that unsatisfactory world. Keeping life simple (without the internet) was an exercise in patience. I returned to my old mono 8 transistor radio for hourly updates on our local all news AM station. I'm from the pre-internet generation and, for a short time, just embraced low tech again.

Guess who Jonathan Vaughters hints at who his next big signing will be?...

The ripped, Joe Dombrowski...

GC changes...

"They told me, just to keep going, and see how it goes, and today it ended pretty well."

- Tom Dumoulin takes over the red jersey.

GC after Stage 9: T. Dumoulin 35:22:13 2. J. Rodriguez :57 3. E. Chaves :59

"Sagan cannot safely continue to race. He was hit by a reckless auxiliary motorbike and suffered wounds and burns of first and second degree on the left side of his body, from the hip to the lower leg. In addition, he has a contusion on his left forearm with an intra-muscular haematoma."

- Tinkoff-Saxo 

"Even if motorbikes are forced to through a group of riders, they should do it very carefully and not recklessly. In my opinion, motorbike drivers don't take the safety of the riders in consideration seriously."

Peter Sagan abandons the Vuelta.

Classic Cool:

Stage 4, Sevilla to Malaga, 1936 Vuelta

Aug 29, 2015

Storm's a brewin'

 Vancouver wind storm: Tree vs Car

Today's wind storm was harsh with winds howling as high as 90 km/hr knocking down trees and power lines and generally causing mayhem. An estimated 400k homes, in the Lower Mainland, are without power. Now, the winds have finally died down and it's comforting to have some much needed rain over the next few days. 

Our storm has stopped but another one is brewing in the Vuelta...

From today's article:

“Unfortunately, it isn't the first time such an incident happens," Sagan said later in a team press release. "Even if motorbikes are forced to go through a group of riders, they should do it very carefully and not recklessly. In my opinion, motorbike drivers don't take the safety of the riders in consideration seriously. Fortunately, my injuries aren't very serious but can you imagine what would have happened if he had ran over me?"
The motorcycle involved belonged to the Shimano neutral support team - one whose reputation was sullied when a support car knocked Jesse Sergent (Trek) down when he was part of a breakaway in the Tour of Flanders. Sagan was blocked in the Tour de France by a camera motorbike when attempting to change bikes in the Tour de France, too, but highlighted the dangers of this incident.
“If I had crashed alone or with another rider, I would have considered that to be part of the sport. However, being hit by a motorbike of the race organization shouldn't be acceptable. The safety of the riders should be an absolute priority and all vehicle drivers involved in a race must be more attentive. I really hope this incident is the start of a series of necessary changes in the way races are organized."

Tinkoff-Saxo later issued a sternly worded press release saying they would indeed consider legal action “against the person or persons responsible for crashing into Peter Sagan with 8.2km to go on the stage.”
“Tinkoff-Saxo believes that such accidents caused by reckless human error, regardless of whether they affect Tinkoff-Saxo’s riders or riders of other teams, are unacceptable at the top level of the sport of cycling,” the press release added.
Sagan himself was also fined 200 Swiss Francs “for threats and insults,” as well as a further 100 Swiss Francs for “behaviour which damages the image of cycling.”
"I go back to the team hotel and I read I was fined 300 francs for insults and threats as well as behavior that damages the image of cycling. I will, obviously, pay it but I consider it unjust," Sagan said.

Stage 8: 1. Jasper Stuyven 2. Pello Lopez De Armentia 3. Kevin Reza

DNF: Tejay Van Garderen, Nacer Bouhanni, Kris Boeckmans, Daniel Martin

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