Sep 30, 2010

Still reason to cheer

It's hard not to get excited with the UCI World Road Championships in Geelong Australia. Although, I've had the chance to watch the Men's Elite TT online, with the hint of the road race to follow. But, no matter, I just wanted to mention that cycling still has it's hold on me. In a good way. Although, with the impacting news, and there were many stories today, it's hard to be a fan sometimes.

So without further ado, here's an uplifting video on the Cannibal (seen here).

Sep 29, 2010

Emma the Champion!

Crushing it!

Pooley is having an amazing 2010 season. She becomes the third Briton to win a World title. The other two are Chris Boardman 1994 World TT & Tom Simpson 1965 World Road Race.

Emma Pooley... World Champ!

Her 2010 palmares are lengthy: La Fleche Wallonne, Grand Prix de Suisse, Grand Prix Elsy Jacobs, Tour de l'Aude,  Giro del Trentino, British National Road Champion, GP de Plouay-Bretagne & UCI World Championship Women's TT.

She ripped through the 22.9km course in 32'48.44 and was the only rider to go under 33'. A well deserved victory as she beat out Germany's Judith Arndt in second & New Zealand's Linda Melanie Villumsen for third.

Special consideration has to go to superwoman, Jeannie Longo-Ciprelli who at 51 (next month she turns 52) beat out many to take a very respectful fifth place.

No race radios were allowed, meaning no intermediate time checks, so it was full pedal to the metal!

Madame Longo riding well to fifth!

Sep 28, 2010

All the World's a Stage

The World Road Cycling Championships in Geelong, Australia start Wednesday thru Sunday with the Elite Men's Road Race. Here's a two part video from last years exciting race in Mendrisio starring... Cadel Evans!

Sep 27, 2010


LeMond after a good bashing in 
The Hell of the North.

Greg LeMond was well known for his triple in the Tour & double in the World Road Race Championships. He was also cleverly adept over les pavé in Paris-Roubaix; fourth in 1985 & ninth in 1992. LeMond was keen on all three, he told L'Equipe, "there are three great races in the season: Paris-Roubaix, Tour de France and World Championships. Win one of these and your career takes off."

One rider synonymous with the Classics is Sean Kelly. One 'monumental' word is dominance. In fact, most probably, we will never see again. He's conquered many. Two wins in Milan San Remo, Tour of Lombardy, three times in '83, '89 and '91, Liege-Bastogne-Liege: '84 & '89, Gent-Wevelgem: '88. A mud splatter Kelly winning Roubaix twice in '84 & '86 is etched in my mind defining him as 'the' classic star. When it rains, it pours and that is Paris-Roubaix or affectionately known as 'The Hell of the North.'

Kelly said, "Paris Roubaix without rain or snow is not a true Paris Roubaix." And, from King Kelly ... a classic description to this legendary race!

 Mud splattered, King Kelly after winning the 
1986 Roubaix.

Sep 25, 2010

Stage 8: Bikes, Books, & Beers Podcast The Well Paved Edition

Guy & I ride on into Stage 8...

Starting off by re-caping this year's incredible Vuelta a España, the Mosquera vs Nibali duel. Guy presents his 'book' review on the premiere issue of 'Paved' Magazine & 'Canadian Cycling' Magazine. And, of course we couldn't forget the inaugural UCI ProTour Races in La Belle Province; Québec City & Montréal. What an exciting race they both were.

We forecast our favorites for the upcoming World Road Race Championships in Geelong, Australia. There's an old favorite in the peloton and can he 'pounce' on a fourth road title? The course looks to a sprinter with climbing abilities. And, as a hint I'm wearing Galstudio's Flandrian Cycling Cap.

It's my turn to present my very unique beer choice.... with a surprising ingredient.

Enjoy all!

Sep 24, 2010

Marc Madiot's Return!

Allez Marc!

A mini French renaissance started in the 1991 Paris-Roubaix.

Marc Madiot won his first Roubaix in 1985 and was back. He was 31 years old and now riding for his new team RMO. A season starting well with a sixth in the Tour of Flanders. The veteran was on form. So, the patient Madiot bided his time until L'Arbe (15.5 kms left) and took off from Franco Ballerini and Hendrik Redant to a spectacular solo victory.

Behind a train was closing with Steve Bauer just finishing off the podium in fourth. You may remember Bauer's epic ride, in 1990, from Eddy Planckert. But, another Frenchman, Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle finished in twelfth. The following two years Duclos-Lassalle would dominate making a French cycling triple over le pavé complete.

Since then, no Frenchman has won Roubaix. But then again there's plenty of time left in hell!

Sep 23, 2010

Whistler GranFondo

Here's Hans very cool video on his fine ride in the inaugural Whistler GranFondo on Sept. 11th. It looked well organized with plenty of nourishment along the route and afterwards. Hans finished the 120km scenic mountainous course in 5hrs 40mins. Fantastic ride, Hans!

Sep 22, 2010

Crushing la classica di Primavera

Number one of two.

Having lived through injuries, bouts of self-doubt & disagreements with Cyrille Guimard, Laurent Fignon looked forward to the start of the 1988 season... with his sights on Milan-San Remo.

"I was using 53X15, a colossal gear. I caught sight of Maurizio Fondriest, a mere youngster. I knew I could beat him. He had no chance. So on the descent I used a cunning old man's trick: I swung wide out on the bends, pretending to be a poor descender. The idea was to let him come past so that he would make the pace on the straights. He fell for it like an amateur. On the television, the commentators didn't have any idea what was going on: I was totally in charge and deliberately saving my strength and they said I was 'struggling'. Idiots."

Before the start, director sportif, Cyrille Guimard said to him, "Milan-San Remo, what use is that?"

And, French television refused to show any highlights stating, "There's no way a Frenchman can win."

I enjoyed how Laurent Fignon silenced his naysayers... another sterling moment!

Sep 21, 2010

One more time: Bola del Mundo

Here's another look at the most exciting finish in this years Vuelta, the dizzying Bola del Mundo. The duel between Nibali and Mosquera is classic!

Sep 20, 2010

Ola Nibali!

The Shark triumphs!

Vincenzo Nibali stepped up to be the fifth Italian rider to win the Vuelta in 20 years. For a young man of only 25, he rode a very tactically sound race maintaining his lead over Ezequiel 'Zeke' Mosquera. Peter Velits rode so well, especially snagging the 46 km TT away from a 'distanced' Cancellara.

Saturday's Bola del Mundo climb was incredible. I was on the edge of my chair watching the final 3 km drama of Zeke & the Shark. Great mano a mano scrap as Mosquera exerted the drive necessary to pull away. Excitement right up to the finish line as Zeke won the stage from the fast charging shark.

It will be interesting to see how Liquigas-Doimo will run with two co-leaders as Nibali will certainly step up for the 2011 Giro. Basso has said he will support and help the young teammate. A huge season for the Italian squad winning two of the year's three Grand Tours ... successful to be sure!

Zeke gave it his best on the exciting Bola del Mundo!

Sep 18, 2010

A Sunday in Hell: Revisited

"That's Bernard Thévenet, still France's greatest hero after his triumph in the 1975 Tour de France. He doesn't have much of a chance in Paris-Roubaix because he's not good enough... on le pavé."

I've re-watched A Sunday in Hell: 1976 Paris-Roubaix (directed by Jorgen Leth) countless of times always assured of the ultimate pleasure of viewing one of the finest cycling films ever made. I think it's certainly all about inspiration and a little hero worship, too. It's especially desirable right after a ride, like today, as I found a brief lull in the rain and went off for two hours.

So many stars of that era that had a chance to win; Freddy Maertens, Eddy Merckx, Roger DeVlaeminck, Francesco Moser, Walter Planckaert, Hennie Kuiper, Walter Godefroot... But, there was a whole bunch of riders that had little if no chance in Hell. Two French heroes; Bernard Thévenet & 40 year old Raymond Poulidor were two unlikely riders to conquer le pavé. I love watching supporting rider, Marc Demeyer, taking advantage as team leader Maertens was force to quit after a fall. He surprised everyone to win it!

Sep 17, 2010

The Rain in Spain Goes Mainly up the Bola del Mundo

Mosquera receives some 'winning advice' by the great Federico Bahamontes 
after stage 19 in Toledo.

This Vuelta is destined to be one of the most exciting, as the lead has see-sawed to great joy by yours truly. The final battle with the eventual winner will be exposed Saturday up the 2247m Bola del Mundo (ball of the world) summit.

Fifty seconds is separating Vincenzo 'the shark' Nibali over second place climber Ezequiel Mosquera. It hasn't been easy for the young Nibali but on todays run into Toledo he saw a little light at the end of the tunnel. He gained an additional 12 seconds on the Spanish climbing ace and feels confident that it could help him win his first grand tour. If this happens, Nibali will become the fifth Italian rider to win the Vuelta a Espana since Marco Giovannetti back in 1990.

Ever since stage 11, Mosquera launched an incredible attack came in second and positioned himself close in fifth overall. His relentless aggressive attacking pushed him even closer to third overall and becoming a heavy favorite to win. But, he's now on the precipice, 50 seconds seem to be a huge order to fill especially against a hungry shark. His team boss, Alvaro Pino has openly criticised Mosquera's lack of desire to push himself after stage 16. Pino knows a thing or two about being provoked by team bosses and as a result he won the 1986 Vuelta. His wish for Mosquera to win is evident.

And, Saturday's stage is set, as forecasters are predicting rain which would make the climb very dramatic and the outcome ...unpredictable.

Sep 16, 2010

Wasp Sting!

1978 Tour, stage 4, Evreux-Caen TTT...
the Wasp like jersey in full force with
French National Champion, Bernard Hinault.

The Renault-Gitane cycling team started in 1978. The French state owned automobile giant along with the famous bicycle maker was directed by the astute, Cyrille Guimard. The new cycling team introduced Bernard Hinault, at 23 years old, to his first Tour de France. As preparation he won the Vuelta and looked towards the big prize. The Badger joined a tough squad ready to support him; Jean-Rene Bernaudeau, Yvon Bertin, Jacques Bossis, Andre Chalmel, Gilbert Chaumaz, Lucien Didier, Bernard Quilfen, Willy Teirlinck, & Pierre-Raymond Villemaine.

Hinault already tasted the winners circle, coming into his first Tour winning many classics the previous year. Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Ghent Wevelgem, Grand Prix des Nations (showing his time trailing brilliance) & the Daphine Libere (the mini Tour with mountains).

...the '78 buzz.

When Laurent Fignon first signed for Renault, he said that the team was part of the flesh and blood of French life. To me, it captivated and awe inspired me. Renault would always present, to me, the Badger’s & Fignon’s winning ways with Guimard at the helm. The Renault ship was guided well with great riders that most often won. The iconic French team prospered changing names twice; Renault-Gitane (1978-80) & Renault-Elf (1981-85).

In 1978, the team also introduced their new jersey. Journalist’s touted the new design, the wasp-liked jerseys, as eye catching. Their winning ways was certainly an intimidating fear in the peloton. Although Hinault's wasp swarm didn't win the TTT to Caen (finishing in fifth), he won three stages, wore the yellow jersey for three days & importantly claimed his first Tour. The 'sting' was on! 

Sep 14, 2010

La belle province

Flying Dutchman, Gesink!

I placed a big star, on my wall map, specifically on Québec City & Montréal. Just a reminder to travel there to be part of the UCI ProTour spectacle that will be around for at least five years. Both races oozed successful and thrilling finishes packing the race course with cycling crazed fans. Québec knows how to party.

Canadian hero: Ryder Hesjedal

Frenchman, Thomas Voeckler dished out last minute pain to danger men; Edvard Bosson Hagen (2nd), Robert Gesink (3rd) and Ryder Hedjedal (4th) to win the riveting Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec City (Sept. 10th). I was left to wonder what would Montréal do for an encore?

Perhaps not as technical as the beautiful but punishing Québec City course (running through the old city) but still as challenging. Before, Montréal was the pearl in the North American cycling oyster. Historically it shone brightly with much of the same course used for the 1976 Olympics where Swede Bernt Johannsen won gold, the 1974 world championship won by Eddy Merckx and 1988 World Cup event won by Steve Bauer.

Now, racing is back with a vengeance. The course is 193.6 km long included 16 laps up the famous Mont Royal. The day started quickly, led by small group of five; Alfredo Balloni, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Angel Madrazo, Maarten Tjllingii & Gorka Izagirre. A spectacular fall, on the second lap, ended Balloni's day. Just seeing him suddenly veer off the road and into the thick underbush made me wince.

Drama began on the fourteenth lap, up the Voie Camilien Houde to the top of Mont Royal as Ryder Hesjedal attacked. But it wasn't enough to shed Gesink, Boasson-Hagen, Maxime Monfort and a group of climbers looking like they were dangling on a string.

On the last lap, on the Voie Camilien Houde Levi Leipheimer attacked but then Dutchman Gesink surged past him with mouth open in time trial mode. To put it in perspective, he raced that final 12km lap in 16:46 average speed of 43.230 kph/26.24 mph. The flying Dutchman held on to win his first one day ProTour race by four seconds from a fast charging Peter Sagan (2nd) & the brilliant Hesjedal (3rd).

Steve Bauer who was DS for the Canadian Team was also a key organizer for both races said, "I think it was a classic championship event. These events were a great boost for our sport here in Canada. It's a great opportunity to make progress in the  professional cycling world, giving Canadians a chance to see how it is, and showing the rest of the world what a great country Canada is, and what a great sport it can be worldwide."

... and Oh Québec, too!

Sep 12, 2010

Retro is new again!

DeRosa just had to do it. The iconic bicycle company introduced a 'new' color for their 2011 Neo Primato lineup. Looking very like, minus the chrome forks and stays (a shame they don't offer it), the 1983 Sammontana Gelati Team. The great Italian team of the eighties had star power; Moreno Argentin, Claudio Corti, Jesper Worre, Gianbattista Baronchelli.

It would be the perfect match for my old jersey (last posted here).

Claudio Corti,
1983 Sammontana-Campagnolo

Sep 11, 2010

Calling for help

Today, I tested my sore body riding to the University of BC then to Simon Fraser University. The result: a nice relatively pain free ride. My body seems to be finally healing since my accident last Thursday. On my way home, an older woman on a commuter bike stopped me on Adanac Street & Boundary Rd asking for air for her tyres. I came to the rescue and I couldn't believe how low both were. Almost flat. She was complaining how difficult it was to ride on them. I took the opportunity to show her how to loosen the locknut on the presta valve before attaching the pump on. In fact, she didn't even know what a presta valve was. I'm always surprised how many people don't know the basic fundamentals of their bike. She called me a good samaritan and happily rode away on properly inflated tyres.

Euskaltel-Euskadi: Call 911!

My body may have endured a few knocks but not as hard as how Igor Anton lost control of his bike today in the Vuelta stage 14, 10kms before the finish line into Pena Cabarga. The race leader crashed hard bloodied, jersey shredded looking like a rag doll thrown out from a moving car. His Vuelta dream gone with a broken elbow. Anton's teammate, Egoi Martinez went down also and left the race due to a broken clavicle. And, bad luck keeps coming for the Basque team as Marzio Bruseghin and Rigoberto Uran went down hard in the same crash, both leaving the race. Before, the start of the stage the Euskaltel squad looked formidable protecting leader Anton. Now, the Basque team's misfortunes are Vincenzo Nibaldi's fortunes as he claimed the roja jersey as the new leader.

Sep 10, 2010

Québec City Success!

Québec City put on a great show today, to be the first UCI ProTour race in North America. Duly noted with the throngs of fans cheering along the circuit race it was a beautiful atmosphere. Congratulations must go to the city, fans, riders, organizers and especially the UCI for choosing Québec City. It was quite a race. And a memorable one it was as Thomas Voeckler came out of nowhere, ok he was lurking in the peloton, pouncing in the final 800 metres to take the race. 

Blasting past Ryder Hesjedal (4th) and Robert Gesink (3rd) the French National Champion managed to look behind him before lifting his arms in surprised victory. The margin seemed enough as he smiled shook his head at nipping out the fast charging freight train of Edvald Boasson Hagen.  

But, the BBox man wasn't always smiling as he almost thought of quitting the race. Voeckler said he wasn't in the best form coming into the race. So he had to bide his time going up the last climb. He must've felt good being part of a small group catching the late breakaway of five riders. 

Canadian star, Ryder Hesjedal initiated that breakaway like a sly fox attacking with two laps to go, up the steep Cote de la Montagne. A solid group looking like it contained the winner, or so I thought. The riders were very talented; Matti Breschel, Damiano Cunego, Dries Devenyns, Fabian Wagmann & Ryder Hesjedal. In the final kilometres, they were caught so Voeckler launched his attacked for an unforgetful win.

And, Sunday is the GP Montréal... the Québec stage is set for more success!

Sep 9, 2010

Steve Bauer Trading Card

At the height of Bauer Power.

 I'd like to have this 1988 Topps trading card, very cool!

Sep 8, 2010

Allez Québec!

To say that I'm excited for the upcoming Québec City (Sept.10th) & Montréal (Sept. 12th) Grand Prix races is an understatement.

The city is over 400 years old and is the spectacular backdrop for a very difficult race. The undulating course consisting of some cobblestone sections with the finishing climb up the steep Grande-Allée will be more than challenging for the riders. 

Ryder Hesjedal

For us observers, it will be fun to watch. I was there in 2005 and remember it vividly as beautiful and especially crowded. Twenty-two ProTour teams are in and Canadian excitement is building steadily with the inclusion of Team Canada under the care of DS, Steve Bauer. The team is young & talented including: David Boily, Guilaume Boivin, Ryan Anderson, Bruno Langlois, Francois Parisen, Rob Britton, David Veilleux, Canadian National Champion Will Routley, Charles Dionne & Cervelo's Dominique Rollin will round out a very solid team. I'm liking classic specialist, Rollin who says he fancies the Québec City course drawing similarities with the Tour of Flanders but shorter. The forecast is for rain and Rollin relishes in it. Just look back at his astounding stage 4 win in the rain in the 2008 Tour of California (I posted it here). The Québecois hasn't found a contract for 2011 but I'm sure with a stellar performance, teams will come knocking. 

Dominique Rollin

The Montréal course is also technical and involves an old friend. The extinct volcano, Mount Royal will be climbed 15 times and provides the difficult & ideal location for the demanding historic course. Eddy Merckx won on a similar course in 1974 & crowned as World Road Race Champion. The 1976 Olympic Road Race was run here won by Sweden's Bernt Johansson. And, of course the Montréal World Cup Races for both Men & Women were run until recently. I'm glad it's back as I had the wonderful chance to see the Women's race back in 1998 (posted here).

Svein Tuft

Garmin-Transitions is sending Canadian's, Svein Tuft & Ryder Hesjedal to blast a hole in the Québec City ramparts for victory. Hesjedal looks to be one to watch. His credentials already Tour proven with his amazing & uplifting seventh-place finish. It was the best for a Canadian since Steve Bauer was fourth in 1988. His second place in Amstel Gold Race is another revelation that the quiet and determined Hesjedal, I believe, well be in the top ten. Canada's, Michael Barry is in too and will bring his domestique talents to a strong Team Sky.  

The UCI granted a five-year ProTour license to the Quebec City & Montreal Race with a possibility of expanding to 2018. And, if that's not exciting enough, the 2015 World Championships could be held in Québec City. An extraordinary weekend upcoming, surely a proud moment and a fantastic feather in Québec's cycling cap!

Michael Barry

Sep 6, 2010

Seeing Blue Polka-Dots

A KOM title beckons.

For Frenchman, David Moncoutié has moved into a familiar position atop the Mountains Classification in the Vuelta a España.

Going to a Stage 8 high!

After seizing a decisive victory on Saturday's stage 8 climb up the Alto Zorret del Cati, Moncoutié is settling into a steady rhythm for his ultimate target... a third Mountain's Classification.

Climbing success started early. His first victory was a mountain stage in the 1999 Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré. Stage win in the 2004 Tour then 1st Mountains Classification in the 2006 Paris-Nice. The Spanish mountains seem to suit his attacking style. In the 2008 Vuelta, stage 8 & Mountains Classification winner. Followed in the 2009 Vuelta, stage 13 & a second Mountains Classification win.

On Sunday, the menace of seven climbs along with the searing heat played into the hands of the ever ambitious Moncoutié. But, Gonzalo Rabunal (Xacobeo Galicia) had something else to say in the way of attacking for KOM points. The Xacobeo rider was doing an excellent job in protecting the KOM lead of his teammate Serafin Martinez. The see-saw battle ended as the Frenchman escaped with a small group containing; David Lopez, Roman Kreuziger & Giampaolo Caruso.

David Lopez took a fine stage victory as Moncoutié finished fourth amassing enough points to become the new KOM's leader. The heat in the mountains has just begun and it's looking like David Moncoutié is in the lofty position wearing those nice blue polka-dots!

Stage 13 2009 Vuelta...
wearing & securing his KOM Roja Jersey.

Sep 4, 2010

Stage 7: Bikes, Books, & Beers Podcast The Crazy Tour Edition

We're onto Stage 7 & the fun ride begins with...

This Labor Day weekend is relaxing as Guy & I just finished a Saturday light 'eight hour' ride. And this holiday weekend is a perfect way to spend talking about almost everything that has to do with cycling. I launch into my review from the excellent French magazine, Telerama hors serie, 'La Folie du Tour 1903-2003'. What's the connection between Dustin Hoffman & Le Tour?

And, get ready for winter as we both introduce Galstudio's newest creation, 'Lombardia & Galibier Winter Cycling Cap'. We talk about the passing of legendary great, Laurent Fignon. And, our take on the upcoming inaugural UCI ProTour race in Quebec City & Montreal.

And, Guy presents his liquid replacement, une bonne p'tit bière Québécoise.

Sit back and enjoy!

Sep 3, 2010

Laurent Fignon: Final Applause Please...

The Tour Trio, July 2010.

This morning, I was watching Eurosport's coverage of the Vuelta when I heard that commentator Sean Kelly was not working. He was attending Laurent Fignon's funeral in Paris. Today, the French hero was laid to rest in a Paris crematorium. Thinking of it, I'm still in shock and truly sadden that he's gone.

Rest in peace, Professor!

1982 Giro d'Italia...
first year pro & protecting the Badger.

1984 Tour de France.

2005 London.

At the Tourmalet with Sean Kelly & Miguel Indurain July 21, 2010...
On the route of the stage Revel-Ax Trois domains July 18, 2010

Sep 2, 2010

Norse Win

A big win for the Norseman!

Watching the highlights of Thor Hushovd's sprinting ability in stage 6 of the Vuelta made me smile. I need it. I'm at home relaxing after a ride and tangling with a nasty construction hose. I tried to bunny hop it but lost and skidded on my right side. I'm suffering bruises to my elbow, hip, knee, & ribs. With the help of polysporin, ice pack and rest I'll be ok.

The Norwegian is still a force to reckon with. The Cervelo rider scaled the Alto de la Cresta del Gallo leaving behind many sprinters before the final into Murcia. To say that the God of Thunder isn't a pure sprinter but rather evolving into an all rounder capable of both; fast on the flats & climbing is aptly suitable. Hushovd saved his sting for the finish, handily beating out Daniele Bennati & the emerging Grega Bole for victory.

Impressing Garmin boss, Jonathan Vaughters that signing Hushovd was the right decision for next season. On yesterday's stage 5, Garmin's Tyler Farrar let it be known that he's back & sprinted for a splendid victory. One things for sure, both are talented riders and will definitely give the new Garmin-Cervelo partnership a distinct two-pronged edge!

Sep 1, 2010

Farrar Punches it!

Farrar toasts Cavendish.

With this week's big news of Garmin-Cervelo to join forces next season, a super team will form. Thor Hushovd is already on board with his Cervelo 'mates joining him; Heinrich Haussler, Andreas Klier, Roger Hammond, Brett Lancaster, Daniel Lloyd & Gabriel Rasch. A 'toast' in the form of a victory would be very appropriate.

Today on stage 5: Guadix to Lorca 199km long stage culminated in the final sprint. Any lingering doubts of Tyler Farrar and his stomach bug was put away nicely with a massive stage win. The Garmin sprinter was ill during yesterday's stage 4 and close to abandon. Lead-out star Julian Dean still injured from a fall before the opening TTT was not in the numbers. So, Farrar used his other two pilot fish namely; Matt Wilson & Michael Kreder to position him with 10 km to go. It worked so well that Farrar blew by Cavendish taking a rare but an important victory. The American is now tied with Igor Anton for the points jersey at 41 points.

And, Farrar is coming back into form and looking dangerous. Rallying back from his disaster in the Tour a turn of events started with a fine win in Hamburg, second in Plouy & today's Vuelta stage. For Thor Hushovd who finished well in the pack his 'toast' could come in tomorrow's short mountainous stage.

 Before the start...
a moment of silence 
for Laurent Fignon.
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