Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Race of Truth for Clara Hughes


Clara leading the Olympic road race.



There's a golden story happening, for Canada's Clara Hughes.

What does the 39 year old Hughes do after finishing 32nd in the rain-drenched road race? Well, ride tomorrow's time trial!

One of Canada's most successful Olympians, participating in sixth Olympiads she has the race of truth to try for her seventh Olympic medal. If she does medal, Hughes would be Canada's most decorated Olympic athlete ever. Speed skater Cindy Klassen has six.

She has an amazing career; two bronze medals in the 1996 Atlanta road race & individual time trial. Sixth in the time trial at Sydney in 2000. Speed skating bronze in the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games. Gold & silver in 2006 Turin and a bronze in 2010 Vancouver. What is also remarkable is that she decided to return back to competitive cycling after the 2006 Olympics... after 10 years away.

And, while there are favorites for tomorrow's 29 km race of truth, such as Kristin Armstrong and Judith Arndt ... don't count out the fiery Clara for a medal!



Women Time Trial startlist:


12:30:00 24 FERNANDES SILVA Clemilda (Brazil)
12:31:30 23 SUNDSTEDT Pia (Finland)
12:33:00 22 de VOCHT Liesbet (Belgium)
12:34:30 21 MOOLMAN Ashleigh (South Africa)
12:36:00 20 CORDON Audrey (France)
12:37:30 19 ANTOSHINA Tatiana (Russia)
12:39:00 18 TCHALYKH Elena (Azerbaijan)
12:40:30 17 GUDERZO Tatiana (Italy)
12:42:00 16 RAMSDEN Denise (Canada)
12:43:30 15 ZABELINSKAYA Olga (Russia)
12:45:00 14 FAHLIN Emilia (Sweden)
12:46:30 13 WORRACK Trixi (Germany)
12:48:00 12 CANTELE Noemi (Italy)
12:49:30 11 GILLOW Shara (Australia)
12:51:00 10 van DIJK Ellen (The Netherlands)
12:52:30 9 ARMITSTEAD Elizabeth (Great Britain)
12:54:00 8 JOHANSSON Emma (Sweden)
12:55:30 7 NEBEN Amber (United States)
12:57:00 6 POOLEY Emma (Great Britain)
12:58:30 5 HUGHES Clara (Canada)
13:00:00 4 VILLUMSEN Linda Melanie (New Zealand)
13:01:30 3 VOS Marianne (The Netherlands)
13:03:00 2 ARNDT Judith (Germany)
13:04:30 1 ARMSTRONG Kristin (United States)

Monday, July 30, 2012

1982 Giro & Spartacus will ride.

All smiles!


Pic of the Day:

Two great champions from the 1982 Giro d'Italia... Francesco Moser congratulating Bernard Hinault for winning the overall. Moser won the points classification, two stages and finished 8th overall. Five stage wins and the overall for the Badger winning his second Giro d'Italia.


Olympic cycling continues this Wednesday with the anticipated men's and women's time trial.

Good news Spartacus, riding with pain, will defend his Olympic title. Have to give it to him to endure after that terrible crash and really deserves credit to continue on Wednesday. Watch out for a hungry Taylor Phinney, who is on form and will be on fire after missing out of the medals. And my pick will be world champion, Tony Martin for the gold.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

In the fridge... FRFuggitivi, Vino with a twist & Vos the boss

Rye & Ginger Ale... delicious!


After celebrating my birthday on Saturday, I'm back with a rare edition of ...In the fridge.

A new ale from the tasty minds of Big Rock Brewery from Calgary, this is a new one called Rye & Ginger Ale. Copper in color this beauty has Rye Malt and pure Ginger and at 5% it's tasty enough to keep enjoying.

Vino!


After enjoying a very warm Saturday birthday brunch at Spanish Bank Beach (thanks Carolle!) my attention turned to the Mens' and Women's Olympic Road Race. Forgive me while I jump the queue and direct your attention, first, to our FRFuggitivi ride to Belcarra Park, this morning. This one a longer distance extending past Port Moody, and with the weather cooperating (sunny & 23C) it was right time for a long ride.


Uran Uran...

As we climbed out of Port Moody and into another world of tall trees, clean air and.... deer? I once spotted deer on Burnaby Mountain but today a deer was just off the road as I stopped and wrestled with my camera for a picture (see below). My luck, the deer bolted across the road into a private road, never to be seen again. I haven't rode the not so steep road to Belcarra since 2009, and almost forgot how beautiful it is leading to scenic Belcarra Park.

Unlucky Spartacus...

Chris Horner enjoying a post-race favorite meal...


Not as steep as last Sunday's torment of the Col du Indian Arm, we stopped to admire the breathtaking view and watch the crab fishing with Indian Arm in the distance. This was my longest ride this season a happy; 74 kms in 3 hrs 15 mins.

Now, the Men's road race was won by the anti-hero; Alexandre Vinokourov. Say again... who?

...Vino!

He stole the show from Rigoberto Uran with 7 kms remaining. Alexander Kristoff was 8 sec behind as Vino stopped the heavy favorites from reaching the podium. A bit anti climatic for a rider that is a unrepentant doper at the 2007 TdF. Fabian Cancellara's head first crash into the barriers made me wince as he slowly got back on his bike nursing a grazed and swollen right elbow to finish gallantly five minutes down. Stuey O'Grady rode his sixth Olympics in sixth putting the hammer down, being aggressive throughout the race and at the end still in contention for a medal. And what about Ryder Hesjedal? His misfortune of riding as the lone Canuck finished in the pack... in 63rd.

For the victorious Vino, who will retire after the time trial, a well planned attack to win a somewhat tarnished Gold medal victory.


Marianna Vos is the boss in the women's road race.

Vos the Boss
photo: Casey Gibson


In the rain-soaked road race, and there were many crashes, she emerged the strongest from an exciting race full of attacks and drama. Lizzie Armitstead was beaten by Vos the boss, for second. Olga Zabelinskaya took the bronze. I believe it was one of the most exciting road race ever, and if there was ever a sport that needs added sponsorship ...it is women's cycling!


Buckets of rain!


Our Sunday ride up to Belcarra!
Deer spotting (far left)...

John and Guy...


Belcarra park...

John's new TIG welded steel  Truelove mount!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday File: Wings, Olympic Road Race & Hinca...what?

Blue Cyclists with illuminated wings!


Friday File day...

Quite the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics. A beautiful visual fest and my favorite moment (so difficult to choose from) ...was the blue cyclists with illuminated wings.


Tomorrow is what I consider one of the paramount events, the Men's Road Race! With everyone keying on the favorite Cavendish, there are a slew of contenders that will bide their time, wait it out (250 kms, 9 times up Box Hill) and try to avoid a mass sprint. If there is one, think of the possibilities a Peter Sagan or Andre Greipel will have. Sagan is another lone wolf and he'll have to key off others to profit. Ryder Hesjedal will have to do the same, be an opportunist and go with a breakaway and hopefully it stays until the end ...for a golden chance.


Is it time for Forrest Sagan? 


Never say no for Cadel Evans. His disappointing Tour could be his gain, together with an experienced Aussie squad, with the right conditions, he could just pull the trigger to win. Or, how about PhilGil to redeem himself? I predict a day for an upset to win the gold. It's an early start for us on the west coast (2 AM), but I'll try to wake up as early as I can ...armed with plenty of coffee!




Go girls!
Hughes, Numainville & Ramsden



The Canadian women's road race is Sunday (140 kms), twice up Box hill and there is plenty of excitement. Why? The Canadians have a formidable trio: Clara Hughes, Joelle Numainville & Denise Ramsden to work some golden magic. I predict Canadian Sunday gold. The start list.


This is a great idea... for .50 cents per hour you can lock up your bike in Tokyo. Safety in numbers.



Forza!
Boxing Hill training with the men's 
Italian team.



Cycling sunglasses cool!


And, George Hincapie will retire after this season and together with his record of 17 Tours completed, he also has a career as a comedian...


Hinca...what? Love it!
Can you guess who the 'actors' are?



Thursday, July 26, 2012

Pic Of The Day: Overlooking Burrard Inlet.




Fantastic ride this morning as I climbed NW Marine Drive besides Spanish Banks Beach. Here's the beautiful view overlooking Burrard Inlet, Vancouver!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Post Tour Criterium Roeselare: Ryder On Form

Ryder back on top!
Photos: nieuwsblad.be


The London Olympics road race is Saturday, the time trial Wednesday. 

The on form Ryder Hesjedal is ready for an herculean task. He'll be the lone wolf, only Canuck riding in the 145 man field. 

Before his arrival in London today, Hesjedal won a post-Tour Criterium in Roeselare, Belgium. Beating Giro third place Thomas De Gendt and Guillaume Van Keirsbuick. 

During the media scrum in London, Hesjedal was asked of his Olympic chances,


It's difficult to come up with a medal, certainly in the road race... It comes down to many moments and things have to go right. I'll do the best I can. And in the time trial, there's definitely a lot of specialists that have shown themselves in a top-three capacity. I'm going to do my best an see what happens.

I'm even more optimistic in my ability to perform in these one-day events.


Go Ryder!







Tuesday, July 24, 2012

FRFuggitivi: Rockin' the Col du Indian Arm

Rockin' 24%!


Our FRFuggitivi Sunday ride took us to an unseen (for me that is) route past Deep Cove up to the scenic Indian Arm. Sounds exotic doesn't it?

It truly is scenic, woodsy and steep (at times 24%)! Mario took some excellent footage of us traversing the Col du Indian Arm. A sinuous, curvy ride down and of course back up with sharp switchbacks. As I think back, there are 3 climbs in total. The only rest bit is the beautiful wharf at the bottom, welcoming us.

Well, we had to go back up.

Between gasps I said to Mario,

I wish I had a compact, I'm riding on a 39X26.

His reply,

Wow! You'll have legs of iron!

I couldn't reply, dancing on top of my pedals and desperately finding oxygen, for a painful time. It was a beautiful rapture of pain, short but intense. We eventually all made it safely to the warm confines for a coffee. Good timing because the rain started and Guy had a rear puncture. The coffee and company was good as we tried to compare the severity of the climb with the Alps/Pyrenees. No contest, the European mountains extend further but for a very short duration there maybe a similarity.


Enjoy the video... it was both fun and painful to look at!


More pictures on Marios' Blog.

Map of Indian Arm climb.


Monday, July 23, 2012

Post-Tour & Let 'er Rip at the Olympics





In the aftermath of Bradley Wiggins superb victory of the 99th Tour de France, I'm now in my post-Tour blues funk.

Congratulations go to Bradley Wiggins becoming the first British rider to win the Tour alongside a dominating Team SKY. Riding on a British success: Cavendish (3), Wiggins (2), Millar (1, Garmin Sharp) & Froome (1). This was a record for British wins in the Tour. Really, the killer SKY machine worked so well they achieved Tour success within their predicted five-year goal set after Beijing. Now, it's London Calling for the SKY boys are they're set to let 'er rip:  Cavendish (road race), Froome & Wiggins (time trial).

One can't deny the gutsy ride by Cadel Evans. Troubled by sinus problems early on in the season, it was hard for him to find form. Then bad luck and illness was his coup de grace at the Tour. I'm sure he'll be back, as he said, for next year to give it another shot. BMC's loss was their gain with Tejay Van Garderen beating Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) for the coveted Young Rider Classification. Steven Kruijswijk (Rabobank, 3rd) was way back over one hour in arrears. At 23, Van Garderen has the makings of a Tour contender. He'll give Evans another hand at the Tour then it's all for him.



Vive FDJ!
How can you not forget Marc Madiot screaming for Pinot!


Chris Froome if allowed to chase victory would've made this Tour more interesting so a new team is most likely in the cards for him. Peter Sagan (Green Jersey Classification, 3 stages) is the rider of the future and almost has the complete package for a Grand Tour winner. Respected, George Hincapie showed 'his way' by leading the peloton onto the Champs-Élysées one last time. An Italian on the podium: Vincenzo Nibali was third overall. And, Chris Anker Sorensen won the best aggressive rider of the race. The badge of courage was riding with his two injured fingers after pulling some newspapers from his front spokes. The French are in a sense back in their own Tour with Roland, Fedrigo, Pinot and Voeckler (KOMs) as stage winners.



Kudos to the six-man Garmin Sharp squad, Millar-Time won Stage 12 & they all
rode aggressively to Paris!


Tuft Disadvantage... Ryder will be alone,

I'm already looking forward to July 28th for the Olympic road race and at the same time celebrate my birthday. All Canadian eyes are on Ryder Hesjedal. Can Hesjedal continue to perform wonders and succeed off his monumental Giro d'italia victory and produce an even monumental Olympic ride?

Unlike Beijing, Hesjedal (55th) was accompanied by Svein Tuft (59th) and Michael Barry (9th).


Go Ryder!


The world governing body of sports allocates Olympic berths by points. Canada only has a few, at the elite level. Barry said Canada did not enter enough riders in continental competition to make up the shortfall.

Hesjedal, whose nickname is 'Weight of a Nation,' is used to shouldering Canadian cycling hopes. Before the Giro, no one, I mean, no one would've picked him to win. So maybe, it's a good advantage for him to come into the Olympics riding under the radar...


It won't be easy, besides ...I believe Ryder likes it this way!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Wiggins Punches the SKY!



Dominating win for Bradley Wiggins in today's TT... 24 hours to go, the Champagnes on ice!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday File: Tour de France Weekend Sale, Dog Gone, Sorensens' digits, Soler Retires & Manx Missile

Our handmade OrangeMan cycling cap is on sale 
and everything else until Sunday!




With only two days left, Red Dots Cycling is having a Tour de France weekend sale...

We're celebrating offering 25% off every item until Sunday July 22nd Midnight PST. At the check out use shop coupon code: 

TOURDEFRANCE




Philippe Gilbert had caused to be pissed giving his rage to the owner's of that big black dog that wandered on the course knocking him off his bike. Denis Menchov was also forced off his bike and onto the road. BMC's John Lelangue held back his angry rider and led him back to the team car. Fortunately, Gilbert finished the stage only with bruises and not a broken wrist first feared. A dangerous situation where dogs are loose on the course and accidents often happen. Which begs the question, Why wasn't that dog on a lead?


Can you blame him?
via twitter


Yesterday's stage 17 was drama this time for Chris Anker Sorensen (Saxo-Tinkoff). He suffered ugly cuts to his fingers trying to dislodge a piece of newspaper from his front wheel. I didn't see it but I saw the bloody aftermath. Surgery is needed but the courageous Dane did finish today's stage 18.







The Manx Missile put it into high gear by overtaking the breakaway group of Sanchez and the unlucky Nicolas Roche to win today's stage 18. Sky was on top again and what was equally impressive was the  lead out by Wiggins. Cavendish has 22 Tour stage wins equaling the great sprinter, André Darrigade.


The Missile explodes...

...equaling André Darrigade!
courtesy Henri Pourcelot



Sadly, one of my favorite riders Mauricio Soler has announced his retirement. After a year since his horrific crash and with encouraging signs of progressing, the 2007 KOMs champion said he won't return to competition.


I will miss his exploits in the mountains!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Review: Pop-Up Tour de France

This pop-up book will sit proudly in my cycling library!


A few weeks ago, Paintbox Press asked me to review the children's picture book, Pop-Up Tour de France: the World's Greatest Bike Race by Pamela Pease. As you all know, I'm a huge Tour de France fan and I was more than curious to review it.

I must admit, I was expecting a children's pop-up book, but what I found is an amazing, fun well research book on the Tour de France. I've read many Tour books written towards an adults perspective.


Art...


This fun and engaging book with the clever illustrations (love them) opens up the world of the greatest bicycle race in the World to young eyes. Again, it's well researched, compliments to Pamela Pease, for breaking down cycling to it's simple components. This is the perfect Tour book to educate. You don't have to be a loyal follower but you will become one. Flip the pages, only eight, and you'll find out what team Henri Pelissier rode for, what is a time trial (don't forget Saturday's TT), and a very good description of a cycling team.

The fun turn on, not only for kid's but for us adults too, is the interaction; spin, pull, push, flip ... it just puts a smile to your face. Thank you, Ms. Pease and Paintbox Press for this wonderful book and for allowing me to review it.



It's all in the details...
Polka dot jersey cut out...


fun Time trial pull out!



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Circle of Pain

Voeckler showing his Circle of Grimace.



Watching Thomas Voeckler grimaced with pain on today's Circle of Death (Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin & Peyresourde) in the Pyrenees was a dizzying display of his panache.

Second stage win for the rider called, 'le Chou-Chou' (sweetheart). The man with a panache size heart, the French call him a national hero, dominated over the course (the hardest stage by far). He led over the four summits collected the KOMs points and took over the cool polka dot jersey from Fredrik Kessiakoff. But, there's only a four-point difference between the two climbers and Kessiakoff vows to challenge tomorrow. Can the Swede re-take it from le Chou-Chou?

Vincenzo, The Shark, Nibal has the better chance, not today as he tried hard to shake off the Wiggins/Froome tandem, and proved that a third place is looking pretty good. Tomorrow's stage with a mountain top finish looks a tantalizing target for the Shark to take a bite for a stage victory.

But, the worst pain came from Cadel Evans losing many minutes, suffering from heat and stomach problems having "just a bad day." Evans' Tour repeat is over but perhaps the diamond in the rough is Tejay Van Garderen riding well to consolidate the young riders classification. BMC DS, John Lelangue said, "We will defend the white jersey and our two top ten placings."

Frank Schleck DNS due to his possible doping case, casts a shadow for RadioShack-Nissan and this Tour.


We'll have to find some solace in what promises to be yet another exciting stage... tomorrow!


A painful day over for the classy men of BMC...
Evans shakes hands with Hincapie.




Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bicycle Gifts: Tour de France Poster Sale!

Going up!...
Le Mount Ventoux.



One of my favorite sponsors, BicycleGifts.com the home of excellent hard to find gifts and merchandise for the bicyclist enthusiast is having a Tour de France Poster Sale - Now On!

That's the Mount Ventoux Poster (above) just one of many fine examples of poster art available for sale. I'm a big history fanatic and I enjoy the artwork featuring the old and obscure bicycle manufacturers. There's too many to list as the choices are many. In fact, there's one to satisfy any cycling fans taste.

I invite you to ride on over to check out the cycling posters and more. Hurry, the sale ends July 31st!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rest Day

Ferdi Kubler and Roger Hassenforder relax and ham it up at 
the 1955 Tour.



Rest day is tomorrow.

The riders need it, but then some would say it disrupts the rhythm of the race. They soft pedal during the rest days to keep their legs loose. Especially after the first week, the riders get to catch up on some much needed rest. Mind you, in 24 hours they'll all be back for the start of the Pyrenees stages this Wednesday where the action will really get under way. Can Wiggins be toppled from his yellow perch? Is Evans, Nibali, Van Den Broeck or someone else be waiting in the Pyrenees to do battle? I'll bet my last penny on that.

Today's stage 15 was a nervous and hasty one before the Pyrenees fireworks. Pierrick Fedrigo led a six-man breakaway. And, Wiggins and the rest of the GC contenders decided to play it safe, almost 12 minutes behind. Not to put the superb win from Fedrigo down, I was cheering for super aggressive, Christian Vande Velde to keep the depleted Garmin squad winning. A sprinter he is not. For FDJ-Big Mat, another excellent win taking advantage of opportunities for those elusive stage victories... Marc Madiot was surprisingly subdued when interviewed. (I bet he was happily screaming and kicking on the inside).

Wiggins said he's looking to the rest day...


A lot of people are tired now, mentally more than physically. It was hard today nonetheless. It was quite hot. And the road was hilly.


So let's take the second rest day off and relax ... before Wednesday!


The Fedrigo express wins!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tack-ful by Sky & Backstage Pass







Thumbtacks were the reason for the 30 or so punctures on the climb up the Mur de Peguere about 40 km from the finish. Dramatic image of one of the victims, Cadel Evans waiting patiently for a rear wheel change, by a Jim Ochowicz, losing around two minutes. 

Robert Kiserlovski broke his collarbone and abandoned the race. He was trying to help Janez Brajkovic change a punctured tire when Levi Leipheimer crashed into him. Fair play from Sky slowed the race so everyone could catch up. Luis Sanchez was sparred and won his fourth career Tour stage.

Evans said...

That's the way things go in life, karma hopefully comes around. Couldn't see them on the road... this has happened to me before two times in Spain. That's why I don't race in Spain very often. Sorry for the good Spanish people and my Spanish friends and people in Spain who support me but there's a few people that just stake things too far.

I't could've been far worse!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Moncoutie: Tour Hopes Dashed!




One of my favorite riders is David Moncoutie, in his 16th season abandoned yesterday's stage due to crash.

He won't be finishing his last Tour de France. A sad way to end his Tour de France. Good luck to him for the Vuelta!

Friday, July 13, 2012

YES! It's Millar Time!

YES!!!



Over the weekend I'll be busy with Red Dots Cycling at the Vancouver Folk Music Festival, July 13-15. It will be fun, hot and intense... love it already!

So, my posts will be erratic of sorts and I'll try to post  and follow up with the Tour.

I leave you with David Millar punching the sky in victory on today's stage 12, longest stage of the Tour 226 kms. A great save for Garmin Sharp Barracuda after their chaotic first week ...how about another stage win boys!




There's nothing quite like the sensation of winning a road stage, it's much more emotional than  winning a time trial or prologue. It's taken our team going through turmoil to bring out the best in me. We needed it and I wanted to do it!



Thursday, July 12, 2012

Giro di Burnaby & Rolling, Rolling Rolland!

 Svein Tuft out in front!
images by CyclingArt


I met Guy and Mario for the Giro di Burnaby criterium this evening.

It was exciting watching the fast men rip over the city streets of Burnaby. What a lovely evening, sun and warm temperatures and amazing talent of riders part of the BC Superweek of races. It ends this weekend with the Tour of White Rock.

We arrived after the women's race and walked by some of the ladies; some sitting on the curbside knackered and one very tall New Zealand young woman stradling her bike. I should've took a photo of her, only my camera was in my jersey pocket, to prove how tall she was. Definitely over 6 ft!

I admit, I'm a rusty photographer and haven't practice it in many years. Tonite, I thought I'd bring out my point and shoot and... point and shoot! Here are some of my images from a fun, exciting evening in Burnaby. I was looking forward, especially seeing Will Routely and Ryan Anderson of Spidertech and Christian Meier and Svein Tuft of Orica-Greenedge. There's an image of Svein Tuft in this collection. He didn't win tonite, Ken Hanson (Optum) won again (also winning the Gastown GP).

The animators were Tuft and Meier controlling the race by having one ride out front while the other would control the pack. I was impressed, I'm sure Guy would agree, by the New Zealand All Blacks team. They rode aggressive at times having a man out front keeping the pace very high.

Chapeau!


Stage 11: Albertville - La Toussuire-Les Sybelles
Spectacular victory for Pierre Rolland!


Giro di Burnaby...
National anthem...



Mario wearing Team Sky...


Ripping it on Hastings Street!




I met a cyclist that spotted my Marinoni, recognizing it from my blog 
and from photos from Pennisula Cycles!


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