Roads to Ride: The Ghent Velodrome

Friday, 21 November 2014

Gent Velodrome Kuipke

Not a road but a track and not a place to ride but a venue to visit. Still this series is about exploring legendary locations so here is the chance to look at the most famous of six day races. Or alternatively one of the last few surviving winter track contests.

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A Two Week Tour de France?

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Tour de France crowds

A two week Tour de France? Non. Or to use the phrase beloved of many a French hotelier, c’est pas possible. Still it’s good to question established ideas and tenets. There’s no rule that says the Tour de France must be three weeks long and if there were, we should question that too.

It’s a current topic since UCI President Brian Cookson was in Madrid to award Spain and Movistar their UCI World Tour prizes. He spoke to the media when asked about a shorter Vuelta and Tour de France implied nothing was off the table. Let’s explore why an abbreviated Tour won’t suit anyone.

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Switzerland, Land of Governing Bodies

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Lausanne

For years cycling was the whipping boy of sports administration. Turf wars, doping problems and other concerns beset the sport and the UCI’s HQ in Switzerland had a siege mentality. Now it’s the turn of FIFA, soccer’s governing body. There are allegations of cronyism, whistleblowers being blasted, talk of breakaways and a bizarre President who seems impossible to eject. Cycling fans might feel like The Simpson’s Nelson Muntz as they point and laugh at FIFA’s self-inflicted woes. But any amusement is surely born from experience and a sense of nervous relief that another sport is humiliating itself?

The UCI and FIFA are both based in Switzerland, in fact well over half of the governing bodies for Olympic sports are based in Switzerland, a small country of just eight million people. Why? More importantly will they stay as Switzerland looks to place them under greater scrutiny and impose greater transparency?

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Into The Waste Zone

November 17, 2014

The pro peloton’s existence is predicated on imitation. You can buy the same bike as the world champion, you can have the same clothing as the yellow jersey. “What the pros ride” is the sporting equivalent of “as seen on TV”. There’s one aspect nobody should be copying: the practice of slinging used bottles, wrappers […]

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Lowlights of 2014

November 14, 2014

After the highlights, the lowlights. Sport is meant to have its drama but pro cycling often crosses the line from pantomime villainy to worse. Here’s a round-up of some of the lows.

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Highlights of 2014 – Part V

November 12, 2014

For the final of five pieces picking highlights from 2014, it’s been hard to choose an episode to celebrate, remember and review. It’s not for the lack of racing, there have been plenty of action-packed races and that’s just the ones we can see on TV, a lot of the sport still takes place beyond […]

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War, What is it Good For?

November 11, 2014

Think of the First World War and you might conjure up black and white images of trench warfare from Northern France. This year has seen centennial commemorations for the anniversary of the outbreak of war in Europe. We saw the Tour de France take part with a route that passed memorials and battlefields. The dutiful […]

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Roads to Ride: Col du Glandon

November 8, 2014

We celebrate the summit finishes and often forget the roads the roads that preceed them. Today’s the chance to venerate a climb that’s used en route to many a Tour de France stage finish and it’ll be scaled twice next July. It’s worth riding for its own sake and ideal to combine with other high […]

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Paris, Fignon and Blondin

November 7, 2014

This won’t be the most read post of the year but hopefully it’ll sit quietly on the site to help those asking search engines for information. Every few months a reader will email to ask where to find Laurent Fignon’s grave in Paris. There’s no grave, the double Tour de France winner died in 2010 […]

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Highlights of 2014 – Part IV

November 6, 2014

Seeing the day’s breakaway get reeled in and beaten resmebles a nature documentary where the predator inevitably catches and consumes its prey. Only this day in Tirreno-Adriatico was different as a carnivorous Contador joined with the breakaway riders to help escape those in his pursuit.

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