The future of cycling?

Saturday, 14 May 2011

This is tongue-in-cheek posting but several riders have been wondering aloud what’s next for them in the Giro. Some didn’t appreciate the offroad sections in the stage to Orvieto and we’re still waiting to see whether the roads are safe for Sunday’s stage up Mount Etna, the most active volcano in Europe. Above all riders are privately worried about Monte Crostis, the unpaved climb later in the race. In fact it’s not the climb that’s the problem, it’s the descent of this road with its loose gravel and sharp bends. Racing on this kind of road is at the edge of the sport.

The actual video above is from part of the Red Bull “Road Rage” series, the round held in Saint Lary Soulan in the French Pyrenees. Watch as, fittingly, the pink jersey wins and bonus points if you recognise the winner.

It’s non other than Frédéric Moncassin, the former team mate of Jens Voigt, Magnus Backstedt and Stuart O’Grady on the GAN team. Moncassin was famous as an agile rider, a sprinter who won not just thanks to a fast finish but fearless riding in the late moments of a race.

Clearly Moncassin has retained the skills and the Red Bull series, as insane as it is, features a lot of safety measures from padding around obstacles, riders wearing protective gear and more. Over to you, Angelo Zomegnan.

mhm May 14, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I’m not a rider, but wouldn’t that kind of protectice gear be too much weight for a full stage of 200km?
Those riders are doing 4km downhill, i don’t know if that should be compared to a full stage with flat and uphill pieces too.
The padding though looks nice, as well as the nets they are already installing for sunday.

SlapshotJC May 14, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Mental covers it….

JustJoshinYa May 14, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Just prior to WWs crash I was chatting with some folks online and we were saying how neat it would be to have a descent competition amongst the sports great descenders to see who’s the best (il Falco comes to mind). You know, sort of like how they time the fastest climbs up the legendary mountains…same idea, but time ‘em down the mountains and see who’s time stands the test of time.

Then the crash took place and I realized how much crap that idea is. I know your post is tongue and cheek and all, but it brought me back to that chat I was involved in and it still makes me a little sick to the stomach to think about it.

Larry T. May 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm

At the risk of winding some folks up, I’ll say that I think a downhill time trial is not such a bad idea, though probably impractical for a variety of reasons. …and maybe too much of a sideshow if the riders had to dress up in moto type safety gear. There WAS an event like this back in 1987’s Giro according to Herbie Sykes’ MAGLIA ROSA. He claims they ran one on the descent of the famous Poggio of San Remo. He writes that Stephen Roche beat Roberto Visentini in this contest and took the leader’s jersey. As far as I know this experiment’s never been repeated. Perhaps the skilled descenders in pro racing already have enough places to showcase and benefit from their skills? I think the first of these Red Bull downhill races was held in SoCal where I used to ride (both motos and bicycles) quite often back-in-the-day. In the mid to late ’80’s I probably would have entered this contest, as going downhill fast is pretty much the only thing I do at all well on a bicycle! Nowadays, being on the far side of 50 years of age, I know my skills and reactions are not as good as they once were — so only if they had an “old geezer” class would I consider it.

GregIenco May 16, 2011 at 11:37 am

There is the same kind of race every year ont the Côte de la Redoute, in Remouchamps. The descent is very hard and there are a lot of accidents, but nothing bad. Well, this kind of race could be good for the show but not for the riders. Maybe it would be good to do this compétition on famous climbs like Poggio, Col d’Eze…

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