Shorts: Ballan’s long arms and more

Thursday, 13 October 2011

A few snippets and observations this morning.

Ballan in arm warmers

BMC’s clothing
I get plenty of press releases from teams and suppliers these days. Many are useful and informative for the news they bring. Some can include fake-sounding attributed quotes and a few are borderline spam along the lines of “X won Y race because of Z” product. No they didn’t.

But there’s a helpful one from BMC’s kit supplier Hincapie Sports. The US company will continue its sponsorship of the squad for 2012 and their press release stated as such, including beaming quotes from those involved. So far, so normal…

But it also went on to explain that a rider gets 300 pieces of clothing a year, the kind of information you don’t normally find. There are three types of armwarmer and six types of glove. In addition they explain several riders get custom kit tailored for them, for example Alessandro Ballan “has very long arms which calls for special jerseys, jackets and arm warmers“.

Velocast asks the UCI
Velocast logo
The Velocast were the first to go public with the story of the UCI resorting to threatening letters sent direct to sponsors. The UCI first denied this via their spokesman who said “I can only firmly deny UCI took such initiative”, then President McQuaid said the matter was closed and didn’t want to comment, then days later he was talking about “fighting fire with fire“.

Having been misled by an official spokesman, The Velocast is trying politely to get some answers but even this process sees the UCI getting in a tangle. I’ve long said the UCI needs to be more confident, to explain its actions better and here’s a good chance to do this.

Cobo’s golden ticket

Cobo

No wonder he's smiling

After winning the Vuelta a Espana Juanjo Cobo is a man in demand. He’s in talks with his Geox-TMC team about a new contract. Right now Astana, Vacansoleil, Ag2r, Katusha and Geox are close on the rankings meaning who ever signs him should get into World Tour and the golden ticket to ride the Tour de France. Yesterday the Spanish media reported he was linked to several teams including Vacansoleil but the Dutch squad promptly issued a denial. It could be Cobo and his agent are deploying the “I could go elsewhere” negotiation tactic to play one team off against another. But either way he still holds the cards, riding the Tour is so valuable in publicity terms that it usually eclipses the rest of the season. The transfer season closes in 10 days.

Dopeology
There’s a new website that aims to list every incident of doping in cycling called dopeology.org. It’s similar to the French language cyclisme-dopage . Obviously we’d probably prefer if these websites didn’t exist because there was no doping. But given we’re not there, they’re a handy reference allow the facts of any case to be recalled.

Gran Piemonte
Gran Piemonte
Formerly known as the Giro di Piemonte, the Gran Piemonte race is on today. One of the very last races of the year, it’s always got an exciting finish thanks to a 6% climb just 2km from the finish. The Piedmont region of Italy is a scenic place with varied terrain that goes from the high mountains to rice fields and is famous for its food and wine, from truffles to barolo wine. It was also the home to Fausto Coppi.

You might be more interested in Saturday’s race in Lombardy but the finish of this race is lively in itself but a useful pointer for Il Lombardia too. And on a cautionary note, there are very few races left this season so watch them whilst you can. Hopefully a video stream is available later and the final moments should be on youtube soon after.

Qwerty October 13, 2011 at 10:29 am

300 items, is that sock by sock?

For Piemonte, it has to be Gilbert again, right?

The Inner Ring October 13, 2011 at 10:46 am

Qwerty: I have the list but have not counted it item by item. As for Piemonte, Gilbert has won twice but we’ll see, he has to be on top form to jump away and then stay away on the final ramp. Is he able to do this?

Fran Reyes October 13, 2011 at 10:55 am

Actually, Vacansoleil is doing OK in the points ranking. They sit in a comfortable 7th position, with the 16th team more than 250pt behind

Mike October 13, 2011 at 11:38 am

I’ll be interested to see how Pippo races at Piemonte. He’s got some strong form at the moment, tearing everybody apart in an uphill lead out at Coppa Sabatini and then riding away on the final climb of the day from a group of 20 including an inform Bauke Mollema, Oliver Zaugg and Visconti. I’m weary whether he is too heavy for Lombardia (though it is a new finish this year and he has always wanted to win it) but Piemonte suits him very well if he races the finale smart with a bit of help from Luca Paolini.

Tom October 13, 2011 at 11:44 am

FYI the dopeology.org link isn’t working.

The Inner Ring October 13, 2011 at 11:48 am

Fran Reyes: thanks. I’m surprised they are that high.

Mike: today’s finish could suit him but Saturday seems too much.

Tom: thanks, it’s fixed.

Ankush October 13, 2011 at 11:50 am

@Fran Reyes – Vacansoleil lies at the bottom of the ranking table http://tinyurl.com/csjfzm

I will be wary of the Italian teams today, guess today’s winner will come from one of them. Phil Gil has got Saturday covered.

Larry T. October 13, 2011 at 12:26 pm

On my way over to Novi Ligure after lunch to see the finale of Gran Piemonte. Will try to get some pics up on the CycleItalia blog if possible before we take off tomorrow for Lombardia.

Jeremy October 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm

Is the clothing professional cyclists receive as part of their sponsorships like the bikes they ride during the year in the sense that they have to give it all back if they switch teams or retire? 300 pieces of clothing, accumulated each year, must add up to a lot of boxes in the basement at the end of the season…

Fran Reyes October 13, 2011 at 4:58 pm

@Ankush

Not the same rankings. The one which is marked by the UCI Sporting Criterion places them higher ;)

Larry T. October 13, 2011 at 7:47 pm

I thought they kept the clothing, some of it ends up at places like the “pro’s closet” or whatever they call it on the web where the pros as well as their teams, sell off last-years stuff, some new, some used. Blog post from Gran Piemonte is up at the CycleItalia blog.

Darren October 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

‘Short’ question: Can understand why riders will want to shed bottles in the last few km’s before a fast finish! We also do that in the local racing here in Belgium, but one thing I see pro’s doing, which we dont do, is also shedding energy bars & gels! Do you know why?! They dont weight that much, and in my personal race experience I am so focused on the race around me that I dont even think about what’s in my rear pockets! Personally I think any rider who chucks away bars and gels should have to do community service cleaning the entire route, riding backwards!

TotheBillyoh October 14, 2011 at 1:47 am

Re Darren’s comment re riders ejectamenta: I LOL every time I hear PhilPaul say in response to a torrent of bidons, gels etc arcing into the countryside, “all of these will be snapped up by eager fans”. BS surely? Riders need to be aware that they are role models.

The Inner Ring October 14, 2011 at 8:04 am

Some riders aim their bottles at fans but the rest, yes it’s no better than someone slinging boxes from McDonalds in to the countryside. Race organisers are trying to stop this, for example Paris-Nice had zones where riders could ditch waste but they were fined for doing it elsewhere. FDJ have a very small pocket on the front of their jerseys to put wrappers.

Larry T. October 14, 2011 at 9:48 am

I’ll argue in favor of TV’s Heckyl and Jeckyl on the bit about fans snapping up the stuff the pros toss overboard. The few times I’ve been in a car on the course here in Italy following a race through a feed-zone, the kids (and older than kids) race out and grab the bottles before they stop rolling! Same with the musettes and pretty much everything else thrown into the road, with the exception of the bar wrappers and used gel packets, which are truly garbage and should be stuffed back into the jersey pocket as they weigh nothing and the jersey’s going to be washed right away anyway.

Joe Papp October 15, 2011 at 8:44 pm

In response to Jeremy October 13, 2011 at 2:47 pm – clothing traditionally remains in the possession of the rider at the conclusion of the season, regardless of whether or not they continue with the team or not. Some riders sell their left overs, some give away things like jerseys as if they were souvenirs or sports memorabilia (which to some of course they are). Unlikely that the team would ever request return of any used clothing items, though they might not issue the rider’s complete allocation, leaving it to be sold by team staff back at the service course. Seriously.

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