Shorts, duel edition

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Cyclist versus horse is a traditional event, I even covered the subject back in March. This time Johnny Hoogerland takes on a horse called Unforgettable. It’s in Dutch but the video is self-explanatory. The result goes down to the wire.

Valverde vs Truth?
For fitness though, Alejandro Valverde. The Spaniard was caught in the Operation Puerto doping bust although he’s always claimed an “injustice” here although to me the only problem was that it took a long time to catch him and others slipped through the net.

With his ban ending on 1 January Valverde has signed for Movistar. In fact he’s been training with Movistar’s riders all year, using clothing by team sponsor Nalini and riding a Movistar team-issue Pinarello. In an interview with El Pais, the Movistar team doctor tells us how much Valverde has been training:

This year we will have done 48,000 kilometres. He was less 60 kilos, less than when he finished his last Tour and he has muscles of steel, an impressive washboard stomach, the result of 3,000 sit ups a day.

If it’s 48,000km this year, that’s over 150km per day, rain or shine; if it’s over the full calendar year that’s still 130km a day. Either way the sum total is double the amount a pro normally covers. As for 3,000 sit ups per day, that’s one every 29 seconds in a 24 hour period, day and night. If you decided to do them in a block, that’d make a four hour session if you did one every five seconds.

A little pride and amplification from the Movistar medic is amusing, it made me think of Bruce Lee. But Valverde’s comeback isn’t just about regaining fitness and replicating racing conditions, it’s also a matter of recovering lost credibility. The sit up count doesn’t matter. But I’m interested to see how he addresses the media in the coming months.

Beyond the Peloton
The Cervélo documentary series known as Beyond the Peloton has come to an end. It was a great way to promote the team, especially one sponsored by a frame manufacturer as the sponsor needed to reach fans ahead of the wider public. At times it was obviously showcasing the Cervélo frames but most of the coverage had race footage, interviews and behind-the-scenes video and it made for great viewing.

One episode featured Carlos Sastre racing in the Giro and getting radio encouragement from team manager Jean Paul Van Poppel. Later I was listening to some music and then the video “shuffled” on at random. Suddenly I had Van Poppel’s radio coms in my head as he tried to encourage Carlos Sastre in the Giro. It gave me an idea:

\”inner voices\”, ft. Van Poppel

It’s an audio remix. Either listen direct or right-click to save a copy and maybe put it on your MP3 player.

Velocast video
VelocastTalking of audio and video, if you have been a fan of the Velocast podcast in its past or present format then note the pair are going to be doing a fully downloadable video podcast, a vodcast, in 2012 that is backed by internet broadcaster cycling.tv.

Database error
Finally, apologies if you’ve been getting error messages during the past week. The server that hosts this blog has been having problems. If you are reading this then there’s no problem but if you ever get a blank screen with a “database error” problem, try to reload the page as the problem seems to occur for only a few seconds. Apparently the problem is being looked in to but it’s not something I can fix.

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{ 20 comments }

Dennis November 13, 2011 at 6:17 pm

“This year we will have done 48,000 kilometres. He was less 60 kilos, less than when he finished his last Tour and he has muscles of steel, an impressive washboard stomach, the result of 3,000 sit ups a day.”

Visible abs are mainly caused by a low body-fat percentage, not by doing thousands of sit-ups. I’m not convinced he actually use Rectus Abdominus as a cyclist anyway, he could have used the time more efficiently working on the inner, non-visible, abs instead which provides stability (“core” workout) on the bike.

But hey, if they want to brag about wasting time, fine by me.

Zan Dobersek November 13, 2011 at 7:10 pm

Seems as there is a shortage of PR staff in Movistar.

“But I’m interested to see how he addresses the media in the coming months.”
With his shirt off, of course.

seignet November 13, 2011 at 7:17 pm

I am just perplexed by the fact that Valverde is welcomed back at Movistar (it’s virtually the same team he left) with open arms and as a hero, while other (ex-)dopers like Thomas Dekker have a hard time finding a top-level team. Valverde never admitted to anything as far as I know, but it is just as clear that he cheated like it was with Dekker. The only difference is that Dekker (albeit only after a while) faced his errors, opened up and is actually cooperating with the authorities to help in the battle against doping.
This only shows how twisted the cycling world can sometimes still be. Rock hard abs apparently beat transparancy and honesty.

Darren November 13, 2011 at 9:07 pm

Gonna miss Beyond The Peleton! Gave great insight with its behind-the-scenes footage! I’ll never forget Sastre saying if you want to get somewhere in road cycling you need 2 things: a passion for the sport, and the will to go through pain! Amen to that! Long live Sastre! Long live BTP!

Thanks for the Hoogerland video!

Routier November 13, 2011 at 11:08 pm

It’s a real shame that they’ve stopped publishing BTP videos, they’re unique and very insightful. I’m still working my way through them slowly so as to make them last, and I always enjoy listening to JPVP so I love your remix!

Love inrng too for the same reasons, I wish I’d found it sooner.

star bridges November 14, 2011 at 12:06 am

Dude!!!! I’ve been wanting to get the theme to BTP on my iPod, and now you have gone and given it to me complete with Poppel yelling in my ear! Sell t-shirts or something. You deserve some of my money. PLEASE keep this blog going. I read it every day.

I want to believe November 14, 2011 at 3:54 am

Am I right to be cynical whenever I hear/read of a sportsperson (from any sport) making claims about how their specific training program will make them perform better than ever?

Is it just me? Have I been tainted by cycling? Am I the victim of passive doping via the PRO peloton?

As my sponsor, I’m currently considering cancelling my own sponsorship.

GluteCramp November 14, 2011 at 11:20 am

“With his shirt off, of course.”

Vladimir Putin-style, I’m guessing. Perhaps he’ll even have his own comic book series… http://www.superputin.ru/englishski/index.html

Now for a name… “SuperPiti”…?

Also, I’m mildly concerned by the above comic that the world ends in the Spring of 2012…

Matt November 14, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Has any formal reason been given for why BTP is being stopped? I know Garmin-Cervèlo may be strapped for cash but it seems a real step backwards that they have to get rid of the show considering it can do so much good for them on the publicity front. Sure some people found it over dramatic, but just watch the shows from Cervèlo’s first year in the peloton, you can’t help but support the team for what they achieved and the way they achieved it, all of which was shown by BTP! It’s a real shame the show has to end, especially when they’re not going to release any footage from this years Tour de France which would make great viewing considering the team’s success. I hope it isn’t too long before something of a similar vein comes along to replace it.

Larry T. November 14, 2011 at 1:39 pm

How is it tough to understand this team’s lack of interest in fairness? This is the same corrupt regime who ran the Reynolds team when Delgado was caught the the diuretic product on one anti-d0ping list but not the other, causing a minor scandal but in the end getting away with it. I vaguely remember BigMig having a back-dated TUE for steroid inhaler too, though I can’t recall exactly when. Beyond this it’s a Spanish team, a country not too inclined to look harshly upon any evidence of doping. I remember reading a comment by someone “in-the-know” that the Spanish football world cup trophy would need to be returned if the full details on Operation Puerto were known. My guess is all the hoopla about how fit and trained Valverde is now, is little more than propaganda to deflect those “how can this guy be going so well after being out of the sport for two years?” questions. Will he be an exception to the usual post-doping-sanction comebacks….where the guy is still good, but nowhere near the dominating force he was while doped and/or manipulating his blood in violation of the rules?

Starr November 14, 2011 at 3:30 pm

Racing a horse to the wire. Pure show. Somebody was on the brakes.

I believe Valverde popped off 48,000km over a year. Stuey and the Aussies used to do 45,000 in their biggest years and that was with many race days involved. So doing it without having to “pedal in anger” would be no big deal. He’ll come out swing swinging and fans will be in awe once again of his all-around talent.

It will be a big show between Gilbert, Sagan, Boasson Hagen and Valverde to see who is the best pure road racer.

Big Mikey November 14, 2011 at 4:20 pm

We need Wikileaks on the case of the missing/unknown Puerto participants. There’s a lot of sports that would likely be affected, and a lot of Spanish stars. I suspect that PED use has contributed to Spains recent excellence in international sports.

Not sure Valverde makes the list of best all-round road racers, even when he’s doping. Great rider, especially when hills are involved, but he’s not a flahute like Gilbert, especially at 60kg.

seignet November 14, 2011 at 9:42 pm

@Larry T.
I believe that it was Fuentes himself who made that comment about Spain not being world champion in football if he would talk.

Guadzilla November 14, 2011 at 9:53 pm

I dont get the fascination with this whole “coming clean to the public”. All that tells you is whether or not the rider is a good public talker or not. It reveals nothing of any import.

So Millar acted all repentant in public, while Vino didnt. BFD. Is that really the main thing in deciding who is credible again and who isnt? Really?

Riao November 15, 2011 at 3:33 pm

As for mixes of cycling commentary with music, also check out Velobeats, some great & motivating stuff: http://soundcloud.com/velobeats

Danger November 16, 2011 at 5:23 am

How can I download that sound clip? Perfect for TT!!!!

Rab Austen November 16, 2011 at 4:37 pm

Hoogerland, “…goes down to the wire” loving your work @inrng

Man V Horse is not limited to cycling either http://www.green-events.co.uk/eventinfo.php?eventdetails=32

The Inner Ring November 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm

Danger: right-click to save the file on to your computer and then add it to your library, playlist etc.

Albevo November 17, 2011 at 7:03 am

Loved the MP3! Fantastic job!

Cadence November 25, 2011 at 10:00 pm

When I am riding with the fastmen of my club and my nose is on my stem, I try to hear the BTP theme music. Sure, we aren’t pro but the suffering feels the same at any level. The music helps me dig a little deeper or hang on just a bit longer.

Many a flight has been passed watching the BTP vids. It will be missed.

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