First up, I’d want to say thanks to Competitive Cyclist for their continued support via the advertising. This is a blog and a lone effort but advertising is like having a good wheel to sit on, it makes it easier to keep plugging away. On the suggestion of a reader I deliberately limited the advertising to one square and if you want to do me a favour, click on the advert over there and see what they’ve got.
Next, the Giro d’Italia have an official poster for the race, click on the image above for the full version, it makes a nice desktop background for your computer. The image was by Jered Gruber who’s making a name for his great photography… and also making me mildly jealous of his travel and shooting skills. Obviously the poster has been tweaked with software but not that much. The rider is real, it’s Peter Stetina from Garmin-Cervélo and it was taken when the Giro tackled the Passo Giau (say “joo”) last May.
There is also a brochure for the race from race organisers RCS. It’s a chunky PDF file but if you want more detail, take a look at it as it is the Giro’s marketing document. It explains more about the race and it’s audience. Regular readers will know the blog covers the publicity and business angles of the sport and if this is for you, take a look. It marks part of RCS’s efforts to embrace the internet – live TV footage is available free over the internet during the race – and I like it. On the subject of Italy, there are big floods on the Ligurian coast and if the Giro will bring colour and sport next May, there are tough times ahead.
The dangers of barbed wire became apparent last July went Johnny Hoogerland was sent into a fence by a French TV car during a stage of the Tour de France. Juan-Antonio Flecha was also knocked of his bike but he didn’t get such telegenic wounds and his plight was forgotten faster. But the French Cycling Federation is supporting a petition in France that is in favour of a law to end the use of barbed wire. Persuading French farmers to change their ways is a big ask but the action is designed to help mountain bikers more than road cyclists. Maybe one day a rider will tangle with an electric fence.
From wire to wirey. Hoogerland is having a more enjoyable time in the Caribbean right now with the Amstel Curaçao Race. A storm has been disrupting the race itself but actually riding the bike seems a sideshow. A small island of the coast of Venezuela, Curaçao… is part of the Netherlands. With warm weather and sponsorship by a brewery, this “race” is an exhibition event, and in more ways than one given pictures of skinny cyclists and their partners in beachwear seem an integral part. It’s a topic for another day but maybe some riders are more recognisable with helmets and sunglasses? And another angle is that many sections of the European media love paparazzi images of celebrities in swimwear but images of cyclists off the bike are very rare. They’re just not big enough celebrities. Or maybe they’re not glamourous enough.
Finally some riders need a rest more than others. Cycling Quotient is a powerful database of races and one of their sub-rankings is how many kilometres someone has ridden a year in competition. Once you have all the race results and the distance of each race then it’s easy to total things up. 2011 saw three Danes rack up the most miles. Jakob Fuglsang (Leopard-Trek) logged 16,451km, then Nikki Sorensen (Saxo Bank – Sungard) with 15,982km and Lars Bak (HTC-Highroad) with 15,675km. Fuglsang also tops the number of racing days with Sorensen, both doing 104 days. Meanwhile Philippe Gilbert “only” raced for 74 days in 2011 but he managed 18 wins, meaning he won about about a quarter of the races he entered. When you think a peloton has 120-200 riders, that’s an astonishing success rate.