Sunday shorts

Sunday, 6 November 2011

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.

Giro poster

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.

Starr November 6, 2011 at 1:25 pm

So there are no longer any racers doing 120+ days a year?
Were local races taken into account? Crits, kermis’s, etc…
I would think there would be a few guys doing it the old-school way.
Training blocks in the mountains seem to have taken precedence in this era.

Andre November 6, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Question:
Where could I buy such great poster? There are always awesome posters from Roubaix or Het Volk and from The Ronde or from The Tour, but I didn´t know where to buy. Any help? Regards André

ave November 6, 2011 at 2:31 pm

It’s the Giau on the Giro poster, isn’t it?

The Inner Ring November 6, 2011 at 4:42 pm

Starr: this is UCI official races only.

Andre: Jered Gruber is the photographer, I’ll have a word with him.

ave: that’s right. Hard climb.

Mary November 6, 2011 at 5:01 pm

Shouldn’t France ban stupid French TV drivers instead of barbed wire? Just a thought.

Larry T. November 6, 2011 at 5:10 pm

It’s Passo Giau as in Jow, like jowl without the l, not joo. The side they’re doing in 2012 is the tougher side, pretty much a constant 10% grade the entire way up.

SvelteSoutherner November 6, 2011 at 6:40 pm

Banning barbed wire??? It’s still early in the morning, but that’s the dumbest thing I have read today. Anyone who has worked with livestock understands its value. Banning needless media cars and negligent drivers would be a better start.

Darren November 6, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Starr: I bumped into a AG2R Mondiale domestique during training last week! Did not expect to see any pro’s on the road so soon after the end of the season, but hey, things are changing! Since the points system has become so much more important for all riders you’ll see more domestiques working harder to get more points for themselves, and because the Classics are more unpredictable (think Van Summeren & Paris – Roubaix) you will see more domestiques using those events to chase points for themselves! Thus, more training in the wind & rain in Belgium and The Netherlands!!! Makes my training rides more interesting! Although not so sure about a pro sucking on my rear wheel!!!

The Inner Ring November 6, 2011 at 11:28 pm

Mary: yes, that driver isn’t coming back I hear.

Larry T: maybe I need to use the phonetic alphabet? Agree with you on “Giau”. It’s a hard climb and the image features the odd pasture at the top. Most climbs feature a summit but this one drags on past the wide open space.

SvelteSoutherner: indeed. But many farmers in France are moving to electric wire. It’s cheaper than rolls of galvanised wire.

Darren: that was Maxime Bouet, right (as per another comment on here)? It was his birthday last week, maybe he was training then too?

Matt C November 6, 2011 at 11:28 pm

+1 on Giau as “jow”. My Italian accent is woeful but that’s pretty close to how the locals say it.

Also for that shot, see Jered’s website http://jeredgruber.com/ or his Flikr page http://www.flickr.com/photos/smashred/6312531096/

He has said that he will be looking at selling copies of the original (without the pink streak). It seems only fair that he should make *some* money out of that picture …

due momianesi November 7, 2011 at 2:59 am

Bravo, Jered!

Jered Gruber November 7, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Thanks for all the kind words! I’ve said it more than a few times this week, but I’m truly humbled and honored to have so many people taking note of what we do. It means a lot. Thank you.

If you’re interested in the image, feel free to contact me: jeredgruber@gmail.com. We’re working on getting everything ready to get started printing as soon as possible. Like everything though, I know nada about it, so we’re doing our best to research it thoroughly…so I don’t end up with a lot of pissed off people. :)

Thanks again!

Larry T. November 7, 2011 at 10:27 pm

There’s a summit atop Passo Giau for sure. This shot is from the tougher side and the summit’s just out of the frame where the road bends left. The rifugio up there recently installed a cool bike/windmill thing to add to the tons of moto-related stuff up there. They put blades on the wheel spokes and the old bike swivels with the wind while the wheels turn (chain has been removed) making for a nice touch. Their strudel (for us the energy bar of the Dolomites!) is pretty tasty as well.

CGradeCyclist November 8, 2011 at 3:15 am

Have been a huge fan of Jered Gruber’s work on Pez for a long time now.

When I have those ‘moments’ in my current job and imagine my dream lifestyle – Jered’s (at least, what I imagine it to be!!) more often than not is what I am dreaming of…

Love the poster – great work!! :)

AKAstana November 8, 2011 at 8:04 pm

I thought it must be Ashley in the photo? (his wife/cycling buddy/muse) Whoever it is – it is an awesome shot and already on my background!

Jered Gruber November 8, 2011 at 8:09 pm

Thanks for the kind words, CGradeCyclist. We do have a lot of fun. Our next hope is to actually make a living. That’s the hard part. We’re just scraping by now.

As for the rider in the image, for once, it’s not Ashley. InnerRing is right to say that it’s Peter Stetina. I took the shot a few days after the 2011 Giro finished for the Castelli 2012 summer catalog. It was pretty cool to talk to Peter about climbs that he had just raced up only a week or so prior.

LeFabe November 9, 2011 at 5:27 am

Lars Bak spent probably 80% of those kms on the front of the peloton!

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