Saturday shorts

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Photo by Gerard Brown

The Amstel Gold race is on tomorrow but this is a busy weekend with some excellent alternative races. Sometimes a big race can overshadow the others, for example two weeks ago the Flèche d’Emeraude was on at the same time as the Tour of Flanders but I doubt many noticed the clash.

By contrast there’s the Tro Bro Leon race on Sunday which criss-crosses Brittany and uses farm tracks. These are dirt roads and muddy in the wet. Sometimes called the Paris-Roubaix of Brittany, the comparison isn’t quite right since the Tro Bro Leon has no cobbles, even if it does have dangerous roads. Instead of a cobble, the winner gets a piglet to take home. Rouleur Magazine’s blog has a nice feature on this, including a picture of the prize piglet. It’s a nice race in its own right. Even the website is good.

From mud to mountains
Meanwhile in Italy there’s the Giro dell’Appennino. The Appenines are the chain of mountains that run down the backbone of Italy. This is arguably the first mountain climbing race of the year, starting a season of that will take us through the Giro di Trentino, the Tour of Romandie, the Giro d’Italia, the Dauphiné, the Tour of Switzerland and the Tour de France, as well as many others.

More climbs
Of course there’s plenty of action coming up even sooner with the Ardennes classics, Flèche Wallonne and Liège-Bastogne-Liège next week. Over the years these races have changed with L-B-L being the midweek race but now the Flèche (arrow in French) is the smaller cousin.

Still no win for Ag2r
On the subject of mountains to climb, Ag2r La Mondiale is the only team in the UCI World Tour yet to win a race this year; even Saxo Bank added to wins in Asia with J-J Haedo taking the GP de Denain in France earlier in the week. Writing this on Saturday morning should ensure they win something this weekend.

I’m not sure what the longest period of time without a win is for a major team but it could be in 2005 when Euskaltel didn’t win until 8 May. This nugget via Twitter’s IrishPeloton.

New Rodania Jingle
Rodania ring tone jingle
A follow up to the post from early March about the famous Rodania jingle that precedes many a race in Belgium. The poll took place and in the end the electro version won. Here it is:

For old times’ sake you can always download the old version as a ringtone.

Comments
At the request of a reader I’ve changed the comments to a “nested” setting. This means you can reply to comments directly which helps the conversation flow. Perhaps this should have happened some time ago as there’s plenty of conversation below the pieces.

Note if you want to leave a comment it asks for your name, email and website. You need a name but can leave email and website blank if you want to get involved.

Downloadable race calendar
If you’ve missed it, you can download a calendar of all UCI pro races, men’s and women’s, for your electronic diary, smartphone etc. Just go to the calendar page for more.

No cold turkey in July
Finally a small thought. The calendar reminded me there’s just over 100 days until the Olympics. The summer games follow the Tour de France. This is perfect because it’s easy to get sucked into the Tour coverage for three weeks and then suddenly, nothing. Rien. This time however the Olympics are on so there will be more cycling on the road and track.

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{ 10 comments }

ToTheBillyoh April 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

Many thanks for the calendar but down here, in OZ, upside down and at the end of the World (with only the Shakey Isles between us and the South Pole) we are a day ahead of the Old World and I cannot find a way to get Google Calendar to display the correct dates for God’s Own. Any readers know a way around this?

dw April 14, 2012 at 12:11 pm

I created a calendar using the below page which works for me in AU –
http://www.cyclingtips.com.au/2011/09/2012-world-tour-calendar/

natalie April 14, 2012 at 11:58 am

Electro Rodania! I don’t know how I feel about that. Daresay I’ll not mind the exuberant stylophone once I get to hear it in person :)

I wish Tro Bro Leon didn’t clash with Amstel Gold – I’d like to give them equal attention and not have to try to focus on both at the same time. I do love the piglet as a prize though, it always makes for a great picture.

The Inner Ring April 14, 2012 at 9:53 pm

As a footnote today’s Tour du Finistère was won by Julien Simon (Saur-Sojasun). Maybe Ag2r will win in the Tro Bro Leon tomorrow?

Bundle April 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Really, Inrng, isn’t Vuelta a Castilla y León about 50 times more mentionable than Tro Bro Leon, whatever the criteria you base your choice on? Today’s race under the snow was pretty epical, and tomorrow looks even more promising.

The Inner Ring April 14, 2012 at 10:13 pm

True, if anything I thought it would get more coverage and was less in need of a mention.

Bundle April 15, 2012 at 4:08 am

Surely, and an interesting one Tro-Bro is. But since you were also mentioning Appennino, it just sounded like CyL (which has no TV coverage this year) wasn’t happening at all… :)

peloton.pl April 14, 2012 at 10:36 pm

keeping my fingers crossed for Ag2r in tomorrow TroBroLeon to break their deadlock. You boys will be better off not to test your sponsor’s patience

winterdancer April 24, 2012 at 8:55 pm

if anyone wants to ride the Tro Bro Leon they run a sportive on most of the course (115km or 60 km options) the day before the race – I went over to it this year. Good fun and a mad experience to be riding dirt tracks through farmyards, but the French riders all took it very seriously when all I wanted to do was enjoy the scenery!

winterdancer April 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm

oh, should have mentioned that it was part of the Celtic Series (www.celticseries2012.com) this year, don’t know what will happen for 2013 but I think the same plan is in place.

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