Tuesday Shorts

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Mars Curiosity

We’ve had news this week of the NASA mission to send a vehicle to the red planet. It turns out the frame is a Litespeed, something spotted by Bill Strickland on Twitter. The US company is obviously more famous for its bikes than its exploratory vehicles, Robbie McEwen won the green jersey in the Tour de France on a Litespeed back in 2002. But the company’s expertise in the design and manufacture of tubing seems to be transferable to other domains.

Talking of long range investigations the Italian media are reporting that Italian 50km speed walker Alex Schwazer has been busted for EPO and is out of the Olympics. What’s this got to do with cycling? Well it is said that Schwazer is linked to Michele Ferrari, the infamous sports scientist recently given a life ban in the US Postal doping conspiracy case in the US.

More importantly, Schwazer appears to have been caught by a trinity investigation with the public prosecutor of Padua, WADA and the International Criminal Police Organization, better known as Interpol. This is highly significant for several sports because if the police are going after the trail of money then there could be a lot of wire transfers to examine from a lot of athletes. I understand the case has been building for some time and that some surprising names could emerge. But as recent cases in cycling show, whether Franck Schleck or Pippo Pozzato, wiring money to a shady doctor is not a crime in itself.

La Route de France
On the subject of secrecy and investigation, I can reveal there is a women’s stage race taking part in France called La Route de France Internationale Féminine. It’s nine days long and features many good teams and riders.

But results seem hard to find in the media, whether in France or via the cycling news websites. Even a search via google only brings up results via the regional press. You can follow via the race website… but it’s only in French.

Equality for Rio 2016?
There’s some better news for women’s cycling. Having wondered aloud why the women’s track programme was inferior to the men’s programme the other day it seems plans could be in place to fix this for the next Olympic Games in Rio. womenscycling.net reports the women will ride a 4,000m pursuit.

The track programme of the 2012 games has now ended. Given the improvements in gender equality, the question is will be whetheer anyone can rise up over the next four years to equal Great Britain.

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{ 13 comments }

beev August 7, 2012 at 7:59 pm

How long before NASA let Trek spray it up as one of theirs?

The Inner Ring August 7, 2012 at 8:04 pm

Ha, good one (and for those that don’t get the joke, click here).

GluteCramp August 8, 2012 at 12:13 am

What’s best about that link is at the bottom of the page, there’s a link to another news article that reads “Armstrong helps erase memory of drug scandal”

Now that is a #dumptruckfullofawesome… Especially when you read the linked article and it’s a brilliant piece of history including allegations of corticoids in Armstrong’s samples, one of Armstrong’s first denials, the UCI overruling ASO to allow Virenque to ride, and the unsophisticated nature of the reporting, explaining that riders were kicked out simply ‘for drugs’. Oh, those were the days!

Josh August 8, 2012 at 3:30 am

“By finishing second, as in 1995, Zuelle completed his comeback after he was kicked out of last year’s race with the rest of the Festina team for drugs.

This year, the former Vuelta winner said he was feeling even stronger since he had stopped taking banned products. ”

Well they should be telling that to everyone else who dopes too!

Jono August 7, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I bet the British cycling team are laughing at the cheap tech on that Mars machine ;-)

It might not be a crime to wire money to Ferrari but it will leave his clients with explaining to do. The man appears to have lost his touch, several of his clients are now being caught and he is of course exposed in the USADA case.

InTheGC August 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm

That French stage race is rather mysterious!

PS. Like how you managed to provide me with something of interesting on such a massive no news day! Roll on La Vuelta…

STB August 7, 2012 at 11:21 pm

I would agree with increasing the team pursuit to 4km for the women, presumably this then means teams of 4 as well.

Also the team sprint should be 3 per team as the men.

Cycling News also mentions that the UCI will lobby for an additional track endurance event for Rio, probably the 4km individual pursuit. This would be good news, I hope the IOC allow this, the track cycling is an exciting, specator/TV friendly event so a good program of races should be encouraged.

Euro August 8, 2012 at 12:56 am

I think those are Zipp wheels on the Mars rover too!

JimW August 8, 2012 at 5:05 am

I worked at Litespeed.
They had/have always been a top machine shop long before bicycles came into the picture.
Capable and adaptable enough to have a long standing contracting relationship with NASA.
Interesting place.
Absolutely gorgeous country and the road riding is amazing with all the gaps. Base of the Appalachians. Had an alarming number of beer cans thrown at me though out on the road. Made me want a mountain bike.

Larry T. August 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm

At least they weren’t SHOOTING at you with a .45! Sunday morning two cyclists were shot at from a car, dived into the ditch and called the cops. Happily the a-holes are nabbed and are now in the crossbar hotel. I rode past the scene with my wife a few hours later, but didn’t know anything about it until the TV news in the afternoon. I’m counting the days until we can leave this gun-happy country and return to Italy! Back-in-the-day, Campagnolo made some stuff for NASA as I recall.

Joe August 8, 2012 at 8:27 pm

Larry: Where was the shooting on Sunday morning?

Larry T. August 8, 2012 at 9:04 pm
Lori Lee August 11, 2012 at 5:29 am

Here is a wee bit of information on the Route de France 2012. I follow teams (Specialized Lululemon. Team Tibco) on FB for updates on women in the peloton.
http://velociosports.com/

Also, here in SB we are proud to have a former 2009 Route de France winner (HTC/Highroad) Kim Anderson part of our cycling community.
http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CEwQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.highroadsports.com%2Fteam%2F34-kim-anderson&ei=LdAlUPm-B4Hm9ATCroCIAQ&usg=AFQjCNF4tA87kizxnixWsV8FHY-ZA6fCPA&sig2=YlCDW-lZ2s10zi_iXIYpvg

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