Is Philippe Gilbert back? He won the Brabantse Pijl yesterday by beating Michael Matthews in the sprint but only minutes before he was making a big solo effort off the front of the bunch. It’s only his second win since the world championship title in 2012 and his first win in a BMC jersey in his home country. We’ll know more about his form and confidence this Sunday with the Amstel.
Can Cancellara Sprint?
Following his second place to Alexander Kristoff in Sanremo and then the win in the Tour of Flanders Fabian Cancellara seems to have dumped the reputation for not having a fast finish. But was this really true? For me he’s never been slow, it’s just he wasn’t experienced and was prone to a few tactical mistakes, from sprinting with his hands on the brake hoods (eg the Copenhagen world championships) or going the long way around a rider. Clearly he’s no pure sprinter but has a big reservoir of power on tap. One difference this year is that he has been working hard on his sprint with coach and manager Luca Guercilena.
One rider who can sprint is Bryan Coquard. An outsider for the Amstel Gold Race perhaps given his form and his light frame. He won the hilly Paris-Camembert race earlier this week. In case you didn’t know, Camembert is famous for its eponymous cheese. Perhaps the most French of cheeses. The race has been sponsored by cheese-maker Lepetit since 1943, the longest continual sponsorship deal in cycling. Disappointingly they don’t seem to award the winner their weight in cheese any more. The win-your-weight-in-produce was a publicity coup that seems to have vanished.
Negaron visa a Jarlinson Pantano, Carlos Julián Quintero y Miguel Ángel Rubiano para la Gran Bretaña. Problema para el Team Colombia y Giro.
— Pablo Arbeláez (@PARbelaezR) April 16, 2014
No Giro for Colombians?
It’s being reported several Colombian riders have been denied a visa for travel to the UK in order to start the Giro in Belfast with Jarlinson Pantano, Carlos Quintero and Miguel Rubiano out of the race. Hopefully this can be fixed but there’s only three weeks to go.
Boasson Hagen Shopping
Sky’s Norwegian rider could move to a new team for 2015. In an article with Vg.no his agent lists several criteria for the new squad: Peace of mind, good team mates, English speaking team, a good race program, he will have own chances in some races and a “promising” team.
That’s quite a shopping list for a rider who’s won more races in Norway than outside in the last two years. He’s valuable but the list looks complicated largely because where Boasson Hagen can win, others can. For example BMC Racing could hire him but he’d clash with Gilbert and Greg Van Avermaet. He could join the new Alonso team but might find himself as Peter Sagan’s understudy. Trek and Garmin-Sharp as the alternatives?
Sunday’s Amstel Gold Race has the toerversie on Saturday. The Tour version is the open ride for all and one of the most popular rides in the Netherlands. In fact you can ride the events for four of five of the major spring classics on the eve of the pro race: Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold Race and Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Only Milan-Sanremo doesn’t offer this but it’s no bad thing given much of the course is dull and the exciting parts are on a busy coastal road which would chaotic to close. There is a gran fondo to Sanremo but it’s not official and held in the summer. It’s a great way to try the route for yourself, sample the local cuisine after and then watch the pros the next day.
How to change a deflated image
You know how to change a tube, right? And if you don’t there are many instructional videos on the web. After his public image was punctured, this week’s video of Lance Armstrong showing how to change a tube is a PR attempt designed to reflate his reputation rather than any practical tip.
Talking of things deflating, the stock price of TCS Group Holding reached a record low this week. Better known as Tinkoff Credit Systems the company’s stock price chart looks like the profile of a downhill time trial. The significance? Not too much because Oleg Tinkov sold out at a high point but it means business still isn’t booming.
If you watched Paris-Roubaix closely you might have seen the Sojasun logo on the Cannondale team jersey. The French company has done a deal with the squad after pulling out of sponsorship from its own team last year. But several riders in the French squad had a valid contract for 2014. It wasn’t with Sojasun but the management company of former DS Stéphane Heulot and now Heulot is trying to liquidate the company to the consternation of those unemployed riders still owned wages.
The UCI’s appointed Sébastien Gillot as “Head of Communications” and he’ll work with current press officer Louis Chenaille. The governing body has appointed Deltatre, an agency, to help rework its website too with plans to unveil a new “portal” this summer. What a difference a year makes, last April we were treated to the news of Pat McQuaid’s botched Irish nomination.
2015 Tour de France
We know the start will be in Utrecht but I can reveal that the race will have a stage finish on the Magny Cours motor-racing circuit. Plans can change but after a successful trial with Paris-Nice the Tour is due to visit in 2015. Who will win the sprint?
2015? Yes you might want to skip a year after hearing the “official song” of the Yorkshire grand départ for this summer’s Tour.
But it needn’t be this way. The 2014 Giro’s official song, “Pedala” by Frankie Hi-Nrg MC is surely better…
If you don’t get the Italian it’s titled “Ride” and about cycling as a metaphor for life with its ups and downs.