Wednesday Shorts

Thomas BoudatThe track cycling world championships have finished and François Pervis is the hero of the games with an unprecedented triple sweep of the sprint, kilo and keirin races. All that plus the world record for the kilometre last December too. But loyal readers might remember the other French winner Thomas Boudat who won the omnium race and has been tipped on here before.

A second-year senior Boudat is a sprinter and reigning French university cycling champion, as well as seventh in the junior worlds in 2012. He’s been the Vélo d’Or for both U-16 and Junior riders in France along the way and is part of the Europcar feeder team, Vendée-U. Plenty can go wrong but it’s easy to imagine him contesting sprints with Caleb Ewan in a few year’s time and this win is another step to making that happen.

But world champion in the omnium is great but the endurance events for the men have the feel of a development programme. There’s no doubting Boudat’s pedigree but he didn’t race against notable champions of the discipline like Lasse Hansen, Bryan Coquard, Roger Kluge or Elia Viviani. All these riders instead are finding it pays to ride on the road right now and it surely leaves the track races, even the worlds, as a diminished contest.

World Championships too expensive for France
Talking of absences, there’s no word yet on where the 2015 track cycling Worlds will take place. It suggests there’s no queue of venues but the good news is that riders don’t need to know far in advance, it’s not like the road event where it could be flat or hilly. This allows riders to plan… but also allows the host town time to raise enough money to pay the UCI. Recently the French federation ruled out bidding for the road world championships because it would cost too much. The UCI accounts show about ten million Swiss francs of income from the road worlds but around two million in costs. But the sum is a subjective question, if it’s too much for France there are others willing to pay although both the last event in Florence and the upcoming edition on Pontferrada have had moments when it was tricky to find the cash.

The debate over the UCI’s new rule about only racing on the road carries on. Het Nieuwsblad reports the UCI is set to clear this up. What form this takes remains to be seen, whether it’s briefing all commissaires or reviewing the rule’s validity. Note we’re also in the final year of the race radio moratorium. The UCI had tried to ban race radios but the teams pushed back the compromise was to allow their use in World Tour races but outlaw them in smaller events. But this was a temporary truce and the UCI is supposed to solve everything this year.

Sometimes it’s hard to stay on the road. Katusha’s Pavel Kochetkov has left the Tour de Langkawi with a broken collarbone. His team say it was thanks to a helicopter that flew too close to the race and the rotors blasted air at Kochetkov, knocking him off his bike.

Helicopter flying in a race is always risky, the aircraft has to stay close to the race but move at a slow speed and it takes experience and skill to do it. This doesn’t excuse the pilot, rather this is an event that happens from time to time. See the clip above from last year’s Vuelta Burgos, skip to 44m20s.

MirsamadFinally from low-flying choppers to tall story whoppers. Mirsamad Pourseyedigolakhour is leading the Tour de Langkawi after winning the stage to the Genting Highlands. It’s a surprise result but he’s won the Tour of Qinghai Lake before. He attributes his strength to living at altitude. In an interview with Velonews he said he lives at altitude which gives him a natural benefit, stating his home of Tabriz is at 1,500m above sea level. But The Internet says Tabriz sits at 1,350m.

There’s no point quibbling over geography nor whether he lives on the top floor of a tower block for those extra gains either. Because there are few physiological benefits from living at this modest altitude, most studies point to gains after 2,000m and they say you need to be at 2,400m and beyond: almost double the altitude of Tabriz. Oddly Mirsamad says he couldn’t train at home because of bad weather and went to “Busher” instead. Is Bandar Būshehr a mountain camp? No, it’s a seaside resort.

26 thoughts on “Wednesday Shorts”

  1. Hansen and Viviani were both at the Track Worlds, just not in the omnium. It seems a bit hit and miss who enters what in the endurance events.

  2. Funny that the three shown in that picture at Genting highlands arrived in ascending order of the altitude at which they live:

    1. Pourseyedigolakhour: Tabriz, 1350m
    2: Kudus: ?
    3. Bolívar: Medellin, 1480m
    4. Chaves: Bogotá, 2600m

  3. Track Worlds were fantastic! (I’m from Cali so I may be biased here)

    Pervis was unreal, on a league of his own, as were the two German sprinters, Vogel and Welte. Avila’s Points Race was amazing, a great combination of both the riders racing aggressively and the crowd willing their man to victory.

    About the only blemish from the races themselves was the Madison confusion at the end. I felt bad for the Belgian team, thinking they’ve won only to have that taken away a few minutes later. And yeah, the whole thing with the track getting wet during the practice sessions was embarrassing, but luckily it did not affect the rest of the competition.

    Overall, it was an awesome event. Sad that it’s over…

    • Agreed – DVR’d it and watched every night. Was hard not to go online a head of time and see the results as we (USA) had a 1 day delay. Overall it was a fantastic spectacle. I agree as well about the Madison BUT at least they got it right in the end. Far superior to say football or even the USA Indoor Track results where the 3000m women’s race was wasn’t settled for 3 days! Good job Cali in putting on a great event.

      • Did they get it right in the end? I still don’t know where the top four teams are supposed to have gained their lap. I thought it must have been just after the crash happened, but the Swiss were caught up in that and so I can’t see how they could have gained a lap there. Can anyone point me to the relevant part of the race where these crucial laps were taken?

  4. After seeing how they used small remote controlled helicopters with cameras in the winter Olympics, I think it’s clear that they will become a part of television coverage for a lot of outdoor sports, cycling included. For cycling, that could eliminate the problem of helicopters blowing riders over, and allow for fewer motorcycles, which, as we learned over the weekend, can provide unfair drafting opportunities.

      • In addition to short flight times, the small remote helicopters have limited payload. There’s no way one of those could handle a real camera and a descent lens. Plus, the role of the helicopter isn’t just to carry a camera, it is also carrying radio equipment and microwave gear to repeat race radio signal and to bounce the TV signals back to the base at the finish from motos and its own signal. They are basically temporary, flying repeater stations with cameras.

  5. At least for the road world championships the fee the organizers has to pay to the UCI was increased dramatically from 4-7 mln euros to 10mln, likely because the Qataris were willing to pay plenty to avoid competitors. Bergen was the only city that applied before the deadline set for the cities wanting to hold the 2017 WC (the other cities only applied after several extensions of the deadline), but they were only willing to pay the old pre-Qatari fee.

  6. After watching the video it seems the helicopter knocked three riders into the gutter. All three looked up and gave the pilot a not so friendly arm gesture !

  7. Pourseyedigolakhour’s story unravels quickly. You should add he’s served a ban for EPO use too.

    As for Boudat and Ewen, great. But I want to see Kittel and Cavendish first for a few years.

      • This and the Turkish episodes push professional cycling back into the abyss.

        Please someone stop pussy footing around and call out these dopers.

        These third tier riders don’t have to provide blood passports like the teams above, which must really gall those teams being beaten. The Tour of Langkawi now looks very tainted too, the organisers there should step in and kick this muppet back on the nearest plane.

        Anyone associated with this race, and anyone competes looks dodgy.

        Haven’t we learned anything?

        • About what he’s saying…

          Earlier this year Pourseyedigolakhour and his Tabriz Petrochemical team were forced to spin on trainers and workout in the weight room due to bad weather in Iran. To prepare for Langkawi, they travelled 1600 kilometres Iran’s south to Bushehr where the weather is 15°C. “We were training at altitude in the cold and went to the south for a three-week camp before this’. So there you have it, all explained.

          Quizzed about the doping allegations, he said “This is not our problem, this is the UCI’s problem”.

          No sh1t genuis…

          It’s no surprise to know that Pat McQuaid cut his teeth here years ago as an administrator of this race, we all know he did nothing to stop doping. This race has had a history of dodgy dopers as well, years of Eastern Europeans and Italians who did well here but for some reason couldn’t win elsewhere when testing came in.

          Apart from the Malaysian government who pay for the race, Bike Pure look stupid here as well. They partnered with the race organisers a couple of years ago trumpeting about the dope-free nature of the race.


  8. Talking of crosswinds, that pilot clearly had a bet on someone in the front group o.O

    Great clip, shows how something we take for granted is so easy to get wrong.

Comments are closed.