Europcar’s Difficult Ride

Europcar Cycling Team

Europcar have a training camp in Spain. Only you’d never know, while other teams broadcast the news, the green team is keeping a low profile. Amid all the fuss about Astana’s licence Europcar’s ejection from the World Tour has been a smaller story. It might hope to win wildcard invitations to the top races but that requires a UCI licence and it’s yet to get one of any kind for 2015. This won’t be easy.

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Euro Café Culture

Coffee cycling

A piece by Cyclingtips discussed the rise and fall of café culture in Melbourne, Australia. There the café is a big part in the local cycling scene, a destination for many rides. Similarly Matt Seaton writes the of “mysterious affinity between cafes, coffee and cycling” in Britain.

If coffee, cafés, cakes and cycling often go together they rarely connect in Europe. In countries like Italy, Belgium or France, a coffee is consumed quickly and a café stop rarely features on the ride, if it does it is usually incidental.

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The pain in Spain

The Spanish economy is set to shrink this year, continuing the funk it has been in since 2009. Unemployment is over 20% and climbing. Set against it’s no wonder that several races are under threat in Spain.

Pro cycling depends on government funding and corporate budgets and across Europe times are tough. But not for all.

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Getting the Euro look

You might have seen the Euro Cycling Rules on the internet. It’s amusing and like many internet successes it has a grain of truth along with some humour. We might mock the obsession with riding with tubs and obligatory white shoes but ultimately, who wouldn’t want to have shiny kit and the finest wheels money can buy?

I’ve ridden in several English-speaking countries and found the image of Euro-cycling was especially strong in Australia where, anecdotally, many riders fantasised about riding in Europe. Some would return from trips a little downbeat, although usually very satisfied with the whole thing.

The reason for the disappointment? They discovered that whilst the Alps, Tuscany or the Italian lakes can offer fine riding, the local riders themselves are not as elegant. Put simply, the Europeans just aren’t what many anglophones call “Euro”, a concept associated with The Rules.

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Psychogeography is a concept designed to let people explore places with a new look on things, to view the land and environment afresh. There are books on the subject but no rules, it is up to you to mix landscapes with what’s on your mind. Writer Will Self said it can be described as

the study of how geography, or a particular place on Earth, affects the behaviour and emotional climate of the humans who live there

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Eurofoods Part XI

A bookend to the Eurofoods series where I want to look at a few small things rather than one single product. Produits Diététiques There’s no exact translation for these products, they’re part diet-food, part health-food and you’ll often find a whole row in a supermarket dedicated to these products. There’s everything from rice biscuits to … Read more

Do you speak English?

Having seen the piece by Joe Lindsey about the less than impressive coverage of cycle sport in the US, I responded saying it wasn’t all that great in France, that whilst it might be the land of the Tour de France and Paris-Roubaix, the sports reporting isn’t always that good. In response I had a … Read more

Eurofoods Part VIII: Water

Eau yeah! Evian, Perrier, Vittel, Volvic: France is famous for its mineral waters. Once sold as a tonic in pharmacies, bottled water has become a worldwide consumer phenomenon. At first gracing the tables of wealthier types in Europe and North America, today it is also a ready source of clean drinking water in the developing … Read more

Surviving Winter

Frozen skies It’s been an exceptional winter in many European countries with December being one of the coldest months on record in several countries. There’s been an uncommon amount of snow in Britain and the thermometer has been stuck below freezing from Belgium to Italy. Will this have an effect on the training of some … Read more

Rogue Steak

Alberto Contador needs to prove the prohibited clenbuterol in his system came from contaminated meat. At first glance, trying to go backwards to a meal eaten in July sounds futile. But actually, it’s not, tracking down the rogue steak should be straightforward. So here’s a quick piece explaining the food chain in Europe. I know … Read more