Kwiatkowski Makes a Name for Himself

Who is Michał Kwiatkowski? Ask Google and the answer might confuse. There’s a Canadian ice hockey player and for many in France “Michal” is a singer who featured in Star Academy, a popular TV series.

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Friday Shorts

The Tour of Poland starts tomorrow. It starts in Italy for two mountain stages before flying to Poland. But if that’s new for 2013, there are changes to the rules and format which are being used as an experiment and could be applied to other races.

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Tour de France Stage 22 Preview

The Tour is over and there are 348 days until the next edition with its start in Britain. Of course there’s plenty more to the sport than the Tour but there’s often a touch of the blues when the race ends.

Here’s a look at what’s coming up in the season this year, what to expect for next year’s Tour and more.

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Wednesday Shorts

Frank Schleck

With news this week that Andy Schleck will ride the Tour Down Under there’s no word on his older brother. The update on the Frank Schleck case is that there is no update. He tested positive in the Tour de France 120 days ago now and he’s yet to be cleared or convicted of an anti-doping violation. The case should be a black and white case because the rules say any rider who tests positive for the banned substance in question gets punished unless they can prove to comfortable satisfaction where it came from and that ingestion was wholly accidental. But when the news broke Schleck said he didn’t know where it came from, throwing this defence out of the window. Therefore a two year ban awaits.

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Saturday Shorts

Thomas Voeckler got played yesterday. Shortly after finishing Liège-Bastogne-Liège the Frenchman made his way to Frankfurt airport to fly out to Gabon. Once a French colony, today an oil-rich state on the west coast of Africa with exceptional wildlife, Gabon also has an annual bike race, the Tropicale Amissa Bongo. Named after a member of the Bongo family that rules the nation, the race has a diverse field of teams with Europcar.

Sadly the results are hard to come by. I can’t see them on but instead the superb has coverage (in Russian) because the Astana development team are riding, and with some success. The photo above by Elena Ryabovol shows the conditions for one of the stage transfers with riders, staff and media loaded into a military transport plane.

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Tuesday shorts

What does the picture above remind you of? No, this isn’t a Rorschach test, it is a painting by British artist Chris Billington. Can you see anything that looks like a bike race?

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Cycling in Poland

Tour de Pologne

The Tour of Poland starts today. It’s the 68th edition although you probably can’t cite many notable winners. For years the race was behind the Iron Curtain but, in a neat metaphor, today the race is run by a private promoter Czesław Lang and has become a minor success. It’s a World Tour race and for some team sponsors an interesting target market as it’s one of the few parts of Europe to escape recession and downturn.

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Italian insanity and Polish plans

Details on two races for the future.

First up the Giro d’Italia will start in Herning, Denmark in 2012. If the nordic Kingdom is flat, the Giro organisers appear to be compensating elsewhere with the inclusion of the “Zoncolan of the south”, a road near Salerno in Italy’s Campania region – famous for its buffalo mozzarella – that climbs up to the Rifugio Calvanico 1320m.

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Dan Martin… finally

Anglo-Irish rider Dan Martin took a fine win in the hilly fifth stage of the Tour of Poland, winning the yellow jersey too. It’s his first Pro Tour win. For me at least, Martin is one of the most intriguing riders in the bunch. His performances have at times been erratic but it helps to … Read more