Cavendish and Milan San Remo – An Air of Inevitability

“I’m not looking forward to Milan San Remo, it’s not really a race for me anymore.”

So says Mark Cavendish, professional cyclist and professional bullshitter. The world’s best sprinter uttered these words in the aftermath of the Tour of Qatar which he won overall along with four stages and the points classification. And he was only there in the first place as a last minute replacement for the injured Tom Boonen.

Cavendish may want all of his rivals to believe that Milan San Remo is not a season goal of his, but the facts tell a different story – that he has never been in better shape at this stage of the season. ~ Continue reading ~

• • •

La Malédiction de la Marseillaise

The curse of the rainbow jersey is a well known phenomenon within cycling. The story goes that the winner of the world road race title will be saddled with bad luck during his year as world champion. Some of the most notable examples are Jean-Pierre Monseré (killed by an oncoming vehicle during a race), Rudy Dhaenens (develoepd heart problems and was forced to retire) and Stephen Roche (had a serious knee injury and barely raced).

Of course there are exceptions which completely disprove the curse. In recent years both Tom Boonen and Mark Cavendish had massively successful stints in the rainbow jersey. The fact is that if you take the winner of any race from year to year some of them will go on to have an excellent year and some of them won’t. Although there is some element of truth to the myth in that the world champion is ‘cursed’ with huge amounts of media obligations which may eat into their sleep and training time over the winter months. ~ Continue reading ~

• • •

Winning the Giro – A belief in the unproven

To win a Grand Tour at any stage in a career is a wonderful achievement. It is usually the culmination of years of hard work, commitment and sacrifice. Grand Tour winners are usually moulded and shaped by the experience of leading a team and winning smaller races over the course of a number of seasons. The rider’s team-mates must trust that their work will not be for nothing, that they can believe that their leader has what it takes to deliver.

Eventually, when the rider is physically and mentally mature enough and has earned the trust and respect of his team, he may be capable of tackling and conquering one of the sport’s three biggest races. ~ Continue reading ~

• • •