Team Sky’s Biggest Problem

Victoria Pendleton had just become World Sprint Champion for the sixth time. She won the first race against the Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaité but lost the second. She was keeping herself warm on a stationary bike preparing for the decider when the news filtered through that the third contest would not be necessary. Her opponent had been disqualified for deviating from her line in the second leg, so the Rainbow Jersey was Pendleton’s once more.

On hearing the news, she flopped from her bike into the arms of various members of the British Cycling staff offering their congratulations. She turned to Performance Director Dave Brailsford who said ‘Brilliant. Well done’ and embraced Pendleton just before she collapsed to the ground and started sobbing. They were tears of relief and deliverance. Tears from a cyclist who, as the rest of the documentary showed, had not been enjoying herself. ~ Continue reading ~

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Blogging, Tactics and Terpstra

Anyone remember iGoogle? It was a personalised homepage which allowed you to select certain widgets which would show news, weather, your inbox, that type of thing. One of the widgets I always had was Google Reader which was a collection of all of the blogs I had subscribed to via RSS. This wasn’t that long ago but it all sounds rather quaint now.

I was reminded of it given that there appears to be a mini-revival of the art of ‘blogging’ in cycling circles these days. Lionel Birnie has been prolific recently and William Fotheringham has also provided us with a couple of interesting reads. It’s a throwback to when I first joined Twitter nearly 10 years ago when Lance Armstrong appeared to preside over the entire platform and blogs seemed to proliferate much more freely. ~ Continue reading ~

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Cycling Weekly’s Digital Strategy

I saw a joke on Twitter recently, shortly after the change to allow 280 character Tweets was rolled out to all users (double the traditional 140). It said that wouldn’t it be great if Twitter kept on incrementally doubling the length of Tweets until we all could conceivably consider reading actual books again.

Our attention spans have decreased horrifically over the past decade. We can’t abide standing idly by for even a few seconds anymore without whipping out our phones and having a quick check. I have read (courtesy of the excellent QI Twitter feed) that chewing gum sales have fallen by 15% because shoppers are too busy on their phones to notice the gum beside the checkout. I also have my own theory that traffic on our roads is getting worse because the number of cars which get through each green light has gone down because of people dicking about on their phones. ~ Continue reading ~

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Team of the Year 2017

The team of the year is often a difficult honour to bestow in the sport of cycling. All of the pitfalls which make the UCI World Tour points system so unworkable also apply when considering which team is better than any other. Is a Grand Tour stage win better than a victory in a one-day race? Is winning the Green jersey better than winning a classic? It’s all subjective so there can be no right answer.

Regardless, I’ve seen a few people make the case for Team Sunweb. Their highlights were the Giro d’Italia and the Worlds Time Trial via Tom Dumoulin, while also taking the Green and Polka-Dot jerseys at the Tour de France (with stage wins along the way) through Michael Matthews and Warren Barguil. A fantastic season for Team Sunweb, no doubt.

But I’m here to make the case for Quick Step. The Belgian team didn’t only beat their rivals regularly throughout the year 2017, if we consider certain statistics, they also took their place amongst the great teams in cycling history. ~ Continue reading ~

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The Problem with Rule 5

Harden the fuck up.

That’s what we’re supposed to do isn’t? Stop whining. Stop complaining. Don’t even dare think about quitting.

Harden. The Fuck. Up.

Cyclists are supposed to be hard. You fall in the middle of a bunch sprint at 65 kilometres per hour and shave the skin off half of your back. You stumble over the line wheeling your bike beside you. You cry tears of self pity and pain when the cold water from the shitty shower in the flea-riddled ‘hotel’ hits your sticky bald flesh. But you are expected to take to the startline the next day, so you harden the fuck up, smile for the cameras and be thankful you are one of the privileged ones. ~ Continue reading ~

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Best Stage Winning Grand Tour Debuts

The sprinting sensation of the recent Giro d’Italia was Fernando Gaviria. Still just 22 years old, the Colombian won four stages on his Grand Tour debut. He was also the only rider to win more than one road stage. His fourth and final win on Stage 13 to Tortona was incredible. With 100 metres to the line he still wasn’t even visible in the overhead shot of the front of the bunch. But he launched himself past everyone over the line and into the history books.

Gaviria is the first rider to win four stages on his Grand Tour debut for 38 years. ~ Continue reading ~

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