Apart from family, what could be more important than wine and bikes? Of course, there might be the odd rant about other topics on here too...

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Tour prediction

Following my brutal attempt at predicting the Giro result (Cunego who? Basso who?), I'm gonna go out on a limb and try again. Here's my prediction for the 2005 Tour:

1. Armstrong
2. Vinokourov
3. Evans
4. Leipheimer
5. Basso

I've partly gone for this lineup coz I don't believe it myself. But if I were to say Armstrong/Ullrich/Basso/Leipheimer/Botero, it wouldn't be quite as interesting... We'll see if I can get better than 40% of the riders in none of the right places that I got from my Giro prediction.

When is a bike like a Japanese Garden?

Johan picked up on a great little movie that portrays a locked bicycle photograped through the seasons and as it slowly disappeared.

Remember Rumsas?

Remember Raimondas Rumsas? The guy that came third in the 2002 Tour de France. The one who's wife Edita was arrested (and left in jail to stew for several weeks) on her way home from that Tour de France with a campervan full of drugs for, ehm, her ailing mother.

Apparently he's still riding (for the small Italian team Parkpre-Guru-Selle Italia) and actually won the Lithuanian time trial championship last weekend.

He was also arrested today in Lucca, Italy, under a European arrest warrant issued at the request of a judge in Vonneville, France in relation to his mother-in-laws drugs...

Bruyneel: Only 3 rivals

Johan Bruyneel picked Basso, Vinokourov and Ullrich as Armstrong's major rivals for this year's Tour. He downplayed Heras and Beloki (calling them threats but unlikely to affect the overall standings) and didn't seem to even mention Mayo, Leipheimer, Landis or Kloden. Armstrong himself seems more worried about the heat than any of his competitors...

Anatomy of a racer and his race

TDFblog has a link to a two-page spread from the Oregonian, which is just about the best two-page overview of professional cycling I've ever seen.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

I wanna go home!

Enough to make me homesick!

Armstrong farted

No, it was a bee sting. Or a tumble. Or a black eye. God love the man - who would want to be famous!

Cooke unable to defend Giro crown

Nicole Cooke, who won the nine-day Giro Donne (considered the women's equivalent of the Tour de France) on her first attempt last season, is being denied the opportunity to defend her crown by her own team boss. Apparently Maurizio Fabretto, Cooke's team boss, is in dispute with the Italian Cycling Federation and will boycott all their races this summer, while Cooke will now turn her attention to October's World Championships in Madrid.

Scanlon to miss the tour

Oh, and Simoni will too... AG2R will probably survive Sligo Mark's absence better than Lampre will survive the absence of both Cunego and now Simoni too - could make for an interesting Vuelta though...

Friday, June 24, 2005

Wine test

I sat my intermediate wine test last night and think I did OK. Interestingly, I think almost all of my incorrect answers were about beer, spirits and cider... There's a reason I signed up to do a wine course! Although the organization is called the Wine and Spirits Educational Trust. Results to follow...

Mike and the bike

Grammy Award-winning guitarist and songwriter, Michael Ward, has written a children's book called Mike and the Bike. Ward is an avid cyclist and riding partner of a certain Lance Armstrong, who wrote the forward to the book. The book is accompanied by a 30 minute CD with music by Ward and his son, plus a musical narration of the book by Sir "the Voice of cycling" Phil.

According to Ward, “I created Mike and the Bike as a way for parents to help introduce their children to the fun and fitness of cycling... Helping inspire children to discover the world of cycling would be a dream come true.”

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Discovery's tour lineup

There's going to be some fun on the hills...

Lance Armstrong
George Hincapie
Jose Azevedo
Yaroslav Popovych
Paolo Savoldelli
José Luis Rubiera
Manuel Beltran
Benjamin Noval
Pavel Padrnos

More road deaths

A Long Island couple were both killed yesterday by an SUV driver who drifted onto the shoulder of a road hitting a 21 year old woman and 40 year old man. The driver, who may have been high on drugs and who has 14 prior arrests, including several felony charges for selling and possessing drugs, tried to flee the scene, until a landscaping truck blocked his exit from the highway.

While trying to flee, he "continued driving 1,000 feet with the female victim embedded in his windshield, only stopping due to a witness who blocked his effort to leave the accident scene," said Bob Clifford, spokesman for Suffolk District Attorney Tom Spota.

Interestingly, the driver was arraigned Tuesday for leaving the scene of an accident and operating a vehicle while on drugs. No murder or manslaughter charges then?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Ghost bike in Brooklyn

In memory of Liz Padilla, a 28-year old bicyclist killed recently in Park Slope in Brooklyn, Visual Resistance members created a small and somber memorial as a reminder of the tragedy that took place on June 9 at the corner of Warren and 5th Ave.

It was inspired by Ghost Bike Pittsburgh, which was in turn inspired by a similar effort in St. Louis.

Crazy week

It's been a crazy week at work, so I've fallen behind on a lot of interesting developments:

TerminAitor's win at the Swiss Tour: A simple tweak of the saddle sent Aitor on his way to an excellent win at the Swiss Tour, marking a very welcome change of fortune to Euskatel's early season, coupled with Landaluze’s victory at the Dauphiné. It seems Gonzalez is skipping the Tour in favor of the Vuelta, while one would have thought that he could have been a great ally to Mayo in France.

Leipheimer-less Gerolsteiner pipped Landis-less Phonak to win the inaugural TTT in Eindhoven. It was Gerolsteiner's first ProTour win (after all of Levi's seconds). Lance-less Discovery Channel finished fifth. Seems that the TTT is little indication of the team's TTT form for the Tour (which kind of defeats the point!).

Cunego will miss the Tour. Mononucleosis is being blamed for his absence at the Tour and his sub-par performance at the Giro.

Freire will miss the Tour and gets surgery to remove "irritated subcutaneous epidermis" caused by saddle sores.

Dave Z, Bobby J and Chris Horner join the growing number of Americans (and English speakers) at this year's Tour, while British Olympic gold medalist Bradley Wiggins will miss the Tour meaning Britain is without representation for the second year in a row (unless you count Sir Phil and Paul Sherwen) - it's the first time Britain has been absent for two years running since 1955. Still waiting to hear whether Mark Scanlon will be on the AG2R squad to represent the Irish.

Armstrong won the National Time Trial Championships in Utah. It was the Kristin variety of Armstrong - Chris Baldwin won the men's.

Paulo Bettini will skip this weekend's Italian championships due to "physical problems"

Monday, June 20, 2005

Pretty cool commencement speech

They should always get a college dropout to deliver commencement speeches if they can be this good!

Friday, June 17, 2005

Sweepstakes time of year

How many sweepstakes can one Tour take? has a new one (if you sign up for their tour newsletter) to win a trip to the Tour, a cervelo bike and some other stuff...

Horner confirmed for the Tour

Following his stage win yesterday, Chris Horner has been confirmed as a member of the Saunier Duval Tour team.

Happy Birthday Eddy

Great opportunity to re-read VeloNews' tribute from the "turn of the century" edition

Vino in NY Sun

Great article about the best NY wine store

Native Italian vines explored has just begun a new column dedicated to the 350 or so Italian native vines that are used to produce regional wines. The columns will introduce all the native vines region by region.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Discovery's 2005 TdF bikes

Check out Discovery's new TTX time trial bike and the 2006 Trek Madone SSLX.

Zabel to miss the Tour

Perhaps not surprisingly given the rumors and the fact that he was left off the Swiss Tour team, but Eric Zabel - 6 time green jersey winner - has been left off the T-Mobile team. Zabel is one of my favorite riders and while I'm very disappointed for him, it sends a clear signal that T-Mobile is heading to France solely focussed on the GC - whether Kloden and Vino get fully behind Ullrich is the next quesion...

Great day for English speakers in Switzerland

Chris Horner recorded the 50th win of his career but his first in Europe in today's stage of the Tour of Switzerland. Aussie, Michael Rogers, who was in the same breakaway as Horner before the latter took off solo finished the day leading the GC. Ulrich is 20 seconds behind Rogers and fellow Aussie Brad McGee is a further 2 seconds back.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Eating before training rides

If anyone has any eating tips for evening rides, there's a fella in Sweden who'd love to hear them...

Those were the days

John Wilcockson has captured time and place and so much more once again. His article about the English speakers in the 80's peloton brings me back to when I really started to follow cycling. Despite the success of Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche and the presence of Martin Early and Paul Kimmage in the peloton in Europe, there wasn't much coverage of cycling in Ireland until Roche won the Tour in '87 (and unless you looked closely you might never have known that he matched Merckx's triple crown of the GdI, TdF and Worlds in the same year). Kelly did do quite a few Guinness ads which helped raise his profile, but my lasting memory of that period will be tuning in to watch England's Channel 4 (a new channel then that was covering less mainstream programming) who covered cycling with two commentators by the name of Phil Liggett and (in the third year that we were watching it) Paul Sherwen. Those were the days indeed...

Aussie class in France

Following an exceptional Giro, where Australian riders took quite a few stages and were represented in pink over quite a few days during the first week, the Aussies are prepping for a charm offensive on the world's biggest bike stage. The Tour Down Under (I don't consider Jacob's Creek worthy of a mention ;-) will be represented in the Caravan (by some strange cycling Kangaroo) following Jean-Marie Blanc's very positive impression during his visit down under for their tour earlier this year.

But expect the Aussie riders to steal the show. McEwan looks red hot right now and ready to mix it up with the best in the business sans Petacchi and Freire. Cadel Evans will be looking to mix it up with the GC boys, O'Grady will be breaking away, Baden Cooke, Henk Vogels, Matt White (although I read somewhere that he might not be going), McGee the list goes on and on. I wonder if this year is a record for the number of English speakers in the TdF peloton.

Not only that, but even the queen is thinking of Australian's on bikes. In addition to Sir Phil's MBE, Cycling Australia President, Mike Victor, along with gold medal winning pilots at the Athens Paralympics, Robert Crowe and David Short have been awarded Order of Australia Medals (OAM).

Renting bikes in Italy

I've spent a fair bit of time looking online for bike rental places in Italy. We'll only be in Umbria for 3 days and have a friend's christening to go to during that time, so I'm not expecting to be able to ride there. When we get to Castiglioncello, we'll be staying for a week though, so I'd love to be able to rent a bike and get some rides in there. Has anyone done this before? Any suggestions on how to track down a rental?

Profile picture

I finally put a profile picture together. Have been meaning to take this shot for a while but have been too busy riding or drinking - and never at the same time!

Lance Armstrong's War

Has anyone read Lance Armstrong's War? I'd be interested to read a biography that hasn't been commissioned but I haven't heard of any lawsuits so wondering if there's anything of interest at all in the book. Anyone read it? Worth reading?

Don't let track cycling die

For anyone else unhappy at the UCI and IOC decision to scrap the Track Men's Kilometre Time Trial and the Women's 500m Time Trial, you can sign a petition here. There have been more than 6000 signatures to date, which was described by the vice-president of the UCI as "unprecedented in cycling."


Could it be? A LBS that is run by friendly, competent people that are also bike riders. I wasn't aware that one existed in NYC... For those of you that don't live in NY, the LBS's here suck - the attitudes, selection, assistance... did I mention attitude? Just read a glowing review of NYC Velo on a newsgroup post by the head of the NYCMB. I just hope it's true.

If they'll convict someone in Texas, there's hope for the rest of us

A law professor at Southern Methodist University in Texas was sentenced to five years of probation and two years of community service by a jury in Dallas for aggravated assault. To read the VeloNews letters to the editor, you'd think that the pick-up driving Texans that (allegedly) throw bottles out their windows at cyclists would never side with a cyclist, but the jury found that the defendant had used her car as a deadly weapon when she drove into a cyclist last May, after honking her horn while driving behind him and then hitting him, dragging him under the car. Luckily the cyclist only suffered cuts and bruises.

Napa Vino Velo

Bicycling Magazine is running a sweepstakes to increase subscribers and offering a 4 day Bike and Wine trip in Napa to one lucky winner and a friend. To enter the draw without subscribing, click here

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Bigot CCLXV starts to exert his influence

Following a call to boycot the referendum in Italy on the repeal of its strict rules on assisted fertility, the Pope is getting the credit for the failure to generate sufficient voter turnout that saw the referendum defeated. I'm not sure if he's aware how much fear he's striking into the hearts of some of us, but Rocco Buttiglione, Italy's conservative culture minister (and a friend of Il Papa) told the NY Times, "The results of today mean that Italy is maybe more similar to Texas than to Massachusetts."

Monday, June 13, 2005

NY Times on a roll

After their story on Friday about the Puma track team, the Times has a couple of bike-related articles in their travel section. One on Girona and the other on the spectator sport that is attending the TdF.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Brooklyn rider killed

Rest in peace.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Puma team get mainstream coverage

Being featured in the inaugral Fixed Magazine wasn't all that surprising, but the Puma Messenger track team were featured in today's NY Times - and it was positive!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

The "regular" guy's tour

While I'd love to one day ride the Etape du Tour, a 43-year-old from Maine is planning on riding every stage of this year's tour in 21 days with two rest days. He's aiming to ride each stage one day before the pros. He's recruited a team of eight professionals as domestiques and is paying for the whole thing himself. He's personally donating $1 per kilometer as well as raising money for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and Tyler Hamilton's MS Foundation.

He only started riding three years ago, although he won a silver medal in sailing at the 1992 Olympic Games, beat cancer in 1993, founded and skippered the America's Cup syndicate "Young America" in 1995 and won a national age-group championship in snowboarding in 2004, so I for one wouldn't bet against him completing 2,241 miles of bike riding in France this summer.

You can learn more and donate here.

Vino takes Ventoux

Alexander Vinokourov won the fourth stage of the Dauphine today atop Mont Ventoux (which it appears Lance Armstrong will retire without ever winning). Armstrong was fourth 37 seconds behind Vino and finished ahead of Landis and Leipheimer, who keeps his yellow jersey by 21 seconds to Armstrong and a further five to Vinokourov. The American team leaders are looking good for the tour!

Bike lane or 'double-parking' lane?

I love that there are people out there like Transportation Alternatives lobbying for more bike lanes in NY. But sometimes you have to wonder, what's the point...

No need to flick the bird...

Petra Rossner and Judith Arndt are apparently the latest big names to be named Gay Games Ambassadors for the July 2006 Gay Games VII in Chicago. I wasn't even aware that Gay Games existed, but I'm sure having the endorsement of Rossner and Arndt will help raise awareness, especially following Arndt's antics in Athens last summer. Arndt won a silver medal in Athens and crossed the line giving the German cycling federation a one-fingered salute for leaving Rossner (who two months later won the gold medal world championship road race and silver in the time trial) off the Olympic team.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Giving the Belgians a run for their money as the hard men of cycling

The Belgians featured in this month's Cycle Sport aren't the only hard men of cycling. Matt White used his head to stop himself when a tractor trailer pulled in front of him and screeched to a halt while he was out on a training ride in Spain last Sunday.

Despite colliding with the truck and falling to the ground, the cars behind him simply drove around him and left him bleeding on the ground. "Whitey" walked to a nearby bar where staff gave him a towel to stem the bleeding, and then drove him to a medical centre, where a physician put four stitches in his head-wound, without anaesthetic.

Two days later, White got back on his bike and did a three-hour training ride.

No 2 man in yellow at Dauphine

Levi Leipheimer seems to be vying for Eric Zabel's recent moniker as the perpetual runner up. For the second time in three days, he was second by a second, and was second by 4 seconds in Georgia. Still, he's smiling all the way to Ventoux in the Dauphine's yellow jersey.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Getting doored

There's nothing like almost getting doored by a parked van to sharpen the mind in the morning. Apparently the average cyclist in NYC gets doored once a year. I'm batting better than most not having been hit yet... What was interesting though, was that I was cycling down fifth avenue which has a bike lane on the left side of the road. After glaring at the gentleman that had swung his door open and having gone on my merry way, I looked around to see one bike in the bike lane and three of us on the right hand side of the road. The bike lane on fifth avenue is a joke as it's as much a 'double-parking' lane as it is a bike lane. I'd never noticed before that more of us ride on the right side than in the bike lane on the left (not claiming that my sample of four bike riders is statistically valid, but it interested me nonetheless - maybe it was the adrenaline of the near miss...).

Monday, June 06, 2005

Amazing weekend for American cycling

Great results for US riders on both sides of the water. In the States, the USPRO championship in Philly, we had only the second ever all-US podium with Chris Wherry standing one step taller than Chris Horner and Danny Pate. Wherry's Health-Net/Maxxis team actually won all three races in the Wachovia series - Kiwi, Henderson in Lancaster and Canadian, Frasr in Trenton. But in Philly, it was American one, two and three. Fast Freddy showed his class by being one of the first riders on any team to make his way to Wherry to congratulate him.

On the other side of the pond, George Hincapie surprised everyone by winning the opening prologue of the Dauphine. Leipheimer was second, Landis fourth, and Lance Armstrong fifth to make it 4 out of 5 American's leading the race. A great win for Hincapie that didn't impress Reuters enough to headline his win...

Seems the only Americans to lose out this weekend were Fast Freddy and Bobby Julich, who might have been better off competing in the TT discipline...

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Selle Italia - looking for ProTour status

Selle Italia-Colombia has apparently applied to UCI for entry into the ProTour next season. After their spectacular Giro, I'm sure the application will be considered carefully. Although as PeletonBlog has pointed out, because they weren't in the ProTour, they were in a position to send all of their best riders to the one race without worrying about future tours or similtaneous races.

Lance TV

Get ready for a Lance-filled few weeks. According to Advertising Age, "From a marketing point of view, Lance Armstrong has already won the last Tour de France he will ever compete in, even though that race doesn't begin until July." Apparently since his announcement that this year's will be his last race, he "has been mobbed by marketers and media companies buying into the global excitement he generates".

The remainder of this post is from the Ad Age article:

Discovery Communications will launch a seven-week campaign June 6 to promote its pre-Tour programming that runs June 26 through July 1.

Verizon and AMD are sponsoring the U.S. Discovery campaign leading up to its week of programming; Nokia is sponsoring a campaign airing on Discovery’s Latin American and European networks. OLN is attracting several new advertisers to this year’s race, including IBM, Capital One Financial, Revlon’s Mitchum and Levi Strauss & Co. Additionally, Coca-Cola Co.’s Dasani is readying new summer commercial spots featuring Mr. Armstrong, who also is appearing in a new spot from 24 Hour Fitness.

Despite the breakup rumors, Discovery has Sheryl Crow starring in one of its minute-long vignettes to promote its week-long Lance Armstrong TV programming. Verizon and AMD are the presenting sponsors of the vignettes, which also feature other cycling enthusiasts, including actresses Laura Dern and Rita Wilson, boxer Sugar Ray Leonard and musician Ben Harper.

All the promotions build up to the focal point of Discovery’s pre-race programming: The Science of Lance Armstrong, a special that will be telecast on all of Discovery’s international channels on the same day and same prime-time slot. It’s the fourth TV event Discovery has premiered a program across all of its worldwide assets.

And of course it only starts with the pre-race hype. John West, senior vice president for ad sales for OLN, said the network is about two-thirds of the way toward sellout levels and revenue goals -- about the same place it was last year at this time.

In addition to offering sponsorships of leader boards and race updates, the network has put together ad-sponsored vignettes, such as a two-minute travel log sponsored by Expedia. Other advertisers include Nissan North America's Infiniti, Ford Motor Co.'s Jaguar and Land Rover, Trek bicycles and Bissell.

Sirius Satellite Radio is hoping for a similar effect. It will offer daily reports from the tour titled Lance in France ... Off the Bike and on the Mic, on its Faction music channel, which hosts the weekly Armstrong Radio show. Because Sirius’ music channels are ad-free and sponsor-free, it won’t be pitching marketers around the Tour coverage -- but it hopes to use the daily reports to entice new listeners, both cycling fans and more general Lance enthusiasts.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Eloquence that speaks for itself

"In terms of, you know, the detainees, we've had thousands of people detained. We've investigated every single complaint against the detainees. It seemed like to me they based some of their decisions on the word of -- and the allegations by people who were held in detention, people who hate America, people that had been trained in some instances to disassemble -- that means not tell the truth. And so it was an absurd report. It just is. And -- you know."

President Bush yesterday at a news conference, when asked about an Amnesty International report that U.S. antiterror efforts have produced a global prison system beyond the reach of the law that has fueled anti-Americanism.