The Impressionability of Youth

The Frames2

Recently I came across an exchange between cycling writer Shane Stokes and former doper Joe Papp on twitter. The conversation was to do with the possibility of declaring an amnesty on doping in cycling. An amnesty such as this, which has been suggested before, involves choosing a day in the calendar, deciding that anybody who doped, or had been involved in doping, before this day can admit it and be exonerated, but anyone caught from this day on will be banned for life, or handed some other severe punishment, in order to finally move on from cycling’s sinister past. The counter-argument is that exonerating former dopers and ‘moving on’ may put a stop to investigations into doping rings that may have been organised in the past, but a full pardon for everyone involved doesn’t weed the bad guys out. The drug suppliers, the drug administers and the drug takers will all remain in the sport, as a result of which, all the ingredients will remain for further doping scandals to envelop cycling. As Shane Stokes said ‘as long as they still have power and influence. They need to be removed from cycling, not pardoned’. Declaring an amnesty merely papers over cracks.

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Junior to Pro: A Tough Transition

Irish rider Mark Scanlon, winner of the 1998 Junior Men's World Road Race

At the 1998 World Championships in Valkenburg, the little known rider Oscar Camenzind tasted success in the Elite Men’s Road Race becoming the first Swiss rider to do so since Ferdi Kubler almost 50 years previously.  A few day’s beforehand, Abraham Olano was busy becoming the Elite Men’s Time Trial World Champion. Having previously won the road race in 1995, Olano remains the only rider to have won the Rainbow Jersey for both events. However, what’s more interesting about the 1998 World Championships are the Men’s under age events.

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World Champions in Paris-Roubaix

Thor Hushovd celebrating victory in the 2010 World Road Race

Thor Hushovd won the World Championship Road Race in Australia this year with a powerful sprint finish to win from a 20-man group. In doing so he became the first Scandinavian to wear the Rainbow Jersey as champion of the road. He wasted no time in announcing that his major goal for 2011 would be to win Paris-Roubaix as reigning World Champion:

My goal is the classics next year, to try to win Roubaix in the rainbow jersey. That would be a dream for me. It’s an honor for any rider to wear the rainbow jersey for one year, and to win Roubaix would be even better.

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A bad year for Philip Deignan

Philip Deignan

The past year has not been a good one for Irish cyclist Philip Deignan. After winning a stage and finishing 9th overall at the 2009 Vuelta a Espana, a combination of illness and injury scuppered his progress and prevented him from building on this success in 2010. To compound his woes, the Cervelo Test team of which he was a member since its inception in late 2008, folded, leaving Deignan scrambling to find a team willing to employ a rider with a severe lack of results over the past 12 months.

For Deignan the season started in sunny Spain at the Clasica de Almeria where he helped team mate Theo Bos take the win. This was followed by the Vuelta a Murcia where he finished a creditable 25th overall. It was then on to the Volta a Catalunya, an event which saw Deignan’s first of many race withdrawals throughout the year, this time due to illness. He bounced back at the Circuit de la Sarthe where he was in a ten man break on stage one, he ended up in 33rd place overall. Again, a solid performance but the year was about to turn sour for Deignan.

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Cyclo-Cross is Great

Zdenek Stybar - Current cyclo-cross World Champion

(The following is as much an appeal for information as it is an imparting of knowledge. If I’ve made any glaring errors (or indeed, any minor errors) please let me know, as I’m on a steep learning curve at the moment and need all the help I can get).

Taking an interest in a new sport can be as daunting as it is exciting. Usually, it’s quite straight forward to learn the rules of a sport. There will always be obscure rules which only present themselves in very specific scenarios, but in general, following what’s going on is simple. What isn’t simple though is figuring out what events and competitions are important, which are the most prestigious, which are the ones everybody wants to win, where does each event fit in with the sport’s calendar as a whole?

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2010 Teams Review – Part 2

Continuing on from last week’s post on how each cycling team fared when their stated top three goals for the year are considered, here’s the remainder of the teams:


HTC-Columbia

1. Cavendish to win the Tour green jersey and lots of stages.
There were a lot of what ifs raised by the green jersey competition this year. What if Cavendish hadn’t crashed on Stage 1? What if Petacchi’s doping investigation catches up with him and his results from the Tour are expunged? What if the green jersey points on Stage 2 hadn’t been declared void? What if Cavendish had contested a few intermediate sprints?
At the 2008 Tour, Cavendish was only interested in winning stages, but since then, for the past two years, the Green jersey has been a major goal for Cavendish and he has come up slightly short on both occasions. I would imagine he will be going bananas to win the jersey next year.
As for lots of stage wins? Just the five this year.

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