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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2010 Teams Review – Part 1

I picked up the March 2010 issue of Cycle Sport the other day, it was the season preview issue. In it, each of the major cycling teams, via one of the team managers, laid down three major season goals which the team would aim for over the coming year. The following is a breakdown of how each team fared in achieving their three goals:

AG2R-La Mondiale

1. Win more races than last year.
Not that hard considering the team only racked up five victories in 2009. This year they managed to almost quadruple that haul with 19 wins, the most prolific rider was Anthony Ravard who won five races.

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It all started with a win

Dan Martin wearing the Irish National Champion's jersey which he won in 2008. He would wait two years until his next victory.

I know an Arsenal fan, who for years, has bemoaned Arsene Wenger’s attitude towards the last few Champion’s League group games once Arsenal have just about qualified. When Arsenal reach nine or ten points in their group, Wenger tends to start resting key players and giving young(er) players a run out in a proper competition (unlike the rather flacid League Cup). However, by tinkering with the first team and playing experimental starting lineups Wenger is greatly affecting his team’s chance of victory. He did it last week. He made seven changes to the team that had beaten West Ham, and they went on to lose 2-1 to Shakhtar Donetsk.

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World Number 1 ≠ Best in the World

Joaquim Rodriguez - The world's best?

Joaquim Rodriguez has finished the year as the leader of the UCI World Rankings. Naturally, one would assume that a world ranking is an indication of who the best rider in the world is. As an article in this month’s Cycle Sport magazine declares, “it doesn’t take a genius to work out that, no matter what the rankings say, Joaquim Rodriguez is not the best rider in the world“. The article goes on to state ‘the UCI World Ranking is fine if you want to find out who the most consistent rider in the world is. It’s not so good if you want to find the best“.

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