What a difference a pro makes

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Eight months before the Olympic Time Trial takes place in London, Fabian Cancellara was out around Surrey doing a recon of the 44km route, as revealed in the latest Cycling Weekly magazine. When one of his entourage suggested that they skip a small part of the route, the Swiss time trial specialist replied “we’re doing it. We are riding every single metre“.

This is what champions do. They recon routes in the depths of winter. They attach a helmet cam to their heads as they do it. They watch the route video over and over in the days before the event. Then when it comes to the day itself, they are able to draw on all of the extra knowledge they’ve gained, thereby giving them a crucial edge over those opponents who are not willing to go to these lengths in their pursuit of victory.

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Get Outta That Saddle Stephen!

KellyRocheBooks

The 1980’s was a magical time for Irish professional cycling. For a while we could lay claim to the top two cyclists in the world. Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche won everything (except the Tour of Flanders). At no stage in their careers did they ever end up as team-mates, but they liked and respected each other and often rode for each other in races.

Roche once said that people shouldn’t look at their respective careers as separate entities, weighing up which one of them won which races. Instead, said Roche, we should put their career achievements together and view them as one.

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The World champion has been breaking rules!

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The UCI, cycling’s governing body, take their image rights of the rainbow stripes very seriously. The five colours, arranged as they are in order blue, red, black, yellow, green are a registered trademark and their use on any piece of bicycle equipment must be approved by the UCI themselves. They have many pages of rules and regulations regarding the rainbow stripes of World Champion available on their website.

Mark Cavendish, the current World road race champion has broken these rules.

The following is a photo of Cavendish on the podium in Copenhagen shortly after accepting his prize for winning the biggest one-day race in cycling.

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Vuelta 2011 – The best stage race of the year?

Froome and Cobo battling it out at the 2011 Vuelta a Espana

It is now the end of the cycling season and we await once more for January to roll round so we can get excited about the perhaps undeserved hype of the Tour Down Under. As such there have been plenty ‘Best of 2011’ lists appearing in various places.

The category ‘Best Stage Race’ is rarely ever not the Tour de France in these retrospective lists. This is because it is the most famous race and many people deciding to fill out the voting form may not know their Paris-Nices from their Paris-Roubaixs. But this year, when people decided to give their vote to the Tour de France it seems to come with a caveat along the lines of ‘I know everybody always votes for the Tour de France, but this year’s really was the best stage race of the year’.

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The perfect cyclist – A jack of all trades

One of the most interesting things about cycling compared to most other sports are the different disciplines that any given rider can take part in – road racing, time-trialling, mountain biking, track racing and cyclo-cross.

Stephen Roche once said that “maybe it is a view of a dreamer but I have always believed that a complete bike racer should be able to ride on the flat, in the mountains, in the time trials and on the track.”

Not long after Roche finished third in the 1985 Tour de France at the age of 25, he rode the Paris six-day race on the track with the British rider Tony Doyle. Roche crashed and hurt his knee, an injury which would plague him for the rest of his career.

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When is a reliable source reliable?

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My Dad is a professional musician. He’s played the fiddle and mandolin on stage with the likes of Rory Gallagher, The Pogues, Van Morrison and The Waterboys. Recently he noticed that his name was listed on the Wikipedia page about the mandolin as a noteworthy Irish mandolinist.

His name, ‘Paul Kelly‘, was listed as one of those red Wikipedia links that don’t go anywhere, because there was no ‘Paul Kelly’ Wikipedia page. Consequently, he asked me to make one for him. So I did.

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