Spartacus

A great race, a stellar performance, and controversy on the podium.

Spartacus

But more of that later.

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Record Results for Santos Tour Down Under

New figures confirm the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under was an overwhelming success, with increases in visitor numbers, economic impact, media coverage and TV broadcast hours.

Research undertaken by independent company McGregor Tan indicates the 2013 Santos Tour Down Under achieved the following results:

– More than 760,400 spectators attended the 2013 event.

– The 2013 event attracted 40,000 interstate and international visitors who travelled specifically to South Australia to attend. This is an increase of 9.7 per cent on 2012.

– A $43.6 million economic impact was generated for South Australia by the 2013 event.

The 2014 event will be staged 19 – 26 January 2014. For more details and all the latest news www.tourdownunder.com.au

Bring on 2014……

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Dandenongs

As posted hastily last week, the family went over to Melbourne last week for an elongated long weekend. On Saturday morning I had the pleasure in going for a ride up in the Dandenongs, something I have been wanting to do for quite some time.

To get to the Dandenongs from the accommodation in the City, I decided to drive out to Belgrave and park at an Oval that was used as the start for Melbourne’s Dirty Dozen, as covered in the Climbing Cyclist.

Belgrave is a 40 odd km drive from Melbourne, and to get there I needed a good caffeine hit to make the journey bearable. Driving up Brunswick Street early on Easter Saturday did not look promising, however the lights of Marios were on and I just had to drop in.

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The coffee was good, just what I needed, particularly when I came to the end of the freeway and wanted to avoid the toll roads (I know, I know, it’s only a few dollars, but I lived in Melbourne for 6 years just as the first toll roads/tunnels were being built, and I just can’t get my mind around having to pay for driving on a road……That’s progress I suppose)

Anyway, I was going to try the dirty dozen, but got lost whilst trying to follow the route on my iphone, and then decided to follow my nose.

Up towards Monbulk, but hanging a right down a lovely back road over towards Emerald, before I wrapped around to Yellingbo. As you can see, the time wasn’t great, but hey, a long drive the day before and the back was killing me, and the cramps started setting in on the grind out of Monbulk……

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Unfortunately my nose took me out to the Warburton H’way, which I had to travel over for around 8km before I could swing off on the road back to Monbulk. Heavy traffic, not enjoyable, but once I had a donut at the Seville bakery and was able to swing onto a back road to Monbulk, my spirits lifted.

All up a very enjoyable ride, but for my mind, it doesn’t beat the Adelaide Hills.  I think the distance from the city is something I cannot get my mind around. I love just jumping on the bike and being only a few minutes away from the city and 15 away from the hills.  The traffic was also heavier on the main roads than I was comfortable with.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the ride, and am looking forward to trying some other hills the next time I head over.

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Spartacus.

What a Warrior.

Nobody who is a die-hard fan of old movies, can possibly hear the name “Spartacus” without seeing Kirk Douglas in the short little skirt thing that fighting men were allowed back in the wild and wooly gladiator days.

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But in real life, Spartacus and his followers were not quite the noble and self-effacing group depicted in the movies. The real Spartacus was born in Thrace, and is reported to have served in the Roman army, possibly as an auxiliary.

Historians believe he deserted, for whatever reason, and was then outlawed, captured and sold into slavery, where his skills and brute strength lead him to be trained as a gladiator, for the amusement of his owner.

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But Spartacus was not amused. In 73B.C., Spartacus and another six or seven dozen gladiators escaped, and fled to Mount Vesuvius, where they established a camp with other rural slaves.

The Senate’s force of 3,000 recruits charged up Vesuvius, under the impression they had Spartacus trapped. But he was busy descending the back side of the mountain with his troops, and they kicked some serious Roman butt, sending the soldiers who were still standing, back home.

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After a period, Spartacus’s troops divided and were partly conquered when the Romans decimated the Gauls and Germans. But in true Spartacus form, the Roamans again had their butt kicked. He took 300 prisoners from that battle and made them fight in pairs, to the death.

Fate and the massed Roman army caught up with Spartacus in Southern Italy. He was presumed killed in a battle where there were so many bodies, it was impossible to identify his.

The true outcome of the great Warrior, Spartacus is unknown.  He is however remembered for rising from the bottom of the social order to the top, building an army from nothing and leading it by the force of his personality, not as a dictator, but as a friend to those he liberated from the cruelty of Rome.

This was a new kind of leader.

Career Stats.

  • 9 victories in battle against the most powerful army in the Mediterranean
  • traveling over 1000 miles over hostile land

Though he became the “boogyman” of the Romans, he was, and still is a symbol of determination and courage,and the powerful need to be free !

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Classics v’s Stages

Cobbled Classics contenders fighting for victory at the Tour of Flanders in Belgium to the left please, and Stage Racers fighting in the northern Spain six-day Tour of the Basque Country to the right.

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With a route of 256 kilometers, 17 climbs in the Flemish Ardennes and seven cobbled sectors. the battle was predicted to come out on the Oude Kwaremont and Paterberg climbs, which each featured three times in the race’s hectic finishing circuits.

What an absolute ball breaker of a ride by Fabian Cancellara it turned out to be at this years edition of the Ronde van Vlaanderen over Easter.

Sylvain Chavanel    Peter Sagan   Greg Van Avermeat   and Tom Boonen were all legitimate contenders   but Fabian Cancellara was the man to beat on Sunday      Photo  Graham Watson
Sylvain Chavanel Peter Sagan Greg Van Avermeat and Tom Boonen were all legitimate contenders but Fabian Cancellara was the man to beat on Sunday Photo Graham Watson

The Swiss Spartacus showed wunderkind Peter Sagan what champions are made of by engaging and spitting Sagan and Jurgen Roelandtsc out on the final hill, the Paterberg.

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Is this the return of Spartacus? Lets hope so.

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“It’s just amazing. One year ago, I was on the ground and now I’m back and I won Flanders as a big favourite. It was not easy. I’m just happy, really happy.”

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Cancellara’s bike at the end was a mess.

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The Queen of the Classics is a week away, and Cancellara is now a heavy favorite to win his third Hell of the North. For Sagan, a second is a great result and time is on his side. He will not be riding Paris-Roubaix but will go for Amstel Gold.

The worst misfortune of the day was Tom Boonen, early in the race, injured his hip and is out of the classics for the season. A reversal of last season between the two classic stars; Boonen will have to sit out of P-R and Cancellara will go on looking for cobbled trophy!

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The controversy.  You’ve all heard about the cheek grabbing Sagan.

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Sagan has come out and apologised for his indiscretion.

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Vuelta al Pais Vasco

The Vuelta al Pais Vasco is one of the most prestigious weeklong stage races of the UCI WorldTour and sees most of the best stage racers clash in the hills of the Basque Country.

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The six days of hilly racing begin in Elgoibar on Monday April 1 and ends on Saturday April 6 with a 24km individual time trial around Beasain. The unpredictable spring weather can also be a factor, making the days in the saddle even harder than the steep gradients of the roads.

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Simon Gerrans won the first stage of the Tour of Basque Country (Elgoibar-Elgoibar 156.5 kilometers) in a sprint as he edged out Peter Velits (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) and Angel Vicioso (Katusha) on the line for his second stage win in Spain in just over a week, after also emerging victorious in the penultimate stage of the Volta a Catalunya.

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The plan of attack was formed around me today,” said Gerrans. “The whole team committed to the stage win. It’s nice to repay the team’s work at the end of the day.

“Christian (Meier) did a great job looking after me early on in the stage. The rest of the guys rode fantastic in the hills. They set me up for the stage win and Pieter (Weening) up for the GC (general classification).”

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Further details at the website here.  Vuelta al Pais Vasco

Oh, last years winner

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Paris-Roubaix

This coming weekend is the Paris Roubaix. Be sure to be watching it LIVE from 9:30pm AEST Sunday 7 April on SBS ONE.

Check out the teaser here.

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Paris-Roubaix SBS teaser

Tom Boonen - 2012 Champion - out following Flanders crash
Tom Boonen – 2012 Champion – out following Flanders crash

Check out the official web site. Paris Roubaix.

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Till next week

tight spokes

iPib

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