Rising from the Ashes
Two worlds collide when cycling legend Jock Boyer moves to Rwanda to help the first Rwandan National Cycling Team in their six year journey to compete in the Olympic Games in London. Setting out against impossible odds both Jock and the team find new purpose as they rise from the ashes of their past.
Executive produced and narrated by Forest Whitaker, this stunningly shot film follows Jock (the first American to compete in the Tour de France) and his Rwandan riders as they slowly but steadily learn what it means to be a professional cyclist – how to train, how to compete, how to live the life of a top level athlete. As they get better and better, the riders of Team Rwanda give their countrymen a vision of something greater then themselves and their history: hope for a future.
“The wildly improbable story of the Rwandan National Cycling Team, a.k.a. Team Rwanda, delivers! Layers of suffering and joy mingle in ‘Rising From Ashes’, which gives you more than you expect – it turns out there are dramas going on that you wouldn’t initially suspect. One pleasure of the film is experiencing the wonderful good spirits of the riders as they find their way in the strange new world of competitive cycling. Director T.C. Johnston knew a good story when he saw one, and we can all be grateful for that.”
– Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
The film is running through a staged release in the USA. I don’t know when it is coming out here, but keep an eye out for it.
A brief Vuelta History
In 1935 a newspaper (the Diaro Informaciones) organized with Clemente Lopez Doriga, the Henri Desgranges of the Vuelta a Espana, the first Vuelta a Espana. From this point of view the stimulus (newspaper circulation) for the event mirrored the beginnings of both Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia.
From 1935 until 1955 the race struggled to survive as war, deprivation and an impoverished Europe took their toll on the race. In 1955 the race was conducted on an annual basis.
50 riders started that first race that was won by Belgian cyclist Gustave Deloorom (Gustave Deloor) after a bitter fight with the Spanish rider Kanyardo Mariano (Mariano Cañardo).
Racers had to overcome 3,411 kilometers, divided into 14 stages, 10 of which were for more than 250 kilometers. In addition, they had to use heavy bikes, made of iron, which constantly broke down, and the wheels endlessly pierced. All had to fix the problem on their own, sometimes riders finished on the bikes that they were lent from the spectators.
As we would expect, riders did not pay much attention to training. A common elixir to help then get through the race was a cocktail called Perico Chicote . This was a mix of Orange Bitters, liqueur Grand Marnier (40-degree mixture of brandy and essence of bitter oranges), Cordón rojo , Curaçao liqueur (produced from wine spirit with the addition of dried orange peel, nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon), English gin and half a cup of Italian vermouth.
Gustaaf Deloor, who died in 2002 at the age of 88, was a Belgian cyclist who enjoyed a successful professional career before the Second World War and won the Vuelta a Espana twice.
The first time was in 1935 when he won three stages and wore the orange jersey that in those days marked out the race leader for twelve days.
Deloor was one rider who benefited enormously from his fame from winning the Vuelta. Having joined the Belgian Army when war broke out, he found himself among the 1,200 men taken prisoner after the Nazis attacked and over-ran Fort Eben-Emael on the 10th of May 1940 and was transported to Stalag II-B, which would earn infamy as the most brutal POW camp operated by the Nazis during the war.
Deloor, was fortunate enough to be recognised by a German officer who had been an ardent cycling fan before the conflict and arranged for him to be given a relatively easy job in the camp kitchens.
After the war, Deloor returned to what was left of Belgium. Finding his house a plundered wreck, he emigrated to New York, spending ten years there before moving on to Los Angeles where he remained for the next 21 years up until 1980, at which point he returned to Belgium where he spent the rest of his life.
Gustaaf rode for the Belgium Team Beistegui Hermanos.
BH began as a gun manufacturer in 1909 in the Basque region of Spain. Following the First World War, BH set out to provide a fast, comfortable and economic means of transport for the citizens of Eibar, and thus they began manufacturing bikes.
Vuelta – SBS Schedule
SBS will have daily highlights of the Vuelta a Espana as well as eight stages live.
- Daily highlights on SBS TWO, 17:30-18:00
Live Broadcast details
- Saturday 31 August – 00:00-02:00 SBS ONE Vuelta a Espana Stage 7 LIVE
- Sunday 1 September – 00:00-02:00 SBS ONE Vuelta a Espana Stage 8 LIVE
- Sunday 8 September – 00:00-02:00 SBS ONE Vuelta Stage 14 LIVE
- Monday 9 September – 00:00-02:00 SBS ONE Vuelta Stage 15 LIVE
- Friday 13 September – 00:00-02:00 SBS ONE Vuelta Stage 18 LIVE
- Saturday 14 September – 00:00-02:00 SBS ONE Vuelta Stage 19 LIVE
- Sunday 15 September – 00:00-02:00 SBS ONE Vuelta Stage 20 LIVE
- Monday 16 September – 00:00-02:00 SBS ONE Vuelta Stage 21 LIVE
This years Vuelta seems to have snuck up. Perhaps because most of the big name riders have given it a miss has reduced the appeal of the ride to the mainstream media.
Some believe that because of the absence of some of these big names that this final Grand Tour of the season could be the pick of the bunch this year.
One of the reasons that this years Vuelta will be fascinating are the 11 summit finishes – including a rare outing in France, at Peyragudes, and a deciding stage on the unforgiving Angliru – the 2013 route is even more demanding than last year’s offering.
This climb is brutal. Have a look.
But your going to have to wait till stage 20 to see it.
The anti-clockwise route around Spain will also feature an appetising finish atop the Coll de la Gallina in Andorra – where Chris Froome cracked last year – and four early stages in the hilly region of Galicia.
What’s more, the race’s opening team time trial will be something of a novelty, starting on a large floating wooden platform used for shellfish farming on a sea inlet in Galicia.
Summit finishes on days two and three will ensure that the start of the Vuelta is more explosive than that of the Tour in Corsica.
Throw in some innovative stages in sweltering Andalucia and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, plus a mouthwatering finish atop the fearsome Pena Carbarga in the last week, and fans are really in for a treat – as long as the riders come out to play.
With the future of the Basque team very much in doubt, this could well be the last Grand Tour that we see the famous orange jerseys of Euskaltel playing a part in the peloton.
If they do fall apart, cycling will certainly feel rather empty without those we affectionately call the “carrots”.
It should however set the scene for a great spectacle in Spain – especially that trifecta of stages in the Pyrenees ahead of the second rest day – because Euskaltel will surely want to go down fighting.
There always remains the chance that an 11th-hour lifeline is thrown – and with this in mind, and their own individual futures at stake, expect some aggressive riding from Euskaltel from the outset.
Orica GreenEdge Vuelta Team
ORICA-GreenEDGE for Vuelta a España:
Baden Cooke (AUS)
Christian Meier (CAN)
Leigh Howard (AUS)
Michael Matthews (AUS)
Mitch Docker (AUS)
Sam Bewley (NZL)
Simon Clarke (AUS)
Simon Gerrans (AUS)
Wesley Sulzberger (AUS)
Adam Hansen will continue his seemingly unending Grand Tour march when he lines up for the 2013 Vuelta a España with Lotto Belisol, in what will be his seventh consecutive three-week race in the last two years.
Toy of the Week – BH Bicycle Ultralight
With the introduction of the BB386EVO bottom bracket system, combined with new precision carbon molding techniques, cutting edge materials and forward-thinking design, BH Bikes has developed a ground breaking new bike design that shatters all previous performance benchmarks for weight and stiffness.
Aside from having the distinction of being the first race frame to weigh-in below 750 grams for a painted 56cm frame, the Ultralight’s BB386EVO’s 86.5mm bottom bracket width allows down tube sizing to increase from a typical 63mm maximum width (on a 68mm wide BB) to over 80mm wide, resulting in a significant increase in frame strength and stiffness.
While extremely stiff, stable and responsive, the Ultralight maintains BH’s signature smooth road feel thanks to an ultra-slim seatstay design and 27.2mm seat post.
till next week