Lanterne Depths

The Depths

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Join us for a night of cycling pain and euphoria at

The Depths – Main Event

16 Racers will empty themselves on the rollers of death for a chance to win the inaugural DEPTHS trophy.

The hoards of screaming spectators won’t let you off the hook. Your mind, body and soul will be on show for all to see in beautiful projected technicolour.

ERGO have concocted a short and very sharp race program to test your outputs to the max. If this makes your blood boil then sign up as a racer and get on it!

Alternatively if you want to feel your lungs burn screaming at the racers not at your own legs you should sign up as a screamer.

The Screamer package will include a hydration plan of a very different kind. It’s scientifically geared to make you go louder not faster. Carbs will also be available to maintain a high level of noise.

The Quick & The Dead.

If sprinting isn’t your thing but you still feel the need to beat someone on the night then there’s the Quick & The Dead. How fast can you change a tyre if your life (well, road cred) depends on it. The Screamers will be out for blood on this one too. Hopefully it doesn’t come from your fingers….

From The Depth to The Heights.

After the screaming dies down we’ll ramp it up again with a live screening Tour De France Stage 20 – Modane Valfréjus / Alpe d’Huez. This stage could be the make or break day in this year’s Tour. What better way to finish off the night than more screaming!

The Rules.

Each rider must have a Race Name. Be creative.

Each screamer must wear their favourite cycling cap.

No ticket no entry. Tickets are only available on-line. Security will be on the door to keep things in line.
When the racing’s done the final mountain stage of the Tour De France will be projected on the big screen.

Tickets can be bought here – Depths

Giro Rosa

Anna van der Breggen (Rabo-Liv) clinched the overall title in the 2015 Giro Rosa on Sunday after finishing second to two-time winner Mara Abbott (Wiggle Honda) in the final stage.

Rabo-Liv Woman Cycling Team celebrate their Giro Rosa victory
Rabo-Liv Woman Cycling Team celebrate their Giro Rosa victory
Abbott winner of stage 9
Mara Abbott stage 9 winner

Annemiek Van Vleuten Barbara Guarischi Pauline Ferrand-Prévot

From Cycling Tips

Australian cyclist Lizzie Williams is racing the Giro Rosa, the longest (and only) Grand Tour on the women’s calendar, for the first time this year. 

Here is the last posting after the completion of the Giro Rosa

Lissie Williams

THE RACING

I died a thousand deaths today. But I’m happy now that it’s over.The race started at a blistering pace again, like it was the first stage of the tour, and it didn’t let up. In fact, I read somewhere that it was the fastest hour of racing for the whole tour. It was once again a race to the first hill just 7km into the stage. The road was really narrow so you had to be in good position for that climb. So it was pretty much a sprint to the climb and then there were attacks up the climb and after the climb. Admittedly, I was one of those people doing the attacks as well, trying to get away.

I was away for a bit with Tiffany Cromwell on the descent. It was a very aggressive race but Rabo Liv wouldn’t let anything get away. When a break formed, they’d just get to the front and reel it back in. They absolutely controlled it.

I probably gave four or five decent attacks and was jumping on wheels trying to get away but nothing worked, and then we had a bit of a mad rush to the day’s big climb as well. The way I was racing, I wasn’t even thinking about the hill that coming. I just gave it my all.

I got to the base of the climb alright but then the climbers upped the level a notch, and I was done. Were like 20km from the finish, and that 20km was all uphill and I had nothing. So I grovelled up the climb at my own pace, which was quite nice though because I was climbing by myself and there were a lot of people on the sides of the road yelling “Bravo!” and “Forza!” –it was a really great atmosphere.

Toward the end, I was really creeping, almost falling off my bike, and people kept asking if I wanted water but I just wanted people to push me so I was getting a lot of men pushing me up the hill, which was very helpful.

At the finish, there were heaps of people. I was coming in by myself but it felt like I was winning the tour the people cheered so hard. So I just put up my hands, enjoying the moment.

ABOUT THE GIRO ROSA EXPERIENCE

Definitely a positive experience overall -especially now that’s it done! I am pretty happy with how it went and I’ll be back…hopefully.

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Long Lunch

Late notice, but this just in from Stuart O’Grady.

This Friday there is a great Long lunch for a fantastic cause. Its a pretty cheap 5 hour session actually and would be a great chance to catch up with everyone over a feed and some drinks.
If you can, put a table together and come along.

I’ve just spent the morning in at RM House and its amazing what this place is doing for so many families of extremely sick kids across this state.

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Join us as we travel the culinary road from Port Lincoln to Adelaide….the same route as this year’s RMHC® Ride for Sick Kids SA. The sumptuous lunch, with premium beer and wines, will be hosted by Craig ‘Hutchy’ Hutchison.

To purchase your tickets go to rmhadelaide.iwannaticket.com.au

All proceeds from this event will support our charity programs in South Australia.

Tickets $150

The afternoon is sure to entertain!

or contact the House on 08 8267 6922.

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1947 was a very good year

  • Bianchi
  • Year 1947
  • UCI-code – Category UCI 1
  • Bikes – Bianchi
  • General Manager – Giovanni Tragella

Team Members

  •     Casola, Luigi – Italy

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  •      Coppi, Serse – Italy

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  •      Coppi, Fausto – Italy

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  •      Introzzi, Luigi Augusto – Italy

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  •      Leoni, Adolfo – Italy

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  •      Pugnaloni, Ubaldo – Italy
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  •      Servadei, Glauco – Italy

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  •      Tosi, Aldo – Italy
  •      Vicini, Mario – Italy

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  • Team Victories
  • 4━ stage Giro d’Italia – Fausto Coppi
  • 8━ stage Giro d’Italia – Fausto Coppi
  • 14━ stage Giro d’Italia – Adolfo Leoni
  • 16━ stage Giro d’Italia – Fausto Coppi
  • 17━ stage Giro d’Italia – Adolfo Leoni
  • 19━ stage Giro d’Italia – Adolfo Leoni
  • General Classification Giro d’Italia – Fausto Coppi
  • 5━ stage Tour de Suisse – Fausto Coppi
  • Grand Prix des Nations – Fausto Coppi
  • Lausanne – Fausto Coppi
  • Bologna – Fausto Coppi
  • Giro di Lombardia – Fausto Coppi

Why 1947? No reason other than I was introduced to these little babies a few months back, distributed by Bicycleage, and three of them turned up at work on Monday.

You can order them via their website at bicycleage.com

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These figurines are beautifully weighted and will be coming out with me on rides around Adelaide.

These beautifully hand painted cycling figurines are cast entirely out of Zamak alloy in the same family owned factory since 1950, these are the original French cycling figurines.

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They were immensely popular following World War II with over 500,000 being manufactured each year. Today, roughly 20,000 are manufactured for collectors across Europe and the rest of the world. Each figurine is hand packaged inside custom gift boxes.

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I’ve nabbed the 1947 Bianchi and the UCI world Champion figurines, but if you want the Cannondale figurine, I’ll give it away to someone who emails me at wednesdaylegs@gmail.com before Friday.  You will need to be able to pick it up from me in Adelaide though.

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If your looking for some low cost cycling gifts, these are perfect at $30 a pop.

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Tour de France – Week 1 Stats

Race stats
Stages completed: 9
Stages to go: 12
Distance ridden: 1343.8km
Distance to go: 2014.5km

Days in race lead
Chris Froome (Team Sky): 4
Tony Martin (Etixx-QuickStep): 3
Fabian Cancellara (Trek Factory Racing): 1
Rohan Dennis (BMC Racing): 1

Stage wins by nation (not including TTT)
Germany: 3
Australia: 1
Czech Republic: 1
France: 1
Great Britain: 1
Spain: 1

Stage wins by team
Etixx-QuickStep: 3
BMC Racing: 2
Lotto-Soudal: 2
Ag2r La Mondiale: 1
Katusha: 1

A quick look at the top 4 favourites as picked by the scribes at the start of the race, with Tejay thrown into the mix. There are some trends, but it is still early days and there are some absolute belters coming up over the next few weeks, but at present it would be difficult to go past Chris Froome.

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For what has traditionally been a sprinter’s paradise, and therefore generally tame first week in the tour (except for the last 3 km), this years tour has thrown up carnage galore, and unfortunately removed three Orica-GreenEDGE riders and one other riding with broken ribs. Fortunately ribs only hurt when you laugh or cough, and I don’t think there is much laughing going on at the moment.

Michael Matthews after a crash on stage three of the 2015 Tour de France
Michael Matthews after a crash on stage three of the 2015 Tour de France

Key moments over the first week and a bit.

Stage 1

Dennis Rohan – Tour record time – Yellow Jersey

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Processed with VSCOcam with hb2 preset

Stage 2

2015, Tour de France, tappa 02 Utrecht - Zelande, Bmc 2015, Dennis Rohan, Utrecht
2015, Tour de France, tappa 02 Utrecht – Zelande, Bmc 2015, Dennis Rohan, Utrecht

Chris Froome united forces with rival Alberto Contador to bury their Tour de France opponents in the Dutch crosswinds with less than 60km to go. They never came back together.

2015, Tour de France, tappa 02 Utrecht - Zelande, Zelande
2015, Tour de France, tappa 02 Utrecht – Zelande, Zelande

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Froome, Contador, Peter Sagan, Daniele Bennati, Michael Rogers, Van Garderen, Fabian Cancellara and others formed a 26 strong peloton that stormed clear with around 50 kilometres remaining.

Fabian finished third in the sprint to win his 29th day in the yellow jersey.

 

Mark Cavendish finished 4th in the stage and blamed his leadout man Mark Renshaw for the loss. “I think Mark went too early and kind of left me hanging. We died. The day Cancellara beats me in a sprint, I have gone too long. I have gassed it. It’s disappointing.”

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Adam Hansen dislocated his shoulder, but finished the stage and continues to chase a 12th consecutive Grand Tour finish.

 

Fabian Cancellara – Yellow Jersey

2015, Tour de France, tappa 02 Utrecht - Zelande, Trek Factory Racing 2015, Cancellara Fabian, Zelande
2015, Tour de France, tappa 02 Utrecht – Zelande, Trek Factory Racing 2015, Cancellara Fabian, Zelande

Stage 3

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We all thought the finish up the Mur de Huy was going to be today’s talking point……

Fabian Cancellara abandoned with back problems after breaking his third and fourth lumbar vertebrae after a huge group crash.

William Bonnet suffered concussion and a fracture of his third cervical vertebra, in his neck, in the same crash.

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Tom Dumoulin broke his shoulder.

Tom Dumoulin after a crash on stage three of the 2015 Tour de France
Tom Dumoulin after a crash on stage three of the 2015 Tour de France

Simon Gerrans and Daryl Impey from Orica-GreenEDGE did not finish the stage, Gerrans breaking his wrist, after ploughing into the pile of crashed riders speed and Impey who broke his collarbone, who was Simon’s pillow.

He's in there somewhere
He’s in there somewhere
Daryl Impey finishes with a broken collarbone
Daryl Impey finishes with a broken collarbone

Dmitrii Kozonchuk broke his scapula and his collarbone after crashing two kilometres after the original pile up.

Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme neutralised the race following the mass crash, explaining that it was decided to do so as all of the following ambulances and medical cars were occupied in provided assistance to fallen riders.

Rodriguez leads Froome to win the stage
Rodriguez leads Froome to win the stage

Chris Froome – Yellow Jersey

I did hear on the commentary that the riders were tackling the Mur de Hey at around 20km/hr.  Faark.

Greg Henderson Australia Lotto Soudal also shows evidence of injuries
Greg Henderson Australia Lotto Soudal also shows evidence of injuries

 

Stage 4

From left Sagan, Basso, Rodriguez, Froome and Greipel at teh start
From left Sagan, Basso, Rodriguez, Froome and Greipel at the start

Unlike last years carnage, this years cobbled stage was relatively tame.

This year’s longest stage at 223.5 kilometres, there were 13.3km of pavé spread across seven sectors the final six coming in the space of 35km towards the end of the race

Down the centre is the best line
Down the centre is the best line

Frenchman Thibaut Pinot suffered a mechanical on one of the final cobbled sectors, slowing up to wait for his team car.  Pinot’s car was some way back and he had to wait a while for some assistance, then, a little way up the road he needed a whole new bike.

Instead of taking his teammate’s bike, he waited for his car again to get one of his own bikes. Together these two incidents, as well his general struggles on the cobbles, cost him nearly three-and-a-half minutes and quite probably a spot on the podium.

Tony Martin had flat tyre with 3.5km remaining, but instead of waiting, he changed bikes with teammate Matteo Trentin, made a bold attack and crossed the line first to lead the overall by 12 seconds over Froome and 25 seconds over Tejay van Garderen (BMC).

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Some teams approached the cobbled sections with different strategies.

Some started on a bike tuned for regular road stages, with 25mm or 26mm tubulars and standard road frames. They finished on technology pulled straight from the Paris-Roubaix playbook, including fat, 28mm tubulars run at far lower pressures.

They rolled out of the start line with tire pressures over 100psi (7bar). The bikes they picked up halfway were running less than 70psi. Only the premier stars, either those looking to the overall or those looking to win the stage, swapped bikes.

John Degenkolb (Giant-Alpecin), the reigning Paris-Roubaix champion with eyes set on a stage in, swapped from his Giant TCR.

Contador made the switch with 114km remaining.

Some teams, including BMC Racing and Sky, opted not to swap at all.

Sky started on its Pinarello Dogma K8-S frames, which have a small amount of elastomer-tuneable rear suspension, with 27mm FMB Paris-Roubaix tires, the same tyres it uses in April.

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BMC raced its usual Teammachine frames, but ran the wheels and 28mm Continental tubulars it uses in Paris-Roubaix.

Oh, and this – Luca Paolini failed an A test for performance dehancing cocaine and has been expelled from the Tour de France.

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Paolini took to Twitter with a series of posts, apologizing – saying he takes “full responsibility” for his actions. “Sorry to all my fellow riders,” he added. “I have always believed in testing because they are making this sport ever more credible. I want to remain silent and resolve my issues”. “I know this is a bad time, above all because of the intense media scrutiny. I hope my absence doesn’t hinder our chances of a good final result.”

Etixx – Quick-Step’s director sportif, Davide Bramati was caught on video celebrating Martin’s victory not wearing his seatbelt following Tony Martin’s dramatic win during stage 4. As a result, Bramati was suspended from the team car.

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Tejay
Tejay

Stage 5

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Martin Tony

Andre Greipel claimed his second victory of this year’s Tour de France – beating Peter Sagan and Mark Cavendish – once more amidst wind and rain in Zealand.

Nacer Bouhanni, who was forced out of contention after just 11 kilometers of racing, when he crashed with several teammates. The French rider was taken away by ambulance, with injuries to his ribs, side and wrist.

The slippery roads claimed other victims, such as Greipel, Bryan Coquard, Greg Van Avermaet and Bauke Mollema. However, all of them managed to escape injury and regain contact with the field.

25 km from the line, another major crash occurred – involving some 30 riders. Among them, were Thibaut Pinot and Jean-Christophe Peraud. However, both riders were able to get back on terms with the peloton.

2015, Tour de France, tappa 05 Arras - Amiens, Lotto Soudal 2015, Tinkoff - Saxo 2015, Etixx - Quick Step 2015, Katusha 2015, Greipel Andre, Sagan Peter, Cavendish Mark, Kristoff Alexander, Amiens
2015, Tour de France, tappa 05 Arras – Amiens, Lotto Soudal 2015, Tinkoff – Saxo 2015, Etixx – Quick Step 2015, Katusha 2015, Greipel Andre, Sagan Peter, Cavendish Mark, Kristoff Alexander, Amiens

Stage 6

Zdenek Stybar was this stages victor, after his team mate and overall race leader, Tony Martin crashed during the final kilometre.

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Martin, despite wearing the yellow jersey, was trying to help set up Cavendish for the finish but he clipped the wheel of Bryan Coquard in front of him, wobbled and then fell into the rider to his right, with Nibali next to that and brought down in the melee.

10 riders hit the tarmac, however, since the crash occurred in the final 3km, rules state that everyone delayed by the incident would get the same time as those in the group in front of them.

Tony Martin was left clutching his shoulder on the tarmac and the 30-year-old German needed help from his teammates to cross the line as he couldn’t hold his handlebars.

Not long after the crash, Martin was flown to a hospital in Germany for surgery, bringing a close to his reign in this year’s Tour. He was diagnosed with a collarbone fracture on the left side of his body. “Unfortunately, the collarbone is a lateral fracture,” Team Doctor Helge Riepenhof said. “The collarbone is in lots of pieces, so it was a major impact. One of the pieces came through the skin, which means it’s an open fracture. Therefore, even if it was Tony’s wish to start tomorrow, I have to say he is not allowed to. Riders always want to race. Tony especially. He’s shown in the last years that even with broken bones that he will race if possible. But this is a medical situation where this is impossible. He needs surgery straight away, and that is why we are going to the hospital now. We will fix the collarbone there. He is already on antibiotics. It’s a serious injury, and that is why we can’t risk anything and why he cannot be at the start tomorrow.”

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Chris Froome became the de facto race leader, following Tony Martin’s departure.

Daniel Teklehaimanot (MTN-Qhubeka) became the first Eritrean to take the lead in the King of the Mountains competition.

2015, Tour de France, tappa 06 Abbeville - Le Havre, Mtn - Qhubeka 2015, Teklehaimanot Daniel, Le Havre
2015, Tour de France, tappa 06 Abbeville – Le Havre, Mtn – Qhubeka 2015, Teklehaimanot Daniel, Le Havre

Stage 7

Mark Cavendish scored his 26th stage victory at the Tour de France in Fougères today, after timing his sprint to perfection – to beat André Greipel and Peter Sagan on the line.

Cavendish has moved closer to matching Bernard Hinault’s tally of stage wins. The Frenchman has 28, second only to Eddy Merckx’s record tally of 34.

Britain's sprinter Mark Cavendish celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the seventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 190.5 kilometers (118.4 miles) with start in Livarot and finish in Fougeres, France, Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)
Britain’s sprinter Mark Cavendish celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win the seventh stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 190.5 kilometers (118.4 miles) with start in Livarot and finish in Fougeres, France, Friday, July 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Stage 8

Alexis Vuillermoz delivered France’s first stage victory of this year’s Tour de France, with a well executed counter-attacked against Chris Froome, who initiated a surge of his own during the final 800 meters.

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Stage 9

BMC Racing Team claimed today’s 28 kilometre team time trial from Vannes to Plumelec, besting both Team Sky and Movistar by mere seconds.

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Orica-GreenEdge competed with only a six-rider team, after Simon Gerrans, Daryl Impey and Michael Albasini were forced to abandon the race earlier due to crashes. The Australian team’s only objective today, was to stay above the time cut as they brought home the slowest time of the day.

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After stage 8, Chris Froome continues to lead the overall classification by 12 seconds over Van Garderen, while Alberto Contador is at 1.03 back.

Meanwhile, Quintana and Nibali trail at 1.59 and 2.22 respectively.

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Wednesday Legs Cyclist of the Week

I spent time on the bike with this weeks WL Cyclist of the Week, Brendon Harslett. Hoping you get as many chuckles out of it as I did.

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Thats Brendan in the Middle at the start of last years Amy’s Gran Fondo – Great Ocean Road.

A mate at school on his Repco Olympic 12 introduced me to cycling and the fascination started from there- the first long ride from Crafers to Outer Harbour and back was the biggest ride I could fathom, and now, a distance I would cover before work.  The sport has brought me so many cherised friends and priceless experiences, whilst teaching me about my own limits which is carried beyond the saddle.  And, it’s the only way I can justify the amount of bakeries I get to…

What are you currently riding?

Common ride is the Cervelo R3 Ultegra Mechanical, the “muckabout” or the “frankenbike” is a Cannondale CAAD8 Campagnolo Veloce, the “oops, I just accidentally bought a bike honey” is the Scott Foil Campagnolo Record, the “half” is the Cinelli Strato Caleido, yet to be “gruppo’d…thinking electronic.  The small blue number belongs to my son, which am sure he’ll use if I can wedge him off his ipad…

What bike do you covet?  

This changes on a daily basis.  For a while has been the Colnago C60 Disc but in the past few weeks have been romanced by the new Canyon Ultimate or the Bianchi Specialissima
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How many bikes do you own?  

Is my wife reading this?  3 and a half is she is, more if she isn’t.

How do you store your bikes?

My Cervelo sits next to me hung up in the study, the others are in an underground vault protected by retina scanners.  The “others” are elsewhere.

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What cycling specific tools do you have in your “bike shed”?  

All of them.  Have accumulated this over the years, at least, between a group of us.  My bike/longneck beer shed sessions are famous, not only for the quality work, but for the dulcet tunes.

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Do you do all your own maintenance or do you use a LBS? If so, which one?  

Mostly my own, although I wouldn’t try a 58 to 54 frame conversion.  Been well served by Pete at BMCR over the years.

What is your pet hate about cycling?  

The car vs bike debate.  We are all traffic/commuters.

What do you love about cycling?  

The escape.  Something about disappearing off into the dark to watch the world wake up around you that makes the early starts worth it, and, the eclectic sport that it is.

Other than yourself, who is your favourite cyclist?  

There’s others?

The other cyclists with you on any given day that give you the courtesy to chat, the sacrifice to stay with you and encourage and the patience to stay with you and finish. Professionally, massive fan of Floyd Landis and all he’s done for the sport.
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What is your craziest/fondest cycling memory?  

The early starts.  The more insane work you can do BEFORE you meet the group is testament to the crazy level.  Based on this, get an Indigo5 light.

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That aside, I shall refer to him at PG, the man with the terminal brain tumor who not only met us for laps of Norton when only one side of his body was working, but also when his rear brakes were rubbing.  One hard unit.

What is your favourite post ride coffee spot?

Usually land at Argo based on geography, but otherwise Bici in Hutt Street- but don’t all go there now and fill up my easy access table….

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Brendan – 2nd from left

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If you were to buy a post ride reward, what would it be?

Do children read this blog?  Ah, just in case, good serve of coffee, eggs benedict, and appropriate temperature shower, and a nap.

Do you have a nickname on the bike?

Most stick with Brendo, some yell out Twin Peaks, moving cars usually draws “faggot”

Finish this sentence “When I’m on my bike I…..”

think of times when I’m not on my bike and I wish I was on my bike.

If you could ride anywhere in the world, where would it be?

L’Alpe D’Huez.  Magical climb.

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What is your favourite training route?

Mostly travel on Norton, but a Clarendon (bakery) run with a return trip back down Montacute on a Spring day can’t be beaten.

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SONY DSC

What is the biggest cycling lie you have told your partner?

That I wasn’t almost hit but dozens of cars on the last ride….

What would you like your partner to buy you for your next birthday?  

My wife or my partner?  Can they both get me something?  Seriously, she don’t do/get sport, so I’m normally happy with the Toblerone that appears in the fridge.

Toblerone

Is there a local cycling outfit/company/person that you would like to plug?

You all have to get an Indigo5.  Great light.  Also been closely involved with Sub4 cycling apparel, good gear and not as dear as similar others.  I’d also be cast into obscurity if I didn’t mention the great folk at Velo-Porte- been working with these guys from day 1 and been great to see them evolve…

Just beacsue its awesome

Is there anything else you feel like talking about?

Most people know I could talk with a mouthful of gravel underwater, so lets just leave that as that

Next posting I talk about my time riding with a South Perth Rouleur.

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Book – The last man in the Tour de France – Lanterne Rouge – Max Leonard

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From an interview on NPR

Cyclists competing in the Tour de France entered the 8th Stage, where they’ll face some short but steep climbs as they rode west through Brittany. At the end of the day, cheering crowds will gather around the finish line, the stage winners feted.

Dutch cyclist Aad van den Hoek was a loyal cyclist supporting team leader Hennie Kuiper in the 1976 Tour. When Kuiper crashed, van den Hoek went for the lanterne instead.

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Dutch cyclist Aad van den Hoek was a loyal cyclist supporting team leader Hennie Kuiper in the 1976 Tour. When Kuiper crashed, van den Hoek went for the lanterne instead.

What about the guy at the end of the pack? That’s the question Max Leonard answers in his new book, Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France. says that the riders in the back often have far more interesting stories than the riders in the front.

“A star rider in the Tour de France is looked after by a team of eight other riders and they will fetch his water bottles, they will protect him from the wind, they will pace him up the climbs, they will stop other teams from attacking so that he doesn’t waste his energy,” Leonard explains.

The lanterne rouge spends a lot more time on the road than the winner and may come in last for a variety of reasons — teamwork, injury, bad luck, crashes — “I think he sees a lot more of the race and there’s a lot of rich stories there to tell,” says Leonard.

Interview Highlights

On the origin on the term “lanterne rouge”

It means red lantern in French and it refers to the railways and to the red lantern that used to hang on the last carriage of trains. It used to be put there so that the signalmen and station masters knew that the train was complete and there hadn’t been any decoupling along the way and so the line was free for another train.

And I kind of liked the idea of lanterne rouge in that sense because he makes the race complete. He may be coming up at the back, but he’s almost in some ways as important as the first guy.

On how, in the early decades of the Tour, the difference in finishing times was tremendous — in 1904, the lanterne rouge crossed the finish line 100 hours behind the winner

He was doing exactly the same course as Arsène Millocheau, the first last man who raced the year before — and Arsène came in 65 hours late. The newspapers don’t actually pay all that much attention to the last guy so we don’t really know what went wrong — if he had crashes, if his bike broke, if he just went to sleep in the ditch at some point. But Arsène was so late that some days his name didn’t appear in the official results purely because he arrived after the paper had gone to press.

On the riders who scheme to be last

In the tour there are a lot of different competitions — there’s the climber’s jersey, the sprint jersey, the yellow jersey. And the lanterne rouge — although it was never an official classification — it was always a fan favorite. It was the name the fans gave to the last guy on the tour. And he became so popular, in fact, that the lanterne rouge would get invited many years to the races after the tour, which took place all around France and Belgium and Holland. And he would get a lot of quite lucrative contracts for the races. For an unknown, lowly paid professional rider — in those days they could be paid very little indeed — it could be very, very worthwhile for this guy to come last and make double his salary in a couple weeks.

Bernard Hinault and Gerhard Schonbacher were the first and last to finish the Tour de France in 1979.
Bernard Hinault and Gerhard Schonbacher were the first and last to finish the Tour de France in 1979.

So there was kind of wacky races at the back of the peleton at times to try to lose time and grab the coveted last place spot. People would hide behind cars, they’d hide behind bridges, they’d do all sorts of things just to lose a few seconds and take last place.

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Amedee Fournier naps in a hay field after riding through the Pyrenees in 1939.

On his favorite lanterne rouge riders

One of my favorites … was a guy called Abdel-Kader Zaaf, who is long dead unfortunately. He had a very funny story where he was involved in a breakaway with another North African colleague — he was an Algerian rider — and it was a big heat wave on the tour, [he and] his other team rider, they took about 20-minute’s lead over the peloton.

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But right toward the end of the stage he started zig-zagging across the road he looked dehydrated, maybe he had sunstroke, and so he reached out to take a bottle from a spectator wanting to quench his thirst and actually the bottle wasn’t full of water; it was full of wine.

For poor Zaaf who was apparently an observant Muslim who didn’t drink alcohol, this was absolute disaster, so he was laid out under a tree to sleep it off and when he got up again a couple of hours later to continue the race, he actually rode back toward the start line. He was eliminated.

Jacky Durand, the 1999 lanterne rouge, bothers Lance Armstrong, toward the end of their 3,690 km journey to Paris.
Jacky Durand, the 1999 lanterne rouge, bothers Lance Armstrong, toward the end of their 3,690 km journey to Paris.

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  • Address – 12 Eliza St, Adelaide, South Australia 5000
  • Hours
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    Sat:
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  • Warehouse cafe in Adelaide.
    De Groot coffee, house-made bagels. Pop in for a brew.
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  • General Manager – Kurt Cobain

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till next time

tight spokes

iPib

 

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