The Good, the bad and the very ugly

2019 Tour Down Under

The festival of cycling is an 11 day affair, kicking off with the Womens tour rolling the Wednesday before the Mens starting the Sunday.

Mike Turtur has turned the tour on it’s head for 2019. Instead of the public ride being on Friday and the Willunga stage on Saturday, Mike has moved the public ride to the Saturday, and left us guessing what has happened to the Willunga stage and the usually staid Sunday street circuit.

I attended the launch last week, and Mike Turtur was questioned, with little success, about the other stages. He wasn’t allowed to give much away. Apart from being an insightful guy, he did give the following snippets away.

  • After the effort put in by the towns last year only to have the public ride cancelled because of the extreme temperatures, these towns will be looked after in 2019.
  • There will be a punchy 14km ish loop, something that wouldn’t be out of place in the Worlds. (Is this a future play?).

My guess is that the Willunga will be the Sunday, to keep the interest in the race right up till the end, and the punchy loop, hmmm, not sure – I can’t see the Stirling disappearing, but a loop just over the hill around Uraidla as well as a Stirling loop just doesn’t seem right.  I looked at a loop taking in Uraidla and Stirling, and thats around 18km, so seems a little long.  It boils down to the fact I have no idea, and will have to wait to August for the full disclosure

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The peloton sets out from Glenelg via a semi-traditional departure towards the Fleurieu Peninsula. This year, instead of heading directly via Diagonal Road, the peloton will take Oaklands Road towards Park Holme before heading south towards the Southern Expressway. Here, the peloton will summit in O’Halloran Hill and take the entire course of the Expressway towards Old Noarlunga.

The peloton’s undulating exit from Adelaide’s suburbs concludes with the Subaru King of the Mountain checkpoint at Sellicks Hill. With a climb starting at Norman Road, the riders will ascend for just over two kilometres. The reward is a giant tease – a right hand view of Adelaide’s beautiful coastline before a cruel left-hander that takes the riders back towards the top of Myponga Reservoir.

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This is the highest point of the stage – some 240 metres above sea level – but the riders’ early toil will give way to a downhill recovery towards Inman Valley.

Two intermediate sprints feature in this section of the race, with checkpoints at Myponga (Main South Road) and Inman Valley (Inman Valley Road). An old KOM climb at Inman Valley is the last real challenge for the peloton, before it heads towards the centre of Victor Harbor.

The riders will passthe Encounter Bay Football Club enroute to McCracken and Hayborough, where the will then head east towards Port Elliott, Middleton and Goolwa.

From here, a steady ascent back toward the Adelaide Hills sees the riders finish in Strathalbyn.

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Tour de France

For all the concerns about this years TdF, and rightly so, this years TdF has produced some stunning rides, a good splattering of plots and sub plots (Sky, Mitchelton Scott, narrow cutoff times eliminating a good portion of sprinters, crowd behaviour etc), spectacular footage of France (worth the admission price alone (thanks SBS)), reinforced what we all know – cyclists are amongst the toughest sportspeople in the world.

Just last night we witnessed the heart stopping Phillipe Gilberts crash on the descent of the Col de Portet-d’Aspet. What a beast, helped back out of the rocky creek, a quick check of the damage to the bark, back on the bike, a quick flick to make sure the bike wasn’t structurally damaged, and then onwards to the finish. Unfortunately he withdrew from the tour after he had time to reassess the damage. Chapeaue Phillipe.

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And the crazyness of the Alpe d’Huez succeeded in showing the worst side of cycling fans and the end of Vincenzo Nibali’s Tour de France.

Dutch corner was the usual chaos, but there was a line of policemen making sure it didn’t get out of hand. Further up the climb the story was not the same and it looked like a free-for-all. The stupidity probably caused the end of Vincenzo Nibali’s 2018 Tour de France hopes.

The worst part of the day was that at least two people tried to physically assault Chris Froome as he climbed the Alpe.

As if Sky needed more attention on them, Italian Gianni Moscon was ejected from the tour after the race jury reviewed footage of the incident which occurred within 800m from the start of the 15th stage. The images show Moscon turning and aiming a blow at Elie Gesbert.

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Gianni Moscon
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Elie Gesbert

This is the first year in which the Tour has had a video commissaire, who observes proceedings on television monitors in a truck at the finish rather than in a car or motorbike within the race.

His rap sheet is growing.

  • He was last year accused of deliberately causing Sebastien Reichenbach (FDJ) to crash during the Tre Valli Varesine, but the UCI disciplinary committee dropped the case in June, citing a lack of evidence due to the absence of video footage. Reichenbach suffered a fractured elbow and hip in the crash, and the Swiss rider believed Moscon deliberately caused the crash in retribution for his part in highlighting how the Team Sky rider had racially abused Kevin Reza at the 2017 Tour de Romandie.
  • Moscon was side-lined from racing for six weeks in 2017 by his Sky team after he admitted to racially abusing Kevin Reza.
  • In September of last year, Moscon was disqualified from the World Championships road race when video emerged of him taking a tow from the Italian team car after he was caught up in a crash on the penultimate lap.

And then Brailsford comes out and insults the French with this.

“It’s interesting. We raced in Italy and Chris’s case was open when we were at the Tour of Italy and the Italians were fantastic, to be fair to them. The Spanish, fantastic. It just seems to be a French thing,”

“It’s like a French cultural thing really, isn’t it? That’s it. I’m not sure that they would have liked their football players spat at in Russia [at the World Cup -ed]. I’m sure that there would be a word or two about that. But it’s okay to spit on us and our staff.” Brailsford said.

Mind you, he does have a point about the crowd behaviour, even if you don’t agree with his messaging and blaming the French.  I can understand the booing, but the slapping of the riders, the spitting at Froome and the spitting at a support driver is just way over the top and ugly.

Interesting that the flares, which create a spectacle, but would be horrendous for the riders, have been outlawed for the remainder of the tour, with the Gendarmes ordered to arrest people lighting flares.

 

 

But wait, can you believe that some dickhead threw a flare into the peloton on Stage 13.

And this.

A farmers protest blocked the 16th stage. The race was neutralised for several minutes Police had to remove bales of hay blocking the road 30 km into the 218-km stage from Carcassonne to Bagneres De-Luchon. Tear gas was used on protesting farmers , but unfortunately some of the pepperspray blowback hit the riders.

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For the Piege region to live

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Oh, and some Welsh guy in a yellow jersey is leading.

Bring on the Vuelta – Saturday 25th August to Sunday 16th September

This should whet your appetite – hows this for a doozy of a penultimate stage – Stage 20: Saturday 15th September: Andorra. Escaldes-Engordany – Coll de la Gallina, 105.8km. Look at all that climbing on a relatively short stage. There’s going to be an armada of attacks.

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Megavalanche

This is insane.

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Ben Forbes, a Brisbane-based skills coach who is living the dream traipsing the length and breadth of Europe in search of the next race or big mountain such as  the Enduro World Series, Crankworx and the Megavalanche, a 37km race that drops 2700m down Alpe D’Huez.

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pretty sparse living quarters

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The 2018 race attracted 2700 riders from 45 countries.

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The footage from Ben’s race is insane, particularly the start up above the snow line.

 

Follow Ben’s exploits here on the Picbear site – http://picbear.online/benforbesmtb

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Giro Rosa

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Unfortunately the last edition of Wednesday Legs was published mid race, with American Ruth Winder leading after 5 stages, but some difficult stages yet to come including the mighty Monte Zoncolan mountain top finish with a 1220 metre gain in just 10km.

The Mitchellton Scott team ended up dominating the 10-day race to finish with first and third overall with Annemiek van Vleuten and Amanda Spratt claiming six of the ten stage victories with three different riders with Belgian Jolien D’hoore, as well as securing the mountain and points jerseys.

1 Annemiek van Vleuten (Ned) Mitchelton Scott Women 25:50:22
2 Ashleigh Moolman-Pasio (RSA) Cervelo Bigla Pro Cycling Team 0:04:12
3 Amanda Spratt (Aus) Mitchelton Scott Women 0:06:30
4 Lucinda Brand (Ned) Team Sunweb Women 0:07:36
5 Megan Guarnier (USA) Boels Dolmans Cyclingteam 0:09:20

La Course

Rider of the Week – Michael Bachman

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  • What got you started in cycling, when and where?

Had ridden when I was a bit younger, but more as a commute than anything. Then back in 2007, mates were planning on riding the 2007 TdU Community ride, so that and wanting to get fitter was the key driver. The 1st ‘real’ road bike was a 2006 LeMond Torumalet.

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  • How many bikes do you own and what is your main go to bike?

Just have the one bike, currently a Kenisis 4S Racelight Disc. Was previously a Volagi Liscio, but the frame cracked and the Kenisis was a quick replacement prior to the 2018 TdU ride.

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  • What bike do you covet?

A Ti Baum disc, or failing that, Factor O2 Disc in Burnt Orange. Was lucky enough to try the Factor One and O2 at the launch with Baden Cooke at the TdU in 2016

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  • What is your favourite cycling ride route?

Anywhere in the Adelaide Hills. Too many loops that I like to do that will usually include Mt Lofty via Sheaoak, Greenhill Rd, Norton Summit, Clarendon, or Montacute with a coffee at the end. Have also done some nice rides at Gold Coast, and the ride to Binna Burra was pretty cool but hard.

  • What do you love about cycling in Adelaide?

So many options to make interesting loops with easy or hard sections within a stones throw of home.

  • You are actively involved in a number of cycling related activities can you provide a brief overview of what each of these are and what your involvement is?

The main ‘activity’ that I’m involved in, other than riding is doing reviews of products for Bicycles Network Australia. I’ve been lucky enough to trail and review a range of bikes, wheels, clothing, lights and GPS computers.

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The site owner, Christopher Jones, organises and liaises with various suppliers, and there is a small group of us that get to sample the wares, and then write a review.

  • Is there anything you can share with us that your cycling buddies wouldn’t know?

Umm, not really.

  • If you could have dinner with 3 people in the cycling world, who would they be, why and where would you take them to eat?

The 1st one would be Cadel Evans, as whilst he’s not the most liked rider, his determination and grit to me were displayed on the ride up the Galibier to win the TdF in 2011. I’d also like to have Stuey O’Grady, as I love the Paris-Roubaix, and was watching when he won. The last slot would have to be Eddy Merckx – to meet someone that just monstered the cycling races he entered and here some of the tales would be awesome.

Where to go though ? I’d actually have them at home, with a simple home cooked meal like a nice traditional Aussie Roast Lamb with some great Aussie wines, as the evening would be more about conversation than food.

  • What are your “standout” cycling stories?

Cadel Evans ride up Galibier to seal the TdF in 2011 and WCRR in 2009.

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Stuey winning Roubaix in 2007.

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Watching the film ‘Le Ride’ that celebrated and showed how tough it was for the riders back then.

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  • Have you had any nasty crashes? If so how did the worst occur and what were the consequences?

Only had two crashes on two wheels – one was on a motorbike back in 1985. I was overtaking a car near Swan Reach and they turned in front of me. I sustained a ruptured ligament in my right ankle, compound fracture of my Left Femur and fractured 4th & 5th Metacarpals in my left hand.

My 2nd accident was on human powered two wheels, when I was descending Mt Osmond (Beaumont side) and lost the front wheel at the last hairpin. Luckily, didn’t fracture the collarbone, but did a Grade 2 tear of the AC joint, so the collarbone stick up a bit now !!

  • What is your favourite post ride coffee/tea spot, and what would you normally buy as a treat?

Nettle & Knead on Duthy St at Malvern. Only drama is it’s not open on Sunday !

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

“Got lost on the ride, that’s why it took longer”, rather than I’d planned to go that far anyway ….

  • What cycling related thing would you like for your next birthday?

Two week holiday in the Andorran hills …..

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

Partial to some of the jerseys from Cycology – have a few and they are great.

  • What is your non-cycling go-to place when Interstaters/oversea-ers come to Adelaide?

McLaren Vale – great cafes and wineries

  • Have you read any cycling books that you’d recommend?

The one that really set me off to go riding in Europe was “Mountain High” by Daniel Friebe.

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Have read lots of other cycling books, but another really interesting read was the book by Tim Moore (Gironimo: Riding the very terrible 1914 Tour of Italy) as he rode the 1914 Giro course on a period correct bike and clobber, which is acknowledged as the hardest 3 week GT ever, as only 8 people finished it. It covered 3,162km in 8 stages.

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  • If you had 10 minutes with the incumbent State Premier, what would you tell them?

Our cycling infrastructure is actually not too bad, but what we need is the interactions between cars & bikes to be better and to have a program to improve that. Both sides can do more to make life easier for everyone.

  • What keeps you busy when you’re not riding?

Daughters soccer matches, family time and looking after the house.

  • Is there anything else you feel like talking about?

For those that have never had the chance to ride in Europe, DO IT. I spend 2 weeks riding in Italy & France in 2016 with a great friend.

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We had time in Canazei (Dolomites – where we rode up Passo Fedaia, Passo Pordoi and Passo delle Stevio), then Lake Como (rode up Muro di Sormano and then did a ride through Switzerland and a lap of the WRRC course where Cadel Evans won) before finishing up in Bourg St Maurice (ascended La Plagne with my mate doing his best Roche impression in a Carrera Jersey, Col du Pre, and Cormet de Roseland) and then driving through Mt Blanc to catch up with friends and watch the TdF TT stage starting in Megeve.

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It was a great experience and something I can’t wait to do again. I’d rather do that than buy a new bike !!!

 

till next time

tight spokes

iPib

 

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