a tour de force?
well, it hardly seems like two weeks since the last post (if you'll pardon the pun) and many things have happened in the grand world of cycling. to begin with, the much vaunted uci pro tour has commenced and has managed to have a new leader after each of the three races that have already taken place. for those of you who have absolutely no idea what i'm talking about (and that's probably most of you), the union cycliste internacionale (uci) decided that cycling needed to turn itself into formula one, and then decided that the pro tour would be the very thing.
this has 21 teams pre-selected for the next four years (yes, i see that as a worry as well) who are committed to the pro tour as are their sponsors. naturally enough, not every rider has to ride every race which means that lance can still feature in the comic every ruddy week without actually having to ride.
some of us are starting to get a mite teed off about this continual coverage of lance's every move. there was more than a couple of column inches devoted to the fact that lance decided to ride the paris-nice. when he came in 140th in the prologue time trial, he made the cover of the comic and managed three pages and the editorial inside. the other guys must be wondering what you have to do these days. the chap that won the prologue was barely even mentioned.
paris nice is usually the opening stage race of the european calendar and is known as the 'race to the sun'. unfortunately this year, the opening stages featured very little sun, but rather large dollops of snow and cold weather. apparently lance doesn't much care for the cold weather and rather unsurprisingly pulled out after only a couple of stages. to be fair, so did one or two other guys, but guess who got on the cover of the comic for the second week in a row and managed the editorial coverage and a page and a half inside? correct, at the back.
now, i do rate lance as one of the great cyclists of our time, but i'm getting seriously fed up with a cycling magazine that constantly follows his every move and reporting this in great detail. there are other cyclists out there who are doing well - oscar freire, bobby julich, alessandro petacchi and even the old has been himself, mario cipollini - none of whom can manage the same number of column inches between them that lance manages all on his own. it's not lance's fault, but it's about time the comic's editor surrendered his discovery channel sponsorship and dealt with cycle racing in a more partisan manner.
and back to the pro tour. as winner of paris nice, bobby julich became pro tour leader, but only for a couple of days when tirreno adriatico winner oscar freire (along with petacchi, winning three stages) took it over. freire only got as far as wearing it during the milan san remo before having to give it up to msr winner, petacchi.
and what joy it was to watch milan san remo again. due to the vagaries of television costings, we have not been party to coverage of la clasicissima for at least four years. the italian company that provides live coverage generally charges too much money for eurosport to take the feed, so we don;t get to see it in the uk. along comes the pro tour, and suddenly the tv coverage of pro tour events has to be made available, presumably at a price that keeps the distributors happy. this has also provided the end of season joy of the tour of lombardy, another race not seen for many a long year in the uk.
it's also nice to see sponsors advertising their sponsorship of a major team and rider in a timely manner. procycling magazine, appealing to the american market as well as the uk, has many a colour page devoted to telling us who supplies the bikes for the wonderfully named 'jittery joes', or who's bars the jelly belly team use. through my e-mail this very afternoon, only two days after petacchi crossed the line on the via roma, ten metres ahead of danilo hondo came an announcement from campagnolo that the world's fastest man had won on campag bora wheels (along with the rest of the fassa bortolo team) while using record ten-speed components. granted, they are preaching to the converted since you have to sign up for the campagnolo newlsetter to receive it, but generally i get the felling that around now, the big 's' would be advertising that lance had won his sixth tour using their dura ace components.
actually, i'm not sure that i saw any adverts for that.
by the way, i've already had promises of photos for the velo club d'ardbeg web page, so just a reminder: if you've bought an ardbeg cycle jersey, get a photo of yourself wearing it along with your favourite bike, and we'll put them up on a vcd'a page on the post, before we start hassling the good folks at ardbeg to incorporate similar onto their own website. and remember, the official tea stop and club hut is at the old kiln cafe at ardbeg distillery. wear your jersey anytime you visit.
rss stands for really simple syndication. what it means is that, when i update the post, i set up a brief description of what i've written, and using a newsfeed reader (on the mac, newsfan is a good one) you can be alerted when a new post is on the server complete with a link to take you there. if you're on the darkside (windows) try using newsgator
set your newsreaders to check http://www.ileach.co.uk/post/rss/index.xml and every time you scan the rss feeds, it'll tell you if there's anything new.
if you missed the ardbeg cycle jerseys, click here for a look see.
i had an e-mail from john houston of falkirk bicycle club whom i met a few years back cycling (he was) on a whisky/cycle trip to the island. since john has been gracious enough to link to the post, i am reciprocating. www.Falkirkbc.co.uk
this website got its name because scotland's graeme obree built his championship winning 'old faithful' using bits from a defunct washing machine.
on a slightly different note, my regular reader will have noted the addition of a 'colnago c40' rollover to the left. this contains a reprint of a recent article featured in cycle sport magazine, which they were very kind to let me present here (because i'm a colnago geek) there are also links to cycling weekly reviews of the colnago c50 and colnago dream b-stay. i have also found an excellent review of the colnago c40hp here
i have been asked to add the following link to the post by wheelygoodcause. they're a cycling club dedicated to arranging epic rides for charity and do not charge charities for the pleasure. They ride because they want to. here's the link.
Remember, you can still read the review of 'the dancing chain' the utterly excellent book on the history of the derailleur bicycle by clicking here
any of the books reviewed on the washing machine post can probably be purchased from amazon.co.uk or amazon.com
as always, if you have any comments on this nonsense, please feel free to e-mail and thanks for reading.
this column almost never appears in the dead tree version of the ileach but appears, regular as clockwork on this website every two weeks. (ok so i lied) sometimes there are bits added in between times, but it all adds to the excitement.
on a completely unrelated topic, ie nothing to do with bicycles, every aspect of the washing machine post was created on apple macintosh powerbook g4, and imac computers, using adobe golive cs and adobe photoshop cs. needless to say it is also best viewed on an apple macintosh computer.