convenience store

7-eleven store

in 2004, following rapha's subtle explosion onto the world of cycling apparel, it was notable that their sportwool jerseys featured not just three rear pockets, but four, the extra taking the form of a zipped security version. i am insufficiently well informed to know whether such an additional feature had previously appeared on any competitors' garmentage, but coinciding as it did with the advent of the coffee culture amongst the pelotoneers, this added layer of security was most welcome. rather than having to fish about in a pocket of sticky gel wrappers or remove mini-pumps, mitts or any other cargo deemed necessary for a sunday morning ride, one could ride exhaustively, safe in the knowledge that one's coffee money would still be safely available at the cash register.

of course, it wasn't just financial wherewithal that could remain secure. the original models of pre-iphone mobile phones could often be secreted about one's velocipedinal person behind a zip, and if memory serves correctly, whle participating in early editions of the hotchillee london-paris rides, i believe i managed to secure my passport within that fourth pocket. figuring this to be a welcome addition to one's personal cargo space, i believe i may have begun pointing out the absence of zipped security pockets on review jerseys, with a modicum of success. that said, i'd be hard pushed to directly apportion credit for these sprouting on brands other than rapha.

the phone thing has become one of persona non-grata, given that what currently passes for even a small smartphone would scarcely look out of place if employed as an aircraft carrier landing deck. and while on that particular point, it's become noticeable that many modern strains of cycle jerseys and jackets, while still sporting at least three rear pockets, seem to have become particularly miserly when the discussion turns to that of depth. though i'd be fibbing if i said i could recall the make of mini-pump carried at all times, i have paid particular note to the fact that there is frequently more pump appearing above the tideline than below. physics has a tendency to view that as an invitation to unceremoniously dispense by the roadside.

thankfully, the latter depth issue is one that impinges on a minority of apparel purveyors. the jacket worn on this week's ride from scotland's endura cycle clothing pretty much swallowed the pump and its attendant tyre jack whole, while easily accommodating a not overly compact waterproof jacket in the adjacent pocket. it's salient facts such as these that ought best be researched prior to purchase. many tems of race-fit garmentage are apt to suffer from minimal storage facilities, entirely based on the fact that members of the professional peloton rarely require much in the way of stowage space, pretty much at the behest of a following team car. and though many of us have aspirations to follow in the tyre tracks of our heroes, provision of a suitably liveried team car is rarely a mitigating factor.

however, i have resisted the call for the world's cycling apparel manufacturers to pay a tad more attention to the size of their pocketage; i'm inclined to think that's a bit of a cul-de-sac. however, what i would like to bring to their attention, with your permission, is the necessity of featuring three rear pockets on their gilets. this demand is the result of close observation of the genre and a hefty dollop of pragmatism.

a few months past, we opted to augment our endura custom kit 'debbie's' jerseys with similarly decorated gilets, simply to keep the windchill at bay on mornings of acute hardship. oddly, though we have been in possession of these gilets for long enough, one member of the peloton only noticed this on the grand départ. my own observations in connection with this part of the discussion are related to the filling of jersey pockets with the necessities of remote velocipedinal life. when three jersey pockets are filled to overbrimming with mini-pump, tyre-jack, digital camera, essentials case, coffee money and perchance, a spare pair of gloves, it should come as no surprise that a close-fitting gilet might well struggle to fasten at the front. and that has little or nothing to do with one's honed physique.

and as was pointed out yesterday, it's easy to forget that a gilet is being worn when attempting to place an item in a jersey rear pocket, resulting in something potentially valuable inadvertently falling by the wayside.

therefore, on behalf of all cyclists worldwide, i would appreciate it if the world's cycle apparel purveyors would find it in their plans for 2022/23, to add three pockets to the back of their gilets, just as endura have provided on our debbie's edition.

you're welcome

monday 11 april 2022

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the bicycle: is it an accessory?

bikes on car roof

a few saturdays past, i witnessed a prime example of turning an adverse situation into a bonus. when supping froth on the previous friday afternoon, the barista extraordinaire at debbie's had been complaining of the quality of the rolls delivered only that morning, by argyll bakeries. instead of being soft to the touch and easy to slice, the batch received, while perfectly tasty, had lacked a certain something in the softness department.

i confess, at the time, i had paid less than exacting attention to this information, until it came time for lunch the following day. but, in order to satisfy demand for the usual double-egg roll, the girl who cooks them to perfection each weekend, had resorted to placing the rolls in the toastie-maker, to provide that extra crunch before placing the eggs inside. thus, instead of my usual, plain, double-egg roll, i was served a double-egg toastie roll at no extra cost. so excellent was this, that i have now asked for the same on subsequent saturdays, adding an extra frisson to the weekend vittles.

following this delightful repast, accompanied by a soya latte and, perchance, a square of millionaire's shortbread it has been my saturday habit to head north out of bruichladdich village, ride a couple of kilometres to foreland road end, and turn left for a perambulation of loch gorm, a route that many of you will recognise as that which passes kilchoman distillery. though still professing itself to be a farm distillery, recent expansion has effectively taken it out of the quaint category and brought it more into line with its islay peers.

disappointingly, from an aesthetic point of view, more whisky inevitably means more warehouses, the number of which currently under construction all across the island, from ardnahoe in the north, to laphroaig in the south, threatens to turn islay into little more than a very large industrial estate. distilleries such as lagavulin, ardbeg, bruichladdich and bowmore, were all originally built centuries ago, all from stone, and often not to any logical plan, with bits added over the years. i kid you not when admitting that, many years ago, while making my way round lagavulin distillery, i exited to an area that was not where i thought i was, and it took a few moments to find my bearings.

the new distilleries, such as that at kilchoman and ardnahoe, and quite likely those under construction at port ellen and farkin, wil be considerably less quaint, resembling little more than well-appointed farm sheds. mostly of skeleton steel construction.

however, as usual, i have digressed somewhat from my original point. on the past two saturdays, ridden in fine, if slightly chilly conditions, it has been hard to ignore that traffic has become a smidgeon busier as easter approaches, particularly now that that the schools are on their easter holidays. though i have approached my circumambulation of loch gorm as an adjunct to the road home to bowmore, it is an ideal route for visiting cyclists, constituting a circular route. this would mean, for those arriving with bikes on the roof or the back of the car, it's simply a case of parking anywhere they choose, straddling the bikes and going for a remarkably pleasant bike ride, one which can only return them to their vehicle.

yet over two successive weekends, i have been passed by a number of vehicles sporting bicycles up top, driving around the very route they ought best be riding. i therefore can but assume these bicycles are simply accessories, either purchased with the car, or as an added extra to convince innocent bystanders, and possibly the owners themselves, that they are participants in an active lifestyle. there are many locations about the island in which cycling might be considered an attractive proposition, but loch gorm is one of the better ones: it's pretty flat, it offers excellent views across the north atlantic, there's a distillery nearby with a visitor centre offering coffee and cakes, it features a darned sight less traffic than you'd experience on the mainland, and most importantly, it's a circular route.

so what is wrong with these people?

sunday 10 april 2022

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spreading the word

cycling activism

a post-lunchtime conversation at debbie's yesterday afternoon brought to light a common conception, mostly promulgated by yours truly, that the simplest way to end a conversation in the principality is to introduce the subject of jazz or opera. unlike the more regular contention that one should never speak of politics or religion, in point of fact, both those options are likely to find a ready and willing audience. the former is particularly apt north of the border at present, with yet another once-in-a-lifetime independence referendum looming, and more parochially, local council elections in early may. maybe religion not so much.

the jazz or opera parts of the equation present ample evidence of the veracity of my original statement. though interrupted by the pandemic, an islay jazz festival has taken place in mid-september since the turn of the century, attracting no more than a handful of locals at the majority of gigs, and a sole musician to have featured in every one up until 2019 (me). and though also interrupted by covid 19, scottish opera have been in the habit of gracing us and other island communities with their presence on an annual basis. these visits consist of six singers and a pianist, with nary an amplifier or public address system to be seen.

i have long been an armchair fan of opera i generally ensure that i have a ticket and a front seat for every performance. the opera concerts are generally well attended by the usual suspects; predominantly middle-class, resonably well to do and with aspirations to be seen where it can do no harm to their considered reputation. but for the vast majority of islanders, both jazz and opera are elitist anathema, particularly in day to day communications.

and to be quite honest, the same could be said regarding velocipedinal activities. i do believe that my persistence in such matters during lunchtime and tea-break office conversations has rubbed of to some degree, but i am preternaturally conscious of providing monday morning précis of any weekend cycling events watched on eurosport. having said that, none of my colleagues show any signs of holding back when relating various movies watched on netflix at the weekend, despite awareness that i really could not care less.

i'm a fully-paid up member of british cycling, predominantly for the third-party insurance that comes as an included extra and the occasional access to tickets for the velodrome in glasgow. if you promise not to tell, i rarely, if ever, read the weekly member news e-mail. it is, to put not too fine a point on it, a membership of convenience. however, i do have great sympathies for cyclinguk, once known as the cyclists' touring club, a national organisation that leans more towards campaigning and activism on behalf of the nation's cyclists, whether they place their hands on drop bars or a shimano hub gear twist-grip.

we should be grateful that cyclinguk exists, otherwise government policy would likely remain in our disfavour, were it not for their intelligent campaigning. and it is the latter that the organisation are keen to promote, attempting to recruit more of us to join their happy, activist throng. they have categorised this in two different ways: 'slacktivism', defined here as tweeting, posting on facebook, or signing online petitions from the comfort of our laptops. activism, however, by its very definition, means getting off our backsides and doing something positive in favour of velocipedinal activities. and while i have every sympathy with this modus operandi, i'm less inclined to join the happy throng.

i'm a great supporter of direct proselytisation, by demonstrating my affection for the bicycle, riding in all weather conditions throughout the year, and maintaining that my good health is as a direct result of riding my bike. if anyone complains of even minor ailments, i am likely to attribute this to a lack of cycling. overall, i cannot deny that my methodology has had little or no effect; proportionally, there are no more cyclists on islay today than there were several decades past. but i'm inclined to think that, had i been more of an activist for the cause, there would probably have been even less than that.

however, maybe it's just me. my persistent reviews of jazz albums in our local newspaper have, to my knowledge, shown no increase in sales for the respective artists. thankfully, my operatic voice is not for public consumption. your circumstances may vary, however, within a community more accepting of active cycling promotion. if that's the case, you might like to take note of cyclinguk's advice on how to rock the boat at a local level.

activism in cycling

photo: andy catlin

saturday 9 april 2022

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it's not always good to talk

mobile phone use on a bike

when public access to the interwebs made an appearance in the mid-nineties, i cannot claim to have been an early adopter, though in retrospect, a tad earlier than some. the rationale behind this delayed reaction, centred on the supposition that it was a nascent technology that i could comfortably live without until the day when the statement 'if only i was on the internet', became a truthful remark.

twitter too. unaware of quite what micro-blogging actually meant, it was an article in bikebiz magazine, advising those who considered themselves a part of the bicycle industry that a presence on twitter should be of serious deliberation. that brought me to sign up fourteen years ago, though like many, i'm still not sure i understand the point, and i cannot deny that my frequency of posting has deteriorated considerably over recent years.

and then there's the mobile phone. i truly thought that my adoption of such communications technology would have been a compulsory act long before now, always hoping that i wouldn't be obtuse about matters, and possess an iphone long before the advent of the 21st century's third decade. however, there's no denying a certain degree of obstinacy may have crept in along the way; the more everyone thinks i should have one, the less that state of affairs is likely to occur. but as i type these words, i can, if necessary, stretch out my left hand to lift the house phone sat on the mantlepiece. when at work, i can do likewise with my right hand.

when i'm out on my bicycle, i really don't want anyone to call me. along with elton john, i may be one of only two people in the world devoid of a mobile phone, but since he never called much in the first place, we can probably both live without them.

i don't subscribe to facebook and its ubiquitous messaging service, i have no need to snapchat, tik-tok or instagram and i simply don't do digital banking. for music, i have a couple of ipods. the mobile phone companies may enthusiastically add the word 'only' as a pre-fix to their monthly subscription costs to make them seem like a bargain, but it still strikes me as one heck of a lot of money to have a flat camera in my pocket, even if it is now available in green. and perish the thought that i would ever find it necessary to call or text anyone of my online 'friends' while grovelling up foreland hill.

however, as the law currently stands, if i felt the urge so to do, i could do so without police interference. riding a bicycle and making telephone calls appears to exist as a loophole in the current laws that prevent motorists from doing so. that said, i doubt a single weekend has passed when i have not observed at least one driver using their mobile phone while driving at a darned sight more than ten miles an hour. of course, were i to own and use a mobile phone while cycling and be witnessed in the act by a police officer, i could be charged with careless or dangerous cycling and fined up to £2500. that said, it would be a great deal harder to apportion such a charge than would be the case if cyclists were subject to the same legal restrictions as motorists.

the loophole has been brought to the attention of britain's lawmakers by baroness mcintosh of pickering. according to the peer, she claims to have seen a cyclist on the wrong side of the road using their mobile phone with one hand while she was attempting to cross over to the houses of parliament. she has queried why rule 149 of the highway code, requiring that road users exercise proper control of their vehicle at all times, bans mobile phone use by motor vehicle drivers, but does not apply to either cyclists or those dratted e-scooters?

i am, for the greater part, highly apolitical; i hold a very low opinion of those in office, whether north or south of the border, and i can see why some would view the baroness' intervention as being simply yet another moaning of the overprivileged. but i do agree with her point. several of my colleagues carry mobile phones while on the sunday ride, but invariably do so on the basis that we frequently ride in some remote areas of the island, where a puncture or mechanical malfeasance may require a call for outside help. but none that i know have ever attempted such a call while riding. nor have i ever seen any make a call while in the saddle; in every case, they've stopped in a passing place before breaking out the phone.

it is right and proper that motorists be banned from any sort of mobile phone use. given the size and weight and speed of the average family saloon, to say nothing of a sports utility vehicle, looking elsewhere while in charge of such a vehicle, or being distracted doesn't strike me (or the police) as a particularly good idea. however, cyclists often inhabit the same inner-city roadspace as the above mentioned motor vehicles, so despite bicycles being a lot less likely to cause the sort of damage that can be inflicted by a car, phoning while cycling really ought to be off the table. (likewise wearing earphones when cycling).

however, there is something of a grey area that rears its ugly head when considering a ban on mobile phone use by cyclists. though many of us feature a bona-fide gps device affixed to a handlebar bracket to display distance, speed etc., some folks are inclined to use their mobile phones for just such a purpose. in that case, it would seem only right and proper that the phone ought to be set to 'airplane' mode and also affixed to a bar mounted bracket. as they used to say in the tv series 'hill street blues', "it's a jungle out there"; exercising due caution would seem a perfectly judicious move when it comes to mobile phone use from the saddle.

after all, gravel-riding, for instance, was ostensibly designed to help us get away from it all, the precise opposite of the rationale behind the marketing of either samsung or apple.

photo: istockphoto

friday 8 april 2022

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flock of sheep

i have waxed lyrical on far too many occasions concerning the unpredictable antics of sheep, thousands of which are my close neighbours. in fact, even as i type, there is a small flock of the blighters in the field adjacent to my back garden. for those not of an agricultural disposition, it's lambing time round these here parts, a fact that introduces a certain level of nervousness into the sunday peloton, particularly on the road between aoradh farm and loch gorm. unlike many single track roads around islay, this part of the road network features bushes and small trees on each side. given that this is also on a gentle descent, hidden lambs bolting from 'neath those bushes to bite our front wheels was never going to be a welcome punctuation.

these small, white, fluffy creatures only add to an erratically moving woolly peloton that scoots along in front of the velo club when we transgress upon their collective munching of roadside grass. the phrase 'acting like a bunch of sheep' is well founded, for it takes only one of them to make a run for it, and every other within bleating distance will follow. lambs are not yet old enough to know why this happens, but when they are of age, they too will do likewise of their own volition. from our point of view, we have encountered these animals so frequently, that most of us are now fully qualified shepherds.

this following of each other is also a notable human trait, evidence for which can be demonstrated by the problems that are likely to be encountered as the motoring world becomes embroiled in a hell engendered by the electric car. it's a situation that simply hasn't been thought through properly, and not only from the point of view of public recharging points. even the so-called fast chargers are still going to take longer to keep electric cars on the road than filling them with petrol or diesel. and then there's terraced housing such as that occupied by mrs washingmachinepost and i.

the localised area in which we live is effectively a pedestrian area, surrounded by footpaths, cars having need of being parked in a car park at the foot of our row of five houses. should we all decide to acquire electric cars, there's no option to park adjacent to our dwelling places. five electric cars would thus require five cables snaking from the windows, down the footpaths and into each vehicle. quite who is responsible should anyone trip over one of these cables, is a case of litigation yet to be tested.

number one son is a well-qualified electrician, a lad who has forcibly pointed out that should the above electric car acquisition scenario take place, if all are on charge simultaneously, it will probably evaporate the internal wiring in all five houses. like i said, it's not been properly thought through. installation of charging points in new builds is now an integral part of the local planning laws, but over 3,000 people already live here, many in accommodation that prevents personal vehicles being parked anywhere near an electric charger. it's a situation replicated all across the country.

but the fact that elon musk has developed a successful range of electric cars (the tesla is the best-selling electric car in britain by quite some margin), has meant that every other world car manufacturer has rushed to obviate being commercially left behind. yet many experts have been quick to point out that electric was not necessarily the way to go, and that hydrogen fuel cells make a great deal more practical sense. but hydrogen technology has been placed on the backburner in the rush for electrons. the sheep, however, are now so far into the field, that there's almost no turning back, even if there are bicycle wheels to be snapped at.

however, the bicycle industry, always keen to promote its environmental credentials, is largely no different. as hotchillee's sven thiele pointed out in an interview earlier this week, gravel has been around almost forever, but it's only recently that the technology available has brought us bikepacking and gravel bikes. in keeping with the endless claims as to who actually invented the bicycle in the first place (obviously it was scotsman, kirkpatrick macmillan), bragging rights over who first featured a gravel bike in their range will doubtless be fought over for millennia to come.

but in the manner of the rush to build an electric car to keep up with tesla, the entire cycle manufacturing industry has done likewise; there can scarcely be a major cycle purveyor which is bereft of a gravel bicycle. and you can bet that this is as a result of commercial judgment and not necessarily the intellectual kind. the latest to join the gravel bandwagon is time bicycle, with its snappily named adhx. not unexpectedly, time claim that their carbon frame features a hefty dollop of new technology, in this case, braided carbon structure, which has an acronym (bcs) all of its very own.

however, one does have to wonder whether time have truly understood the whole gravel concept, for it transpires that adhx is itself an acronym for alpe d'huez x, a tour de france climb sporting 21 hairpin bends, none of which, to my knowledge are in any way gravellous.

it's a funny old world.

thursday 7 april 2022

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gravel rides scotland. ed shoote. vertebrate publishing softback. 249pp illus. £25

gravel rides scotland - ed shoote

if you read one of my recent reviews, you would have found yourself availed of the quality of endura's latest offroad clipless footwear, ostensibly aimed at the mountain biker, but every bit as appropriate for the cyclocross or gravel rider. and should you be happy to be categorised under the latter heading, it strikes me that you'd probably be ever so grateful to learn of where you might parade those shoes in their natural environment.

north of the border at least.

covering 28 of the finest gravel style routes, from the borders to the highlands, ed shoote has belied the notion that it's only north america that possesses the necessary gravel to justify, not only the purchase of this book, but ownership of a suitably constituted bicycle. of course, aside from the relative solitude and distance from motorised trafic offered by such bona fide parcours, i would not find myself in disagreement with anyone keen to point out that a substantial portion of scotland's road network is none too far from the gravel description itself.

though i have previously aired my contention that gravel bikes and bikepacking seem exclusively designed to justify one another, there is no doubt that, for those who have entered the gravel fray, finding somewhere to test the mettle of your knobbly tyred drop bar bike, could conceivably provide the hardest part of the equation. islay, for instance, does proffer one or two gravel roads, but none of sufficient length that would justify purchase of a bicycle designed purely for such terrain. granted, we're an isolated case, and in ed shoote's case, the only island that made it into his final list is that of rum.

the author's justification says it all. "Why is an island with no roads in the book? Well, why not - there's no tarmac so every track on the island is gravel." and at 33km, it's hardly the equivalent of a highland passing place, particularly if you note the 587 metres of climbing along the way.

the book is particularly well illustrated, each ride pinpointed on a map of scotland, accompanied by a copious number of photographs, a profile of the route, its level of gravellousness shown on a scale of one to five (that of rum, ranks as number two on that scale) and a detailed map of the route. as you would perhaps expect, the map of rum is particularly short on village placenames. the author also prefaces each ride with a brief description of the local area.

"(Aberfoyle) has long been known as having a few mountain bike trailes in the forests, but who knew it was the endless tracks in between that would turn out to be the area's crowning jewel? [...] Aberfoyle itself is a classic Scottish tourist town with souvenir shops and tour buses parked up and even a wool centre with sheep grazing at its heart."

but, of course, the fripperies are all very nice, but perhaps more valuable for an accompanying spouse, rather than those with only gravel in mind, and that is particularly where this book scores well. aside from the foregoing, the author offers an overview of the gravellous bit, in this case, that near lochgilphead in argyll and bute. "The route is a figure of eight startng in the picturesque village of Crinan. Starting here means a nice steady climb to warm up along the raod and a final warm down riding back along the canal towpath.
"The gravel riding is never technical, but it is one of those routes that undulates enough to leave you deceptively knackered without blaming any climb."

if gravel is your thing, or even part of your thing, given the purported lack of gravel on this side of the atlantic (cycling weekly's michael hutchinson once wrote that all that british gravel riders were likely to find was mud), this is probably the very book for you. yes, all these routes are in scotland, but we all really know that ought to be considered a major bonus.

ed shoote's 'gravel rides scotland' is published on thursday 7 april.

vertebrate publishing

wednesday 6 april 2022

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they're coming to get you

flanders sprint 2022

i feel it possible to now broach this particular subject, given that my recent performance on the sunday ride has all but excluded me from its regular practice. along with the majority of club rides all across the country (and in so stating, i do not pre-suppose our inclusion in the world of organised club society, particularly those who feature committee meetings, rules etc.) we hold the occasional sprint finish at the bruichladdich road sign, though in a more clandestine fashion than many, i'll warrant.

and by clandestine, i do not wish to intimate that we have gone to strenuous lengths to secrete its existence from public view. rather, the object of the exercise is to conceal one's interest in any form of sprinting until the last moment, the local equivalent of top riders denying their own interest or likelihood in a stage or one-day road race, all the while convincing themselves of certain victory. it is therefore necessary to keep up with whatever speed is in force, yet give the impression that so doing is completely accidental, and that sprinting for the imaginary finish line is the furthest idea from your mind.

then, having strategically boxed in the rider likely to upset those clandestine plans, at the last possible moment, something resembling a sprint finish ought to be sprung on a hopefully otherwise convinced peloton. where this strategy has often fallen apart in the most dramatic form, was having forgotten that at least one of my sunday morning colleagues had apparently been left trailing at foreland road end. as i (in this case) am about to unleash a number of watts rarely seen this side of easter island, i find myself boxed in by a speedily passing cyclist whom i had neglected to include in my cunning plan. and in a fleeting second, i am relegated from the podium, by the others chasing after that forgotten and fast disappearing insurgent.

if any of that sounds familiar, you may have been talking to tadej pogacar following sunday's ronde van vlaanderen, when the slovenian made the uncommonly elementary mistake of hanging about just a moment too long. it's a situation we've almost seen on many occasions, often difficult to judge from the eurosport/gcn coverage, where the camera angle has a tendency to foreshorten the physical gap. i cannot be the only online spectator who has looked quizzically at the time gap displayed in the top left corner, all the while thinking that it cannot possibly be that large? following the race finish, the helicopter shot often demonstrates the numbers to have been accurate.

and such was the case at the end of another fabulous tour of flanders, where pogacar and mathieu van der poel had broken clear with several kilometres still to go and looked set to fight out the sprint finish between them. however, such is the nature of the sport, that, even if there are four or five riders left standing, once under the red kite, they will begin to look at each other with death stares, while slowing sufficiently in the forlorn hope that someone else will make the first move (take a bow, biniam grimay). so doing tends to play into the legs of any nearing achtervolgers, though all is usually resolved before the latter can get within sprinting distance.

unfortunately, for pogacar at least, dylan van baarle and valentin madouas reached tadej's rear wheel a darned sight quicker than he seems to have expected, while van der poel behaved a tad smarter and launched his sprint to victory. it's a situation that was pretty much bound to happen at some point, but probably not to a two-time tour de france winner who, you would have thought, had a smidgeon more experience in such matters than sunday demonstrated.

bear in mind that we were watching the current state-of-the-art when it comes to world class professional bike riders, cyclists of a quality you do not expect to get caught out in the last few metres of one of the sport's monuments. for all we know, mathieu van der poel just got lucky; van baarle and madouas were well within touching distance of his white canyon. only tadej got in the way of a nightmare finish. i admit i look a bit foolish when curbing what passes for my own imitation of a sprint and ending up last, but thankfully for all concerned, it's not my career.

as robert millar (pippa york) once said, "never forget, it's all entertainment."

tuesday 5 april 2022

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