Sunday, February 19, 2012

Track World Cup 2012: Day 4 - Dissapointment for Mears and Pendleton

There was disappointment for Anna Mears and Victoria Pendleton in the Kerin, but there was success for Chris Hoy and Laura Trott.

Australia kicked off the gold rush, as they dominantly beat the current Olympic and World Record holders Great Britain. The Brits had a good start and lead for the first four laps, but Australia was quick to pull it back. It wasn’t long before the first cracks began to show and Steven Burke dropped out. Burke was sitting in man three position, forcing his teammates to quickly rearrange themselves. Things just fell apart from team GB after that and they lost a further second, before the finish line.

New Zealand didn’t look like they were being pushed too hard by the Belgians, in the bronze medal ride off. There was one moment of worry when the Kiwi’s lost their last man, but they were quick to realign themselves to put a lot of time into the Belgians. All the riders in this event had to wait since Thursday, when they set their qualifying times.

Track Cycling World Cup 2012: Day 3 - Surprise in the Sprints

World Record times were replaced by surprises, as the order of the day, with the Women’s Sprint throwing up some big ones.

The first medal of the evening was in the Kerin where there was no surprise, but it was no less exciting. Once the derny had done its job, Simon Van Velthooven launched a huge attack and left the rest of the pack reeling. Initially the only man who could keep up with the Kiwi was the powerhouse German Rene Enders.

Soon the split was brought back together, mainly by the effort of Mickael Bourgain and it was a very tight finish. Chris Hoy kept his cool and rode around the outside, to take his 51st medal and 35th gold. He showed the selectors that he is still well in contention for the Olympics, with Matt Crampton finishing a lowly 11th.

Track Cycling World Cup 2012: Day 2 - The World Records Tumble

With the Olympics only five months away, the Olympic Velodrome was set alight with World Records.

All the riders were eager to show their form, at the test event, and it was Australia and Great Britain leading the way. Australia were the first team to win gold, when Melissa Hoskins went with 2km to go in the women’s scratch race. Hoskins managed to leave the rest of the field behind and take a great solo victory.

Women’s Team Sprint
Great Britain were next up and have changed their Women’s Team Sprint line-up, since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, but they are no less a force to be reckoned with. Jess Varnish has been solely focused on training for the opening lap and it showed when she set a British record in the heats. All the pressure was put on the five time Individual Sprint champion, Victoria Pendleton, to fight back.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Doping: Why we should be looking to cycling's future and not its past

Doping has always been a tense issue in cycling probably ever since people stated racing them in the 1800s.
Over the past month it has been three names that have kept cycling in the news, for all the wrong reasons. Alberto Contador, Jan Ullrich and Lance Armstrong have all been subject to doping investigations, which have all come to some sort of conclusion.

So far, the results of all of these cases have pretty much sent me to despair with the doping authorities. No matter if you believe they are innocent or guilty, I don’t think anyone can be in any doubt that the handling of these three cases has been nothing more than a shambles.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Contador ban: why this isn't the end

Finally comes the news that we were waiting for, CAS made their decision on the Alberto Contador clenbuterol case.

It has been 19 months since Contador gave that now infamous positive test and we may still not have a conclusive answer. The Spaniard has 30 days to appeal and could announce his intentions, in a press conference on 7th February.  If he does choose to appeal, he could have competed through his entire ban and not feel the effects of it.

Whether you think Contador is innocent or guilty, you have to admit that this case has been handled as badly as it possibly could have been. I personally lean towards the side of the two/three-time Tour de France winner. However, if he is going to be punished it should be done properly and should actually be a punishment.

Fabian Cancellara discusses Alberto Contador's ban

Monday, February 6, 2012

A brief history of the bicycle

With some of my recent posts about the new bikes for 2012, I thought it was about time to have a look at how the bicycle came to be.

The humble bicycle is almost unrecognisable to the rough drawing of one of Leonardo da Vinci’s students, in the 15th century. Despite all of the components being available to the general public, nobody considered putting them all together. It wasn’t for another few hundred years, before things really got going.

Karl Drais
The real history of the bike starts with Karl Friedrich Christian Ludwig Freiherr Drais von Sauerbronn, or simply known as Karl Drais. Aristocrat, Drais was one of the most creative of his time; however, he was regularly ridiculed by his peers. Many of his inventions are still in use today, including the meat grinder, but it was his bicycle that really made his famous.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valverde's points won't help Movistar

Despite Alejandro Valverde’s success at debut race, after a two-year doping ban, his team will need to find success elsewhere, if they hope to secure WorldTour status next year.

Last year the UCI decided that any rider coming back from a doping ban could not contribute towards the team’s ranking points. A quirk in the rule allows riders to accumulate points and Valverde’s second place, in Australia, puts him 19 points behind Simon Gerrans. When deciding on whether a team should have WorldTour status, the UCI look at a number or different things including their ethical merits.

Valverde was handed his ban after a long drawn out case, which came as a result of the 2006 Operacion Puerto. Italy took the first step and banned him in May 2009 and a year later he was given a backdated two-year ban, from all competition. Despite his time out, it looks like El Bala could be Movistar’s best chance of a big victory this year. It won’t just be this year’s points that won’t count; the points ban will carry on throughout 2013.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Judith Arndt: Success is her middle name

Judith Arndt finally won the career double in 2011, as she finally added the World Time-Trial championship to her 2004 Road Race title.

Arndt had a slightly lacklustre year, by her standards, but was part of the German dominance in Copenhagen. Nearly ten years older than her male counterpart, Tony Martin, Arndt has a palmarès that even Philippe Gilbert would be jealous of.

Early Beginnings
Born in Königs Wusterhausen, Germany on July 23rd 1976, Arndt enjoyed success from an early age. Despite recent recognition on the road, she found her early success on the track, with a few junior titles. At 17 she won her first junior title, in the individual pursuit, which would become a prerequisite to her time-trialling prowess. She started as she meant to go on and retained the title the following year, at the German championships. Arndt also managed a silver medal, in the individual pursuit, at the junio world championship.