Just as certain television programmes do their “theme weeks,” today is my turn to do the same. With this in mind, you’ll see a certain pattern to my best of the week, which promotes a particular segment of the cycling world that continually needs more exposure. The worst is my usual set of fooking tripe. Slainte!
Worst Five Things of the Week
Alright, fine, yes, we all know that we treat the riders like prized heifers (that means cows, you simpletons). Or a pretty pony. Or a studly lion. However, Andersen’s comments just make us look like bigger arseclowns than we already are. I know the lad was well intentioned, but to say the words “too fat?” Andersen may well have been chanelling a little Ellen Barkin from Ocean’s Thirteen. Maybe Andersen wants to turn the boys on Shiteshack into ‘models that ride bicycles.’ Jakob, you’re not too fat. Embrace your inner classics man and say “fook off” to the Tour and the Giro. No offense to Michele. You know I love you.
I’m a big fan of Mr. Nygaard. I had an absolute blast at the scarf-fest last January in Luxembourgish. It was outstanding. He’s a marketing genius. Truly. But c’mon, you should give the fans a sneak peak of the new kit. This isn’t rocket science, nor is it going to displace the lunacy that reads as front page news down under right now. Not only that, but there’s nary a tweet on the announcement today of my granting of WorldTour status to their most excellent organization. But that’s a story for next week.
Cavendish hasn’t truly landed yet at Sky, and here’s just another example of some of the battles that will be occurring not only within the Sky team, but also with the GB cycling team. Or is it the Sky WorldTour team? Or the GB cycling team? I can’t really tell the difference. Well, I guess their success at the Worlds this year makes them think they want to spread the wealth for the home fans. I have my beer and popcorn ready for the pending fireworks.
National Federations are really starting to creep into my territory of arbitrary decisions and nonsensical excuses. They’re really cramping my style and truly stealing my thunder. The French Federation needs to stick to the script. They were supposed to appeal the Longo clearing; that way we could drag this out into another one of our fabulous publicity stunts. I mean, we have a shelf life on this Longo business as, I think, she might actually retire sometime soon. Maybe. Lord knows, I don’t need another Ullrich; the Ullrich case has been an absolute PR bust as no one really cares about the lad. Now I just have to do the appeal myself, which makes things a little awkward.
You know, there’s a right way to do stories and a wrong way. It just seems that Velonews draws my ire time and time again (except for @dwuori. I love Dan. Almost as much as Guinness. Almost.). I remember reading a thoughtful piece done by Richard Moore in a past issue of Rouleur on Graeme Obree. It wasn’t sensationalist. It didn’t talk about his “Comeback 2.0.” It was simply a quiet observation of where the track legend was at this juncture in his life. What the hell is wrong with Velonews? Or Velo? “Comeback adventure is over.” Did it seriously have a snowball’s chance in hell? Why not have a thoughtful conversation with Grewal? Oh no, have to have him shirtless mounted on his bike with one of the worst Rapha hats ever made and “document” the sideshow “for the readership” rather than step in and give the lost lad a hand.
Best Five Things of the Week
Hey Vaughters, you want to know how to run a women’s team? Check out these folks who have quietly developed a pretty solid program in women’s racing built around a very chic brand, Vanderkitten. These kids could give you a lesson or two on how to market a team, and they have a pretty impressive roster of sponsors. At the end of November, they added former USA National Cycling Champion Katheryn Curi Mattis to augment an already solid staff. Follow them on twitter @vanderkitten
Cranmer has been a driving force in women’s cycling for a number of years. Her dedication to the sport is rarely matched by any, be it within men’s or women’s cycling, which is reflected in how she runs Team TWENTY12. Cranmer stretched out of her usual zone to hang in the chat room of the Overlord’s Hotstove last week, and was again present in the chat room for Jonathan Vaughters’ Vokle appearance on Neil Browne’s TourChats this past Sunday. With rapid-fire commentary, she challenged the rationale offered up by Vaughters for cratering his women’s program – comments that were, unfortunately, ignored by the panelists. She is an intelligent, well-spoken individual, and we are lucky to have her voice in professional cycling. Follow Nicola on twitter @nicolacranmer.
Here’s an American woman, transplanted to Belgium and competing in the European Cyclocross theatre, and consistently finishing in the top ten for the bulk of the races. You may not think this is a big deal, but consider that on the men’s side of the CX equation this year, they’re collectively having a tough time cracking the top 20. Not only is she a formidable competitor on the bike, she’s also sharp as a tack and pretty hilarious on twitter. She’ll comment on men’s races when she has the chance (read: not competing herself), and has put yours truly in his place more than once this past week. Follow her on twitter @AmyDombroski.
The men of women’s cycling.
Karl Lima. Michele Acquarone. Stefan Wyman. Chris Smith, helmeteer of LazerSport. Markus Neuart of Cyclefilm. These are just some of the gents who are either active in women’s cycling, or active supporters or promoters of women’s cycling. Now, normally, I wouldn’t make it an issue, but due to the unfortunate sexism from a variety of sources in cycling, including the governing body, it’s important to state that it shouldn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman competing in this sport. It’s not a matter of whether the metrics are there, it’s a matter of how committed you are to making it happen. These men are doing their best to help the opposite gender achieve an equal footing in the sport of cycling. I’m looking forward to Acquarone’s version of the Giro Donne in 2013.
What’s not to like about this outstanding athlete? After a successful career as a medical doctor, she became a pro cyclist at the age of 32 and spent a year bunking with women 10 years her junior, literally bunking – seven or so other women in the same sleeping quarters – to achieve her dreams, which include a world championship title. She is intelligent. She is articulate. Bridie also demonstrated her understanding of the true nature of the sport in an extended interview on Cycling Central with Mike Tomalaris, and also lowered the curtain on some of the myths in cycling on the Overlord’s Hotstove last week (view it here), including her blunt statement that women do not dope because they simply don’t earn the money to dope. We look forward to following her exploits next season. Bridie can be found mostly on twitter @Bridie_OD. I pity the fool who doesn’t follow her.