Category Archives: Grand Tour

Reasons to be cheerful in June…here’s the 2020 UCI schedule

Dear Rouleurs

Let’s face it the last 3 months or so has been bloody awful without competitive cycling. Watching the fairly boring replays of the Paris-Nice 2020 on SBS, is no substitute for a fully fledged spring classics season. So it was with some excitement that MMT heard through his favourite podcasts that the UCI had published a revised 2020 event calendar.

It looks like this. MMT hasn’t figured out how to show the Women’s events yet, so accusations of sexism please.

RaceCountryDate
 Eschborn–Frankfurt Germany1 May – Delayed due to COVID-19
 Strade Bianche Italy1 August
 Tour de Pologne Poland5–9 August
 Milan–San Remo Italy8 August
 Critérium du Dauphiné France12–16 August
 EuroEyes Cyclassics Germany16 August – Delayed due to COVID-19
 Bretagne Classic Ouest–France France25 August
 Tour de France France29 August – 20 September
 Tirreno–Adriatico Italy7–14 September
 GP de Québec Canada11 September
 GP de Montréal Canada13 September
 BinckBank Tour Belgium  Netherlands29 September – 3 October
 La Flèche Wallonne Belgium30 September
 Giro d’Italia Italy3–25 October
 Liège–Bastogne–Liège Belgium4 October
 Amstel Gold Race Netherlands10 October
 Gent–Wevelgem Belgium11 October
 Dwars door Vlaanderen Belgium14 October
 Tour of Guangxi China15–20 October
 Tour of Flanders Belgium18 October
 Vuelta a España Spain20 October – 8 November
 Three Days of Bruges–De Panne Belgium21 October
 Paris–Roubaix France25 October
 Il Lombardia Italy31 October

Now a few aspects of this schedule are immediately obvious, such as the enormous overlap between one day races and grand tours. Spain has lost all of its races, except the La Vuelta. MMT reckons that cyclists being earmarked for the Tour Guangxi would be looking for danger money.

But what’s interesting about this compressed season is the impact that it may have on the grand tours. It seems to MMT that teams will be forced to choose which races to prioritise. For a team like Ineos, they may choose to skip many of the one day events. For a team like Quickstep, MMT guesses that it will write off the Giro. The French and Dutch based teams will have serious thinking to do. One wonders which of the tours, Mitchellton-Scott will prioritise?

Either way its going to be fascinating to see how this turns out. Speaking of fascinating – MMT has completed his bike log for the first in years on time and May was a great month. The last week or so meant the Zwift-Tacx Neo trainer was pushed aside for some time outdoors. Some days were actually delightful for cycling.

So until next time, stay safe, ride safe

MMT

Not a happy camper…Vale Pou Pou

Dear Rouleurs,

I’ve been neglecting this blog to the point of it also being defunct. The combination of juggling work, life, 2 kids and a crappy run with bronchitis and hayfever has reduced MMT’s output on the bike to a trickle in the last few weeks. This has been deeply frustrating hence the title of this blog.

However in the time since MMT’s last blog, besides a very interesting, weather impacted set of results in the World Championships in Yorkshire, only one important albeit sad event occurred. Vale Raymond Poulidor, cyclist and French folk hero, passed away on Nov. 13 in a hospital outside Limoges, France, aged 83.

Poulidor, who became universally known as the “eternal second,” was on the podium as a second- or third-place finisher for eight out of the 14 Tours he entered. Not only did he never win; he also never wore the Tour leader’s yellow jersey for even a single day, a feat achieved by numerous far less accomplished riders.

Anquetil and Poulidor going head to head on the Puy du Dome in the 1964 Tour de France

What some athletes might view as failure, however, only enhanced Poulidor’s status among French cycling fans, who have a soft spot for underdogs. For decades after Poulidor retired at the advanced age (for cyclists) of 41, “Poupoularité” remained strong. He became the unofficial patriarch of the Tour.

MMT’s favourite Poulidor story, was retold recently on the Rapha Cycling Podcast. Poulidor visited Jacques Anquetil, on his death bed back in 1987. Anquetil and Poulidor had bitter rivalry in the early 1960’s and had become good friends after both retired from professional cycling. Anquetil is said to have quipped to Poulidor, something like, ‘It looks like I’ve beaten you in this as well’. Somehow MMT thinks Poulidor wouldn’t have minded too much.

Hopefully MMT will resume proper cycling soon, in the mean time ride safe.

MMT

Football, Football, Football, oh the La Veulta and the Ashes…

Dear Rouleurs,

Honestly, MMT’s mind has not been on cycling, at all. No it has been thoroughly preoccupied with the trials and tribulations of his beloved AFL team, Richmond. MMT is still trying to figure out how his team won enough games to be in the final to begin with. At one point, 3 of the team’s best 5 players were out injured. Richmond’s 4 time All Australian fullback, Alex Rance, has been absent the entire season with a knee injury.

Friday night’s Preliminary Final against Geelong is looking like a doozy. The Cats have lost their main forward Tom Hawkins due to a silly suspension. Richmond have a full strength, excluding Rance and Sydney Stack and an in form list to choose from. Richmond’s VFL side is in the VFL Grand Final having beaten Port Melbourne in the Preliminary Final.

The one gloomy cloud on an other wise promising horizon, is that MMT, wasn’t paying attention when the Grand Final ticket ballot was on and missed the brief 2 hour window to register for the ballot. Bother!!! Any how this is the maths that is occupying MMT’s time – will Richmond get past Geelong and will it be Collingwood or the GWS Giants they meet in the Grand Final.

Oh yeah, MMT mention that Primoz Roglic (tell me that his doesn’t sound like brand name for meat smallgoods, MMT digresses!!) riding for Jumbo-Visma, became the first Slovenian to win one of cycling’s three Grand Tours, La Vuelta. Also the Aussie cricket retained the Ashes but its paper thin batting, poor fielding and dreadful use of the DRS system cost it the final test at the Oval. Mere footnotes in history, if Richmond wins the flag in 2019.

Until next time, Go Tiges

MMT

‘Chapeau’, Monsieur Bling !!!!

.

Dear Rouleurs…Goddamit….

MMT’s mind is doing a mean impersonation of a cement mixer, rolling over and over the gunk of his employer’s latest corporate restructure. Worst still the wind has been blowing its proverbial’s off, providing shiver inducing head winds on MMT’s normal ride routes.  MMT is so sick of both these things.  So in amongst the hype of new ways of sacking people, ahem, the Tour de France concluded.

And what a race it was.  MMT can remember reading a book about the history of the TDF, where Henri Desgrange described his ideal TDF as a race where only one cyclist finished and was declared the winner.  Fortunately this year’s race didn’t come close to that apocalyptic standard.  However, of the 198 starters, only 167 finished.  The chaos of Stage 9 alone, resulted in 11 rouleurs either DNF or outside the time cut-off.

Chris Froome cemented his reputation of being the greatest drug free cyclist post world war II. But for MMT, the stand out performer was Australia’ s own Michael Matthews, the 2017 winner of the Green Jersey.  Rather have MMT wax on lyrically about, the man they call Bling here’s a plagiarised copy of what that great cycling tome, Melbourne’s Sun Herald had to say.

MMT can’t really improve that.  Except to say ‘chapeau’.

Until next time, ride safe

Marv