Category Archives: Grand Tour

And we are back………TDF 2020 – a.k.a the Tasmanian Edition

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT’s life is not his own at the moment. The combination of Stage 4 lockdown, ridiculous bollcks in his remote working life and 2 small kids, has just started wear thin. Whilst MMT can ride a bit further in his 5 km radius, care of stage 4 exercise time being increased to 2 hours, he’s thoroughly sick of his usual routes in the Tour de 5km Radius. About the only respite to this enervating scenario has been this year’s wonderful edition of the Tour De France, his beloved Tigers coming good at the end of the most peculiar season in AFL history and regular Zwifting on the pseudo France and Paris parcours.

So to the Tour De France 2020, all MMT can say is Tadej PogaÄŤar is Poga-star. A bad pun, but seriously his performance this year has been nothing short of astonishing. The Tadej Pogacar/Primoz Roglic time trial shoot out on stage 20 was incredible. It was most riveting time trial since the Benard Hinault/Greg Le Monde in TDF 1986. It just goes to show that someone can win the TDF, without a ‘skytrain’, 60 million Euro worth of funding and superstar domestique backup in the mountains. Take a bow, Tadej.

Speakin of bows, Richie Porte and Caleb Ewan, as the only Australian’s competing this year, what superb performances. Porte’s 3rd at the age of 35 is a testement to perservence. I’m sure his newly born daughter Eloise will forgive him, in the years to come, for not being there. Richie we love you because your a Tasmanian….

Ewan’s performance to win 2 stages in middle of the Bennett/Sagan malliot verte shootout was a excellent result. However, for MMT to see the guy haul his ass over ridiculously sprinter unfriendly mountain ranges and avoid the broom wagon, was the personificaiton of mental toughness.

So just to show how close the top 3 finishers were, MMT has liberated this wonderful infographic from Cycling News. No doubt the threating letter from their lawyers will be on its way soon.

Whats’ interesting about this graph is shows clearly, Poga-star recovered time lost in the cross winds on Stage 7 and in the time trial. Arguably if Porte’s Trek-Segafredo team hadn’t been asleep that day, he may have finished second. The graph also shows how little advantage Roglic gained in the mountain stages despite having all-star support from team mates Tony Martin on the flats and Tom Dumoulin in the mountains.

Oh yeah, one more thing…Team Ineos more like Team Invisible 🙂 except for stage 18. S

Well that’s all for now, until next time, ride safe, stay safe.

Marv

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
 CritĂ©rium du DauphinĂ© 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 QuĂ©bec Canada11 September
 GP de MontrĂ©al 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