Category Archives: Grand Tour

‘Chapeau’, Monsieur Bling !!!!

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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

 

MMT’s Analysis of the TDF 2016 – Part 3: Chris Froome

 

Dear Rouleurs

This is MMT’s third instalment of highly irregular analysis of the TDF 2016.  This one focuses on the general classification winner, Team Sky’s Chris Froome.  So MMT’s take on Chris Froome’s third win focuses on aspects of his performance that cycling fans just wouldn’t have expected to see.  MMT believes the old adage of a picture being worth a thousand words and has picked out four images, carefully stolen from various reputable online publishers.

Chris Froome is clearly more flexible and just plain nuts that MMT had previously believed.

Chris Froome is clearly more flexible and just plain nuts that MMT had previously believed.

The first thing MMT never expected see Chris Froome do, was attack on the decent on stage 8.  Lets face it Mr Froome is a very tall and skinny man, who  looked fairly ungainly whilst wrapped around his bike whilst pedalling.  Rumour has it the the ASO picked out a number of down hill finishes to neutralise Froome’s attacks in the early mountain stages.  Clearly, that tactic didn’t work.

Chris Froome nearly beats Peter Sagan in a sprint..WTF??? :-)

Chris Froome nearly beats Peter Sagan in a sprint..WTF??? 🙂

The next thing that MMT never expected to see was Chris Froome attempting to out spirit the eventual green jersey winner Peter Sagan.  I reckon Peter Sagan got the shock of this life when he saw out of the corner of his eye, the lanky Brit in yellow on his six on Stage 11.  Apparently a spirit finish between the yellow ands green jersey holders has never happened before.

Chris Froome dragging his broken bike up Mont Ventoux, Stage 12.

Chris Froome dragging his broken bike up Mont Ventoux, Stage 12.

However, the biggest shock for cycling fans would have been the sight of Chris Froome running up Mont Ventoux in stage 12.

Chris Froome wins the Natourcriterium in Aalst, Belgium and receives a very big beer and a very silly hat.

Chris Froome wins the Natourcriterium in Aalst, Belgium and receives a very big beer and a very silly hat.

Finally, whilst not strictly related to the TDF 2016, Chris Froome winning the Natourcriterium in Aalst, Belgium less that 24 hours after the tour finished is pretty phenomenal.  Presumably, the Team Sky medical team must have told him to have a rest and some downtime.  What is remarkable is this ridiculously hat that the race organisers made him wear as part of the awards ceremony.  There you have it Chris Froome TDF 2016 Winner in four unexpected moments.

Now to balance out the reporting I should say a big ‘Chapeau’ to  Chloe Hosking of the Wiggle High 5 Team for winning the La Course 2016.

Chloe Hoskings crosses the finish line of La Course, much to her surprise, in first place.

Chloe Hoskings crosses the finish line of La Course, much to her surprise, in first place.

With multiple crashes and breakaways, the 89Km race came down to a bunch spirit with the Australian beating out some very big names.

  • 1. Chloe HOSKING, WIGGLE HIGH5, in 2:01:27
  • 2. Lotta LEPISTÖ, CBT, at :00
  • 3. Marianne VOS, RABOLIV WOMEN CYCLING TEAM, at :00
  • 4. Joelle NUMAINVILLE, CBT, at :00
  • 5. Roxane FOURNIER, POITOU-CHARENTES.FUTUROSCOPE.86, at :00
  • 6. Pascale JEULAND, POITOU-CHARENTES.FUTUROSCOPE.86, at :00
  • 7. Tiffany CROMWELL, CANYON SRAM RACING, at :00
  • 8. Joanne KIESANOWSKI, TEAM TIBCO – SILICON VALLEY BANK, at :00
  • 9. Lotte KOPECKY, LOTTO SOUDAL LADIES, at :00
  • 10. Maria Giulia CONFALONIERI, LENSWORLD-ZANNATA, at :00
    Read more at

Until next time, ride safe

 

Marv

MMT’s Analysis of the TDF 2016 – Part 2

Dear Rouleurs,

This is part 2 of MMT’s analysis of the TDF 2016.  Last time MMT focused on those that didn’t finish the TDF.  Afterall, its a hug achievement to finish, even if a rider finished in the bottom ten.  Which segues nicely into this blog, the analysis of the race for the lantern rouge, otherwise known as last place.  So first a few facts and figures about the big race.

Nationality of riders finishing in the bottom 10 of any stage

Nationality of riders finishing in the bottom 10 of any stage.

36 riders from 20 different teams featured in the bottom 10. France had the best representation with 7 riders, which is hardly surprising as 38 starters were French.

Teams with riders finishing in the bottom 10 of any stage.

Teams with riders finishing in the bottom 10 of any stage.

Only Astana and Trek-Segafredo had no riders finish in the bottom 10 of any stage.

Only 1 rider managed to start, stay and finish in the bottom 10, take a bow Lars Ytting Bak of Lotto Soudal.

So here’s the bottom ten as they finished on stage 21:

1 174 Sam Bennett (Ireland) BORA-ARGON 18 +5:17:14
2 173 Lars Ytting Bak (Denmark) LOTTO SOUDAL +5:01:18
3 172 Leigh Howard (Australia) IAM CYCLING +4:55:13
4 171 Bernhard Eisel (Austria) DIMENSION DATA +4:51:07
5 170 Daniel Mclay (Great Britain) FORTUNEO – VITAL CONCEPT +4:50:14
6 169 Marcel Sieberg (Germany) LOTTO SOUDAL +4:40:24
7 168 Davide Cimolai (Italy) LAMPRE – MERIDA +4:39:37
8 167 Vegard Breen (Norway) FORTUNEO – VITAL CONCEPT +4:38:27
9 166 Marcel Kittel (Germany) ETIXX – QUICK STEP +4:35:06
10 165 Jacopo Guarnieri (Italy) TEAM KATUSHA +4:34:45

Congratulations to Ireland’s Sam Bennett who entered the annals of cycle sport history by finishing last in the 2016 TDF.  He can quite rightly claim that he was better than the 22 riders who didn’t finish.  Keep in mind he had a horrible stack on the first stage which left him bruised and most tellingly for a sprinter, a broken small finger.

The unlucky Sam Bennett shortly after a horrible crash on stage 1.

The unlucky Sam Bennett shortly after a horrible crash on stage 1.

So lets look at how this race for the lantern rouge progressed for these ten riders over the 21 stages of this years race.

This is how the bottom 10 got there.

This is how the bottom 10 got there.

No surprises that most of these guys were sprinters. I feel a bit for Marcel Kittel who couldn’t take a trick on the spirit stages and then limped home on the final stage. Leigh Howard must be considering himself lucky as he nearly went the double, backing on his last place in the Giro this year.

Well that’s enough pretty graphs and sniping 😉 until next time ride safe.

Marv

2016 Giro Italia…what a race!!!

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Dear Rouleurs,

Unfortunately, MMT is currently off the bike and out of action with what would have to be the worst ailment a cyclist can possibly have, bar bulging disks in the lower back, broken bones or face planting on Belgian pave and knocking out  all your front teeth.  Notwithstanding that piece of whingeing, how about the Giro 2016 edition??   With nine different race leaders and a thrilling last week in the mountains, that was epic.  Man I can’t wait for the centenary version next year.

Estaban Chaves crosses the finish line of Stage 18.

Estaban Chaves crosses the finish line of Stage 18.

Estban Chaves take a bow, to achieve second behind the wily Vincenzo Nibali was an incredible result.  MMT once wonders how long before he becomes a naturalised Australian citizen.  My guess is that Columbia won’t be too keen to let him go.  Neither will Orica-GreenEdge, who for the first time in their team’s existence, have a genuine General Classification (GC) rider for the Grand tours.

Chaves, Nibali and Valverde on the Giro Podium in Torino.

Chaves, Nibali and Valverde on the Giro Podium in Torino.

Speaking of genuine GC riders, chapeau!!! Vincenzo Nibali.  I thought Nibali was gone after a horrendous mechanical failure on  stage 15’s  uphill time trial, and again in Stage 18, both Kruijiswik and Chaves put time into Nibali.  So Nibali’s comeback in  winning stages 19 and 20 back to back was an astonishing effort.  I guess it’s the old adage of never write off a champion. Also, he showed genuine sportsmanship in greeting Estban Chaves’s parents at the stage 20 finish line.

I also had to feel for Stephen Kruijswijk.  If he had more support through the mountain stages and hadn’t had such an awful crash on stage 19’s descent on Colle dell’Agnello. He may well have beaten  both  of them.  For example, if had rider like Astana’s Scarponi, up the road and able to assist the eventual stage winner Nibali, this could have been an against all the odds Dutch victory.

The dreaded Maglia Nera as designed by Pinarello.

The dreaded Maglia Nera as designed by Pinarello.

Finally, I would like to talk up the return of the Maglia Nera, the jersey awarded to the last placed rider in the GC.  The jersey was only awarded to riders between 1946 and 1951.  As there was a prize,  riders  would sometimes deliberately waste time in order to become last overall.  More importantly, it’s a really cool looking  jersey that those of us drafting at the back of the peloton would happily wear.  This year the unofficial title was ‘won’ by Australia’s own Jack Bobridge of Trek-Segafredo.

Bring back the Maglia Nera!!!!

Until next time,

MMT