Category Archives: UCI Events

Looking at circled dates on MMT’s Calendar…

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT is just back from the Emerald City. Team MMT took their adorable 21 month half pint daughter to visit her grandparents. She promptly charmed the socks off them. MMT guesses that she has now slipped into poll position as No.1 favourite grandchild ;-). MMT digresses. Whilst in Sydney, MMT did his usual morning ride in the eastern suburbs, cranking out laps around Centennial Park and avoiding potholes, divots, crevasses in the back streets of the inner west.

Honestly, Marrickville and Sydney City Councils, when will you spend some of your ratepayers money on roads?? Have any of your councillors ridden a bike down McEvoy St lately?? Its Australia’s own version of pave/stet/cobble.  Speaking of pave, MMT is waiting with abated breath for March 17 and the start of the Classics/Monuments. Here’s the list of key dates:

#

Date

 Event

 1. 17/3  Milano-San Remo
 2.  22/3  Richmond vs Carlton at the MCG…opps… not cycling 😉
 3.  23/3  E3 Harelbeke Why name cycling race after a highway?? Honestly you would think the Belgians would have a more imaginative name by now.
 4.  25/3  Gent-Wevelgem in Flanders Fields
 5.  28/3  Dwars door Vlaanderen
 6.  1/4 Tour of Flanders
 7.  8/4 Paris-Roubaix
 8.  15/4  Amstel Gold – at least the Dutch have sense of humour, naming a race after a brand of beer. Looking at you E3 Race Organisers….
 9.  18/4  La Fleche Wallonne 
 10.  22/4  Leige-Bastone-Leige

One wonders how Michael Matthews at Team Sunweb will go this year. MMT can’t wait to see Messers Gibert, Van Avermaet and Valverde go round in the bergs and cobbles.

Change of topic, how good are the Yates boys riding for Mitchelton Scott. Here’s some copy stolen directly from SBS Cycling Central.

Double Trouble – Take 1 with Simon,  Paris-Nice Stage 7

Double Trouble – Take 2 with Adam, Tirreno-Adriatico Stage 5

I wonder when Team Sky will poach these guys? Mind you with the Gods of Anti-doping staring intently at Team Sky and the British Olympic Team, they may not be that keen 😉

Until next time, ride safe avoiding McEvoy St, if you can

Marv

Ode to the Strade Bianche not being streamed by SBS…grumble

Dear Rouleurs,

As a cycling tragic, its MMT’s favourite time of year, the brief lull in UCI calendar before all the spring time Monuments and one classics start.  MMT figures that these races are most like the sportive and charity rides he does, so there’s a bit to simpatico.  Also the riders tend to win these races are of the bigger variety, as opposed to the 50-55Kg jockeys that tend to dominate the mountain and general classifications.MMT is particularly enarmoured with the  Strade Bianche due to start on the 3rd March 2018.  Unfortunately SBS aren’t covering this modern day gem (…or for that matter the Giro..WTF!!!)

The Eroica Strade Bianche (“Heroic race of the gravel roads”) was created in 1997 as a granfondo, a recreational bike race for vintage bikes only, on the white gravel roads around Siena, an event that is still held annually the day after the professional race. In 2007, a professional race was spun off the event, inaugurally called Monte Paschi Eroica, won by Russian Alexandr Kolobnev. The race was held on 9 October; it started in Gaiole in Chianti and finished in Siena. Organizer RCS asked local cycling icons Fiorenzo Magni and Paolo Bettini to promote the maiden event.[8] Monte dei Paschi, the world’s oldest still-existing bank with its headquarters in Siena, served as the race’s title sponsor for the first four years. In 2008, the race was moved to early March on the calendar, closer to the heart of the spring classics season. At this point, professional cycling teams started competing more seriously.

There are roughly 63km of gravel roads, appearing in 11 sectors (eight of those shared with the Women Elite course). For the men that’s approximately 1/3 of the course.

Strade Bianche course for 2018

There are some nasty, nasty hills in this race ranging from 6% to 18%. But what makes it really special is the final 4 kilometres approaching the city centre of Siena.

Up, down, up down…looks like hard work.

Here’s a description pilfered from event’s web site.

“The demanding final kilometres, with gradients up to 16%, approach the city of Siena along broad, straight sections of road, connected by sweeping curves, first descending, and then climbing slightly. 2km from the finish line, the route joins Via Esterna di Fontebranda, where the gradient touches 9%. 900m from the finish line, the race route passes beneath Fontebranda Gate where the road surface becomes paving slabs. The gradient exceeds 10% until 500m from the finish line, reaching its highpoint of 16% in Via Santa Caterina. A sharp right hand turn leads to Via delle Terme, and then Via Banchi di Sotto. With 300m to go, the road continues to climb slightly then, 150m from the line, a right turn leads into Via Rinaldini. The route enters the Piazza del Campo just 70m from the finish line. The final 30m descends at a gradient of 7% and the finish line itself is flat.”

So this what the final 4km route through Siena, ending at Piazza del Campo.

WTF, that’s a really nasty finish.

Man that’s seriously leg burning and after 180km or so…ouch The other thing about the race, is that professional’s seem to take it very seriously.

  • The Palmares of the last ten years include:
  • Fabian Cancellara (3 wins),
  • Michał Kwiatkowski (2 wins), and
  • Philippe Gilbert, Zdeněk Štybar (1 win each)

and then a raft of minor placings to stars of the sport like:

  • Peter Sagan,
  • Greg Van Avermaet, and
  • Alejandro Valverde.

Australia’s own Michael Rogers finished 3rd in 2010 and is to this day the only Australian to make the podium. Luke Durbridge of Orica Greenedge/Scott/Bike Exchange/Mitchelton, finished 6th last year (2017). Cancellara has the most difficult section of strade named after him, following his third win in 2016. The 11.4km, 5 star section is 54km from the finish line and was previously known as ‘Monte Sante Marie Settore’

So speaking of the great man and Siena here’s a few pilfered happy snaps.

Whoa…how beautiful is this piazza?

The piazza from above. Spectacular!!!

Proof that the organisers named a strade section after Cancellara.

Cancellara winning the Strade Bianche for the first time.

OK that’s enough skiving off at work. Hopefully I can shake off this damn throat virus and go for a ride tomorrow morning. The weather outside looks awesome.

Until next time, ride safe.

MMT

Take a bow…Daryl Impey, Winner TDU 2018

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT has realised that he hasn’t been paying much attention to the world of competitive cycling over the Christmas break.  It was only when he watched the end of stage 4 of the 2018 TDU, that he realised that Orica Scott/Greenedge/Bike Exchange had in fact changed name to Mitchelton-Scott, back in early December 2017.  Its amused the hell out of MMT as the press announcement/PR is still be published on the Greenedgecycling domain name…huh??

Anyhow, sponsor naming confusion aside, well done Daryl Impey in winning the first UCI event of the year and the 20th edition of TDU, for whatever the hell your team is called this year 😉  Tell the truth I’m not sure how he did it, between Richie Porte’s now telegraphed attacks on Willunga Hill and Peter Sagan blowing up.  Mind you, you had to feel for the European riders doing a stage race in the middle of a typical southern Australian heat wave. Well…not really….

Here’s what the paragon of Australian cycling print media, Melbourne’s very own Herald Sun, had to say.  Given its silly season for cricket and tennis, MMT is amazed that this event made it into the newspaper.

Even Daryl is a South African, MMT supposes that Australians will claim this victory, as he races for an Australian team.  Like Esteban Chaves, he should be added to the list of people that should be made Australian citizens.  Unlike our High Court and its interpretation of the Australian Constitution, no one will give rat’s bum they retain dual citizenship 😉

Until next time, ride safe

Marv

‘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