Category Archives: UCI Events

Chapeau to Michelton Scott

Dear Rouleurs,

In case you weren’t playing attention, Michelton Scott seem to taken the mantle of being the best cycling team in the world. The last couple of weeks have been spectacular for the men’s and women’s teams.

First a brief tangent…Allez Alaphillipe…put Team Ineos in their pace. How good would it be for world cycling for a Frenchman to win the Tour since Benard Hinault in 1985? Allez Alaphillipe, Allez Alaphillipe , Allez Alaphillipe.

First let us start with the Men’s team competing in this year’s Tour De France. Up front, its clear that by stage 13, Michelton Scott’s Plan A win the TDF 2019 with Adam Yates wasn’t working. So recasting the team’s strategy to Plan B stage hunting, was probably something of gamble. However much to every Australian cycling fan’s delight its worked a treat. Here’s how its worked so far:

Stage Rider How it happened
9: Saint-Étienne >
Brioude
Daryl Impey
launched a late attack on the final climb and storm into Brioude
with just Tiesj Benoot(Soudal-Lotto) left to
out sprint.
12: Toulouse >
Bagnères-de-Bigorre
Simon Yates sprinted
to his debut Tour de
France victory on
stage 12 to give the team their second win of
the race.
15: Limoux >
Foix Prat d’Albis
Simon Yates won his
second stage win,
attacking from the
breakaway on a day
the general
classification received a significant shake-up.
17: Pont du Gard >
Gap
Matteo Trentin soloed to his first Tour de
France victory in five years and the team’s
fourth of the race on
stage 17 into Gap.

…and if that wasn’t enough, the Michelton Scott women’s team cleaned up at the Giro Rosa in Italy. For a second year the women’s thrashed its rivals in the biggest race in women’s cycling, finishing first and third overall. Team leader, Annemiek van Vleuten, defended her title by quickly amassing an unassailable lead in the mountains, while Australian teammate Amanda Spratt took a late opportunity to fight her way onto the prestigious overall podium of the ten-day Giro Rosa.

So there so have it, Michelton Scott, arguably the best sporting team in Australia and with claim to being the best team in international cycling.

Until next time, Allez Alaphillipe

Marv

Take a bow Alberto, you just won the Ronde

Dear Rouleurs,

This week MMT is very,very sleep deprived. A good portion of that sleep debt accrued last Sunday night. SBS, broadcast live, the last 170km of the Ronde van Vlaanderen 2019. MMT made to the 43 km mark before his need for sleep became greater than his need to see who won.

MMT had a quick scan of Eurosports on Monday morning to discover that, a 25 year old Italian Alberto Bettiol from Education First had won. Bettiol executed a perfectly timed attack with 17 km to go, on the Oude Kwaremont and then held off, a bunch containing most of the pre-race favourites.

Bettiol completed the brutual 270km course in Six hours 18 minutes and 49 seconds after setting off from Antwerp. Bettiol dropped down into time trial mode to the finish alone as his rivals hesitated and attacked each other rather chasing him down.

Bettiol claimed his first ever UCI win, whilst the likes of Sagan, Valvarde, Naesen, Pollit, Kristoff, Benoot and a very frustrated Van Avermaet could not work together. Silly boys…..

There were 3 other really notable rides in the race, beside Bettiol. MMT raises his cap and offers a respectful ‘chapeau!’ to:

Dane Kasper Asgreen of Deceuninck-QuickStep, who spent most of the day in the breakaway and still managed a late a late chase to finish 14 seconds down on Bettiol, as a worthy second place. Pity he didn’t receive earlier support form his team. He clearly had the best legs of the star-studded Belgian team.

Mathieu van der Poel of the small Dutch team, Corendon-Circus, who crashed at speed after hitting some street furniture. The Dutchman rode like a demon to catch and pass the peloton and then contest the finish to nab fourth. The irony being that he can’t compete in this weekend’s Paris-Roubaix.

Australia’s own Michael Matthews of Team Sun Web, who finished 6th. Matthews was dropped on the final bergs and had to fight his way back to contest the bunch spirit. This follows on from his 12th in Milano-San Remo. Matthews is developing into a very capable classics rider.

So speaking of the Ronde, MMT is reading an excellent book on the race by Edward Pickering and had intended to finish it before the race started.

https://www.amazon.com/Ronde-Inside-Worlds-Toughest-Bike-ebook/dp/B072N15JFW

There’s one paragraph that MMT, just had to ‘liberate’ and include in this blog, which describes how fluid bike races can be:

This is the story of a bike race. Bike races are simple. Mostly, riders start in one place, finish in another and the first to cross the line wins. Bike races are also complex: tree diagrams of events leading to outcomes leading to more outcomes and so on. They are possibly the best example of chaos theory in sport. Compare the constrictive dimensions of a football field and the prescriptive tactical shape of the teams with the infinite possibilities of 200 riders on a road, out in the real world of weather, landscape and human culture.

Alas the other major factor in his sleep debt, his 3 year old daughter, the ginger ninja, is causing MMT to fall asleep after 3 pages of reading. After reading about some of these famous bergs, MMT is determined to visit Belgium and try riding up some of less ridiculously steep one.

Speaking of ridiculously difficult rides, MMT will add to his sleep debt this weekend with the SBS coverage of the Paris-Roubiax. MMT can’t wait for that race hopefully it will be just as exciting as the Ronde.

Until next time, ride safe,

MMT

MMT does the TDF 2018 – part 2

Dear Rouleurs,

Another 6 stages into the TDF 2018 edition, and its been an absolute cracker.  Sadly for the Australian contingent of competitors its been a hard and frustrating time.  As of stage 12, only 8 of the 11 starters are left.  The biggest loss being Richie Porte who crashed out on Stage 9.  That meant Australia’s best 2 chances for podium honours are gone.  Similarly Mark Renshaw has withdrawn, but MMT suspects that this has more to do with Mark Cavendish performing well below par and withdrawing as well.

So as of stage 12, the best placed Australian in the General Classification is ….Matt Hayman.  the man must have the heart of elephant.  In fact, one wonders whether the Aussies are forming their own grupetto to avoid the broom wagon, as they are positions 107, 113, 117, 118, 121, 122, 128 and 142 respectively.

However, what’s become clear is that this years par cours has been cursed for ‘pure sprinters’.  Look at this list of DNF/DNS:

Stage 10
Tony Martin (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin

Stage 11
Mark Cavendish (GBr) Dimension Data
Mark Renshaw (Aus) Dimension Data
Marcel Kittel (Ger) Katusha-Alpecin

Stage 12
André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Soudal
Dylan Groenewegen (Ned) LottoNL-Jumbo
Fernando Gaviria (Col) Quick-Step Floors

So this means, unless something goes horribly wrong, Peter Sagan has the Green Jersey in the bag.  He’s an incredible 220 points ahead of Alexander Kristoff.  Speaking of interesting situations, who exactly is the team leader at Team Sky, Chris Froome or Geraint Thomas.  Thomas has had back to back wins on stages 11 and 12 and is a 1m and 39s ahead of Froome.

Until next time, ride safe

MARV