Category Archives: UCI Events

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

Oh no not again….Richie Porte crashes out of the TDF 2018

Dear Rouleurs,

You have to feel for Richie Porte, Australia’s best chance of winning the Tour De France (TDF 2018), Stage 9 Arras to Roubaix over the dreaded cobbles, was always going to be a stern test of GC riders. It’s a very bad case of deja vu for Porte, who fractured his pelvis on the corresponding stage, last year. That horrific crash on a high speed descent, left MMT thanking the stars he has disc brakes on his Domane.

To crash out at the 10km mark, before reaching the cobbles, was just plain bad luck.  The team doctor’s  assessment of ‘Disjonction acromio-claviculaire de l’epaule droite’ was later updated to fracture of the right clavicle.  MMT can’t see how Porte could be ready in time for 2018 version of La Veulta.  This shameless plagiarised article from yesterday’s Sun-Herald, tells the tale of woe.

 

In fact, this blog could have just as easily been about Chris Froome who also had stack but had the good fortune to land on grass rather than bitumen. Almost all of the GC riders had some kind of misadventure over 156km  mini-Paris-Roubaix par cours.

Team BMC had a pretty poor day, despite Greg Van Avermaet’s second place and successful defense of the Yellow Jersey.  Tejay van Garderen, BMC’s other GC hope, lost almost 5 minutes on the stage, with a succession of crashes.  Bruised and battered by the day he’s almost 4 and 1/2 minutes behind Chris Froome.  Froome sits in equal 8th with Michelton-Scott’s Adam Yates.  Provided Froome stays upright on the remaining 11 Stages, he will win his 5th TDF and complete a TDF-Giro double.

Until next time, ride safe

MMT

MMT does the TDF 2018 – part 1

Dear Rouleurs,

MMT can’t wait for the weekend and the bulk binge of SBS Tour de France (TDF) highlight packages he intend to watch.  Sadly, Michael Matthews has already withdrawn from the TDF with some form of YAFF and will not defend his green jersey from last year.  Mind you it looks like Peter Sagan already has this in the bag, with none of the other sprinters really doing too much.  It looks like the changing of the guard is starting to occur.  Yes I’m looking at you Messrs Kittel, Greipel and Cavendish.

However, MMT is much more interested in the fate of the remaining Australian’s competing this year.  To this end, MMT has put together a General Classification focused graph showing how remaining ten Australian’s are going.  MMT had considered including non-Australian members of the Michelton-Scott team eg Daryl Impey and Adam Yates, but thought better of it.  So here’s the graph.

 What this reveals, is that Australia’s only GC rider, Richie Porte is having a fair crack, being 11th on overall time.  The next best Australian is Simon Clarke in 70th.  Everyone else is outside the first 100, which is consistent with these guys being either team captains eg Simon Gerrans or domestiques eg Luke Durbridge.

MMT will update this graph next week. Hopefully Richie Porte is in the top 5 by then.  MMT is really looking forward to stage 9, which retraces most if the Paris-Roubaix route.  While a GC rider may not win the tour on this stage, they certainly can lose it by either crashing out or losing time on the back of pack splitting the peloton.  Either way MMT can’t wait….woo hoo!!

Until next time, ride safe

MARV