Category Archives: UCI Events

Marv’s June bike log

Dear Rouleurs,

Sometimes cycling and everything else you do life just don’t mix.  June was a busy month for Team MMT.  His adorable half-pint daughter, turned 2 years old in mid-June.  The very lucky/spoiled toddler received 2 birthday parties, one in Perth and the other in Melbourne.  This combined with a minor YAFF, meant that MMT spent some time off the road bike.  MMT would have loved to ridden a few of the coastal bike paths in Perth.  However, given how infrequent his family’s visits are to WA, it just didn’t seem to be the right priority.  Oh well, may be there will be another time.

The other thing about June was the weather has really turned on ‘Antarctic’ mode with icy gales and rain coming from deep south.  Those northerly winds that lead in the high pressure zones after a cold front are just as nasty, providing chilly head winds on most of MMT’s favourite routes.  MMT’s weekly washing has almost trebled with multiple base layers being needed per a ride.  Anyhow whinge over…here’s the log.

MMT’s June 2018 log can be found here.

The graphic form of the log is presented below.  It pretty obvious where the gaps are in the graph, that this was a disrupted month.  The total of 567 km was about 57km short MMT’s monthly target.  Based on MMT’s usual routine, he lost about possible 6 days in the month, that he would have usually ridden.

 

MMT is now preparing for extreme sleep deprivation with the Tour de France underway.  MMT is really looking forward to Stage 9, which looks like a mini-Paris-Roubaix.  Let’s see how many of these GC riders/grimpeurs survive that day.

Until next time, ride safe.

MMT

Woo hoo….TDF 2018 starts tomorrow tonight

Dear Rouleurs,

June was a write-off for cycling and blogging.  The whole month just slipped by in the blink of an eye and MMT had all these plans for the 2 R’s of his life.  That would be Riding and wRiting.  Ok that’s a bit of stretch 😉  But MMT is thrilled that the Tour De France starts tomorrow night, that its actually being broadcast on SBS.  The whole streaming thing for the Giro was just too bloody hard, a return to more conventional broadcasting is a good thing.

MMT wishes all the Aussies starting tomorrow in Grand Departee from Noirmoutier-en-Lile, good luck and a zero crash day.  The parcours look to suit the sprinters, as its almost dead flat.  Fingers crossed for Team Sunweb’s Michael Matthews.

Until next time, ride safe.

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