Tag Archives: Michael Matthews

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 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

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.

‘Chapeau’, Monsieur Bling !!!!

.

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