Tag Archives: Peter Sagan

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

The new People’s elbow as demonstrated by Peter Sagan

 

OMG!!!! Dear Rouleurs,

Has the Tour de France 2017 been terribly exciting.  The wet time trial and second stage looked like a number of riders were playing russian roulette with the conditions and losing badly eg Alejandro Valverde and Luke Durbridge.  But far the biggest story of the event thus far has been the expulsion of current reigning world champion Peter Sagan.  A nasty incident on stage 4 in the dying moments of bunch spirit has cost Sagan his opportunity to win a 6th Green jersey.  If an image can tell a thousand words, then here’s 2 that should provide sufficient description as to why Sagan was turfed.

Now., that can’t possibly be legal…

Man…that has got to hurt.

Earlier, Arnaud Demare Launching through a hole along the barrier to get pass Alexander Kristoff and Andre Greipel. Mark Cavendish tried to follow him only to be cut off by Sagan and greeted with an elbow. Cavendish crashed into the barriers and then had the igdominy of being run over by another 2 riders. Ouchies…That indiscretion has ended both their races. Cavendish tried to continue the next day but was unable. ‘Chapeau’ to Demare, who became the first Frenchman, to win a bunch spirit for a stage in the Tour de France, since Jimmmy Casper in 2006.

Here’s a very excited Frenchman winning Stage 4’s bunch spirit.

However, Sagan’s use of the elbow as an effective finishing move, is not first time its been used on prime time TV.  Ladies and Gentlemen, MMT gives you the ‘People’s Elbow’ has used by Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson in WWE.  This bad boy debuted on WWE back in 1990/2000’s and was voted by readers of that paragon of journalism, the UK’s Sun newspaper, as the fourth best finishing move ever in the history of WWE.

   

Perhaps this is were Sagan got the idea from.  MMT wonders if the Rock will sue Sagan?  Now that would be interesting.

Until next time, ride safely in bunches without elbows,

Marv

 

Peter Sagan vs Dog Walker or Why MMT needs to start commuting again

Dear Roulers,

Dear God where did the time go…………It is MMT’s third day back at work and he is wondering why, why, why did the summer go so quickly.  MMT has been humming Eddie Cochran’s Summertime Blues and generally feeling a bit lacklustre about the whole corporate warrior gig. Still, bills don’t pay themselves and paternity leave was wonderful while it lasted.

In the absence of a proper blog, MMT thought He would post this cycling infographic about the joys of commuting.  MMT is trying very, very hard to psych himself up to restart bicycle commuting again.  Unfortunately the midday summer rides have reduced MMT’s appetite for dodging abusive automobile operators and lunatic pedestrians with death wishes.

 

MMT get off your ass and commute.

Speaking of which I just had to steal…er…acquire this photo of Peter Sagan narrowly avoiding a dog and its wayward owner while competing in the individual time trial of 2017 Tirreno-Adriatico race.

Peter Sagan demonstrates a skillful swerve.

Sagan had to swerve abruptly onto the footpath to avoid a collision.  MMT recommends watching the youtube of this.  You can see Sagan pull up later and look around.  MMT guesses that the Czech equivalent of WTF was passing through his mind. Two observations: first the dog walker has correctly used a zebra crossing and second: where were the course marshals.  Given that its Italy, MMT is not sure what he is more amazed by.

MMT digresses.

Until next time, ride safe, particularly if there are thoughtless dog walkers about.

Marv

MMT’s Analysis of the TDF 2016 – Part 3: Chris Froome

 

Dear Rouleurs

This is MMT’s third instalment of highly irregular analysis of the TDF 2016.  This one focuses on the general classification winner, Team Sky’s Chris Froome.  So MMT’s take on Chris Froome’s third win focuses on aspects of his performance that cycling fans just wouldn’t have expected to see.  MMT believes the old adage of a picture being worth a thousand words and has picked out four images, carefully stolen from various reputable online publishers.

Chris Froome is clearly more flexible and just plain nuts that MMT had previously believed.

Chris Froome is clearly more flexible and just plain nuts that MMT had previously believed.

The first thing MMT never expected see Chris Froome do, was attack on the decent on stage 8.  Lets face it Mr Froome is a very tall and skinny man, who  looked fairly ungainly whilst wrapped around his bike whilst pedalling.  Rumour has it the the ASO picked out a number of down hill finishes to neutralise Froome’s attacks in the early mountain stages.  Clearly, that tactic didn’t work.

Chris Froome nearly beats Peter Sagan in a sprint..WTF??? :-)

Chris Froome nearly beats Peter Sagan in a sprint..WTF??? 🙂

The next thing that MMT never expected to see was Chris Froome attempting to out spirit the eventual green jersey winner Peter Sagan.  I reckon Peter Sagan got the shock of this life when he saw out of the corner of his eye, the lanky Brit in yellow on his six on Stage 11.  Apparently a spirit finish between the yellow ands green jersey holders has never happened before.

Chris Froome dragging his broken bike up Mont Ventoux, Stage 12.

Chris Froome dragging his broken bike up Mont Ventoux, Stage 12.

However, the biggest shock for cycling fans would have been the sight of Chris Froome running up Mont Ventoux in stage 12.

Chris Froome wins the Natourcriterium in Aalst, Belgium and receives a very big beer and a very silly hat.

Chris Froome wins the Natourcriterium in Aalst, Belgium and receives a very big beer and a very silly hat.

Finally, whilst not strictly related to the TDF 2016, Chris Froome winning the Natourcriterium in Aalst, Belgium less that 24 hours after the tour finished is pretty phenomenal.  Presumably, the Team Sky medical team must have told him to have a rest and some downtime.  What is remarkable is this ridiculously hat that the race organisers made him wear as part of the awards ceremony.  There you have it Chris Froome TDF 2016 Winner in four unexpected moments.

Now to balance out the reporting I should say a big ‘Chapeau’ to  Chloe Hosking of the Wiggle High 5 Team for winning the La Course 2016.

Chloe Hoskings crosses the finish line of La Course, much to her surprise, in first place.

Chloe Hoskings crosses the finish line of La Course, much to her surprise, in first place.

With multiple crashes and breakaways, the 89Km race came down to a bunch spirit with the Australian beating out some very big names.

  • 1. Chloe HOSKING, WIGGLE HIGH5, in 2:01:27
  • 2. Lotta LEPISTÖ, CBT, at :00
  • 3. Marianne VOS, RABOLIV WOMEN CYCLING TEAM, at :00
  • 4. Joelle NUMAINVILLE, CBT, at :00
  • 5. Roxane FOURNIER, POITOU-CHARENTES.FUTUROSCOPE.86, at :00
  • 6. Pascale JEULAND, POITOU-CHARENTES.FUTUROSCOPE.86, at :00
  • 7. Tiffany CROMWELL, CANYON SRAM RACING, at :00
  • 8. Joanne KIESANOWSKI, TEAM TIBCO – SILICON VALLEY BANK, at :00
  • 9. Lotte KOPECKY, LOTTO SOUDAL LADIES, at :00
  • 10. Maria Giulia CONFALONIERI, LENSWORLD-ZANNATA, at :00
    Read more at

Until next time, ride safe

 

Marv