Nothing to say, just the photo.

FFF_Messina_0173

So my Brother was up from Melbourne for the weekend for a mate’s birthday party, and with that was some good news – we were going for a ride!

My bro has not been in too good a shape with a nasty hip injury that has kept him out of the saddle for quite a while now. But he is edging close to fitness, but he has a lot of work to do to get his base back. For me, it was good to see him keen for a ride.

But the best news was when he said that he was dragging out one of his mates along as a newbie rider. The newbie was looking to cycling as an opportunity to get fit in a sport that doesn’t put stress on his knees. He and I both share a common injury history in that we have both had ACL knee reconstructions.

Now newbie was lucky in that he was starting with a pretty good setup. My brother’s wife tried riding and… didn’t take to it (she now keeps fit with other things such as pilates). So her bike went to the newbie, lucky guy. I have posted before about my own adventures on this bike, when I was working down in Melbourne. Here is the steed, a pretty much brand new Giant Defy:

Riding Melbourne - #2

So for a newbie, a pretty good starting point. For sure it is not a carbon beast with a top end gruppo, but having ridden this one myself I like how solid it is. The plan was to drive out to his place and kick off from there.

The Induction Begins

I never realised how much a newbie has to pick up when starting from scratch, particular when he is going to jump on a road bike. My fellow blogger Jim over at Fit Recovery has written a lot about his own personal journey of going from a newbie to a speed demon. But I forgot my own personal experiences of learning to ride a road steed.

Our mate fortunately had acquired some padded bike pants, but not realising the effect of wind at speed he only had a short sleeve shirt general fitness shirt. The weather was grim, and we were lucky that it was holding off for our ride. I thought this might have been the case for him, so I had my first wind proof long sleeve jacket on hand (which is now too loose on me). Clothing sorted. My bro had brought up my sis-in-law’s helmet, so that was the lid sorted. I was thinking of posting a picture of him but this was his journey as a newbie, not mine.

Then we had to fit him to the bike. The last person that rode it was me, and it was one size too small. The seat post was quite high for our mate, and we spent a good 20 minutes lowering it gradually until he had good position of his legs and feet over the pedals (at the bottom of the stroke, leg slightly cocked, knee vertical to his toes). Once adjusted properly, I told him to go for a quick spin down the road.

He grab the cross bars, then the drops, but not the hoods – new to the game. But for a newbie he had two things; i) balance, particularly with his head and upper body, and ii) poise in the saddle when he pedalled – i.e. his back and butt were shaking around all over the place when he turned the pedals. Fortunately for him the bike fit perfectly.

Now when I say newbie, he is not new to sports. He has played football ever since he was a kid. So our mate had a base level of sporting prowess which would put him in good stead for the ride.

30 Clicks for a New Guy

My bro and I didn’t really have a plan, other than to see how far he would last on his first ride. Our mate lives close to one of the best cycling routes in Sydney, the M7 Motorway cycle path. Along its full journey, it is 80km of uninterrupted riding with over 650m of climbing and plenty of deviation to keep you on your toes. It is a great bit of tarmac and I wish there was more of it in Sydney.

From where we started, the first 7-8km of the route are flat. This was good for us all to get our legs. Our mate was holding his own, feeling out the gears, and like I said before he held his line because of his balance.

We both took turns to ride alongside of him and give him a few pointers, but not school him. And we told him the golden rule, we stay together on the flat and hold our own place on the climbs – always regrouping.

On the flat, the newbie was tapping out 20-25km/hr. Pretty impressive really!

I warned him of the climbs ahead, and my bro dropped back to keep pace with him. I was given the go ahead to ride hard up the main climb of the day which is a long one peaking at 6.5%. I am not fond of the climb because of its constantly changing gradient, so I knew that this was going to be a challenge for our mate. But we all rode it and checked in on how he was going when we reached the summit. He was enjoying it, but respected the journey he had just begun. We decided to push on to the 15km mark to see if we could make it a 30km round trip.

Checking in with him again, the call was now his for when to turn around. He called it, but not before both him and my bro gave me a gift.

They told me I could ride on and put down another 10+km while they turn back. I was off the leash, and  hammered! All the power training at Velofix had been paying off, and I put in my fastest times along most of the segments as I rode to put down a very quick 45km in total.

The ride out from the Southern end of the M7 is mostly climbing, but that means Chesire Cat grin inducing descending on the return leg. We all regrouped and I was greeted with a big smile on the newbie’s face. He was hiding the fact that it was challenging on the main climbs, but was hooked when he was rewarded with some awesome downhill bombing.

We returned to his place to give his wife the lowdown on the ride and have a cuppa before returning home. Good times! And for the record, I beat my bro in the sprint.

The Verdict?

I think he is hooked, and with such an awesome route on his doorstep it will be easy for him to go for a spin and build a base. While it wasn’t the fastest of runs, it was an awesome ride with a mate who discovered the joy of two wheels.

Looking forward to the next ride with him :-)

 

Among cyclists, there is a commonly known and feared character who is not our friend. He is the “Man with the Hammer” [N.B. He has to be a man because no woman would be so unkind ;-)]. He is a real bugger! He is omnipresent on every road, route, and trail. And pretty much when you are at your limit – BAM! – he comes out to hit you with that damn hammer.

His name is not Thor (God of Thunder – that guy is a Norwegian pro-cyclist, not a comic book hero).

Thor Hushovd

[SIDENOTE - notice how bad@ss Thor Hushovd looks riding in the snow, respect]

He is probably a bit more like Lord Voldemort (I know, no reference to Harry Potter should be in a cycling themed post), a name that should not be repeated. And this is his propaganda poster, cue link to Stalinist Communism.

Man_with_Hammer

He visited me on my 90km ride a few weeks back, and properly whacked me. I was smashed at the 60km mark, completely bonked (forgot to eat – SLAMMED with the hammer). The ride was fun, but I definitely marked it as a visit by this fiendish of cycling villains.

My winter training has brought about an important discovery…

I Now Know where The Man with the Hammer Lives

Since early this year my riding buddy AC started training at a specialist cycling gym at the Velofix bike store in Rozelle, Sydney. I have watched him steadily improve and leave me in his wake. His response to me has been every time, “You have got to get to Velofix!”. Velofix have a pretty good reputation in the local area of being a bicycle repair store with a solid reputation for good service, and they sell both Specialized steeds and their own brand of Titanium custom steeds by the marquee of ‘Rivet’ [SIDENOTE: many of the gym goers, including myself, routinely lust over the Rivets]. With all of that they have invested in 20 Wattbikes, and set up a specialist cycling gym – and it is definitely not a spin class.

Wattbike_Pro

The Wattbikes, as the name suggest are stationary indoor trainers which measure your power output while you ride. They are heavy, solid beasts, that were developed in conjunction with the British Cycling team. Apparently they can take up to 2000W of power output, and Sir Chris Hoy has come close to pumping that. They replicate the geometry of a road bike perfectly, though I am not keen on the forearm pads on the cross bar (personal preference). And you can clip in as well. The best thing about the trainers is that they measure your stroke efficiency through a live updated “polar view” of your pedal stroke, highlighting your dead spots. One of the things I am beginning to understand is that only 50% of the power in the stroke comes from your quads, with your hammies and glutes are the missing piece to the puzzle – i.e. you never stop applying the power.

So for the last two months I have been winter training with AC at Velofix. It has been a very humbling experience. Each session is an interval session (not spin) measured at my power rating. Everybody trains to their own power rating. At first I started out at 275W – 100%, very humbling when you listen to what the pros churn out (cue The Panzerwagen – Tony Martin sitting at 450-500W for the last hour of a 5 hour stage in the Tour de France). My stroke was incredibly inefficient, where the “polar view” basically said that I was mashing with my quads. After six weeks into it my power rating was revised to 347W. I was well chuffed with the jump for about half a day, when I realised that the interval training was going to get a whole lot tougher. I am now struggling to get my body around a session at these numbers. My stroke is only now reasonably inefficient. I am getting stronger, and when I make the next jump in power it will hurt again.

Position_to_get_Hammered

Here is the catch, it is guaranteed that at EVERY session the Man with the Hammer comes out and smacks me.

It then dawned on me, “He must live at Velofix!” Or any other place where a Wattbikes live.

On a daily basis, like lambs to the slaughter, us Wattbike interval trainers make it easy for him to come out and smack us. We go to him, and he doesn’t have to leave the creature comforts of his house to have a swing.

And I am addicted to it!

I have been feeling the Winter a lot this year, and with picking up a couple of bugs I have not been keen to ride in the cool air. Instead I have replaced mid-week training sessions with a hammering 2-3 times a week. And I have noticed that I am building a very solid power base. Most semi-serious cyclists have now got their heads around the fact the interval training works, but interval training with power is a real revelation for me. Interval training with stroke efficiency was almost unheard of for amateurs not too long ago. I hope is that when Spring and Summer kick in, all the hard work will pay off and maybe keep the Hammer Man at bay.

But of course, as the great Greg LeMond once said “It doesn’t get any easier, you just go faster.”

Nothing to say, just the photo (albeit noisy).

FFF_Pier_0146rsz

Our boy, AKA ‘The Pok’, has started to say some really funny things with the reasoning of a 3-year-old behind his musings. Some of it is hilarious, or just bizarre.

The house of late has been rather busy, with a baby being awake in the wrong timezone (right now I think our daughter’s timezone is somewhere between GMT +3 or +4 – though she is not responsible for any social or political unrest in these parts of the world, for those who know their geography) getting ‘The Pok’ bathed and into bed has become a challenge.

So the other night, in between baby wailing,  nappies getting changed, and our threenager boy getting toweled down, we as parents got caught out.

The TV was on in the bedroom, when the magic “Adult Time” kicked. What we thought was ‘Masterchef’ (not my choice) continuing to play on the tube, turned out to be ‘Offspring’. I looked up in my horror to see the lead character (who, as informed by my female colleagues in my office, can be a bit of a floosie) getting excitedly undressed by her male de jour on top of the kitchen bench. [For the record, she was undressing him just as rapidly].

‘The Pok’ was standing bolt upright with his eyes GLUED to the tube.

I scrambled, asking my wife urgently “Where’s the remote?”

My wife, on the other side of the bed, responded with a wet wipe in one hand and a nappy in the other, “I don’t know, I have my hands full!” She had seen what was going on too by that stage.

The characters were just about butt naked with the male character on top of the female character who was fully on top of the kitchen bench by that stage.

‘The Pok’ was stunned into silence.

I finally found the remote in the middle of the bed under a pillow and a swaddling cloth. Off went the TV, finally.

I went calmly over to my boy to try to explain, “[Pok], we don’t like that show. We shouldn’t be watching that. Time to get ready to read a book and go to bed.”

His response…

“Good, because he was squashing her.”

My wife was in tears trying to hold back her laughter.

pok-ice_cream

 

P.S. Life and work has caught up with me of late, and my blog has been suffering as a result. But I am back :-)

Nothing to say, just the photo.

FFF_Cranes_0096

cyardin:

It would appear that I am not the only one who is absorbed by La Grand Boucle. I think that this comic strips sums up a lot of the emotion of racing fans in one succinct image.

Nice one Echo!

Originally posted on echo in the city:

I may enjoy cycling, but I have no interest in the Tour de France. I’ve just never been into competitive sports, and generally I always prefer to do things rather than to watch. I enjoyed playing the violin in school, but I’ve never enjoyed watching an orchestra concert. 

…Anyway…back to cycling…

My partner, however, is quite the opposite. He’s been enjoying the TDF (that’s Tour de France for those in the know) so far. 

Lucky for me (and, hopefully, you all), I found some way to get enjoyment out of it…

Life-with-hardcore-cyclist-echo-inthe-city-TOUR-de-Face

Reminders

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My cheeky review of the 2014 Tour de France is finally catching up. And what should have been a boring transitional sprint stage turned into the stage that I was cheering the most, at some stupid time in the witching hour. Oh, and there was emotion and tears, and biblical references to boot.

Wind and Rain Came Out to Play – then Disappeared :-(

I like riding in the rain (not the wind – that sucks big ones). So when a deluge hit the peloton on this stage I was licking my lips at the racing action ahead. From the very start a small breakaway of two riders formed – Martin Elmiger (IAM) and Jack Bauer (Garmin-Sharp – my favourite team).

jack-bauer-plane-gun-24-season-5

Not that Jack Bauer!

tdf_2014-etape_15-03

They rode strong. Then the wind kicked in and the two of them worked together to keep the breakaway going (Balaverde – this is a lesson for you). Back in the peloton, Team BMC lead by Tejay van Garderen tried to blow the race wide open taking advantage of the wind.

tdf_2014-etape_15-01

The Shark in Yellow (Vincenzo Nibali – Astana) would have nothing of it. See how he forced his way into the pack. The chocolate soldiers of AG2R-La Mondiale were onto this attack too. So the break in the peloton never happened and the break continued to storm out in front.

Then the rain kicked in, as an absolute deluge. It was bucketing down onto the race route and pretty much rained the whole time in Nîmes.

tdf_2014-etape_15-02

The inclement weather caused The Jensie to remembered times of his early childhood where he recalled that it rained less when the flood came for Noah.

noahs_ark

Then in the final 10km the bad weather all disappeared. The tricky entry into Nîmes with the slippery road surfaces aided the breakaway to keep ahead, that and the fact that they rode hard too.

So Close, Yet So Far

With 5km to go, the Panzerwagen (Tony Martin – Omega-Pharma-Quickstep) decided enough was enough and went out to show the peloton how to chase down a breakaway. He nearly did it too, but the breakaway still held out as they went under the flamme rouge (1km to go). The sprinters were revving up the motors in earnest, and it was line ball whether the two breakaway riders would hold out.

At less than 500m to go, first Elmiger cracked. Then within sight of the finish line Bauer got swallowed up by the rockets, Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) securing his second win. Bauer finished 7th.

Bauer laid down in grief at the missed opportunity of a lifetime. I usually post a photo of the stage winner, but for me this stage will be remembered for Bauer being so near and yet so far.

tdf_2014-etape_15-04

The Cement Ladder – The Grey Jersey

Watching the toughest sportsmen in the world, I have decided to start a “cement” ranking that reflects truly great feats of endurance and the overcoming of pain (basically a bit of HTFU and a demonstration of adherence to Rule #5). Former winners include Jens Voigt (multiple times) and Johnny Hoogerland. Maybe ASO could make a special jersey, grey, for this category.

Who gets the points are clear for this stage, with a few other smatterings

5pts – Bauer and Elmiger, who rode in a breakaway for 221.5km of a 222km stage.

1pt – Van Garderen for trying to create an echelon with his BMC team, which would have really lit up the race.

1pt – The Jensie for being old enough to have lived through the old testament flooding that swamped Noah.

1pt – The Panzerwagen for showing the peloton how to chase down a breakaway.

 

The current table is:

15pts – Panzerwagen (Martin)

13pts – Chameleon (Di Marchi)

9pts – Majka

8pts – Fuglsang and The Jensie (Voigt)

7pts – Elmiger, The Shark (Nibali)

6pts – Purito (Rodríguez), Bardet, and Voeckler

5pts – Bauer, Pit Bull (DNF), Kadri, Cheng, Lemoine, Boom, Kadri, and Barta

4pts – Van Garderen, Peraud, Clarke, Gallopin, Chava (Chavanel), Bideau, and König

3pts – Pinot, Bakelants, Gautier, Langeveld, Dumoulin,  Spartacus (Cancellara – DNF), and Clentador (DNF)

2pts – Serpa, Flowerman (Kwiatkowski), and Huzarski

1pt – de la Cruz (DNF), Edet, Mate, The Hornet (Horner), Froome-dog (DNF)

-2pts – Balaverde

 

For a more serious look at the first stage of racing check out.

Cycling News – Stage 15 Report

SBS Cycling Central – Stage 15 wrapup

VeloVoices – Tour Stage 15

N.B. the photos of the racing have been sourced from LeTour.fr, SBS Cycling Central, and Cyclingnews.com and the copyright obviously remains with the copyright holder.

My cheeky review of the 2014 Tour de France is still playing catchup – thank the maker (and ASO) for the second rest day. The second stage in the French Alpes was just as riveting as the first stage and there was much redemption dished out.

A Breakaway with Stones

A huge group of riders jumped into the breakaway from the peloton, and even more wanted to crack it. There were 17 in total and they included the Big ‘G’ (Geraint Thomas – The Empire), The Terminator (Peter Sagan – Cannondale) and his teammate lizard friend AGAIN(!) The Chameleon (Alessandro Di Marchi), Nico (Roche – Tinkoff Saxo) and his teammate Rafal Majka AGAIN(!), Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), and a certain Purito (Joaquim Rodríguez – Katusha).

The Terminator chased Green.

Purito chased Spots.

tdf2014_Etape_14-profil

Both were rewarded, firstly for Sagan at the intermediate sprint before the 1st category climb up the Col du Lautaret. Purito got the points up that climb as the breakaway started to break apart.

Behind the breakaway group the peloton was wilting down to a few small groups, for the non-climbers it was hang on and haul butt to the finish.  The hard men in contention for the GC hammered on in the chase.

TDF2014-etape_14-01

The breakaway, down to 10, then assaulted Col d’Izoard – the highest point of the race. Purito was gifted the points by the rider who finished second yesterday, Majka.

Let’s Try and Crack It!

The move of the day was definitely from the young French gun Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and his partner in chocolate Jean-Christoph Peraud. They bombed it down the 30km descent off the back of the Col d’Izoard. I was watching on my couch at whatever ungodly hour it was and I was salivating at the fun that those guys were having. Can you imagine a 30km descent? I have to get to France to ride the Alpes, preferably in July. Not only did the chocolate soldiers bomb it down, they put the fear of god in the rest of the peloton. But the Shark in Yellow (Vincenzo Nibali – Astana) along with his teammates would not be fooled…

No doubt Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was crapping it given his dislike of descending at speed. But Pinot with the assistance of his teammates was able to catch back up.

As they hit the final climb into Rissoul it was on for young and old, a small breakaway only a little distance ahead with the GC hunters in a rampaging pack behind them.

tdf2014-etape_14-02

Try and Try Again!

Two of the riders from the breakaway, The Chameleon and Serpa, decided it was time to distance the group and go for it. Bravo to the Chameleon, but more importantly how cool are the sideburns that Jose Serpa was sporting? Awesome facial hair. The Polish man who missed out on yesterday’s stage, Majka, jumped out in pursuit. Serpa’s facial hair started weighing him down, and he cracked. Majka caught him while gunning for The Chameleon. Purito tried for the last spotty points, but cracked as well.

Majka finally took the lead and a despondent Chameleon just couldn’t keep up. Majka went off for glory!

TDF2014-etape_14-04

The chasing group of the GC hunters had all the contenders foxing each other until the Shark decided that it was time for Majka to be reeled in again. Peraud, chocolate soldier #2, was the only one who could match his efforts (not bad for a 37 year old).

This time Majka would not be denied. He crossed the line to take his first ever win in the pro-peloton. What a way to do it! Awesome stuff.

TDF2014-etape_14-03

The Shark would put some more time into his rivals, but at least the Gen Y bunch had a crack. As for the Green Bullet (Valverde – Movistar) he cracked and would proceed to blame a mechanical incident. Tut, tut, tut…

The Cement Ladder – The Grey Jersey

Watching the toughest sportsmen in the world, I have decided to start a “cement” ranking that reflects truly great feats of endurance and the overcoming of pain (basically a bit of HTFU and a demonstration of adherence to Rule #5). Former winners include Jens Voigt (multiple times) and Johnny Hoogerland. Maybe ASO could make a special jersey, grey, for this category.

Big points again for the final day in the Alpes, and tough riding for all. But there were some clear points winners.

5pts – The Chameleon, at it again but falling agonisingly short.

5pts – Majka, who cracked his maiden win in emphatic style – so tired that he couldn’t even zip up his jersey for a bit of showtime for his sponsors.

4pts – Bardet, for trying to explode the race open on the descent

4pts – Peraurd, for keeping up with the Shark when nobody else could

3pts – Purito, for going after the spots even though it is clear that he is not back to full health

2pts – Serpa, for challenging for the best sideburns in the peloton.

-1pt – Balaverde (AGAIN), for blaming everything else other than himself for his struggles. As the TanMan quite aptly said, “this is what riding clean looks like!”

 

The current table is:

14pts – Panzerwagen (Martin)

13pts – Chameleon (Di Marchi)

9pts – Majka

8pts – Fuglsang

7pts – The Shark (Nibali), and The Jensie (Voigt)

6pts – Purito (Rodríguez), Bardet, and Voeckler

5pts – Pit Bull (DNF)Kadri, Cheng, Lemoine, Boom, Kadri, and Barta

4pts – Peraud, Clarke, Gallopin, Chava (Chavanel), Bideau, and König

3pts – Van Garderen, Pinot, Bakelants, Gautier, Langeveld, Dumoulin,  Spartacus (Cancellara – DNF), and Clentador (DNF)

2pts – Serpa, Flowerman (Kwiatkowski), Huzarski, and Elmiger

1pt – de la Cruz (DNF), Edet, Mate, The Hornet (Horner), Froome-dog (DNF)

-2pts – Balaverde

 

For a more serious look at the first stage of racing check out.

Cycling News – Stage 14 Report

SBS Cycling Central – Stage 14 wrapup

VeloVoices – Tour Stage 14

N.B. the photos of the racing have been sourced from LeTour.fr and Cyclingnews.com and the copyright obviously remains with the copyright holder.

My cheeky review of the 2014 Tour de France is running a bit overdue – well it is tough watching a race for 3 weeks between 10pm and 2am in the morning. But I did not miss a beat on this very decisive first stage in the high mountains of the French Alpes. And I am writing this in anticipation of the coming Stage 15 after two absolutely gruelling days in the high mountains. So this is a catchup, to ensure that no points are missed in the hunt for the Grey Jersey.

The Chameleon Strikes Again

The first of the two mountain stages saw the riders head into the Alpes from Saint-Étienne where they first climbed a little Category 1 mountain (only 1,154m in altitude – only), drop into Grenoble for a coffee, and then climb up the not so famous ‘Beyond Category’ mountain of Chamrousse (only 1,730m in altitude – only). While a reasonably large group of riders tried to breakaway, it was none other than the Chameleon – Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) who decided to crack it and leave the rest behind. Oh, I forgot to mention that Purito (Joaquim Rodríguez – Katusha) chased more spotty points and got them – he wants to be in spots by the time the race finishes. He was doing a bang up job of trying to stick it to all the contenders for Yellow, and for an age he only had one other chaser – Jan Bakelants (who shot to fame last year winning gloriously on Stage 2 and holding onto the Yellow for the two stages after). This time the Chameleon did not have an armoured car breathing down his neck (that would be Tony Martin), and he would keep Bakelants at bay as the gap would just not be closed.

tdf_2014-etape_13-01

During the Chameleon’s sojourn, a nasty misplaced water bottle (it was dropped and was full) took out the Shark’s (Vincenzo Nibali – Astana) key lieutenant Jakob Fuglsang. Fuglsang hit the ground hard, and I am sure the peloton could feel the ground shake. It was nasty and unfortunate, and also meant that the Shark would be climbing alone. In the end the brutal final climb into Chamrousse brought demise to the unlikely break made by the Chameleon.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-france/stage-13/photos/314714

BTW – the Chameleon did not use this camouflage pattern on this stage.

A Shark, Two French Youths, a Cagey Spaniard and a wiry American

The top 9 riders in the race all reached the Chameleon as a bunch. The race was on fire – literally! It was so hot on the climb up that riders (good riders) were tumbling out like bowling pins. An unlikely Eastern European pair in King Leo (Leopold König – NetApp-Endura) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) decided enough was enough and went for glory. They both took off like mountain goats bounding up the Alpes.

tdf_2014-etape_13-03

Meanwhile back in the lead group, the game was being whittled down. The next great Aussie hope of pro-cycling, Tassie Devil – Richie Porte (the Empire??? Huh???), blew a head gasket and had to drop. This was a shame to see as he went from second to somewhere in the forgettable teens. While Porte tumbled down the ladder, the Shark in Yellow devoured his rivals… again! He took off after König and Majka with a ferocious attack in the final kilometres. Young French gun Thibaut Pinot went out to reel the Shark in, and he was joined by Balaverde – Green Bullet in English (Alejandro Valverde – Movistar). Pinot was the only one doing the work, and I am not sure about the gamesmanship of the Green Bullet where he was asked by Pinot to do a turn at the front. Balaverde was cagey, saying he was tired – then attacked… Pinot caught him and when it came to the end Balaverde attacked again…

Behind them the other young French Gun Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) partnered up with the wiry American Tejay Van Garderen to keep themselves in contention. This race though was all about a Sicilian Shark in Yellow. He dispatched the unlucky Majka and König who would be both wondering what might have been. In the hunt for Yellow the Shark increased his lead. The cagey Green Bullet moved into second, and French hopes are bubbling with their two young guns in prime position to displace Balaverde.

tdf_2014-etape_13-04

The Cement Ladder – The Grey Jersey

Watching the toughest sportsmen in the world, I have decided to start a “cement” ranking that reflects truly great feats of endurance and the overcoming of pain (basically a bit of HTFU and a demonstration of adherence to Rule #5). Former winners include Jens Voigt (multiple times) and Johnny Hoogerland. Maybe ASO could make a special jersey, grey, for this category.

Big points earned in the sweltering heat of the French Summer.

5pts – The Chameleon – he has been working hard for the Terminator and this was the second big break of his Tour. He has a certain Panzerwagen in his sights.

4pts – König and Majka, for having the stones to try and put one over the big guns.

4pts – Fuglsang, for getting back on his steed and dressing himself up like a mummy to finish the stage and fight another day.

3pts – Bakelants for trying to close the gap.

3pts – Pinot for not throwing in the towel to The Shark, and earning respect.

2pts – Bardet and Van Garderen, for teaming up and limiting the losses.

-1pt – Unheard of but true to Balaverde for the dodgy gamesmanship with Pinot.

N.B. I can’t give points to The Shark, even though he kicked everyone’s butt in style. He has Yellow, and we all know that Yellow should not be mixed with Grey.

 

The current table is:

14pts – Panzerwagen (Martin)

8pts – Chameleon (Di Marchi), Fuglsang

7pts – The Shark (Nibali), and The Jensie (Voigt)

6pts – Voeckler

5pts – Pit Bull (DNF)Kadri, Cheng, Lemoine, Boom, Kadri, and Barta

4pts – Clarke, Gallopin, Chava (Chavanel), Bideau, König, and Majka

3pts – Van Garderen, Pinot, Bakelants, Gautier, Langeveld, Purito (Rodríguez), Dumoulin,  Spartacus (Cancellara – DNF), and Clentador (DNF)

2pts –  Bardet, Flowerman (Kwiatkowski), Huzarski, and Elmiger

1pt – de la Cruz (DNF) Edet, Mate, The Hornet (Horner), Froome-dog (DNF)

-1pt – Balaverde

 

For a more serious look at the first stage of racing check out.

Cycling News – Stage 13 Report

SBS Cycling Central – Stage 13 wrapup

VeloVoices – Tour Stage 13

N.B. the photos of the racing have been sourced from Cyclingnews.com and the copyright obviously remains with the copyright holder.

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