Any given week, there are oodles of cycling stories flying around in the news. So here’s a quick-hit summary of this week’s happenings, plus my own garbage opinions on each. Much like my gambling advice, these takes are for entertainment purposes only!
We were all hoping for some juicy and revealing news to come from this story, and the final product lacked a smoking gun, bombshell revelation, or much of anything to get excited about. Sure, we learned that motorized bike inventor Istvan Varjas received a sketchy $2 million payment, and that he believes he maybe-kinda-sorta sold a bike to Dr. Michele Ferrari. Oops, sorry guys, didn’t know it was that Dr. Ferrari, my bad! Here’s my take: It’s plain to see that Tyler Hamilton is one step closer to a big comeback in the world of bike racing. He managed to get out on a bike, in kit, on a national TV network in primetime — something no other pro racer has been able to do lately.
Wout Van Aert won worlds on his green tires, while everybody else flatted. Okay guys, confession time: The tail is wagging the dog on this one. This was all an elaborate set-up, which I initiated years ago after Bieles was named host venue, to generate some buzz for my new Kickstarter: Green tires! Don’t worry about tread pattern, size, or whatever. Just go online, support the project, and I promise you’ll be able to avoid flat tires and win a ‘cross world championship.
Shimano’s latest and greatest is just that. Better disc brakes, integrated power meter, but oh wait, what’s this synchro shift thing? We all watched the “Terminator” movies. Does this new Di2 represent a huge step toward a dystopian future of Skynet and its army of killer robots? I think so. Before you know it, a cybernetic hitman from the future will be chasing Dan down the dry concrete L.A. riverbed on a sweet racing bicycle with Di 2000. Hopefully Dan’s bike won’t have compact chainrings.
How fast is Cav? Pretty fast— he can finish on the podium with a flat tire. I loved how this story allowed Mark Cavendish to steal Marcel Kittel’s thunder after the German’s second stage win in a row. It was as if Cav was really saying, “Oh, you won? Cool. I was just trying to keep it upright and cruised home to third with a flat. NBD.” But more importantly, we saw a kinder, gentler Cav in stage 2: “Not bad, third,” he actually said. I find this laid-back attitude concerning. The Manx Missile didn’t get to where he is by being a super-chill guy. Where’s the rage? The incredulity? Maybe a little post-stage bike throw? I think at the very least we are owed some podium pouting.
Andre Grivko decking Marcel Kittel earned the German sprinter some major sympathy points. The guy was bleeding, after all. Kittel is totally working the long con with this one. You know how Nacer Bouhanni seems to always get relegated by race juries? It’s because he’s built a reputation as jerk who punches people. Yep, he’s become the Ndamukong Suh of the peloton. Kittel, on the other hand is working the sympathy angle. He’s not the puncher, but rather the nice, sweet punching bag. Who wants to relegate the punching bag? Nobody. Now that is a true professional.
A few of our Twitter followers criticized Watson for being a Lance apologist back in the day. No matter your take on the matter, we’re all missing the bigger point. Those famed sunflowers in his iconic 2000 photo were probably GMO. I live in Boulder, people, and prefer my sunflowers to be non-GMO, USDA organic and, if possible, gluten-free.
The Dubai Tour is known to be a sprinters’ stage race. Hatta Dam was the race’s only uphill finish, and it was cancelled due to wind. Sprinters are usually big guys who like racing in crosswinds. Hmm. Just connecting some dots here, that’s all …
Hey I’m not sure what made me think of it, but did you guys read Caley Fretz’s great story about masters doping from last summer?