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Bicycle Racing News and Opinion,
Friday, September 28, 2018

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2018 Tour de France | 2018 Giro d'Italia

Happiness is nothing more than good health and a bad memory. - Albert Schweitzer

Current racing:

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Victor Campenaerts on his third place in the Elite Men's Time Trial

Campenaerts' Lotto-Soudal team sent me this:

“It took me a while but I finally fell asleep yesterday and when I woke up this morning it really hit me that I became third at a World Championship! After having crossed the finish line, I had to recover from my effort and could only feel the burn in my legs for those first couple of minutes. Before the podium ceremony, when I was sitting backstage with Rohan Dennis and Tom Dumoulin - two of the best time trialists in the whole world, I realized what I just achieved. It really was a unique moment.”

“I’ve completed my best time trial ever. Hence, I’m really happy with this third place and I know I have a bright future ahead of me. For the moment, I am grateful for this bronze medal, but I hope to be the very best one day. Considering the timing, I hope to achieve my highest level at the Olympic Games in 2020. Yesterday, I knew that a third place was the best result possible, but I even almost took silver! Several journalists had been saying that I was capable of finishing in third place as I already beat many of my rivals in TT’s before. Yet, I wasn’t sure as the climb was steep. In a time trial, you always lose the most minutes, seconds,... in the parts you have to slow down, i.e. when you’re riding uphill - not my speciality.”

Victor Campenaerts

Victor Campenaerts time-trialing at the 2018 Giro d'Italia

“Before the race, I had a clear pacing strategy: pacing my time trial is something I always do well and this result proves that I can achieve great results if I can be at the start line well prepared. I always perform much better in time trials, separated from stage races than I do at TT’s that take place after a few days of racing as was the case in Grand Tours like the Giro and Vuelta. If you take a look at my prologues or time trials, without including those in stage races, I’ve always finished inside the top five this season. And now I even finish third at a World Championship.”

“There are many people who asked me where I could have lost those 53 hundredths of a second, but I’m so happy with this third place that I haven’t given it much thought. Basically, I could have lost such a small difference everywhere. I did win the European time trial with a very small difference as well. I would have been more disappointing missing out on that first place in Glasgow than not taking the silver medal yesterday. I also achieved a Belgian record, but I’m just really happy to better the performance of my good friend Yves Lampaert. He always teased me with the fact I hadn’t proven anything yet at the Worlds, referring to his seventh place in Qatar. Now, I finally proved him wrong.”

“Today, I’ll leave for Grenchen, where I will be tested for an attempt of the hour record. Those tests were already scheduled ahead of these World Championships, so yesterday I celebrated my bronze medal quite peacefully. I continue till coming Saturday and end my season after those tests. Tomorrow I’ll do some trainings on the track and the day after, I’ll try to go faster than the average pace of the current hour record for half an hour, which is faster than 55 km/h. If I succeed, I really want to try and break the hour record and see, together with the team, when my attempt could be scheduled. But, of course, I’ll keep cherishing my bronze medal in the following days as well!”

Continuum Sports to Operate as CCC Team starting in 2019

The squad sent me this:

26 September, 2018, Santa Rosa, California (USA): Continuum Sports will be known as CCC Team from January 1, 2019 when Polish shoe and bag manufacturer CCC assumes title sponsorship of the team, taking over from BMC Switzerland.

"After announcing CCC as the new title sponsor of Continuum Sports in July, we are pleased to confirm that the team will be known as CCC Team from 2019 and become the first Polish UCI WorldTour team," General Manager Jim Ochowicz said.

"In conjunction with Dariusz Milek, President of CCC, we decided to adopt a short team name that will reinforce the CCC brand as the team's identity. Whilst we are always searching for additional sponsors, CCC will be the sole title sponsor of the team."

"As has been announced in recent weeks, CCC will be expanding their sponsorship in cycling to include a women's team, becoming title sponsor of WaowDeals Pro Cycling, and their current Professional Continental team, CCC Sprandi Polkowice, will continue as a Continental development team. Although the teams will operate as three separate entities, CCC will become a prominent fixture as a title sponsor in the different tiers of professional cycling and we look forward to doing our part to promote the CCC brand in the men's WorldTour with CCC Team."

CCC Team's management structure will remain largely unchanged with Ochowicz and Gavin Chilcott being joined by Robert Krajewski from CCC Sprandri Polkowice in the senior management team.

Sports directors Piotr Wadecki and Gabriele Missaglia will make the move to CCC Team from CCC Sprandi Polkowice, joining Fabio Baldato, Valerio Piva, and Jackson Stewart as the team's five primary sports directors, while Marco Pinotti will remain as Head of Performance, Ochowicz confirmed.

"Planning for the 2019 season is well underway so there is no better time to confirm our sports director team. The rider roster and race program are taking great shape so we are approaching the coming season with a great sense of excitement and motivation to hit the ground running in January. All five of our sport directors have many years of experience in cycling and have been instrumental in some of the teams' biggest wins," Ochowicz said.

"As planning continues we will have further announcements to make with new technical sponsors joining us from 2019 and more riders to add to the already-confirmed list of 20 riders."

MPCC (Mouvement Pour un Cyclisme Crédible) list 380 cases of doping, fraud or corruption in high-level sport

The organization sent me this:

With cycling ranking 13th "Credibility Ranking", riders can be genuinely surprised to still be the targets of so many negative comments regarding their image. These comments are not really due to the number of doping cases revealed this year, but probably more to the sole case concerning Chris Froome. This case has been subject to a lot of media attention until the UCI dismissed it 5 days prior to Le Tour de France.

As of today, 6 professional cyclists are linked to ongoing procedures concerning suspected doping : 3 in Europe, 3 in Latin America. None of them involves a World Tour rider, a women, or a mountain bike rider. This number is smaller than last year (10 less cases on the same date) but we still need to be careful on drawing any conclusion. In 2017, there were 7 cases at the end of August and 15 at the end of the year (14 eventually, given that Froome was not convicted). Cautiousness is required too when it comes to the nature of the detected substances : in two cases out of six, EPO usage has been detected.

Out of cycling, the nations and sports involved in doping revelations have been the same for a few years. Dominican Republic leads the way with 23 doping cases, all of them involving baseball players. Crossfit makes a sensational entrance into our classification. This new sport is now well aware that a big clean-up among his practitioners is an urgent issue. The 14 cases registered in only a few weeks prove that their testing methods are efficient!

Corruption, fraud and match-fixing also have their favorite sports, and they are not always the same as in doping : football, cricket and tennis account for more than 80% of the revelations in 2018.

You can read the entire post here.

Wonderful history of the birth of the Women's Hour Record

Podium Cafe posted a superb telling by of this mostly forgotten but important piece of cycling history.

Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and let Feargal McKay, one of cycling's best writers, tell you a story:

No one, however well he may understand the decline in the power of mobs, swing to the introduction of quick-firing rifles, and the amazing improvements in artillery, ever quite rids himself of the impression that in Paris a riot may end in a rising, a rising in a revolution, a revolution in one of those bursts across the frontier by which excited France has so often relieved the surcharge of blood in her head. -  The Spectator, July 8th, 1893

They were revolutionary times in Paris. At a little bit before six o’clock on the evening of Friday, July 7th, 1893, Mlle de Saint-Sauveur took to the cement track of the vélodrome Buffalo and set about establishing the first unpaced Hour record to be set by a woman.

It was a time of upheaval and unrest in the City of Lights, Henri Guillaume’s second annual Bal des Quat’z’Arts – and the decency or indecency of clothing worn or not worn by some present – having led to riots, as the Spectator’s report explains:

They began in a student row. The art students had given, as they do every year, a ball, which is a great deal too much after classical fashions to be tolerated by moralists; and the police, having recently been cautioned that license has gone far enough, and threatens the character of the Republic, interfered. The students protested that as their ball was held in a private house, the police had exceeded their functions; and though the Magistrate decided against them, and fined their managing committee, they arranged a demonstration against M. Lozd, the Prefect, which speedily grew into a riot. During a scrimmage of the ordinary kind, the students yelling and the police charging, a policeman unfortunately killed a student named Nuger by a blow on the neck with a porcelain match-box, which was shattered, and cut an artery.

On the Monday and Tuesday following Nuger’s death - just days before De Saint-Sauveur took to the track of the Buffalo - police and rioters clashed “with such fury that the hospitals are full of the wounded.” The police were in danger of losing control of the situation, and the city with it.

Fortunately M. Dupuy, the nearly unknown gentleman who is just now Premier in France, is a man of decision and nerve, and he did the only thing which in such cases is at once merciful and sure to succeed. He called out the garrison of Paris in overwhelming force – it includes, it is said, five thousand cavalry – and directed that rioters should be put down with military rigour. All the dangerous points were occupied by soldiers; with every separate division a trumpeter was stationed to give the three summonses which in French law must precede military action; and the mobs, quite aware that the Government had made up its mind, and that they could not resist regulars fighting as in a campaign, sullenly dispersed. By Friday, Paris was orderly again; but it is said that many hundreds of wounded men are in hospital, the bitterness of the disorderly and fanatical classes against the police is excessive, and it is doubtful whether the Government, which must defend the police, or next time they will not act, will on Monday escape censure.

It was perhaps understandable, then, that Henry Duncan’s Buffalo was not full to watch De Saint-Sauveur make history, even across town in Neuilly-sur-Seine, several kilometres away from the now-quietened unrest in the Latin Quarter.

The correspondent for the Parisian daily L’Écho de Paris, which reported De Saint-Sauveur’s ride in some detail, made reference to the unrest with a passing comment on the white flannel suit worn by De Saint-Sauveur:

If the amiable president who directed the debates of the Bal des Quat’z’Arts would have been there he would have said with bitterness; the indecency of this costume is in fact emphasized by the black saddle that I dare not see.

For his own part, L’Écho’s correspondent thought De Saint-Sauveur’s clothing quite simple and left his commentary on attire there.

You can read the entire story here.

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