- Posted by Robert Garbutt
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Having been lucky enough to secure a place in Sunday's Verenti Dragon Ride, I was particularly miffed to be laid low with a stomach bug at the weekend.
To make matters worse, I was inundated with stories of a brilliant ride and fantastic weather from the remainder of the office contingent on my return to CW Towers on Monday morning.
Oh well, missed that one, but there are still plenty of events to go. Even though we are halfway through the year there are some 110 rides to be ridden before the end of the season.
The UK sportive boom shows no signs of slowing, and there are now more events than ever. A newie but a goodie is the National Cyclo-Sportive on June 26 in Lancashire.
It's the day before the National Road Race Championships and the idea is that spectators get a chance to stretch their legs over 160 or 100 kilometres before settling back to watch Mark Cavendish, David Millar and co in action 24 hours later.
The sportive has the same start and finish as the title race, in Barley, but uses longer, scenic circuits that include ascents of the Trough of Bowland and Nick of Pendle.
It'll be a great weekend. Don't miss out.
Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly magazine
- Posted by Simon Richardson
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Ivan Basso has been pleading with fans to believe. Believe in him, and believe in clean cycling. So do you believe in his Giro victory?
It would be easier to believe the Italian if he had been more contrite back in 2007.
All we got was a half admission. There were few people who believed that his blood stored in Madrid was never actually used for doping.
But compared to his 2006 Giro win, his performance this year was more believable.
Four years ago he romped to a huge victory with ease; this year his face was a picture of pain throughout the final week as he dragged himself over the savage climbs of the Dolomites, eventually winning by less than two minutes.
So despite his past, to many it was a believable ride in what was a simply unbelievable race. The drama started on day one back in the Netherlands, and didn't relent until Sunday's final stage in Verona.
Crashes, terrible weather and, at times, crazy race routing made the 2010 Giro one of the best races of the past decade.
The Giro is regularly the most interesting Grand Tour as race organiser Angelo Zomegnan takes his event to places that the Tour de France wouldn't go near, and no single team dominates for three weeks.
The Tour has some way to go if it's going to rival this year's Giro for excitement.Simon Richardson is deputy editor of Cycling Weekly
- Posted by Robert Garbutt
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You can tell the Tour de France isn't far away: there's another major drugs scandal in the news. This one's a big one. It rivals the Festina scandal from 1998, with Floyd Landis accusing Lance Armstrong, Johan Bruyneel and just about everyone else from his days at US Postal and Phonak.
Floyd doesn't pull his punches. Some of it we have heard before, but his attack on the UCI is potentially the most damaging to our sport. Bike racing's world governing body and its former president, Hein Verbruggen, were quick to dismiss Landis's allegation that Armstrong and Bruyneel made a payment to ensure that a positive test for EPO at the Tour of Switzerland in 2001 was suppressed.
A separate storm is brewing over another payment. Armstrong told CW, in November 2008, that he had made a donation of $25,000 to the UCI in 2005. Last week, current UCI president Pat McQuaid admitted on Irish radio that the payment was in fact $100,000, $88,000 of which was spent on a Sysmex machine. Of the remaining $12,000 McQuaid said: "We had $12,000 change out of it, so what odds does that make?"
The same day, on another continent, Armstrong gave a press conference and was asked if he had ever paid the UCI any money. "Absolutely not." he replied.Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly
- Posted by Robert Garbutt
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First day out in their first Grand Tour and Team Sky have come up trumps. Bradley Wiggins swept away the disappointment of Sky's lacklustre Classics campaign when he rode the time trial of his life to claim the Giro's pink leader's jersey on Saturday.
After years of prologue near-misses, Wiggo produced a road performance equal to his Olympic and World Championship track success and duly justified the hype surrounding the new British super-squad.
After that incredible fourth place in last year's Tour de France there was absolutely no doubting Bradley's GC credentials, but the time trials never went quite to plan. He took the Dauphiné prologue in 2007, raising hopes for the London Grand Départ, but finished fourth, was beaten by just one second in the final time trial of last year's Giro and then was third in the opening time trial of the Tour.
Wiggo was becoming a nearly man, but Sky team boss Dave Brailsford knew there was still untapped potential.
"Brad can win big bike races like this if he really goes for it," Brailsford reasoned. "We thought, let's really put our minds to it."
It's an impressive start and according to a Sky sports director, Sean Yates "a proper stepping stone" for the Tour de France in a couple of months' time.Robert Garbutt is editor of Cycling Weekly
- Posted by Emma Silversides
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A week or so ago I was at a race in Luxembourg and had the idea to write a blog about the strength and success of the British female riders on the continent. I think that the British cycling media would be blowing a very loud trumpet if we had seen British men claim a 1-2 in Flèche Wallonne (Pooley, Cooke), a first place in a UCI TT (Pooley), a first place in a TT stage of a UCI stage race (Trott) and then a further win in a UCI 1.1 event (Pooley), all in the space of three weeks.
This is no small feat; the Brits have been truly sat on the top of the pile in women's cycling, and do not forget that behind every winner there are five workers; I know that Cooke and Pooley would be the first to admit that their British team-mates deserved to stand on the podium with them. Unfortunately the coverage of these successes has not been huge so I thought that a little boasting on the girl's behalf would not go amiss.
What a sad occurrence has taken place since my initial thought to write about these successes though. My sincere best wishes go to all five girls for a speedy, smooth recovery and comeback. What more can I say over the incident? I am sure that I am no position to make judgements here; all I know about the accident is what I have read, very brief as it was, the nurse driving the car simply ‘did not see the cyclists'. You could not ask for a more simple statement.
If the girls had sustained their injuries during a race, would it be easier to swallow for both them and the rest of those who know them? Maybe so; bike racing is accepted as a dangerous sport- scraps, cuts and breaks are a part of it. But should we, as cyclists, accept that such injuries can also be sustained just as easily during training?
If we ride with caution, respect and the right protection (Emma has openly admitted that without a helmet she would not be here now), there is nothing more that we can do. So the rest is out of our control; someone talking on a mobile, someone checking their GPS, a stranger not familiar with the road layout, a driver misjudging distance or speed.... The list could go on and on; in each case the driver is seemingly the guilty party. But what covers all of these circumstances is a lack of focus and concentration on the task in hand, the task being to drive responsibly with complete awareness. Can you honestly say that you are a perfect driver? I know that I cannot. In a perfect world this accident would not have happened.
I simply wish the girls a speedy recovery, both physically and mentally, the scars of the later can so often be deeper and more prolonged than the former in such circumstances.