- Posted by Michael Hutchinson
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As a series of experiments at CERN demonstrated, it is possible for neutrinos to travel faster than light. There has been some cynicism about this claim, but since the neutrinos in question were timed by some British time-trialling timekeepers sitting by a dual carriageway near Geneva and using the very latest in abacus technology, I think we can assume the accuracy of the results to be unimpeachable.
Well, if neutrinos can travel faster than light, then logically it must be possible to send information back in time. And happily I have just received the Christmas bumper CW from December 2012. So I'm happy to give you next year's news now.
First, news from Box Hill. A group of riders approaches Box Hill one Sunday in January, only to find it had been removed and replaced by a sign saying, "The National Trust and Surrey Police have removed Box Hill, and taken it to a secret place of safekeeping. You can have it back when you promise to ride in single file, not frighten any motorists, and keep off our valuable plants."
Also in January, the Court of Arbitration for Sport announces it is unable to reach a verdict on the Alberto Contador case, because the urine sample at the heart of the dispute has been stored for so long it has fermented into a fine white wine. Rumours that if consumed in sufficient quantities it provides relief to asthma sufferers are accepted as being entirely unfounded.
Shortly afterwards, at the test event for the London Velodrome, the Australians discover a large electromagnet mounted on rails below the track, and capable of over 70kph. Dave Brailsford is happy to provide reassurance that the GB team's recent switch to all-steel round-tube track bikes was motivated solely by some highly unexpected wind-tunnel results. He explains these results with the help of a hand-gesture designed to show the shape of a single upright cylinder waving around in the air. Sadly the gesture is misinterpreted by the Aussies, who decide to boycott the Olympics. Brailsford says he'll really, really, really miss them.
Mark Cavendish and Peta Todd's first child is born in March. The UK's sports columnists enter a voluntary moratorium on making jokes along the lines of ‘what happens if it's got Mark's looks and Peta's sprint?' Box Hill is discovered in May, sitting in the open in the midst of the French Alps. Quite understandably, no one had noticed it was there. It is not returned to Surrey, as the local residents have decided they'd rather have another Waitrose instead.
Team pursuit seat raffle
In June, the UCI and IOC introduce a new plan to reduce athlete numbers at the 2012 Games, by further limiting the number of track riders who may be selected. For the four-man team pursuit, for example, no more than three riders may be selected. The fourth rider for the team must be selected from the crowd by a seat-number raffle. A sudden revision to the ticketing arrangements makes it much easier for holders of British racing licences to get into the Velodrome. For some reason that no one from the IT department can account for, no one under the age of 65 from any nation other than Britain manages to get a ticket.
Just a few days later, Cycling Weekly's phone hacking department reveals the voicemail message from Bradley Wiggins to Mark Cavendish that put behind them both the spat resulting from the 2008 Olympic Madison final. "I'm really sorry you misunderstood," says Wiggins, "but I honestly didn't say you were bandy legged. I just said legs like yours were few and far between."
At the Tour de France in July, Sky misunderstand all the talk of the race starting in Corsica, and turn up in corsets instead. Embarrassment is averted when they're mistaken for a new Sky women's team, and enthusiastic support from Nuts and Zoo magazine's sports editors, who've finally found a sporting team dressed the way they like, sees the entire squad nominated for Sports Personality of the Year. In related news, Bradley Wiggins rides strongly at the Tour of the Basque Country, and spends three days in the leader's see-through jersey.
As the Olympics approaches, Dave Brailsford is forced into further denials, this time that the Scalextric Velodrome-racing set was a prototype for the electromagnet. At a press conference, he uses his fingers to demonstrate why two electrified rails close together would create a dangerous gap in the track. Sadly, this hand-gesture is misinterpreted, and the Russians decide to boycott the Games. Brailsford says he'll miss them every bit as much as the Australians.
In July, the hitherto baffling inclusion of the omnium event in the Olympic programme is finally explained. It turns out it was an error of translation, and it was actually an attempt to revive the flagging fortunes of the French international track team in the form of an accordion championships. Gregory Bauge takes a popular gold medal with a crowd-pleasing rendition of the theme from 'Allo 'Allo! Sir Chris Hoy is disqualified from bronze-medal position after it becomes clear that the concertina upon which he performed the Captain Pugwash theme is outside the UCI's 3-to-1 bellows-width-to-buttons ratio.
Tea and cake
At the start of the Tour de France, organisers struggle to defend themselves against accusations from the UK, where Cycling Time Trials claim that the 2012 Tour contains so much time trial riding that it's infringing on their territory. Disaster is averted when Christian Prudhomme agrees to a compromise whereby the time trials stay, but all the riders are entitled to a free cup of tea and a slice of cake when they hand their numbers in afterwards.
In September, Victoria Pendleton says she is delighted to be nominated for Rear of the Year. She is subsequently beaten into second place by a Campag Super-Record electronic derailleur.
At the World Championships, the issue of concealed motors in bicycles is back in the headlines when a commissaire claims he saw Fabien Cancellara kick-starting his Trek on the starting ramp of the time trial. Subsequent questioning of the German commissaire concerned suggests that he may have confused basic pedalling with the kick-starting action. "I'm only a commissaire," he is reported as saying. "I don't know all that much about cycling."
Finally, back at the Court of Arbitration for Sport, in December, the decision in the case concerning the British Olympic Association's ban on selection for convicted dopers is finally announced. The Court professes itself baffled that anyone regards the timing of the judgment as unreasonable. "They don't understand how the law works," the Court president is quoted as saying. "Now, pass more of that delicious sauvignon blanc, Alberto."