Saturday, 10 March 2012

1st served: Jeremy Roy!

Jeremys spoken, so sing Pearl Jam , but here we have European cycling star Mr Jeremy Roy, 2011's tour break away king.

We made up a set of questions and surprisingly and delightfully had them answered, all of them. Merci beaucoup Mr J. Roy. Enjoy! :

What was the first CD (cassette?!) you bought?

Nirvana - Nevermind

What music do you prefer to listen to? For relaxing, training, partying etc?

Pop, Rock & sometimes metal

What was the last CD or Mp3 you bought or downloaded? 


What was your favourite gig you’ve been to?

Black Eyes Peas

Worst gig?

My school’s choir.

Ever met a famous person who turned out to be a real shit?

No, superman maybe ! lol

If you can, and do, read, what is your favourite book?

I don’t read books, only magazines.

Which TV shows tickle you?

How I met your Mother

Do you speak any other languages?

English, German (in my previous life)

What inspires you to get out and train in the morning?

To be the best… and when you come back you can eat some delicious food

How did you end up becoming a rider in the professional peloton? If you were not, what would you like to be doing instead?

Madiot brothers contact me, if no I have a master degree in mechanical, or maybe a masterchef !

What is your fave coffee stop cake?

Cookie or brownie with latte macchiatto

What is your highest heart rate and km/h you’ve ever seen?

190 bpm and 110 km/h

What are your guilty pleasures off the bike?

Computer, cooking, gardening , building something

Which races do you follow most closely and why?

Paris-Roubaix, Tour des Flandres with cobbles there is always a show even if I hate ride on them. Tour de France (every day a new race)

What is your most memorable pro cycling moment in a race you were not involved in?

Gilbert victoy in San Sebastian

Which country has the best podium girls?


And finally, do you ever get that weird boner type thing after you’ve been in the saddle for ages and blood flow to the genitals is restricted? No? Just me then! 

Sometimes, but with a good position on your bike and a good fi’zi:k saddle; there is no problem.

Bonus question: If you had to watch two dogs having sex, which breeds would you choose? 

I do not like animals…

See You

Thats it folks. Hope you enjoyed it. Until the next time!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Its not about the bike...

Introducing a new dimension to this lets be honest, fairly paltry attempt at a blog. From now on we will be publishing the same questions that have been sent to people easily enough to be contacted via email and who have been generous enough take the time to answer me. These people have been or are still involved in professional cycling. I hope you all enjoy this little snippet into the lives of the people who constitute our great sport!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2011....the year in review...sort of.

So, this year has been pretty sweet for us cycle lovers. Gilbert beasted most in the classics. Cadel squeaked and whined his way to a deserved Tour victory and Mark Chavendish powered to both the green jersey (thanks team HTC) and the worlds (thanks team GB) and then to the BBC sports personality of the year. Good stuff.

Gilbert. What. An. Animal. Kind of like Rossi until he smashed his hip then joined Ducati. Not only unbeatable but with the ability to destroy all comers. Our fave decimation being against the paSchletic brothers. Who can't watch this video and just feel sorry for their feeble none attempt to break Phil Gil?
 The final smash to the teeth of the Schlecks; 20 meters before the line Phil sits up and starts celebrating. AWESOME.

The yet to be banned/let off Contador took the Giro, but this race was overshadowed by the terrible accident that took Wouter Weylandt. Amazing to see the peloton pull together to show solidarity and respect. The Leopard Trek team crossing the line as one on the following stage actually bought tears to our eyes.
One of the best tributes to Wouter is here, on the website. Much more beautifully put then we could. Must not forget to also pay our respects to the awesome Xavier Tondo who died in a bizarre garage door accident at his home in Spain during the Giro too. As a doping whistle blower we thank him and along with WW108 he shall not be forgotten. 

We were to witness more catastrophic events in the Tour de Suisse. Another downhill crash almost took the life of Mauricio Soler. He suffered considerable brain trauma but is now well enough to be recovering in Bogota with aid from the Colombian government. Everything crossed he makes a full recovery. 

Wiggins won the Criterium du Dauphine which meant he was obviously set to take the UK's first yellow jersey. Or was he? Though not a popular character here at Wagon Towers it was a shame to see his tour ended by a broken collar bone early on. And so on to Le Tour....

A wind buffeted opening few stages blew the peloton apart, and set us up for an amazing Tour. Bertie not being too fresh from the Giro made the race one of the most exciting for years. We saw the amzingly named Thor Hushovd wear yellow, and take two stage wins, and fellow Norge Edvald BH also took 2 wins. After a slow start Cav went on to take 5 more stages and the green jersey, even after being beaten by the Gorilla to one stage victory.

One our our favourite things to see in the tour was Frenchie Tommy Voeckler unexpectedly holding onto to yellow for so long, including through the Pyrenees, only to finally crack on the penultimate stage - the mighty Alpe D'Huez. 4th Place overall is still an incredible achievement and this image is one of the most enduring and appropriate for the tour, we feel:

Another highlight goes to Tommy again, this time highlighting his ability to get some air on his road bike, land well then control it to rejoin the race. Chapeau! (Watch from 1min 40)

Other memorable achievements include another Frenchman, Pierre Roland win on Alpe D'Huez, in a time that suggests that this generation of pro athletes might actually be racing without the chemical help that afflicted the sport in the past. Between 1999-2005. 

This tour also gave us a new found respect for Contador. Instead of neutralising all competition as soon a the race gets hilly like normal, through bad luck in the early stages he lost time and his attacking from then on was admirable, but what we liked mostly was him twatting an idiot 'fan' dressed as a doctor. Maybe if the fan was dressed as a waiter serving up a rare biefe de lomo, Bertie might have been more receptive?

Cadel TT'd to tour victory and we quite like the whiney Aussie bum chinned champ. But we'd like him even more if he spoke out against doping. Did you see his brushing aside of a doping question at the post tour pres conference? Very disappointing. See the shocking footage here: Skip to 11min to see him clam up in a Frank Spencer style and deny he is in a position to comment on doping in the peloton. OMERTA?

Cav cav cav. What can we say? His year at last. No spurious race official decisions this time round, and Marky Mark took what he has earned. 2012 will be even more exciting as Cav has moved to Team Sky, and will not have the same lead out train he enjoyed at HTC. Saying that though, he won the road World Champs in Denmark for team GB proving he can still perform with a change of team mates. It will be exciting to behold. Shit yeah, Olympics too. We'll be there, cheering.

 Was there a Vuelta this year? Oh year. Notable moments were a Euskaltel carrot winning in Basque country. And some bloke called Cobo winning. Who? And an African born Brit coming second. Chris Whoome? Wiggo in 3rd proved he has got what it takes to complete a grand tour without breaking himself too. One of the our most enduring memories of the tour was the appalling camera work. The opening TTT, no one knew what was going on. Seemingly every important crash or rider drop was missed. Great tv. 

So thats about it from us. If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Don't forget you can follow us on twitter @broomwagonblog for thoughts lacking of depth and understanding, and not just on cycling either. Ride safe!

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Radio Ga Ga

Blame the Americans. Since electronics and phone company Motorola sponsored 7-Eleven, they developed a two way radio system that allowed riders to communicate with the team managers following in cars during events. Race radios are now seemingly compulsory throughout the peloton, that is until next year when the UCI wants them outlawed, to general outrage from riders and team bosses, as to why the UCI would be so incredibly mean in trying to make the sport more, er, sporting.

What is the teams and riders problem? Can they not see how stagnant the 'racing' has become? This sport of bicycle racing should first and foremost be about providing entertainment for the fans based on the simple concept of man and machine against the clock, with all other things being equal*. We want to see those brave enough to go on a break actually stop away from the peloton. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. Well, that's how it stands at the moment. Look at last years Tour De Snooze. We are not cycling experts, just borderline obsessive fans. But here are the views of two bona-fide cycling greats, who are both vocal in their opposition to the continued use of radios. Moreno Argentin says this "with race radios, the cyclists seem driven by a joystick" And this is what Jeremy Roy said in an interview recently:

"Concerning the two-way radio, I don't really understand why the teams and the riders wake up only now. The rule was known since the end of 2009 with a ban of two-way race radio in 2010 for class 2 races, in 2011 for HC and class 1 and in 2012 for the ProTour races. Personally I'm against the use of two-way race radio, so I like this rule. The rider gets more responsibility, the group as a whole and the team work get more important and it's no longer a radio guided thingy. That doesn't mean that their won't be any further races which will be controlled by the sprinters teams! We know how to get organised, use our brains and ride without race radios!
Concerning the strikes, I think it's a pity for the organiser of the race who becomes the victim. It's another bad thing for the image of the cycling sport. Like in politics, the UCI has the power to decide alone about new rules, someone has to be the boss. Indeed, sometimes I think the groups representing the cycling world (riders, teams, organisations) should be consulted to set up a dialogue" 

These sentiments were echoed by FDJ boss Marc Madiot here. Chapeau to them for seeing and talking sense.

One of the arguments for race radios is safety for the riders. Changes in the roads and conditions can be relayed up to the riders to reduce the risks they face on the road. But hang on a minute here Mr Pro Road Racer! Spare a thought for all us non-pros who ride when we can for the fun of it! Do we get closed roads? So you have to deal with a team car or two coming past, we plebeians have dirty great HGVs and coaches running us into the gutter on every frigging ride. And just to recap, since when has bike racing ever been a safe sport? Flying down a mountain at 60mph wearing lycra is never going to win any safety awards, as good ol' Voigt can testify.

On twitter this evening, Robbie Hunter has been having a good old whinge about the ban for this weekends European season opener in Omloop:

Riders don't wanna boycott the races ppl.We race! just we start with radios in our ears! Anyways these are my opinions as a pro & I want em!
Ppl come to races to watch riders not UCI so please stay away it does not affect us.the riders are with the race organizers not against them

Seems UCI not happy & wanna cancel race.News to uci!to hold a race all that's needed is riders a road & race organizer!UCI NOT NEEDED!

We have several issues with these statements. UCI want to cancel the race? Is that because this incoming ban has been known for two years and you've done nothing constructive to get your collective (as riders) point across until you decide you might wear radios anyway, thus nullifying the race? Very clever. Next, people come to watch racing, not racers. Bike riders change but the event remains the same. Don't be so pompous Mr Hunter. It doesn't matter who the riders are so long as the racing is entertaining. His last tweet proclaims he wants a radio in his ear. Maybe that is to keep his minuscule brain from spilling out through an ear? Surely he has enough mental capacity to be able to discuss with his team mate a strategy to follow, with contingency plans, for the duration of a race? Maybe not? Maybe in his next life he will be reincarnate as a hamster, destined to run in a wheel ad infinitum? And as for not needing the UCI, is he being serious? Who would try to control and implement a drug testing program? Maybe that's the real reason the pro pack want rid of the UCI; let the pros have their way and the REFC would be exonerating drugs cheats left, right and centre.

peloton can't see how from the Armstrong era, the Tour De France has pretty much become a tedious procession. Think of the greats of the past, Anquetil, Mercx, Hinault, Indurain never had radios, never needed telling of a roundabout up ahead, didn't need telling how to ride their races. Lets actually agree with the UCI for once, and get behind this decision to make racing more honest and enjoyable. 

On a final note, why cant the Johan Bruyneels and Robbie Hunters of the radio debate be so vociferous against doping? That's the real issue concerning professional bike racing that we all want eradicating from our sport. Race radios, compared to doping, is small dollar, but again its us, the paying punter and bike race loving cyclist who is being short changed.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Ricardo Blood Brother Ricco

So, after claiming he could win the Giro clean, he has now admitted to doctors in Italy that a dodgy self administered blood transfusion caused him to become critically ill at the weekend. FFS. We're not sure how much more we can take of Ricco here at the wagon. Well, we are sure, and if we were presidents of the UCI we'd have his achillies tendons shaved off, fried up and fed to Contador (since he himself is off the steak)

This is another fine mess Ricco has bought onto procycling. When will those who know in the peloton start pointing fingers and passing names on to people who care, like the police. It seems the UCI pretend to give a damn, but for a governing body of an incredibly popular sport then they just are not doing enough. Maybe the ASO, who also have rather a lot of clout in the pro cycling world can take a stand by booting out Vacansoleil from the tour and letting Geox, the sad faced Spanaird Sastre and Menchov have a go instead? Either way, for the time being this 'scandal' (though when looking at Riccos past form it isnt really all that surprising)  will only help tarninsh our blackened sport's reputation further. 

This is what we here at the wagon would like to see:
  • Ricco arrested and jailed, and forced into sharing a cell with a sex starved gay pornstar with a penchant for dropping soap. In jail he somehow gets such severe injuries he can never sit on a bike seat again.
  • Ricco banned from anything to do with cycling for life. No more racing, no commentating, nothing.
  • Ricco gives authorities the full list of people helping him to carry out his transfusion program. Clearly not acting alone in this, so lets get all thoe involved booted out of sport and into jail NOW.
  • Ricco is never ever ever given any more time in news stories regarding cycling. And dies.
The late great Aldo Sassi must be turning in his grave.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Floyd the barber

Floyd has been busy again this week. Quitting cycling and then calling for legalized, controlled doping as he seems to think cycling will never be clean, ever. We here at the Wagon like our riders to be racing sober and like our orange juice: free from artificial enhancements. We all know the Floyd story, and his protestations of innocence for years afterwards, which quite rightly has left him with "zero credibility". But we also know that Floyd was a pro cyclist from '99-'06, including being on the same squad as Armstrong. So he knows the finer details of doping, how it gets done and who did it. So why are we not to believe him? He might well be bitter but then he has the right to, if he is telling the truth about Armstrong. Whose yellow bands do we wear? That's right, they don't have any Landis wordplay on them, do they? We'd be pissed if we got caught doing something once that someone else did 7 times consecutively and was almost beatified along the way.

Stronger than Landis' allegations is the confession of another former pro, Bernard Kohl.He himself was caught after finishing 3rd in the 2008 Tdf, and has since quit professional cycling. Hearing him talk with honesty and without malice, it seems we should be very worried about the professional peloton, even now. Kohl admitted he was doping and passing the drug testing controls, this isn't shocking but it is disappointing that cheats cannot be caught and punished. Kohl claimed that the TDF "wasn't winnable without doping" and that he passed "99 out of 100" drugs tests before getting caught. Now that does sober us up. We've been trying to think about ways to beat doping in cycling, and this is our best pitch:

Why doesn't the UCI have a doping amnesty for riders willing to admit to doping? Not just an amnesty, but set up a prize fund too, for information leading to prosecutions and imprisonments for those who facilitate the dirty deeds. In terms of an amnesty we'd like to see riders coming clean, and with that would come no ban providing they signed some form of contract promising never to dope again. If they did dope again (detected by more rigorous hair, blood and urine testing as per the just signed contract) then a lifetime ban from racing and a lifetime ban from being involved in the professional organisation of the sport in any way. We'd like to see public floggings too, but we won't. If doping is as endemic as it seems, this could seriously help restore faith public faith in racing once again. Not only public, but faith from those people like us who love the sport and pay our monies to watch the racing and wear the jerseys of our heroes. This would give our heroes the chance to clean up the sport once and for all. We only this weeks have had more suspicions aroused by a DS referring a rider to a doctor with links to doping (who also worked for the US Postal team, LA era.

Going back to Armstrong. Again, it is well documented about how people have tried taking him to court in the past and how thus far he has always managed to come out intact, but mainly through out of court settlements binding the none Armstrong legal team from commenting on anything regarding the case , which doesn't do much in allaying suspicions of Armstrong guilt, and if anyone has the money and legal team to win court cases, it is Armstrong (and of course OJ Simpson)

Currently we await the outcome of Contrador's sanctioning by the Spanish Cycling Federation. We acknowledge the traces of clenbuterol were incredibly minute, but what about the reports of plasticizers, possibly from blood transfusions, being present too? You also probably know there isn't yet an approved test for these things, but now there are samples of the blood and urine in a lab somewhere so when the test is approved then guilt or not may be proven. But they we have another pitfall of loving cycle racing. We cheer the winners and respect their achievements only to be slapped in the face months or years down the line when the cheating is discovered. Anger, frustration, and maybe disbelief but not any longer. Its coming to be expected. If Armstrong and Alberto are proven as doping cheats, that leaves us with possibility that 9 out of the last 11 tours having been 'won' by riders using illegal substances. Maybe its time to listen to Floyd just one more time?

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Sky's the limit for Goss; Meyer just about makes it.

We sit here, hung over and tired, corrected. Goss didn't clinch the TDU overall victory after being beaten to the line for stage 6 by Sky's Ben Swift and Greg Henderson. This gave the title to Cameron Mayer by a 2 second margin, but Goss didn't finish off bare-backed, he still attained the sprinters jersey.

Congratulations to Cammy Meyer and his team for this first pro tour race victory of the season, and for also sacking Matt White for acting against team rules regarding sending riders to unapproved (by the team) doctors. The incident took place almost two years ago so we're not sure why it took so long for action to be taken now; we think there will be more to this story very soon.

The TDU produced Australian winners for each category with the greedy Meyer of Garmin getting both overall and young riders jerseys, Goss of HTC getting the sprinters points jersey and Luke Roberts of UNI SA taking the king of the mountains. Congratulations boys on giving us an exciting start to the season.

Special mentions to Cav for coming home last in the lanterne rougue position, no dummies were spat and he finished almost 34 minutes back. Maybe he only races for green jerseys? We don't think you'd like him when he's angry

Greipel didn't manage to retain his title, or even win a single stage. Were hoping here at Wagon towers he is just settling into his new team and his legs are still a bit rusty. Because if his sprinting form thus far is anything to go by, Cave still won't have much serious competition this season.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Tour Down Under Catch Up...Bring on Stage 6!

Stage 4: Camerom Mayer may, er, win the tour, having taken the stage 4 as the 6 man break away managed keep the peloton behind them to the line."It's a little bit of a shock I guess to pull off a stage in the Tour, it's obviously renowned for the sprinters. It's a shock to have the jersey, but I'm thrilled", said Mayer. We think having to wear such an abominate item of clothing would shock us too.

Stage 5: Well well well. Cavendish is occupying the Lanterne Rouge spot again and we can only assume it is so he can expend some saved energy helping Goss win the race tomorrow. Before the race, the Tour Down Under was described as being pancake flat and suitable for the sprinters. Has Cav been having more cavity work done this season, or is it just his legs still coming out of hibernation? Hopefully the latter. We'd better not write him off just yet, like people did last season. We have faith 2011 will be his best yet. Lets just hope he is successful and gets tested positive for something, like a sparkling personality. That would make Cav the complete package.

Going into tomorrows final stage, a 90km race; 20 laps of a 4.5mk circuit, the race is perfectly poised for a thrilling finish. The top 6 riders are seperated by only 18 seconds, but our money is on Matt Goss. With the lead out train of HTC then winning the stage, and the race looks highly likely, especially given the 10 second bonus for winning and the intermediate bonus sprints will be highly important too. But we look forward to seeing how it goes. Hopefully this race is a sign of things to come this year, the racing has been excellent so far. But we suspect cycling will feature in the news much more prominently due to off the road investigations. Thanks Jeff.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Sports Illustrated vs Lance Armstrong, Floyd vs Floyd.

Where do we start? How about you read the full article to be published in Sports Illustrated on the 24th Jan HERE. Unless you've been hiding under Cadel Evans chin chances are you're already au fait with what it says anyway.

You know here at the Wagon we take a very dim view of doping in cycling (and other sports) and we also admire Lance for his remarkable TDF successes; we don't think there is anyone not aware of his cancer beating and conquering past and future quests, and how 28 million people now wear a yellow rubber band at the bottom of their arms. So to the article.

Landis, my oh my. Yet more accusations and lawsuits. The man who had everything and who now has nothing. At all. No friends in cycling, no wife whose shoulders must have been sodden by his tears of regret (for getting caught, and before she left him, obviously) no credibility, not many more loose screws to fall out of his head. We've talked about him before so we'll try not to bore you, or us, with too much more about him, but unfortunately it is relevant. Lets have a quote from SI:

After Armstrong's cancer diagnosis, former teammates say, even Ferrari questioned his methods. "I remember when we were on a training ride in 2002, Lance told me that Ferrari had been paranoid that he had helped cause the cancer and became more conservative after that," says Landis.

Hang on a minute, Roid. Are you saying that Lance gave himself testicular cancer, that almost killed him, by taking too many banned substances? That is beyond the pale, really. Just imagine that. LA, heralded as the man who beat cancer before going on to conquer the TDF, gave himself the disease because he was cheating at the sport he went on to rule. This is more ridiculous than the plot of Inception. Roid needs serious help. It is obvious to any sane person that anything that comes out of his arse mouth holds less credibility than the chances of the Ricco family medicine cabinet only holding paracetamol.

Elsewhere in the article it is alleged that Lance took HemAssist, an EPO like blood booster but without the blood thickening EPO causes. This is a drug that was under research and never produced commercially. Why wasn't it released to the world? Because it failed in its purpose of helping people who needed transfusions. So how could Lance take this? It is feasible he took it, but who knows if it had a marked effect on his performance? Maybe this drug has the PowerBand placebo effect. Whilst we here like to believe LA is innocent until proven guilty, it isn't beyond our capabilities to see how he might have been taking substances to aid his pedalling that he shouldn't have taken. Drugs testing is all well and good when you know what to look for, but it unless you know what to test for then its also pretty useless.

Another point worth talking about is the list of banned substances allegedly spoken of to two doctors by LA, in a room with quite a few people in it. If this really happened, as the Andreus claimed under oath, then why not find the doctors who LA told and ask them about it? Check the medical notes. We know there are issues with patient confidentiality but if LA is innocent then lets see the evidence to support that too.

We here at the Wagon realise that with the amassing volume of dirt being flung LA's direction, it is unlikely the great unwashed will ever really understand the sport we love. To most, cycling is and always will be sullied by crimes committed and alleged in the past. And then we have the vultures, who love to see a hero downed. If LA is found to have taken illegal substances then many people will smugly proclaim they knew it all along, blah. If he is found innocent of all allegations against him, we think he'll never be quite able to wipe all that dirt off his impervious Texan face. Shame.