Mysterious Marc Hirschi

There remains lots of speculation surrounding the late closed season move between DSM and UAE for Swiss all-rounder Marc Hirschi.

As far back as January, Cyclingnews were reporting on the presence of a NDA between his old team and him.

There have been leaked stories to the effect that DSM felt there was a lack of transparency from their former star man and that his relationship with Fabian Cancellara was not the best thing.

Whilst I cannot say specifically what is being alluded to here (as I don’t want suing), its pretty clear that aspertions are being cast against Hirschi.

This is not only tough for the rider themselves (if there is nothing mirky in his alleged lack of transparency), but is also a blow for a sport that is currently hanging its hat on the new generation of riders being different to those that went before them, and in a number of ways.

This is a shame for lovers of the sport who unless the NDA is broken and more details are given will be left watching the guy who lit up last summer with a different and more negative perspective.

I hope there is a way out for both team and rider whereby any ambiguity is cleared up as this stinks and is hanging over his starting racing this season in the Drome next week.

New date for local Gran Fondo

Following extensive consultations with all key stakeholders, event partners, suppliers, and the UCI, the Tour of Cambridgeshire 2021 has been moved to September 24th to 26th 2021. All entries have been automatically transferred to the new event date and remain fully valid, including all optional extras purchased. No further actions need to be taken by participants. Detailed FAQs are available on our website.

In line with the decision-making process outlined in our communications earlier this year (available here), we’ve determined that due to the ongoing COVID19 pandemic, government regulations and pressure on the NHS and wider healthcare system, it will not be possible to safely and responsibly host a mass-participation event with thousands of participants as well as hundreds of staff and suppliers in June of this year.

Last week was bitter sweet for Sweeck

When looking for a contemporary cyclo-cross star back in 2018 to pin my hopes on the Pauwels Sauzen-Bingoal rider Laurens Sweeck fitted the bill.

He was fast, acrobatic, agile and raced at the top tier of the sport taking it to Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert.

The last week has made me love him even more with his strengths in cycling overlaid with the emotion of how real life affects you.

There was everything in the Saturday race at Middelkerke (well actually there was no snow, but we got that Sunday) with the Telenet series win up for grabs.

With Eli Iserbyt, a team mate of Sweeck, in for the win depending in what happened to series leader Toon Aerts there was plenty of drama and excitement crammed in to an hour.

Pauwels Sauzen got three riders clear from the start with Aerts struggling. If Iserbyt could take the win he would take the series.

However he was clearly struggling and the team was stuck in a challenging situation of making sure they won the race as opposed to trying something clever to engineer a win for Eli.

Sweeck managed to slip away almost without effort. It was more that the others made mistakes or dropped back but on the last lap of the race it was clear he was emotional and crying whilst trying to understand from his pit team if he should stop and wait close to a minute for Iserbyt.

As it happened Aerts managed to recover enough to climb the field enough to ensure that he had enough points to take the win.

It was only in the post race press conference that a tearful Sweeck revealed that his Father-in-Law had passed away in the week and he’d wanted to win for him.

Iserbyt was critical of the team work which meant there was a bit of spice, even within the same team ahead of Sundays race in Lille (The one in Belgium).

With a coating of snow on the course it was again Sweeck who flew clear just before half distance enjoying a solo win to banish the bad feeling and emotion of 24 hours before.

It was a majestic win with controlled aggression riding over the icy snow and through a frozen forest.

Probably the best weekend of the season so far with an undercurrent of grief and emotion.

My thoughts are with Laurens and his family at this time.

Decathlon supporting the Friends of Paris Roubaix

There can’t be too many people who love cycling who don’t love Decathlon.

When we were able to travel in Europe I could never pass one without heading in for some sweatbands, a body board or a fleece.

I rode time trials in 2004 and 2005 on one of their road bikes which showed that they might be a chain store but their kit is good.

Whilst browsing in my lunch break today I became drawn to their “Pave Collection” t-shirt.

Decathlon Pave Collection t-shirt £17.99

Anything with any sort of Flemish lion on it finds its way into my basket without any questions asked. This was no different and the deal was sealed even more emphatically with the news that a portion of the sales value of the t-shirt will be donated to the “Friends of Paris-Roubaix“. This will go towards the fantastic work they do to preserve the sectors of cobbles.

With no race in 2020, this money will be even more eagerly anticipated. So get shopping!

Click here.

When mine arrives, I will review it and let you know what I think.

2021 in Beers of Belgium CC

Welcome to 2021 and Beers of Belgium.

I would love to say we have big plans for the page this year but I am not sure the Covid pandemic will allow that.

more in garage cycling…

However, despite all of the challenges we face right now I am determined to enjoy the cycling season and sup some beers doing it.

I hope that will be along for the ride !

GCN 2020 racing review

It’s been epic…

Whilst I am really into the current cyclo cross season, there is still time to reflect on the stop start road season.

GCN have thankfully saved us all the trouble of trawling through loads of highlights by putting it all together in one video which you can enjoy here…

You can also go back an enjoy our end of season top 3 riders podcast here.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the new year.