Lockdown and Tier 3 woes

I am desperate to keep this post relevant to non UK and Fenland readers. I also don’t want politics to play a part on my website.

So let’s just say that its not great that my particular part of the country is going to be classed as high risk and Tier 3 in the latest government rules.

For me it feels like an appropriate time to have another month or so on the turbo rather than out on the roads. Even though exercise is permitted, I want to set an example to my kids and exercise at home.

It’s really annoying and was mentally taxing to spend a month on Tacx before, but let’s just get on with it and get through this the best way that we can.

Stay safe.

Videos released highlighting Grand Tour struggles…

The three grand tours this summer/autumn/winter were very different in a host of ways.

The timing was one thing, the readiness and sharpness of the riders was another. Lots of pundits and experts were even confused by the shadows and lighting with the usual bright yellow sun and fields of sunflower for the Tour de France long since having gone over ahead of the changing colours of the leaves.

Some of the worlds biggest teams have been taking to YouTube to diarise what their experiences were and in the name of research (and to avoid watching Strictly Come Dancing at the weekend) I have studied most of them and come up with a shortlist of one film per race.

First up is the Tour de France through the eyes of the Deceuninck QuickStep team.

This was an interesting film as it covered the fast start of Julian Alaphillippe before moving on to cover the stage and green jersey winning powers of Sam Bennett.

It’s well shot and tells the story in stages, although it does miss out bits and pieces from when Alaphillippe lost a lot of time in the GC battle.

The EF gone racing series by the popular hipsters team in association with kit sponsor Rapha is seen as the benchmark of this type of fly on the wall documentary and this one is no different.

The best one they ever made was Lachlan Morton riding the GB duro gravel race and this isn’t as good. But it is still a decent watch.

The final big race of the year was the Vuelta and it featured a nervous sense that the race might not make Madrid along with some terrible weather.

Like the Tour and the Giro it featured a brilliant battle to see who would win with Primoz Roglic and Richard Carapaz going to the final kilometer of the final climb the day before the finish before we knew for sure.

After his final weekend loss of the Tour de France, the Jumbo/Visma team car is the best place to watch that GC competition play out. It’s safe to say they are nervous, all of which adds to the quality of the film.

All three are a great waste of an evening so make sure you have a watch and enjoy.

British Cycling announces 2021 racing plan

HSBC UK | National Road Series (Men)

Round 1: Klondike Grand Prix, Guisborough (18 April)
Round 2: Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix, Lincoln (9 May)
Round 3: Tour of the Reservoir, Edmundbyers (5 – 6 June)
Round 4: Beaumont Trophy, Stamfordham (4 July)
Round 5: Stockton Cycling Festival Grand Prix, Stockton (18 July)
Round 6: Lancaster Grand Prix, Lancaster (15 August)
Round 7: The Ryedale Grasscrete Grand Prix, Ampleforth (22 August)
Round 8: South of England (TBC)

HSBC UK | National Road Series (Women)

Round 1: Klondike Grand Prix, Guisborough (18 April)
Round 2: Rapha Lincoln Grand Prix, Lincoln (9 May)
Round 3: The Alexandra Tour of the Reservoir, Edmundbyers (5 – 6 June)
Round 4: 5th Women’s CiCLE Classic, Rutland (27 June)
Round 5: Curlew Cup, Stamfordham (4 July)
Round 6: Stockton Cycling Festival Grand Prix, Stockton (18 July)
Round 7: The Ryedale Women’s Grasscrete Grand Prix, Ampleforth (22 August)
Round 8: South of England (TBC)

HSBC UK | National Circuit Series (Men)

Round 1: Property Development Men’s Otley Grand Prix, Otley (30 June)
Round 2: Barnsley Town Centre, Barnsley (9 July)
Round 3: Sheffield Grand Prix, Sheffield (14 July)
Round 4: Fort Vale Colne Grand Prix, Colne (20 July)
Round 5: Midlands, TBC (30 July)

HSBC UK | National Circuit Series (Women)

Round 1: Pincent Masons Women’s Otley Grand Prix, Otley (30 June)
Round 2: Barnsley Town Centre, Barnsley (9 July)
Round 3: Midlands, TBC (30 July)

Read the press release by clicking here.

What a weekend!!! Belgium hits the spot with excitement on both days

Without even touching on the Giro D’Italia starting this weekend saw the best racing of 2020 by far.

Saturday

After a stop start race with a missed day and re-route thanks to the new Netherlands Covid protocol, Mads Pedersen looked to be in a good place to win the Binck-Bank Tour.

However with 2 full and 1 partial ascent of the fearsome Muur to go (see my attempt below!) Mathieu Van der Poel took flight.

The Dutch champion was a bit more rapid over the 17% cobbles than I was and soloed away.

A select group of chasers formed behind but still VdP pressed on getting all of the maximum bonus seconds in the golden kilometer, an innovation that this race has stuck with over the years.

Soren Kragh Andersen got himself in prime position to win the race overall but only if Van der Poel was caught.

As the race headed in Geraardsbergen for the final time and a finish just above the market square it was clear that wasn’t going to happen and the boy wonder hung on for the final metres and took the overall race win along with the stage.

It was a really exciting finish and shows that wind, rain and cobbles makes for the best racing. Full Stop.

Sunday

After Marc Hirschi winning Fleche Walloone in the week the man of the summer (c) was part of the key break in Liege-Bastogne-Liege.

So much happened though that I had to make notes and here they are showing my disbelief as the race unfolded.

  • Not too far after halfway a crash takes out Greg Van Avermaet, he looks badly injured. Maybe no Flanders? The likes of Sep Vanmarkce and GvA won’t ever win it.
  • La Redoute is the big climb of the race but its fairly neutral with Quick Step setting the pace.
  • Julian Alaphillippe crashes.
  • Alaphillippe attacks on the Roche aux Faucons climb. Only Michal Kwiatkowski, Hircshi, Primoz Roglic and Tadej Pogacar can go with him.
  • Van der Poel is leading the chase behind… he couldn’t get across could he?
  • Kwiatkowski is dropped.
  • Into the last KM and they are playing a few games with each other. Matej Mohoric is flying across from the group behind.
  • Mohoric goes past and opens up the sprint. Alaphillippe and Hirschi collide and the Swiss pulls his foot out ending his chances.
  • Alaphillippe throws his hands in the air but Roglic goes past him to win!!!
  • Van der Poel wins the bunch sprint for 5th.

First up, I am sure some of you will be surprised that there are notes written ahead of blog posts!

Secondly, it was a terrible mistake by Alaphillippe in sight of the line but with him relegated for his wonky sprint into Hirschi it didn’t affect the outcome of the race as Roglic would have won anyway.

Thirdly, after the manner of his defeat in the Tour de France, no-one could begrudge Primoz his win in this race and I have to admit that despite having nothing against Alaphillippe I did punch the air and cheer when it was clear the Slovenian had got the win.

Right Flemish semi classics this coming week… beat that!

Tour ’20 – Stages 16&17 – Kamna fulfills the promise whilst Superman flies

After a quiet few days at the start of last week, the Tour de France has been really exciting at the start of this culminating in yesterdays stage finish at the top of a new purpose built cycleway in the sky.

The two alpine stages have been going over new ground and exploring, whilst retaining the tradition of scenary and toughness that makes them the best part of the race (for me at least).

The first of the most recent two stages saw Egan Bernal dropped again before abandoning and Jumbo taking the opportunity to let breakaways go.

In fact the Tour de France 2020 has become the year of the lone winner with the likes of Marc Hirschi, Soren Kragh Andersen, Lennard Kamna and now Miguel Angel Lopez.

Kamna was part of a stage 16 breakaway that included Richard Caparaz and Julian Alaphillippe before he gave the Ecuadorian a fake suffer face and then attacked him.

Villard de Lans will always be about 1989 and Laurent Fignon for me so it was a real trip down memory lane for the race to finish their again.

Kamna was a worthy winner to honour that history pulling away on downhill, flatlands and climbs to make sure he won.

Carapaz and Alaphillippe looked to get over the disappointment by being in the next days breakaway on stage 17 only to be caught by the GC battle.

Meribel put on its finest display for the race arriving and as the Bahrain led peloton sped through the town to get tot the new finish at Col de la Loze it felt like we had the real race back again. For a few minutes there were cheering fans and despite their masks it was a brief moment where covid wasn’t on my mind.

The new bike path looked amazing despite its fluctuating gradient and it had the desired effect on breaking up the GC leaders including Bahrains leader Mikel Landa meaning all their work was not rewarded.

‘Superman’ Lopez got away and behind him the likes of Richie Porte and Rigoberto Uran started to fade.

Then it was the leaders turn with Primoz Roglic putting some daylight between him and Tadej Pogacar as the road got over 20% in steepness.

However Pogacar wasn’t gone for good and he battled back to limit his losses to 15 seconds meaning he is 57 down now against the yellow jersey.

This race is most definitely not done and I am enjoying every minute of it. Let’s see what today brings.

Virtual club 10 mile tt

Jeez that hurt.

I am not that into tss and other measures nowadays but tonight’s riding was up there.

If only the vines were fuller I’d be out of the sun.

For authenticity I created a virtual ride from home to the start om Tacx as well as our regular club 10 course.

So despite the heat and limited shade on the patio I was off to Helpston Heath before taking the start, the virtual start.

Ufford Hill is the bane of my life !

I started off ok but after the climb in the middle i dont mind admitting I was hanging on for dear life.

Happy with the time

The numbers were good but this isnt the real thing however its better than sitting on the sofa watching tv.

So far I haven’t been out on my bike too much during the UK lockdown and I might post my thoughts on that tomorrow.

Tired and hot… the ten is over

In the meantime I am off to get pizza and relax!