Opening the season right: by putting entirely too much effort into a video for a not-especially-interesting bike race. That said, who isn’t glad for some serious news relating to actually racing bikes instead of throwing lawyers around? And a good fight from some names a few steps below the marquee is always nice to see.
It’s nice to have a rest day so early in this years’ Giro d’Italia, because it makes for less footage and fewer competing stories for the grueling stage race HTRWW. The tenuous creative thread running this latest piece is all over the place—linguistic, geographic, and historical anachronisms abound—but I’m too exhausted to care.
I’d love to go into super-detail arguing about Ferrari’s sprint, and how 1) moves like that happen a lot and 2) when they do go wrong, relegation is invariably the sanction, but there really isn’t much point. Take out two of the most popular riders in the English-speaking world in front of an audience that generally sees bunch sprints in slick 8-second clips (as opposed to watching the whole run-in), and people will be calling for your head on the internet. And it’s just not worth arguing details with the fanatics.
Brad Wiggins’ performance earlier this week in the first stage of the Tour of Romandie was a rare treat for the modern cycling fan: a real Grand Tour contender duking it and taking the win in a bunch sprint.
It wasn’t in a Grand Tour, of course, and it took a couple pretty serious climbs to thin out the field, but still—watching Wiggins reach back to his trackie days to hold Liquigas’ leadout, jump from the cheap seats, and even gamely extend his twiggy little elbows in the final meters was pretty damn cool:
The last time I saw something like this, it was 2004 and the biggest race in the US was a mid-April appointment in Georgia. Taking advantage of a field thinned by some late climbs, and leaning on his unique ability to lay down power at a high cadence, Lance Armstrong made a late surge in a fast, downhill sprint. Hate the Texan all you want, but respect the skills and instinct—rest day refills almost certainly didn’t help him here:
A little later than I like to be on these sorts of things, but what can I say–with a new corporate sponsor on board, there’s bound to be a little meddling in editorial. Also, some of you might also have noticed that I was moving around a little bit during the event itself.
And with that, the spring is officially over. Trends that struck me across my many bleary-eyed hours of watching, re-watching, writing and editing were (aside from the obvious) the emergence of Europecar as race-makers and champions, and the sound and fury that BMC put into controlling large sections of Amstel and Liege to come away grasping and feathers in the finale.
Another new course this spring, though certainly nothing on par with Flanders’ change-up. Despite the re-worked parcours, this one unfolded sleepily, feeling at points like a Tour de France sprint stage. But comic relief at the back, some lively riding as the break wore down and an attack from a very surprising source set the stage for a fantastic finale.
Tom Boonen powers away to win number four in an historic display of strength and commitment. The only thing to feel bad about was that we didn’t get to see Fabian Cancellara shoot it out with him. Of course, had Cance been at the start line, Omega Pharma would have doubtlessly played their cards a little differently—but no matter. Enjoy the latest How The Race Was Won video, tentatively titled “Our Cobbles, Ourselves”; it’s a bit of a creative turn, but hopefully enjoyable none the less.
You might get another one of these this year. You also might not. The way I made this was by not sleeping last night and that’s not really sustainable. Or pleasant. Consider it a reminder of how well I can do this sort of thing now that others seem to think it’s a worthwhile idea.
If you’d be interested in bankrolling the production of similar videos in exchange for promotional consideration, I am all ears.
Anyone else out there tired of talking about doping? How about taking a look at a few races contested by the type of rider who apparently never needs to dope? I’ve been out of town for the past two weeks, but am finally catching up on the late-season classics, and so (turning a blind eye to Danilo Hondo’s fairly significant role), here’s a How The Race Was Won on Paris-Tours 2010.
This isn’t my best work, but considering the source material—audio from the Nike US Postal documentary The Road To Paris, an old RadioShack mobile phone ad from 1990, and a brief clip from Floyd Landis’ Nighline interview—it’s not too awful.
I’d hoped to scrape some more goodies from The Lance Chronicles, but Floyd and the radios just don’t come up all that much.
Some blame should also go to @mmmaiko for coming up with the idea (kinda).
Obviously I couldn’t keep off this one—not the way the Internet exploded following Renshaw’s ejection. It wasn’t entirely an otherwise unremarkable stage, but most of this focuses on the final few meters.
[Contains, in order of appearance, footage from Eurosport, Versus and NOS, and still photos from Graham Watson, Pascal Pavan, Eric Gaillard, Lauren Rebours and Fotoreporter Sirotti.]
I said almost immediately—and have the audio to prove it—that I thought Renshaw would get relegated for closing the gate, but I think the race jury wanted some way of punishing Cavendish for the actions of his leadout man, and so bumped Renshaw from the race. The Aussie’s been fantastic all Tour long—it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out without him.