Archive | February, 2007

More Races Like Het Volk, ToC Means Less UCI, ASO and Carmichael.

28 Feb

Reason #426 I’m looking forward to to Het Volk: it’s neither a ProTour event, nor owned by Grand-Tour organizers ASO, RCS or Unipublic (henceforth referred to on Cyclocosm as The Cartel), and thus provides a much needed reprieve deLaclosian squabble raging between those two camps. After months of posturing, threats and fruitless negotiation, the fact remains that no one has any clue exactly what’s going on.

Eurosport says at least six teams plan to defy a recent UCI ruling and attend Paris-Nice. Cyclingnews claims no one’s doing anything until a meeting of team managers on Saturday. But so long as events like Het Volk provide fierce competition and a top-level field, my frustration doesn’t come from a lack of clear informtation on this debate; instead, it stems from the fact that, like 100% of the people in cycling not named Pat, Christian or Jean-Marie, I just don’t care.

America is still abuzz from the Tour of California. Record attendances, the best racing of the year thus far, and tifosi spirit, thousands of miles away from the fat, old white guys that run this sport, suggest to me that cycling would benefit immensely from more high-profile racing on this side of the pond. After all, one of the major reasons for the creation of the ProTour was to advance the profile of non-TdF bike races, but after only two years, the ToC is already bigger than many ProTour events. One could make similar claims for the antipodean Tour Down Under and Tour de Georgia.

I’m not saying America, or anywhere else in the world, will be a magic bullet land of milk and honey for the sport. After all, Het Volk’s a great, idiocy-free race, and it takes place in Flanders, the heart of cycling’s establishment. And Last year’s drug testing gaffe at the ToC would have been a major embarrassment had it broke during or shortly after the race. And, as I have long maintained, the American media still has a ways to go (“supercharge” is one word, and what exactly does that have to do with bike racing?), though I feel like once more people take an interest, the wheat will be separated from the chaff.

At any rate, I’d take a bumbling reporter or two over administrators and organizers seemingly bent on their own destruction any day of the week.

I'm Back, Ullrich Retires, Het Volk Looms

27 Feb

Yes, I’m back! Check out the FAQ to see what’s new!

My return comes just in time to see one of the greats hang up his bike forever. Often criticized for off-season indolence and questionable tactics, Jan Ullrich’s legacy seems already cast as soft-bellied foil to his hard-nosed nemesis, Lance Armstrong. Though we at Cyclocosm regret the departure of one of our favorite pincushions, we hope that his disgraceful railroading serves to open the eyes of the anti-doping world to its excesses, particularly in Ullrich’s home country.

Of course, the loss of cycling’s most curiously purple lips was not the event that precipitated my return. It was, rather, the glorious Belgian season opener Het Volk. Philippe Gilbert returns to defend his ’06 title, but after a lackluster season, seems hardly a favorite. Perennial short-odds man Tom Boonen has been hot so far, but so have his teammates, both former and current. The premilinary start list can be printed from here, and I suggest slapping it on a dart board to pick the winner. Just be sure to cross Hincapie off first.

WordPress for Make Benefit Glorious Cyclocosm

7 Feb

Yes, it’s true: I’ve been skimping on the posting lately. But it’s not my fault! You try porting 400+ posts from evil New Blogger to less evil but far more finicky WordPress. Compound those difficulties with the fact that Cyclocosm isn’t even hosted on my own webspace and that I know frick-all about SQL, then add to that the effort of coding a new CSS template and parsing the aforementioned 400+ posts into categories. And I’m stuck on my tail in a cube 40 hours a week. How does the rest of the universe find time for 4+ hour base rides?

Anyway, I’ve missed much worth addressing. Quick.Step failed to win every stage at the Tour of Qatar because Wilfried Cretskens was too pathetically weak to escape from his breakaway in the final kilometer of Stage 5. What a whimp. Sure, he kinda attoned for it by taking the overall, but c’mon – he made the rest of the team look foolish. Still, it could be worse: he could be Graeme Brown.

Meanwhile, the European road season got off to a predictably rocky start. The government of the Western European Psuedocommunist Spendocracy (better known as France) reiterated their complete ignorance of the sponsorship system by railroading poor old into wearing these monstrosities. Nevermind that FDJ has been using the peloton to sell French gambling addicts worthless lottery stubs for nearly a decade – no foreign gambling ads allowed. No matter, Unibet still took the win and, adding insult to injury, used a Brit to do it. It was also a big day for another anglophone, but in a very different way.