So it’s mid January. I had been, throughout my previous half-decade of running this blog, under the impression that this time of year was the “off season”. But apparently this opinion is not shared by a cabal of very old, very white men in Aigle, Switzerland.
Yes, while all reasonable cyclists are just digging out the trainer/building base Jens Factor-style, a few select sprinters—actually, just Andre Gripel so far—are profiting immensely from the UCI ProTour’s attempt to outflank the owners of the biggest bike races on Earth.
I’ve seen 1:45 of Versus’ highlights (they don’t have Stage 2 posted yet), and all I can really say is that final run into the line seemed to have a bit of a hill on it. Andre Griepel, for being a giant sack of hamburger, seemed to shoot up it pretty quickly. Willunga Hill might be too much for him, but if he figures out how to ride cobblestones (he can’t yet, can he?) this could be an exciting spring.
Observations beyond that: Footon-Servetto kits don’t look so awful when the riders are actually moving on the bike; it’s going to be a very red peloton this year and (thanks, Chris!) Lance Armstrong seems to have misplaced his rainbow stripes.
thoughts on “Wait—There's A ProTour Race? In January?”
Red is the new Blue. And Lance hasn’t worn the rainbow stripes since 2003(?) no surprise they’re missing this year. https://grahamwatson.com/gw/imagedocs.nsf/images/04tourSt3/$file/9.jpg
I suspect the abscence of rainbow stripes is to maximise the exposure of the yellow Livestrong band on the sleeve…given LA’s comeback is primarily to promote cancer awareness.
As someone who lives in Adelaide, the TDU stages are anything but flat. Unfortunately the organisers will only hold stage finishes in town centres, meaning there is enough road between the last climbs of the day and the finish line for the bunch to regroup. Hence the sprint finishes.
We have plenty of steep climbs, but not of the length required to really shatter a pro peleton.
he had them last year at astana.
maybe more mind games with Bert?
Cosmo, quite a cynical tone. But seems to betray northern-centric focus. We have a season down under as well, you know! Can’t blame Switzerland for Aus being in summer right now.
(Apologies. I get frustrated when Euro/US pieces read all over the world assume all seasons are the same.)
@Chris L, I understand the seasonal problem. I don’t mean it to be entirely cynical of my assesment of the TDU’s ProTour status. The even certainly deserves consideration purely on its merits, but I just wanted to highlight some other motivating factors in the UCI’s decision.
My focus does tend to be on the Northern Hemisphere, both because I live there and because its where the overwhelming majority of cycling events take place.
I’ve got a little treat set up for tomorrow that covers in staggering detail how I rate the importance of various cycling races around the world…
Can’t blame Switzerland for Aus being in summer right now.