Tag Archive for pro cycling

Today’s post, in which I party with the Cannondale pros at Paramount, and link to my heart’s content

To be honest, I was wondering what the heck I was doing there.

Not that I was complaining, mind you.

The official rollout of the 2013 Cannondale Pro Cycling team at Paramount Studios last Saturday was a hell of a party.

Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan discuss the team's prospects for this year.

Ivan Basso and Peter Sagan discuss the team’s prospects for this year.

As well as a chance to rub elbows with one of the best cyclists of the last decade, one of the few to give a certain disgraced ex-multiple Tour de France winner a run for his money; as a matter of fact, Ivan Basso is now the top finisher — though not officially the winner — of the 2005 Tour.

Not to mention the rider who could be one of the dominant cyclists of this decade. In fact, while Peter Sagan said his goal for this year was winning one or more of the classics, like Milan-San Remo or the Tour of Flanders, Basso said the young pro is capable of winning every race he enters, and he wouldn’t be surprised to see him win the Tour one day.

And he should know. Or almost, anyway.

Bored Sagan & Bike

Although Sagan seems a little bored with all the high praise.

Although that was something that bothered me a bit. Aside from Baso, the team — which also includes Bicycling magazine columnist Ted King, cycling scion Moreno Moser and rare Japanese pro Nariyuki Masada, who said he was riding to honor his hometown, which was destroyed in the 2011 earthquake and tidal wave — seemed a tad too modest.

Maybe I’m just too used to the brashness of American athletes, who seldom seem to downplay their abilities or ambitions.

Take this quote from Willie Mays, who had the skills to back it up:

“If it comes down, I’m going to catch it.”

Like the saying goes, it’s not bragging if you can do it.

I would have liked to have seen more of that confidence from the men on the stage. But maybe their quiet modesty belies bigger goals than they cared to admit.

At the very least, with Basso and Sagan on the team, they’ll always be entertaining. And have a legitimate shot at victory in every stage.

Cannondale Supersix Evo Hi-Mod Team

Want. Period.

And they’ll ride some very cool bikes.

On the other hand, I found myself surrounded by real reporters from the industry’s top publications — not that I knew who anyone was, since no one had name tags.

But the people with camera lenses longer than my, uh, arm seemed to know what they were doing, while I did my best snapping a few photos with my phone and an ancient first-generation digital camera.

Why they thought the author of this humble blog belonged there with the real professionals is beyond me. And no, I’m not being modest.

But as long as someone wants to invite me hang out with people like that — let alone ply me with free food and beer — I’m there.

And I’ll feel a little personal connection when I see the team roll past at the Amgen Tour of California this year.

Maybe Sagan will even top last year’s success of four stage wins in a row.

And maybe, just maybe, the young riders on this team will help us move past the disgrace and disappointment brought on by other riders this past year.

………

Speaking of our disgraced former Tour winner, Lance apologizes to the Livestrong staff, without offering a confession. An Aussie paper insists a Lance confession would challenge pro cycling’s credibility, which presupposes it has much to begin with. Reports are Lance confessed to doping after a full decade of denials in a two-and-a-half-hour interview with Oprah, and will agree to testify against those who facilitated it; the Times says he picked the wrong venue to come clean. The Wall Street Journal says the U.S. Justice Department has decided to join a whistleblower suit allegedly filed by Floyd Landis. The NY Post asks why Lance thought he could get away with it when doping has been common in cycling since the ‘80s, but how is he going to make up for what he did to LeMond?

Meanwhile, Italy relaxes its restrictions on formerly banned cyclists, which could allow Cannondale’s Ivan Basso — who refuses to look back at Lance —  to compete in the world championships on his home turf.

And retiring world and Olympic champion Nicole Cooke lets dopers have it with both barrels.

………

The LACBC is looking for volunteers for the Firecracker Ride bike valet and the city’s first Bike Prom next month, as well as the Operation Firefly light distribution program each Wednesday and Thursday.

And in case you missed it, you can still listen to the podcast of LACBC-affiliate chapter Culver City Bicycle Coalition as they host Bike Talk last Saturday, discussing all things bike in Culver City.

………

Huell Howser explains the history of bicycling in Los Angeles. Not surprisingly, that proposed $3 billion street repair bond is put on hold for now; Flying Pigeon calls it a bad bet. Flying Pigeon’s Josef politely takes the author of Pearls Before Swine to task for an admittedly amusing anti-bike cartoon. The Culver City street where an allegedly drunk, distracted driver injured 13 cyclists has been redesigned to be safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Bike, bus or carpool to grand opening of the new Patagonia store in Santa Monica on Thursday, Jan. 24th and get a free raffle ticket. Santa Monica’s Ocean Park Blvd goes green — and not just the bike lanes. Cycling in the South Bay writes beautifully about last week’s memorial ride for bike shop owner Steve Bowen. Long Beach’s Bixby Knolls host a Kidical Mass Tweed Ride this Sunday. No bias here, as a cyclist in Monrovia is accused of sideswiping the driver’s side of a minivan exiting a freeway; both driver and bike rider claim to have had the green light.

Newport Beach follows a deadly 2012 with a commitment to develop a new bicycle master plan. Actually, a more bikable Hwy 101 in Leucadia is a good thing. Meet a future 2020 BMX Olympian from Poway. The Sacramento Bee asks if changes should be made to CEQA so it can’t be used to stop projects like bike lanes. Why doesn’t anyone make bicycling jeans for women? Ripping a page from the LADOT/Street Services playbook, tiny Manteca bizarrely insists a new crosswalk would make a street more dangerous for pedestrians. Healdsburg CA becomes the latest city to consider an L.A.-style cyclist anti-harassment ordinance.

Katie Compton wins the national cyclocross championship once again, and heads the US roster for the world championships. A new petition asks the feds to charge equally for admission to National Parks whether visitors arrive by car or bike. An Oregon woman leads police on a chase after stealing a car, then tries to make her getaway by bike after they use a spike strip. Portland landlords decide the financial advantages of bikeways outweighs the disadvantages of reducing auto capacity. An Arizona rider documents why cyclists often ride to the left of the line. A writer in my hometown says always call it out when you pass; good advice. Once again, a life is saved because a cyclist could see the crashed car that passing motorists couldn’t. Champaign and Urbana IL work on becoming even more bike-friendly. Four century rides team up to form the new Kentucky Century Challenge. A New York AAA spokesperson says if drivers acted as carelessly as cyclists, there’d be carnage on the streets; unlike now, I suppose. Safe Routes to Schools cuts NYC child injuries over 40%. Now that’s chutzpah — when two Philly bike cops take a break, a thief steals their bikes and tries to make his getaway by bus. Be careful when you carry loose objects on your bike; a DC cyclist is killed when an object he was carrying — which turned out to be a barbeque grill — got caught in his spokes. A rider calls a new Florida bike lane a suicide lane, while another says bikes must be more dangerous than guns. A Florida cyclist is killed by a driver fleeing an unrelated hit-and-run.

A Sault Ste. Marie man is arrested for a) driving a vehicle into a deck, b) damaging a vehicle parked in the driveway, and c) throwing a bike at the garage door; I can forgive him the first two. A UK constable says young riders are “dicing with death” by riding ninja after dark. In a bizarre assault, UK teenagers stretch barbed wire across a roadway, which does little harm to motor vehicles — but could have killed a cyclist, motor or otherwise. Even cyclists in rural Scotland can come this close to getting run over, twice. A Dublin man is awarded 20,000 Euros when he’s hit by a car, despite repeatedly falling off his borrowed bike after “enthusiastically celebrating” St. Patrick’s Day. Evidently, bicycling is so powerful it can transform Thailand into a single bike-friendly city. Instead of making the streets safe for cyclists, Adelaide police crack down on riders violating Australia’s helmet laws. A car full of thugs attempts to knock an Australian woman off her bike. An Aussie study concludes that because more men bike, investing more money in bikeways is sexist — but not as sexist as trying to knock a woman off her bike. A writer says make the death of South African Olympic cyclist Burry Stander matter by improving the country’s infrastructure; a foundation has been founded in his name to do just that, while a tiny-hearted driver says don’t exploit his death if it inconveniences motorists.

Finally, a Virginia columnist can’t comprehend why the state needs a law making dooring illegal, while the state’s House Speaker seems to find it funny. Cleveland cyclists contend with crappy bike lanes — in the most literal sense. And if you think it’s been cold in L.A. lately, you were right.

No, really right.

Seriously, say it ain’t so, Floyd

By now, it shouldn’t come as any surprise.

Still, there are those who believed Floyd Landis when he adamantly denied doping during the 2006 Tour de France. And went to bat for him when he started an online Wiki doping defense movement to clear his name before ultimately losing in the Court of Arbitration.

I really wanted to believe him.

But I remember watching him bounce back from an epic bonk in the Tour, only to devastate the field and clinch the Tour the following day. And sitting in front of the TV thinking he had to be on something.

He was.

Yesterday, the Wall Street Journal, of all places, broke the news that Landis had sent a number of emails admitting to doping during the 2006 Tour and much of his riding career.

The lying sack of disgraced rider said that longtime Lance Armstrong coach Johan Bruyneel introduced him to doping techniques such as steroid patches, EPO, blood doping and human growth hormone, beginning when he first started riding for Armstrong’s U.S. Postal Team in 2002. And he accuses Bruyneel of coaching him on how to use them without getting caught.

Maybe he should have paid more attention.

As might be expected after placing the blame on Armstrong’s coach, he also accuses Armstrong and fellow teammate George Hincapie of being complicit in the doping, with the clear implication that Lance was doing it, too.

Not surprisingly, Lance denies everything. Then again, so did Floyd for the past four years.

Landis, who signed with the Bahati Foundation team earlier this year in a comeback attempt, claims that former Phonak team owner Andy Rihs — the team he rode for in 2006, which was disbanded after his disqualification — knowingly picked up the tab for his doping program after he signed with the team.

And he says that he helped current Amgen Tour of California leaders Dave Zabriskie and Levi Leipheimer take EPO before a previous ToC race.

It shouldn’t shock anyone to discover that there is doping in pro cycling. Or that Floyd is every bit as dirty as the authorities claimed.

But seriously. Why do you think they call it dope, Floyd?

………

On a soggy day in Italy, the Giro leaders get caught by a devastating breakaway, possibly killing their chances on the podium. The new leader, Saxo Bank’s Richie Porte, now holds an almost 10 minute lead over former leader Vinokourov, whose best chance to climb back up in the standings might be to give Dr. Christopher Thompson an Italian drivers license.

In the ToC, Landis-accused Dave Zabriskie retains the lead with a slim advantage of just 6 seconds or less over Michael Rogers and co-accused Levi Leipheimer; unless something dramatic happens in the next couple days, it looks like the race will be determined at the Downtown L.A. time trial on Saturday.

The general conclusion is that the coverage on Versus this year has sucked, to put it mildly. Hopefully, they’ll get their act together before Le Tour.

………

Saboteurs attack cyclists in a local Maryland criterium by scattering thumb tacks at various points along the course, resulting in crashes and damaged bikes, with a number of minor injuries and at least one broken bone.

Hopefully, local authorities will recognize the seriousness of the crime and respond appropriately; while bike haters may giggle about it, this is no less a violent assault than the Christopher Thompson case.

………

By the time you read this, it will be too late to grab free food and bike swag on Bike to Work Day. Riders who could make it Downtown on Wednesday had a chance to roll through the streets with a police bike escort. And there’s still a few Bike Week events later in the week.

But has it ever occurred to anyone that people who ride to work ride home, too? Why not make a real day of it next year and set up some of those pit stops in the evening, instead?

Meanwhile, Metro’s The Source, which as done a great job of covering Bike to Work Week, is looking for recommendations for the best blogs that focus on bikes as transportation, rather than recreation. You can find some of my favorites over there on the right; email your suggestions to thesource@metro.net or leave a comment on their Facebook page.

………

L.A. County announces the second round of hearings on the new county bike plan; how about putting some sharrows on PCH? Glendale will invest a $150,000 grant in upgrading bicycle infrastructure; Stephen Box examines the Glendale Police Department’s understanding of their own laws regarding riding on the sidewalk. Bikerowave speaks on Saturday with 7 bike activists talking for 7 minutes each on 7 subjects. Bicycle Fixation considers the proposed 4th Street Bicycle Boulevard and the potholes of L.A. With the publisher in L.A. for a workshop, Tucson Velo looks at the Bikerowave., after discovering our notoriously cracked pavement and lack of infrastructure. I wonder if the ToC podium girls are doping, too. A look at the return on investment for years of bike advocacy. Chicago observes the Ride of Silence, while a Detroit bike blog says the Ride of Silence comes with good intentions but sends the wrong message. A Maryland cyclist gets doored, and police ticket him in the hospital in violation of local laws. In DC, a cop orders a cyclist to use a new bike lane before it’s opened. Dogs and bikes don’t always get along. Ten cents used to get your bike across New York’s Triborough bridge. A look at bicycling in Tokyo. Five motorists go on trial for a roadway dispute that ended in the death of a London cyclist. British cyclists ride to honor Alfred the Great. The Guardian asks why British women are so vulnerable to collisions with big trucks; the conclusion is get away from the curb.

Finally, The League of American Bicyclists announces their ranking of bike-friendly states; California is dropping like a rock (pdf), having fallen from 7th in 2008 to 14th in 2009 to 19th in 2010. Washington leads the list, while Alabama takes up the rear.

Cyclist killed in Orange County, weekend rides, pro doping and a lot of links

A woman in La Habra was killed by a bus while riding her bike across the crosswalk.

Annette Ferrin-Rodgers, 49, was killed at approximately 8:28 pm last night at the intersection of Beach Blvd and La Habra Blvd in La Habra, when a bus turning left onto La Habra from Beach struck her. The driver reported seeing something in the crosswalk, but was unable to stop despite traveling at an estimated 15 to 20 mph.

A mail processing clerk at the Santa Ana USPS processing center, Ferrin-Rodgers was reportedly riding without lights an hour after sunset. Police also stated that riders are required to dismount and walk across a crosswalk. However, that’s only true where riding on the sidewalk in prohibited, since the crosswalk is considered an extension of the sidewalk, or where DOT-conforming signage requires it; according to comments, riding on the sidewalk is legal in that area.

The driver has been tested for drugs and alcohol, as per USDOT guidelines, and will be on administrative leave while the investigation proceeds.

………

C.I.C.L.E.’s Urban Expeditions celebrates Earth Day with the Lorax Ride on Saturday, April 24, beginning at 10 am at Memorial Park in Pasadena.

Sunday the 25th marks the monthly Black kids on bikes – Freedom Ride in South L.A., a fun, medium-paced ride that rolls at 1 pm the last Sunday of each month. If you were at the Streetsblog fundraiser at Eco-Village earlier this month, you saw the premier of the great new StreetsFilm about the Freedom Ride by Ivy London; if not, look for it when it goes online next month.

On the other hand, Will Campbell’s Bike Every Satur(Day) In May rides don’t kick off for another week.

………

Twenty-four-year old pro cyclist Leonardo Grullon was killed in the Domican Republic when he and four other riders were hit by a truck while training for the Pan American Championships.

Lance’s new Team RadioShack takes a hit as Chinese rider Li Fuyu tests positive for Clembuterol. BMC Racing Team’s Thomas Frei is suspended after testing positive for EPO, while BMC riders Alessandro Ballan and Mauro Santambrogio are suspended as part of an ongoing drug probe. Meanwhile, CSF rider Mattia Gavazzi tested positive for cocaine and ex-pro Cristof Kerschbaum faces trial for dealing EPO and other performance enhancing drugs.

In non-doping pro news, the legendary Eddy Merckx is honored with a stamp by his native Belgium on his 65th birthday, while Lance is named the most influential athlete in the U.S.; oddly, Tiger Woods is no longer on the list.

Cyclelicious reports that a movie is in the works about Major Taylor, the nation’s first black athletic superstar and bike hero a century before Lance.

………

A Midnight Ridazz art exhibition opens in Long Beach’s Exhibit [A] Gallery. Metro Chair Ara Najarian says there will be bike lockers and racks at the new Westlake/MacArthur Park development after all; maybe they planned it all along, maybe they’re just responding to Stephen Box unnamed bloggers. A new coalition called Living Streets wants to know what local streets should become Living Streets. Who tickets the Parking Enforcement officers when they’re the ones blocking the bike lane? L.A. Cycle Chic looks at the bikes of Coachella. A road diet, including diagonal parking — and yes, bike lanes — is being considered for Culver Blvd in Playa del Rey. Need a job? Green LA Transportation Working Group is looking for a Living Streets Project Coordinator.

Long Beach celebrates Earth Day with two miles of new bike lanes; L.A. celebrates Earth Day with, uh…. Claremont gets cool new bike racks, I like the multi-colored ones; Claremont Cyclist shares my philosophy of supporting your local bike shop. The new U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame opens Saturday in Davis. A Sonoma cyclist offers drivers a little courtesy and asks for the same in return.

Why do they always talk about unsafe cycling and not unsafe driving? Giant unveils what may be the world’s first female-specific fixie. A Tucson writer suggests banning all cars to make the city’s streets safe for cyclists. Boston Biker discovers the joys of going slow. A look at Emily Kreisa, Denver’s street-smart bike planner, while the Mile High City debuts the nation’s largest bike share program. The presidential motorcade through New York results in the confiscation of countless bikes for fear of bike bombs along the route. A Pennsylvania police officer hits a cyclist while responding to a call; the officer is not suspended. Indiana’s Little 500 bike race — made famous in the best bike movie ever — rolls this weekend; a Kappa Delta sophomore is the third member of her family to compete.

Finally, in case you wondered what the hell the New York Critical Mass cyclist-bashing cop was thinking, it turns out he thought he was the one being assaulted. No, seriously.

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