Photographer Unknown’s ‘Gerrans sprinting to victory to become the first Aussie to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège’ (2014)
Simon Gerrans wins 100th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, after disaster strikes for Dan Martin on final bend

By John MacLeary
Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge clinched the second monument of his career on Sunday after he sprinted to victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège ahead of Alejandro Valverde of Movistar and Omega Pharma-Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski.
The Australian national road race champion took full advantage of the misfortune that befell defending champion Dan Martin after the Garmin-Sharp rider crashed on the final bend of the 263-kilometre run from Liège to Ans in the final Ardennes Classic of the season.
I’m obviously devastated,” Martin said afterwards as reported by CyclingNews.
“It’s one thing to make a mistake or know what you’ve done but we figure that there’s a patch of oil or something. I think I had tears in my eyes before I even hit the floor. There aren’t really words for it. To race for seven hours and for that to happen on the last corner…. it’s poetry.
“I don’t know what was going on behind and I don’t know how close they were but all I know is that I was feeling good and pretty relaxed. I was 250 metres from the finish and the podium was definitely on the cards. Maybe Gerrans would have caught me but there’s no way of knowing. That’s cycling.”
Gerrans, meanwhile, was suitably upbeat after adding La Doyenne to apalmarès that already includes one monument following hio 2012 Milan-Sanremo win.
"It unfolded perfectly for me in the final," the Australian said. "I was well placed and fortunately I had the legs to finish it."
Valverde, who won La Flèche Wallonne midweek with Kwiatkowski completing the podium behind second-placed Martin, failed to get out of Gerrans’s slipstream on the uphill finish in what played out to be a largely disappointing race.
With some 40 riders still bunched together with a few kilometres to go many of the pre-race the favourites played the waiting game until late on.
Martin had just caught up with Giampaolo Caruso of Katusha and looked in prime position for victory when his back wheel slipped away on the final turn. Gerrans and the other leaders swept by and the Australian soon seized the lead he would not relinquish.
"A finish is always unpredictable," said the first Australian to win La Doyenne - cycling’s oldest classic.
After winning the Tour Down Under in January and finishing third last week in the Amstel Gold Race, victory on Sunday pushed Gerrans into second place in the UCI WorldTour rankings with 264 points, trailing leader Alberto Contador, who has 308. Valverde is third with 262 and Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara, who did not race on Sunday, was another two points back.

Photographer Unknown’s ‘Gerrans sprinting to victory to become the first Aussie to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège’ (2014)

Simon Gerrans wins 100th edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, after disaster strikes for Dan Martin on final bend

By John MacLeary

Simon Gerrans of Orica-GreenEdge clinched the second monument of his career on Sunday after he sprinted to victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège ahead of Alejandro Valverde of Movistar and Omega Pharma-Quick-Step’s Michal Kwiatkowski.

The Australian national road race champion took full advantage of the misfortune that befell defending champion Dan Martin after the Garmin-Sharp rider crashed on the final bend of the 263-kilometre run from Liège to Ans in the final Ardennes Classic of the season.

I’m obviously devastated,” Martin said afterwards as reported by CyclingNews.

“It’s one thing to make a mistake or know what you’ve done but we figure that there’s a patch of oil or something. I think I had tears in my eyes before I even hit the floor. There aren’t really words for it. To race for seven hours and for that to happen on the last corner…. it’s poetry.

“I don’t know what was going on behind and I don’t know how close they were but all I know is that I was feeling good and pretty relaxed. I was 250 metres from the finish and the podium was definitely on the cards. Maybe Gerrans would have caught me but there’s no way of knowing. That’s cycling.”

Gerrans, meanwhile, was suitably upbeat after adding La Doyenne to apalmarès that already includes one monument following hio 2012 Milan-Sanremo win.

"It unfolded perfectly for me in the final," the Australian said. "I was well placed and fortunately I had the legs to finish it."

Valverde, who won La Flèche Wallonne midweek with Kwiatkowski completing the podium behind second-placed Martin, failed to get out of Gerrans’s slipstream on the uphill finish in what played out to be a largely disappointing race.

With some 40 riders still bunched together with a few kilometres to go many of the pre-race the favourites played the waiting game until late on.

Martin had just caught up with Giampaolo Caruso of Katusha and looked in prime position for victory when his back wheel slipped away on the final turn. Gerrans and the other leaders swept by and the Australian soon seized the lead he would not relinquish.

"A finish is always unpredictable," said the first Australian to win La Doyenne - cycling’s oldest classic.

After winning the Tour Down Under in January and finishing third last week in the Amstel Gold Race, victory on Sunday pushed Gerrans into second place in the UCI WorldTour rankings with 264 points, trailing leader Alberto Contador, who has 308. Valverde is third with 262 and Swiss rider Fabian Cancellara, who did not race on Sunday, was another two points back.

Anonymous asked:

Can you give some tips to a (very) beginner cyclist?

I would not go so far to say I’m an experienced cyclist; I too am new to the sport. If you’re looking for sagacious old veteran with years of experience, I’m not it.  However, if you’ll settle knowledgeable fan who is au courant with cycling training culture and the sport itself, look no further, I’m your guy.

Now I’m going to assume by ‘beginner cyclist’ you mean you want to get into the sport itself and evolve from someone who just leisurely rides their bike to someone who puts in the miles atop of a road bike saddle.  Assuming I’m right, I’m going advice you to the best of my ability. Here we go.

First things first, if you don’t have one already, you’ll need a road bike. Nothing too expensive. Either a steel or aluminum frame will do. Do not get carbon, it is way too expensive for a beginner. I personally believe carbon should only be used by pros or high level amateur racers looking to become a pro.

Rapha’s nice, but it doesn’t make you go faster.  Wear comfortable and affordable cycling gear. Nothing too fancy. My rule would be don’t invested in designer cycling clothing, such as Rapha, until you’ve done a few hundred kilometer rides.

Learn how to use clipless pedals. It’s a valuable skill, which will vastly improve your pedal technique and overall make riding a lot easier.  I know they are designed for mountain bikers, but I would start off with a pair of SPD’s and once you wear them out, then you can graduate to a 3-hole cleat design, which are specifically made for road bikers.

Eat well. But don’t diet. Rigorous training diets aren’t needed. If you’re trying to lose weight by cycling, the exercise is more important than what you eat. However the best way to lose weight without starving yourself is, eat a big breakfast, a medium lunch and a small dinner, with lots of small healthy snacks in- between.  I try and limit what I eat late at night before I go to bed and fill myself up for the day with a large breakfast in the mornings. Try and hit all the food groups, yet eat what you enjoy. Just remember the golden rule; quality not quantity.

Now as to regards with training, start slow. Cycle to the best of your ability, and if that means only doing 7 mile rides, two or three times a week for a month, do that. The last thing you want to do is push yourself to the point you’re not enjoying yourself anymore.  Set yourself goals, but don’t feel too disappointed if you don’t stick to them, life sometimes gets in the way.  Ride safe, ride at your own pace, and slowly build the miles and I promise you, you will improve.

However, the best advice I can give for training and for any beginner cyclist is a quote stolen from the great Eddy Merckx:

“Ride as much or as little, or as long or as short as you feel. But ride.”

Photographer Unknown’s ‘Sean Kelly had to overcome his team-mates’ rivalry to win a Monuments race’ (1989)
On wining Liège-Bastogne-Liège
The one-day Monuments are tough, long, true tests of any professional cyclist’s mettle. By 1989, Sean Kelly had been world No 1 for five years and had a Grand Tour to his name, having won the Vuelta a España the previous season. But Kelly, who was two seasons without a Monument victory, had joined the Dutch PDM team, knowing that had to change and he might have to be clever to achieve it. This extract from his autobiography, Hunger, describes his first season in the new team.

By Sean Kelly
Dutch cycling had been dominated for years by a fierce rivalry between their two biggest teams, run by two autocratic managers: Superconfex, run by Jan Raas, and Panasonic, run by Peter Post.
This was like Celtic versus Rangers on bikes, although without the religious aspect. Sometimes they were happier to see the other team lose than they were themselves and their rivalry bordered on obsession at times.
So in 1989, by joining PDM, one of the other big Dutch teams, I knew I was stepping into the middle of a very political situation.
At PDM there were already two top Dutch riders – Steven Rooks and Gert-Jan Theunisse – who were like brothers in all but name. They looked out for each other and worked together. They were good guys but I knew I had to keep an eye on them. They expected to be the team leaders and if I worked for them in one race I couldn’t count on them returning the favour in the next.
Jan Gisbers, the team manager, was a nice guy but not strict enough. By the time we got to the last big spring Classic, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, I had still not delivered a victory for my new team.
Gisbers said that my job was to follow the wheels, not attack, and let Rooks and Theunisse make the aggressive moves. Then, if they failed, I’d be fresh for the sprint finish, which was in the centre of Liège in those days.
I wasn’t keen on that idea. I knew if I sat tight while Rooks and Theunisse danced off up the road, my chances of winning would be zero. And if our team missed the decisive move completely, who would end up doing the chasing? Not Rooks and Theunisse for sure. So I decided I had to give them the flick before they had the chance to get into the race. So that is what I did.
About 55 kilometres from the finish, we hit the climbs and the front group still had about 70 in it. A Frenchman called Fabrice Philipot attacked. He was nothing to worry about and not the sort of rider I would ordinarily chase, but I needed any opportunity to get out of that group so I went after him.
Tactically, it was not the smartest move but then Pedro Delgado and, crucially, Phil Anderson came across and suddenly I had my alibi. Anderson rode for TVM, the fourth of the big four Dutch teams, and in the post-race analysis, if Rooks and Theunisse complained I’d been too aggressive, I could now claim I’d been marking Anderson. We could argue all day about who attacked first.
Anyway, as soon as the four of us got clear, I went to the front and rode as hard as I could to open the gap.
I’d turned the tables on Rooks and Theunisse because even if they wanted to attack they couldn’t while I was up the road.
It was touch and go on the run-in to Liège but the four of us worked really well together and stayed away. I was so worried about Anderson in the sprint because the only thing worse than pulling a bit of a fast one on my team-mates would be losing to a rider from another Dutch team. Fortunately I was strong enough to win my second Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and afterwards Gisbers slapped me on the back and told me what a great move it was I’d made.
Rooks and Theunisse were happy enough too, glad that we’d won a big Classic, but they were probably thinking, “Hmmm, we’d better watch the Paddy from now on.”

Photographer Unknown’s ‘Sean Kelly had to overcome his team-mates’ rivalry to win a Monuments race’ (1989)

On wining Liège-Bastogne-Liège

The one-day Monuments are tough, long, true tests of any professional cyclist’s mettle. By 1989, Sean Kelly had been world No 1 for five years and had a Grand Tour to his name, having won the Vuelta a España the previous season. But Kelly, who was two seasons without a Monument victory, had joined the Dutch PDM team, knowing that had to change and he might have to be clever to achieve it. This extract from his autobiography, Hunger, describes his first season in the new team.

By Sean Kelly

Dutch cycling had been dominated for years by a fierce rivalry between their two biggest teams, run by two autocratic managers: Superconfex, run by Jan Raas, and Panasonic, run by Peter Post.

This was like Celtic versus Rangers on bikes, although without the religious aspect. Sometimes they were happier to see the other team lose than they were themselves and their rivalry bordered on obsession at times.

So in 1989, by joining PDM, one of the other big Dutch teams, I knew I was stepping into the middle of a very political situation.

At PDM there were already two top Dutch riders – Steven Rooks and Gert-Jan Theunisse – who were like brothers in all but name. They looked out for each other and worked together. They were good guys but I knew I had to keep an eye on them. They expected to be the team leaders and if I worked for them in one race I couldn’t count on them returning the favour in the next.

Jan Gisbers, the team manager, was a nice guy but not strict enough. By the time we got to the last big spring Classic, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, I had still not delivered a victory for my new team.

Gisbers said that my job was to follow the wheels, not attack, and let Rooks and Theunisse make the aggressive moves. Then, if they failed, I’d be fresh for the sprint finish, which was in the centre of Liège in those days.

I wasn’t keen on that idea. I knew if I sat tight while Rooks and Theunisse danced off up the road, my chances of winning would be zero. And if our team missed the decisive move completely, who would end up doing the chasing? Not Rooks and Theunisse for sure.
So I decided I had to give them the flick before they had the chance to get into the race. So that is what I did.

About 55 kilometres from the finish, we hit the climbs and the front group still had about 70 in it. A Frenchman called Fabrice Philipot attacked. He was nothing to worry about and not the sort of rider I would ordinarily chase, but I needed any opportunity to get out of that group so I went after him.

Tactically, it was not the smartest move but then Pedro Delgado and, crucially, Phil Anderson came across and suddenly I had my alibi. Anderson rode for TVM, the fourth of the big four Dutch teams, and in the post-race analysis, if Rooks and Theunisse complained I’d been too aggressive, I could now claim I’d been marking Anderson. We could argue all day about who attacked first.

Anyway, as soon as the four of us got clear, I went to the front and rode as hard as I could to open the gap.

I’d turned the tables on Rooks and Theunisse because even if they wanted to attack they couldn’t while I was up the road.

It was touch and go on the run-in to Liège but the four of us worked really well together and stayed away. I was so worried about Anderson in the sprint because the only thing worse than pulling a bit of a fast one on my team-mates would be losing to a rider from another Dutch team.
Fortunately I was strong enough to win my second Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and afterwards Gisbers slapped me on the back and told me what a great move it was I’d made.

Rooks and Theunisse were happy enough too, glad that we’d won a big Classic, but they were probably thinking, “Hmmm, we’d better watch the Paddy from now on.”

'Greg LeMond and five-time winner Bernard Hinault battle it out' (1986)
Slaying The Badger, Tribeca Film Festival. 
By John Dower

Before Armstrong, there was Greg LeMond. As the first, and now the only American to win the Tour de France, LeMond looks back at the 1986 Tour during which friend, teammate, and mentor Bernard Hinault—reigning Tour champion and vicious competitor known as “The Badger”—‘promised’ to help LeMond to his first victory. But in a sport that purports teamwork, we see it’s really every man for himself. Hinault has his say, too, along with others involved in the tension, rivalry, physical demand, and (last but not least) the many agendas and politics that make up the Tour. Well-chosen footage complements the candid comments to provide a penetrating look at a sport that never really was innocent.
- Brian Gordon

If you happen to be in NYC they are showing this must see documentary, based on the brilliant book by Richard Moore, at AMC Lowes Village Theater tomorrow night at four. I only can wish I was there.

'Greg LeMond and five-time winner Bernard Hinault battle it out' (1986)

Slaying The Badger, Tribeca Film Festival. 

By John Dower

Before Armstrong, there was Greg LeMond. As the first, and now the only American to win the Tour de France, LeMond looks back at the 1986 Tour during which friend, teammate, and mentor Bernard Hinault—reigning Tour champion and vicious competitor known as “The Badger”—‘promised’ to help LeMond to his first victory. But in a sport that purports teamwork, we see it’s really every man for himself. Hinault has his say, too, along with others involved in the tension, rivalry, physical demand, and (last but not least) the many agendas and politics that make up the Tour. Well-chosen footage complements the candid comments to provide a penetrating look at a sport that never really was innocent.

- Brian Gordon

If you happen to be in NYC they are showing this must see documentary, based on the brilliant book by Richard Moore, at AMC Lowes Village Theater tomorrow night at four. I only can wish I was there.

Crashed

Use caution on the roads this spring if you happen to live in Ontario, more specially my part of Ontario, or even just generally anywhere the municipal government uses a lot of sand on the roads.

I recently experienced my first crash of the season (hopefully my last). Whilst traveling on a slight downhill at quite some speed I made a sharp turn to my left, not paying attention to the large abundance of sand on the corner. Hitting the corner I skidded, lost control and before I knew it I was on the ground, sliding along the sand covered asphalt.

Fortunately, I came away with nothing more than bad road rash. The bike, however, was a tad more damaged.  With the leavers bent and the back wheel busted, it means I’m approximately down three hundred dollars in my savings, savings that was going towards another bike. As frustrated as I may be, I do understand these things happen and really after a crash like that you just have to shrug it off, get your bike fixed and get back on the road.