22 July, 2009

WaPo explains cycling teamwork

Nice to see a newspaper make the effort.

A Rough Ride in the Break

Nicholas Roche, Irish National Champ and riding his first Tour, got himself into a break on Stage 14, the one where the Hincapie controversy took place. As a teammate of the yellow jersey, he didn't have to contribute to the escape, so he didn't. And just like other riders who have been in that position, he attacked late in the stage for the win.

What we couldn't hear on the broadcast is the abuse that was heaped his way by some members of the break. While what Roche did wasn't exactly nice, it was more-or-less expected, as that's what typically happens when a teammate of the race leader sits on a breakaway all day.

Jens! Ouch!

Jens Voigt is a popular rider amongst fans, myself included. Chatty, upbeat, and spends hundreds of kilometers off the front in breakaways every year. We enjoy his feats possibly because they seem to be something that mere mortals could achieve.

He's out of the Tour this year. He crashed heavily descending near the end of Stage 16, and the world got to see it live.

Here's The Guardian's story on it. A concussion, lost consciousness for a few minutes, cracked his cheekbone, and lots of road rash. He told his team, and htey released a statement, "I think I was very lucky not getting severely hurt."

What's striking is that he's been vocal about safety in the peloton. He complained about the descent to Prato Nevoso in the 2008 Tour as being too dangerous. He complained about not having race radios on the day they went radio free in 2009. Then he crashes on a road compression that the rest of the race passed over without incident, and he'd probably not even notice if he made another 100 runs down the same road. Terrible luck.

A disoriented Levi Leipheimer Turns up at Bike Shop in Santa Rosa

And the Santa Rosa Press Democrat was there to see it.

"Of course, Leipheimer didn’t become a world-class cyclist by loving the soft touch of a sofa. Cyclists, at least the great ones, find movement compelling, necessary even, and if faced with the absence of action, will spoof on it if only for comic relief."

Page Views up 109% on Versus.com

Wonder if it has to do with their Tour de France content? Free live coverage? Couldn't be.

Sure is. "It has delivered more than 10 million videos through July 19, nearly doubling the 6.5 million videos it delivered last year, and more than tripling its total video delivery count in 2007, Bradshaw said."

here's a quote for cyclists to note, "'Our challenge is for Versus to make a transition from a site that complements the network to a full-service site for cyclists,' said Versus vice president of digital media Neal Scarbrough."

The Human Interest Story Few Have Bothered With

So much ink has been spilled about Lance and cancer, it's crowded out other feel-good, taking lemons and making lemonade pieces related to the Tour.

One such story is that of Garmin-Slipstream's sprinter Tyler Farrar's dad. Dr. Ed Farrar was a cyclist, got his son into cycling, and, was paralyzed when a car hit him riding to work last fall. Paralyzed from the waist down, he can no longer work as a surgeon. But he's working at the hospital and riding his hand-crank bike nearly every day.

Here's the story on ESPN.com.