Posts Tagged ‘Paris-Roubaix’

The DYNAMITE! Five: the month in cycling, remixed. April 2013

April 30, 2013

5 UP John Torode
john torode outside richmond park cafe On a typically busy Saturday morning in Richmond Park, TV culinary arbiter John Torode was spotted parking his stealth-black Condor up against the wall of the famed Roehampton Gate café, where he quietly enjoyed a brew undisturbed by the large number of two-wheeled Masterchef fans milling around. Well done, polite Lycraists! Although it must have been tempting, surely, to congratulate him on doing a few laps of the park’s 6.7-mile loop by adapting his no-nonsense catchphrase and solemnly intoning: “Cycling doesn’t get any tougher than this.”

4 UP Slowing down
Fabian Cancellara, a lap away from besting Sep Vanmarcke to win Paris-Roubaixand he isn’t even ruddy pedalling! Has cycling slowly ever been more exciting? No, it has not. Cat-and-mouse officially beats solo breakaways on The DYNAMITE! Files Thrill-O-Meter. More of this please, professional cyclists!

3 DOWN Slowing down
Pictures from Amstel Gold were annoyingly intermittent this year, leaving the Dutch host broadcaster NOS filling airtime with expensive super-slo-mo shots of various riders – which, as TV expert Alex Murray pointed out, was a pretty ineffective deployment of broadcasting technology. Has slow motion ever been as uninteresting? No, it has not. Less of this please, professional television people!

jonathan vaughters in garmin control room 2 DOWN Jonathan Vaughters
He’s Garmin’s omniscient eye, observing the movements of his riders via the bank of screens in his control room. Sadly, that carefully cultivated image, propagated by the promotional film for the new Edge 810, was revealed to be yet another of cycling’s many lies after Jonathan Vaughters had to locate Nathan Haas with the modern-day equivalent of opening the window, yelling, and hoping for the best. “If anyone is near @NathanPeterHaas,” Vaughters tweeted, “please tell him he just got the last minute call up to do Amstel. And turn on his phone!”

1 UP OAT
What, you may wonder, is OAT? According to Bike Biz, it’s the Office for Active Travel, a soon-to-be-launched government department with a budget of more than £1billion which will aim to get more people cycling and walking. Well done, clever bureaucrats, for choosing a name relating to porridge, the traditional breakfast of British cyclists. Although, as the department will be responsible for moving bodies around, they could have called it the Central Agency for Kinetic Expression – or CAKE for short.

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Blackfriars Galactica: the hole saga

April 15, 2012

You know how it is with punctures: you go for ages without getting any articles on the blighters, then three come along at once. During the past seven days, the Inner Ring has considered a giddy, technology-led future of sealants and tubeless tyres, while London Cyclist kept it old school by revealing that he prefers the age-old method of patching his inner tube at the roadside. And now I, too, have had a visit from the Puncture Fairy – an occurrence which, like the activities of her kinder, more popular cousin the Tooth Fairy, took place in the middle of the night – so it is now my turn to muse on the activities of that mischievous little sprite.

The visitation took place late on Wednesday night when I flatted in the Blackfriars Underpass. This is notable for the simple reason that, thanks to my hardy Continentals, I hardly ever puncture going in to or coming back from town. But when I do, it’s invariably in the frigging Blackfriars Underpass. This has happened three times. Three! Why should this be? Well, the westbound section is sometimes closed at night for maintenance work, so I suspect a small amount of workmen’s detritus is responsible for turning it into my personal puncture blackspot – particularly as the previous flat I had was caused by a nail the size of my index finger which made a terrible CLANKCLANK-CLANKCLANK-CLANKCLANK sound as it spun against the stays.

Which is a shame, because the westbound tunnel is one of my favourite places to ride at night.

It reminds me of the landing bay in the old version of Battlestar Galactica – a coldly welcoming maw of white light waiting in the darkness – and once inside, you’re magically freed from the tyranny of air resistance. It’s an anti-wind tunnel, and no matter how knackered I am, I’m often unable to resist walloping the bike through the flat section with enough gusto to cruise up the short uphill exit.

But the unexpected outcome of the underpass periodically becoming a partial building site and puncture-attracting annoyance is that I’ve discovered an amazing little substitute which reroutes my journey by guiding me north to Queen Victoria Street. It’s called Skinners Lane, and you can find it by going up the wide, shared-use pavement opposite the approach to Southwark Bridge and turning left.

I’m sure there are plenty of narrow streets in London that look like they haven’t been resurfaced since the days when Penny Farthings roamed the land. But a cobbled road that is less likely to cause a puncture than the nearest stretch of tarmac? I think I’ve stumbled upon the Bizarro Paris-Roubaix…

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #3

April 22, 2011

5 DOWN Assos
Despite it’s unhealthy fascination with Fabian Cancellara, The DYNAMITE! Files has never met anyone from Switzerland, so it cannot wholeheartedly vouch for the intelligence of the country’s male inhabitants. Yet this blog is surely not alone in reasoning that Swiss chaps who ride bicycles do not habitually slop dollops of beauty cream on their private areas in the mistaken belief that a cosmetic product sold by a women’s fashion retailer is the same as chamois cream made by a high-end cycle clothing giant, even though the two have near-identical names. So how, then, has Assos managed to ban Asos from using the name in its home country? And to prevent any further confusion, will they drop the terms “knickers” and “tights” from the Assos website? Because those things really aren’t what ladies are looking for when they Google them, fellas. Especially when they’re modelled by a homoerotic mandroid.

4 UP Alberto Contador
The pressures of infamy appeared to have finally got to Alberto Contador on Tuesday when the Clenbuterol swallower was spotted shielding his mouth in a manner not wholly dissimilar to the late Michael Jackson. But let’s not label the poor chap Wacko ‘Berto just yet or concur with the banal explanation that the band of material covering his gob was to help him cope with his hay fever during training, because there is a possibility that El Pistolero was wearing a face mask to take his gun-slinging nickname to the next level. Wardrobe updates to watch out for at his next race: spurs on the heels of his Specialized BGs and a ten-gallon hat glued to his Giro Ionos. Ride ’em, cow-eating boy!

3 UP Sean Kelly
Speaking of bovines, Eurosport’s one-man humour vacuum Sean Kelly broke out of character on Sunday by deploying the wonderful phrase “done for the deep freeze” as a euphemism for the slaughter and dismemberment of a heifer. He was relating the story of how he won a cow in a Belgian crit and plumped for the latter option when the organisers asked if he would like to take it home alive or dead. That unexpectedly humorous anecdote delivered during a lull in the Amstel Gold would be enough for the Irishman to make The DYNAMITE! Five any week of the season, but he also gets an extra tip-o-the-hat for his steadfast refusal to pronounce the word “leopard” in the embarrassingly feigned manner laid out in Team Leopard-Trek’s infamous dictum to the cycling industry. For that one small act of defiance, he can mangle “classement général” and anglicise “Paris-Roubaix” any time he likes.

2 UP Kebabs
Fabian Cancellara’s choice of recovery food on Sunday produced another fascinating entry in the ever-expanding Dictionary of Fablish: a “Vino kebab”. Rumours that rickety carts bearing the legend “Honest Alexander’s Meaty Treats” were seen near the finish line of the Amstel Gold are wholly unfounded. Nevertheless, if you ever ingest a post-pub meal so toxic that you feel it has done something peculiar to your bloodstream, yet the sense of shame forbids you from ever admitting to ingesting it, then at least you now have a wholly appropriate term for the unfortunate foodstuff. Thank you, Fabian!

1 UP Douglas
You may have missed it, but Mark Cavendish won something last week: the Freedom of Douglas. Perusing the brief list of Manxmen who have previously garnered the same award, one can’t help noticing that Sir Winston Churchill and Norman Wisdom are no longer with us, and one of the three Bee Gees has not been Stayin’ Alive since 2003 – so it is a credit to the borough’s council members for bestowing the same honour on a 25-year-old who can raise the area’s profile among the under-50 age bracket. The Manx missile was supposed to have picked up the gong three years ago but his hectic schedule got in the way, so expect him to start exercising his freedom of his hometown sometime after the 2014 Tour de France.

The DYNAMITE! Five: The week in cycling, remixed. Issue #2

April 15, 2011

5 DOWN Universal Sports
Tired of waiting for the sporting authorities to decide whether Alberto Contador is a naughty boy? Then look no further than Universal Sports. According to a trailer, all you need to do is watch its forthcoming coverage of the Giro and the answer will magically reveal itself to you. Coming next on Universal: did a certain footballer really do all that business with a lady of the night? Watch how he kicks a football to somehow work it out.

5 UP Alans
He has suffered many indignities in the course of his long and undistinguished career – and now the present host of Mid-Morning Matters on North Norfolk Digital has been trumped by Alan Titchmarsh on a peculiar set of Allen keys which feature on the mighty Bianchista’s blog. Has the chirpy gardener ever shot a man live on air or put his foot through a spike? Then why, in comparison with Alan Partridge, is Titchmarsh the, er, bigger tool? At least we can all agree it is only right that Tim Allen gets the tiniest key because he’s not British and “Allen” is only his middle name. The fraud.

3 UP Round stays

Following on from the world’s first laser-fused nylon frame and last week’s wooden SRAM-equipped bike from Audi comes another staggering innovation in bicycle technology: two huge rings in place of seat and chain stays. Riding a gigantic Venn diagram has a certain novelty, even though its Canadian inventor Lou Tortola appears to be unwilling – or unable – to guide the thing in a straight line. Loopy.

2 UP Dangerous cycling
Instead of wading into the hoo-ha created by the proposals for a new Dangerous and Reckless Cycling Bill instigated by Conservative MP Andrea Leadsom, The DYNAMITE! Files would like to maintain its reputation as a wholly unbiased media outlet by directing our inquisitive readership to the excellent Bagehot in the Economist and the Guardian’s Erin Gill, who respectively argue the cases for and against the legislation more persuasively than other commentators. Or if you really prefer to be irked, then pop over to the BBC News magazine, which bizarrely claims: “There is little that divides UK public opinion more sharply than cyclists.” Except for, say, Iraq, Afghanistan, tuition fees, the efficacy of following horoscopes, the imminent return of Big Brother, the existence or not of a supreme omnipotent being, global warming and just about every topic that comes up daily on a Jeremy Vine phone-in.

1 UP Johan Vansummeren
One of this blog’s few proud moments took place during Eurosport’s coverage of last year’s Tour de France when we made David Harmon chuckle by suggesting lanky Belgian Johan Vansummeren should be nicknamed Johan Van Somersault for his less-than-graceful exit down the time trial ramp in Bordeaux. Sadly, that comic moment will soon vanish from fans’ memories now that the gangly Garminator has won Paris-Roubaix, heroically crossing the line with a flat tyre and then immediately proposing to his girlfriend. The cry of “FABEEAAN!” from someone in the crowd which greeted the victor as he entered the velodrome on Sunday sounded very much like Sylvester Stallone’s anguished wail of “ADREEAAN!” in Rocky, and its tone summed up The DYNAMITE Files’ despair at realising the world won’t get a victory tweet written in Fablish, as well as the realisation that our mildly amusing nickname for Vansummeren will now be erased from history. Never mind, because as this belter of a photo shows, he’s earned a better one: No Hands Vansummeren. That, chums, is taking the well-worn phrase “floating over the cobbles” to the next level.