Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The comeback....a trail of three tales

A couple of weeks ago we discussed the recent disappointing results of French cyclists, especially in the Tour de France.  I speculated the reason for this to be multifactorial and upon closer inspection, to be due to the following:
Yesterday, CyclingNews released a story related to the recent French mediocrity offering a further explanation of the decline.
The article highlights that French performance is on the rise both in 2009 and especially now, in the early season of 2010 in which French cyclists are winning more than those riders of any other country.  These positive changes have been attributed to several things, but among them says Eric Boyer, general manager of Cofidis, has been the increasing ability for the French to learn how to read, which apparently, until recently, only Anglo-Saxons possessed:
"We, the French teams, only started working with tools like the SRM [power meters] four or five years ago, when other nations, notably the Anglo-Saxons, understood their worth long before us.  But it's not enough just to possess these tools; you also have to  put into place a structure to use them.  To work with the SRM implies the knowledge to read its data...."

Perhaps I assume too much, but are we to gather that until recently, the French adorned their bikes with power meters as decorative acoutrements only, until suddenly one of them said, "Mon DIEU!  Zere are little nombres on ze little screen which may help us to defeat ze slimy pig dogs, ze Saxons!"  As we all know, the French and the Saxons have been sparring since the dark ages, so who's to say the Saxons weren't sending the French SRMs with tampered monitors to begin with?

The French aren't the only ones struggling to make a comeback.  Michale Ball's Rock Racing continues it's downward spiral.  Between last year and this year, the UCI has denied his application for Rock Racing to become first, a Pro Continental squad, second a Continental squad and most recently a Mexican continental squad.  This caused potential signee Floyd Landis to bail with Fast Freddy Rodriguez, forced Jose Gutierrez into retirement and left former elite cyclists Patrick McCarthy and Tony Cruz without jobs.  So where is Rock now?  According to Ball in this recent interview:
Sweet.  Nothing like lining up next to Francisco Mancebo, Oscar Sevilla and Victor Hugo Pena at the Tour of Hermann. 

Lastly, most are aware that we are in the midst of the Paris-Nice multi-day stage race currently.  Sunday was the prologue time trial which found many of the leading cyclists duking it out.  Much to the surprise of everyone, Dutch cyclocross phenom Lars Boom dropped the hammer and took the opening event with an impressive time.  Contador, wearing the Spanish TT champion's colors, came in 4th and took some heat  - especially from the Italian press as seen in the Gazetta della Sporta.
Not only did he lag behind the leaders during the time trial, but he's spent the last two days picking himself off the pavement in the closing miles of each stage being caught at the back of the peloton without team support and involved in crashes.  It's rare for Contador to find himself in the position of having to mount a comeback, but he's ridden without much in the way of team support for two years now, so he will likely rally amazingly well.  And this is an important lesson when making a comeback and feeling like you are on your own.  You have to remain true to yourself and be the cyclists you need to be.....like this guy.

Pedal on!

No comments:

Post a Comment