Monday, July 5, 2010

Cycling Shorts : 04 July 2010

The true punchline of my blog is "cross-pollinating velo buzz".  I'm going to continue the Cycling Shorts option - provide you short pollinations with a summary and opinion and you decide if you want to click on it and read further, agree or disagree with me. Hopefully, these links as they have passed through my bandwidth filter will be quality material.

1. Stage 3 cobbles could be a big decider : Chris Horner wrote in his Team Radioshack diary yesterday that on the day of the recon of the cobbled stage 3, he was putting forth some 475 Watts of power according to the beloved SRM. To his astonishment, he noticed Lance Armstrong go flying by him like he was standing still, that in his own words. Contador on the other hand, said he respects the cobbles, he doesn't fear it. His riding partner Van Petegam could also have gone overexcited and released wattage numbers for the ride but chose to not disclose it. Meanwhile, a father and son duo managed to go check out the fuss around the cobbled stage. I felt the little kid was flying, making his dad look still.

2. WSJ not a ragbag tabloid : Cycling Weekly argues for the validity of the Wall Street Journal article today. They write that not only is the WSJ a credible news source and not the rag bag tabloid people make it out to be, but that times, dates, places and multiple sources that are well listed in chilling detail making the case a strong one. Three U.S postal riders have confirmed already. A host of other former U.S postal riders had been caught or suspended for doping and to say Bruyneel & Armstrong never knew anything about this is not going to be believed by intelligent people anymore. Meanwhile, other news sources have begun to play around with the strip club part as headlines. But I think it is significant because a) cocaine was involved, b) behavior was displayed before his divorce and may explain why Kristin decided to move on and c) a source who was close to Armstrong back then told me that he had close knowledge of it and strongly disapproved of him cheating on his wife and kids.

3. Timing Of Interview : Others are claiming that Landis waiting for the TDF to start to make this revelation makes his account even more suspect. An argument can be made that it was in late May that he confessed to doping through his email and implicated Armstrong in it. Soon after, IOC and WADA demanded more 'concrete' proof from him to consider any of the things he said. So is it really out of the ordinary that he took over a month to gather the facts from his training diaries, talk to his lawyers from Wilson Goodrich and Rosati, and make arrangements with the newspaper of his choice? I think it would have been more awkward if he chose to reveal this on Christmas Eve later this year.

4. How much did Landis make from WSJ? Quite possibly nothing. Former pro and confessed doper Joe Papp supports the theory. "The WSJ didn't pay me", he told me, and he wouldn't ask them to either. "Just doesn't happen in proper journalism in the USA". Another source told me that "the Wall Street Journal--even under Murdoch's stewardship--does NOT pay its sources. Ever." What is interesting is that media boss Rupert Murdoch, who is indirectly involved in professional cycling via Team Sky, has not hesitated to have this article published. Did Team Radioshack try to get a court injunction to stop its publishing so it could "go away"? Unsurprising tactic, if true.

5. MadFiber Full Carbon Wheel Criticized : Ric Hjertberg of WheelSmith fame is branching out to new ideas. He's now taken an aerospace engineer from Kansas University onboard to develop "Madfiber", a $2500 full carbon fiber wheelset with carbon spokes. To create spoke tension on these "no weight limit" wheels, the spokes are first bonded directly to the rims and the flanges and then pushed to the edge of the hub to create tension. Meanwhile, another respected engineer Jobst Brandt told me that the whole idea of a non-heat absorbing rim is nuts. He saw a collapsed carbon fiber wheel in Italy and did not like the stress problems in the spokes. "I think he is more into the art of the wheels than function in manufacture, building and performance," he remarked. Yes, carbon fiber's strength to weight ratio is off the chart but I do have to consider Jobst' comments. How well do people know carbon fiber anyway? The engineers behind the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner, built with 50% carbon composites, can't even accurately predict how the structure will behave in the event of a crash. Other experienced engineers remain uneasy in-spite of the fancy imagery their computers show them. The material's true value can be overrated when kept in context with its price.

*  *  *

No comments: