Friday, December 31, 2010

Justice Denied

TOO lazy to do the job properly a petty official tries to deny Justice to a cyclist who is able to handle the Obstacle course.

"Copied direct from "thecycling silk blog"

"Friday, 31 December 2010
Home Office Response
A Home Office official at the 'Direct Communications Unit' has diverted my letter addressed to Theresa May MP to the Ministry of Justice on the grounds that 'the matters raised are the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice'.
All in a day's work I suppose to redirect a complaint on to somebody else, but is it not truely deeply shocking that an official at the Home Office does not appreciate that his/her department is responsible for the police service?
I have heard that other complaints involving the police have been misdirected in a similar way.
I shall be e mailing again asking that my letter be put before the Home Secretary.

"Dear Sirs,

I have received a letter dated 23rd December indicating that my letter of 22nd December (a copy of which is again attached) has been passed to the Ministry of Justice by an individual whose signature looks like 'M. Mioh'.
Kindly note that my letter was addressed to, and intended for, Theresa May MP, the Home Secretary and should not be redirected to the Ministry of Justice.
I find it disappointing that anybody working in the Home Office should think that the matters I raise in my letter about the police are the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice. They are not.
I would be grateful for your early confimation that my letter has been passed to Mrs May.
Yours faithfully,
Martin Porter"
Posted by Martin Porter at 19:55

How many of you out there feel as i do that Martin has a case that deserves proper respect and with the evidence available a conviction of the perpetrator.

My comment on Martin's Blog:

parrabuddy said...

Enjoy the New Year Martin !

Derailing your previous letter just serves to create a bigger problem as "Justice delayed is Justice denied"!

Does the unfortunate petty official not realise who he is dealing with?

It is no longer You ! It will be the Whole Cycling Community that will be backing you , as we the "unwashed , Legally unaware" are relying on your efforts to change the "mindset" of those who Should know better!

31 December 2010 20:29

TAKE A look at Martin's blog and send your support direct, wish i had as many followers but then he is able to do more for Cyclists at large.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


The Cycling Silk Blog today reminded me of a blog entry that i posted in February 2010 when i had been annoyed by some dangerous driving. Luckily i was able to avoid a collision and injury on those occasions but in May i was seriously inconvenienced when in collision with a car on the route of the Giro d'Italia. That incident left me with a broken helmet, bent handlebars and unable to walk without pain for nearly a week and thus unable to ride any distance for the days between Novi Liguri and the rest day at Plan Corones. Damiano Cunego had seen me in Piacenza shuffling/limping around the team hotel and was surprised to find me riding alongside him and his team mates up the time trial course on the rest day as they recognoitered the climb.

Below is the comment i made to the posting:

"This posting of yours reminds me of a posting i did on my blog in february 2010.


With your legal training and expertise it should be possible to set up a Nationally Known Web site where Cyclists can report incidents that a Coop of interested volunteers can review before publicising specific incidents thus Naming & Shaming the Employers who show a disregard to the vunerable in the community !

Too many people have experienced harassment but do not have the tools to enable them to carry forward a successful prosecution of the offenders. Funding is needed and whilst there are some who are able to Donate their time there are others who should be recompensed by the Courts for the work done in processing the matter.

When miscreants see that they can be successfully prosecuted and not only do they have to pay substantial fines for their actions but also that they have to reimburse their victims justifiable expenses, then perhaps it will dawn on these cowardly bullies that there are consequences for their anti social behaviours.

Those volunteering to work with this website would initially review complaints and their time would have a nominal monetary value attached to any complaint and then it would be passed to experts such as yourself for a decision as to whether further expenses can be justified in carrying it forward towards a successful prosecution. Obviously this scrutiny would sift out suspect and frivilous cases and occasionally there will be victims of traffic incidents who will be disappointed that their case was not strong enough to persue to a satisfactory conclusion. "

As you will appreciate there is little i can do alone, just as you will experience the same difficulty, but when like minded people cooperate with each other then there are many possibilities that can be explored. Those who consider what i am proposing worthwhile should at least leave a comment, maybe even sign on as followers or even volunteer your interest direct to Martin who may be persuaded to take up this idea with his following even if he has little time available himself.

Feel free to contact me on skippi@ausi.com with suggestions and advice.

Best wishes to all for the festive season and i hope Santa is kind to you and safe and incident free cycling in the New Year.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Cycling Silk's blog this weekend raised the alarming question of the Judiciary's attitude towards Cyclist's safety. Many examples of prosecutions by the CPS not being dealt with because they were not in the "Public Interest" but on the other side of the coin Cyclist being dealt with harshly for riding in a manner that is recommended by "various authorities on safety" !

Since when has a motorist been allowed to drive at speed into an area that they cannot see and scatter cyclists like nine pins ? "Oops just hit something, better check the panelwork", "Hey you !" "You just damaged my panel work ! What do you mean send the bill to the Cyclist's Estate?".It's a cyclist so it is not in the "Public interest " to prosecute the van driver because he couldn't see where he was driving on the road.

Currently there is a significant effort being made to encourage more to get on their bike but whilst the politicians want to keep "health Costs" down they are also happy to take money from cyclists who are making the effort to survive on the English roads.

Fatcyclist.com is currently entertaining the public with a competition to encourage his Blog visitors to lose weight during the runup to the Christmas holidays. Last time i looked there was close to 1200 comments by viewers/visitors keen to take up the challenge of losing 10lbs in the period nominated. unfortunately , much as i would like to participate, i am currently on my minimum weight thus if i stop training and add beer to my diet i will likely add weight.

An earlier post of his about the rollers encouraged/inspired me to get out on the road/race bike for a few more days. Wearing 3 extra layers i descended into the Ziller valley for an hour or so but arrived back soaked in sweat even though i was not pushing hard on the climb each time, thought i was back in the summer as i stripped off in -3 c at the house.

George the cyclist is continuing to enjoy Turkish coastal weather as he heads to Istanbul and seems to have escaped the area where he was continually stoned and has persevered with the trip even after being robbed at the start of the visit to Turkey when he was riding with a companion.


Went to facebook to do posting and found this item:


Remember AMY G. in 2005 , the drivergot off with a slap on the wrist !

Tweet by lancearmstrong
Lance Armstrong
So sad to hear this. http://usat.me?41518514. May they RIP. Thoughts go out to their families

My reply tweet

@lancearmstrong just found this on facebook! Agree with your sentiments ! Remember AMY G. in 2005, nothing done to driver will be enough !

What can any of us say to Mongrels who are Unlicensed and Uninsured?

R.I.P. Amy and ALL who are Murdered by these miscreants that lack humanity !!

PS Take some time to visit the other blogs found in the profile.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Picked up this item in the last weeks reading of various other Blogs and Tweetshttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/03/sports/cycling/03sportsbriefs-armstrong.html?fta=y Make up your own mind about it's relevance to the Cycling Community.
This item was also in the items scanned but be prepared to spend a fair while reading as it runs about 80 pages !http://nyvelocity.com/content/interviews/2009/michael-ashenden
Took me a couple of sittings to digest and i will probably need a reference library to understand some of the tech terms.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Daily Mail is a paper friends buy so i got to read saturday's today after arriving in UK from TDF !

Who would buy it when they fill it with stories of some serial killer that evaded "Court Justice" and a life at the expense of the "taxpayer"!

Jon Snow behaves like any other cyclist and we all know about the "Tall Poppy syndrome"!

Daily Mail following me would be boring as instead of talking about the triumphs of those "Amazing Disabled Athletes" they would drivel on about my abuses of the traffic laws, conscientiously and also inadvertently broken !

Whatever sells news rags will be used, apologies come in corners as fillers !

Lance , Moreau And Voigt were champions that will be sadly missed in 2011 neither took a stage but put in worthwhile efforts !

Prudhomme continues to shortchange the public by not allowing the likes of Zavier Ochoa to showcase their skills at the TDF Contre montre courses before the TDF Coreurs race ! Ochoa raced with his brother at the 2001 TDF sadly he lost his brother in the training accident that left him with "Cerebal Palsy"!

Other racers are like him and serve their nations in the Paralympic Cycling events so deserve the recognition of the courage and skills they continue to exhibit and thus be invited to race before the public on the day that the "oldies putter around having a chat" and being shown on TV and other media outlets !

PRUDHOMME you dishonour France by not inviting the "Paralympic Champions of Europe and elsewhere" to come and race at their own expense ! Of course there is no money in this for A.S.O. but then money is not the only thing in life, the bottom line might even be increased by the public perceiving this charitable act as a reason to support the Tour De France .

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Copied from STEEPHILL today

« steephill.tv home page • Pyrenees warm-up: Brittany coast • High Pyrenees Day 2: Col du Soulor and Col d'Ausbisque • email Email This or Y! Mail This

Unrelenting switchbacks, beautiful rugged peaks and the history of the Tour de France
Cycling The French High Pyrenees - September 2005

27 photos and movies (movie) by Steven Hill and Rebecca Heald, steephill.tv
(The free QuickTime player may be needed to view the movies)
photo sharing conditions
Y! It's official... Col du Tourmalet is the finish for stage 17 on July 22nd of the 2010 Tour de France and the Etape du Tour

The west side of Col du Tourmalet viewed from the top -- the highest paved road in the French Pyrénées at 2115m (6939') Scroll » right to view the full panoramic photo.

locator-map.jpg October 29, 2009 update: This report was posted just over four years ago. Since then it has become our most popular report mainly due to the number of internet users looking for information on Col du Tourmalet. It was an absolutely gorgeous day on the bike back in September of 2005, especially ideal for documenting one of cycling's greatest climbs. As with most of our touring reports, we attempted to make it light-hearted. Hopefully, you'll find it useful today for your own trip or as reference for the Tour de France. — Steve

The formidable reputation of the French Pyrénées is what intrigued me most. That the best cyclists appear to suffer like mere-mortals each year during the most crucial stages of the Tour de France is a sadistic lure of this great mountain range. Of course, I also wanted to check out, first hand, the beautiful, rugged scenery. My collection of cycling climbs would be incomplete without the legendary Tourmalet, Ausbisque and so many others. Rebecca, on the other hand, has been there before. Two summers ago, she completed The Raid Pyrénéen [profile]. This is a loosely organized event that requires riders to cycle 440 miles (710 km) across the Pyrenees, from the Atlantic to Mediterranean, over 18 cols (with checkpoints) in under 100 hours. Rebecca and her friend Nancy did a self-supported raid (i.e. no SAG), two years ago, in just 4 days! By the way, SAG is an acronym for Support And Gear (or Sick And Grouchy if you are having a bad day) with an accompanying vehicle. Those four days were a bit of blur so she was looking forward to revisiting the famous cols and experiencing the smaller roads on a less hectic schedule.

Our first stop was the Hautes-Pyrénées (High Pyrenees), a mountainous agricultural landscape of villages, farms, fields, upland pastures and, of course, winding mountain roads spanning the border between France and Spain. We arrived late morning at the office de tourisme in Argeles-Gazost, looking for a plan de ville and to a book a hotel for our two nights in la vallée des gaves. Although I had roughly charted some rides and done preliminary hotel research, there was logistic work still left to do. I had read that Argeles-Gazost is busy, and after driving around this small, congested town you realize that it's not a great place to hang your hat for several nights if you're looking for a quiet retreat. So we were pleased to find a hotel in St. Savin in the quiet hills outside Argeles-Gazost where we had a great view of the mountains leading up to the famous Hautacom climb and a historic Abbey (see photo gallery below).
St. Savin town movie

During the reign of the Roman Empire and later the Normans, St. Savin was built, destroyed and rebuilt several times. The Saint-Savin Abbey in the town square today (see video left) and its preceding monasteries were used by nuns and monks for almost 2000 years. In 1855, it was declared a historic building and it's now an Abbey in name only. Today, its only enemies are time and modernization. Once again you can count on monks to select a great location for a cycling base camp. Many famous Cols are reachable from St. Savin, in several directions, without having to cycle through Argeles-Gazost.

The hotel we chose, Les Rochers is run by a husband-wife team from Nottingham, England who have renovated and run the hotel for a year. Hotel le Viscos is the other place to stay in St. Savin. We had dinner there on our big night out and the authentic French cuisine was impressive. If you can speak a bit of French and don't mind paying a little extra for a true French experience then we recommend you take the demi-pension package at le Viscos. The combination of this hotel in a nice, quiet, charming town and great roads should satisfy any cyclist visiting this region. The Les Rochers is a little less expensive and there is no language barrier but neither the food nor the ambience is as good as at le Viscos. The service was excellent at both places.

Day 1: Col du Tourmalet and Luz-Ardiden - 105k, 2900m climbing (65 mi, 9514 ft)

St. Savin → Cheze → Luz-St. Sauveur → Col du Tourmalet → Luz-St. Sauveur → Luz-Ardiden → Viscos → St. Savin
tourmalet-profile.jpg Considering the poor weather prior to our visit in the Hautes-Pyrénées we were lucky to have had two very good days of cycling out of three. We arrived at our hotel at noon, checked-in and then hurried out to take advantage of the sunshine. The plan was to start with an out-and-back along the most famous and highest col in the French Pyrenees, Col du Tourmalet, followed by a climb up to the ski station at Luz-Ardiden. From St. Savin, we had a short descent down to D921, which follows a gorge that cuts through the mountains. It was a rolling ride of 5k before the turnoff onto D12 and the short but difficult climb to the hamlet of Cheze, followed by a descent into Luz-St. Sauveur. This was our last chance for food, so we bought and downed two sandwiches to fuel up for the 18k climb up to the Col du Tourmalet. Lapize-Tourmalet-70.jpg

Back in 1910, the Pyrenees were first added to the Tour de France route, and the Col du Tourmalet was part of the experiment. At the time, the road wasn't much more than a sheep track barely wide enough for a car. (The sheep are still there... see photos below). When Octave Lapize, who was some 15 minutes behind the leader, reached the pass of the Tourmalet in great pain and pushing his bike (see photo left), he saw a group of race officials and yelled “Assassins!” Lapize sucked it up, though, going on to take the stage and the overall title. In 1969, a Tour rookie named Eddy Merckx unveiled his immense strength when he waltzed away from his competitors on the Tourmalet, setting off on an epic 90-mile solo ride that left his nearest competitor eight minutes behind! “What this sublime cyclist did,” wrote then race director Jacques Goddet, "had never yet been written in the annals of the road."

We weren't out to race the Tourmalet like Lapize, Merckx or Lance Armstrong, we were there to challenge ourselves physically and artistically -- stopping occasionally to take pictures and to soak it all in. Of course, stopping to take pictures after an extended section of steep 9% is also a good ruse. “Oh... (huff, wheeze), I'm not tired... (huff, wheeze), I'm just stopping to take some pictures (huff, wheeze).” wink With each passing kilometer, the French have erected signs to sadistically inform you of the upcoming average grade (steepness) for the next km and the distance and meters of elevation required to reach the top. As you approach a new sign there is a little eager anticipation. You'll find yourself squinting as the signs come into view trying to read the average grade -- is that 7, 8, 9 or worse... a double digit number! At the top, I recognized the unmistakable Solano blue camouflage cycling uniform of a local team. I introduced myself to Forrest who rides for Solano Cyclery a shop located just several miles from where my wife and I live in Berkeley, California. He had just finished a double Tourmalet and I took his picture (see photo gallery below) in front of the Geant du Tourmalet statue, a composite of all of the riders who have suffered racing up the Tourmalet, that marks the top of the col.

Col du Tourmalet is the finish for stage 17 of the 2010 Tour de France and the finale of the Etape du Tour
We climbed the Tourmalet from the more scenic west side, requiring 18 km (11 miles) of cycling with 1404 meters (4606 ft) of elevation gain with an average grade of 7.7%. It's very tough with sustained sections of 8 and 9 % near the top and 10.5% for the last kilometer before the restaurant and Geant du Tourmalet statue come into sight. As I mentioned, the weather was beautiful with a vivid blue sky that every cyclist appreciates. The diesel fumes from the light to moderate traffic was the only thing we didn't enjoy.

Next up was the climb to Luz-Ardiden. After our descent back down the Tourmalet and through small-town rush hour traffic in Luz-St. Sauveur, we started for the ski station that has been a popular finishing climb in the modern day Tour de France. Most recently, it was the site of the famous crash that nearly ended Lance Armstrong's hopes for a fifth Tour title in 2003 (see photos). As you may recall, Armstrong snagged on a spectator's bag while riding alongside the crowd. In a thrilling turn of events, he remounted his bike and went on to win the stage in convincing fashion. It was certainly different the day we did it. No huge crowds... just cows and sheep to cheer us on. The climb up to Luz-Ardiden felt tougher than the Tourmalet but it's actually marginally easier on paper. As we neared the top, with the sun setting, it probably felt harder because we were out of food and, of course, we had just climbed the Tourmalet! We were running out of daylight as well and needed at get back for dinner time so we didn't take many pictures on Luz-Ardiden. On the descent back to the valley, we branched off and descended through the tiny hamlet of Viscos on a razor thin, viscously steep road which caused our hands to ache and our brakes to smoke making us appreciate the direction we were headed. We arrived back at the hotel at 8:05 PM close enough to the 8 PM dinner cutoff. -- Steve, October 7, 2005

Next... French Pyrenees Day 2:
Col du Soulor and Col d'Ausbisque »
update: 2010 Tour de France information now posted

Pyrenees Col profiles courtesy of cyclingcols.com

Luz-Ardiden Tour de France winners

1985 - Pedro Delgado (Esp)
1987 - Dag-Otto Lauritzen (Nor)
1988 - Laudelino Cubino (Esp)
1990 - Miguel Indurain (Esp)
1994 - Richard Virenque (Fra)
2001 - Roberto Laiseka (Esp)
2003 - Lance Armstrong (USA)

The St. Savin Abby in town square and the Hautacom across the valley, viewed from our hotel room.jpg
The St. Savin Abby in town square and the Hautacom across the valley, viewed from our hotel room The hamlet of Cheze was our first climb.jpg
The hamlet of Cheze was our first climbmovie Quadzilla meets the Tourmalet.jpg
Quadzilla meets the Tourmalet
Jagged peaks, vivid sky.jpg
Jagged peaks, vivid sky Pointing to the 9 and 10 pct switchbacks and the buildings at the top.jpg
Pointing to the 9 and 10 pct switchbacks and the buildings at the top Stephan doing recon filming for Team Elite.jpg
Stephan doing recon filming for Team Elite
As the sign says, 8 pct for the next km and 4 km to the summit.jpg
As the sign says, 8 pct for the next km and 4 km to the summit The beauty will make you weak in the knees.jpg
The beauty will make you weak in the knees Oh baby, nothing but 9 pct!.jpg
“Oh baby, nothing but 9 pct!”movie
Climbing into the blue sky.jpg
Ooh, Ooh... and she's climbing a stairway to... heaven music-note Look where we came from.jpg
Look where we came from The top of the Tourmalet is steeped in tradition.jpg
The top of the Tourmalet is steeped in tradition
Posing with pride in the presence of Fausto Coppi.jpg
Posing with pride in the presence of the Geant du Tourmalet, a composite of all of the riders who have suffered racing up the col Some of the many parked bikes at the top.jpg
Some of the many parked bikes at the top Every great climb in Europe has a bar and restaurant, at the top, for celebration and recovery.jpg
Every great climb in Europe has a bar and restaurant, at the top, for celebration and recovery
I easily spotted the unmistakable Solano blue camoflauge half way around the world.jpg
I easily spotted the unmistakable Solano blue camouflage half way around the world Teetering on the Tourmalet.jpg
Teetering on the Tourmalet Exit stage left...to reappear at upper-left.jpg
Exit stage left...to reappear at upper-left
Sheep like the Tourmalet as well.jpg
Sheep like the Tourmalet as well Tourmalet sheep are more frightened by bicycles then cars.jpg
Tourmalet sheep are more frightened by bicycles than cars An unknown rider descending towards a jagged peak.jpg
An unknown rider descending towards a jagged peak
Rush hour in Luz-St. Sauveur at the base of Cols.jpg
Rush hour in Luz-St. Sauveur at the base of Cols The sun setting on a peak near the top of Luz-Ardiden.jpg
The sun setting on a peak near the top of Luz-Ardiden Looking down the Luz-Ardiden switchbacks made famous by the Tour de France.jpg
Looking down the Luz-Ardiden switchbacks made famous by the Tour de France. Nobody cares that there is a ski resort at the top, right?
The last picture of the day while descending the vicious Viscos switchbacks.jpg
The last picture of the day while descending the vicious Viscos switchbacks

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Updates and selected comments:

You are the ride photo master! thanks a bunch! -- hi565, Wayland, Massachusetts
> hi565: You are the ride photo master!
No doubt. I've tried to emulate you, but the cycling wonderland known as western Massachusetts just doesn't deliver the goods. That must be the life: travelling all over to these amazing places and then documenting all of it to share with everyone. Some day it will be me! Thanks for all of it, really. I think it's great that you also add some history and background to your reports. Can't wait for the next one. -- mirona, Southwick, Massachusetts
> hi565: You are the ride photo master!
I gotta agree with this. I always enjoy looking at your ride shots. I am glad that I finally have a girlfriend who wants to travel. Perhaps when I grow up I can do some of that on my bike. Great job Steep...I officially hate you.wink L'chaim, Brian, Joisey Baby!! (New Jersey)

Thanks to Phillipe Crist from France, for pointing out the name and significance of the Geant du Tourmalet statue at the top of the Col du Tourmalet: "It's a composite of all of the riders who have suffered racing up the Tourmalet." Phillipe is a regular visitor to the Pyrenees and passes along another lodging recommendation. "Next time your in Argeles, check out the Gite d'Etape in Villelongue -- great ambiance, great value and great hostess!" Villelongue is just southeast of St. Savin on the other side of the road that follows the gorge through the valley and it's labeled on the map above. "Gites d'Etapes are relatively poorly known outside of France but provide tremendous value for the money. We paid 25 euros a day (about 30 dollars) for a room, breakfast and dinner. The food is simple but plentiful and the guests are often hikers/cyclists etc... and make for some good company." Check out Phillipe's Tourmalet and Aubisque photos. Phillipe has competed three times in l'Étape du Tour, a one-day timed event held in the Pyrenees or Alps each July. It's a big event. This past year 7885 people competed (8500 entered) while another 4900 were turned away! It seems like a neat event if your entry is accepted and... you show up early for a good start position as this UK couple found out in 2002.

David, from North Wales, points out that the Tourmalet is the highest paved road in the French Pyrenees. Port d'Envalira, in the Spanish Pyrenees, is 2407 meters high and almost 300m higher than the Tourmalet. Thanks, the report has been updated.

Dougie, from the UK, concurs with our assessment of le Viscos: "The food at the Viscos is amongst the best I've had in France and the chef/owner is a real character, and if you have a bit of French he'll talk your hind legs off about his creations. He also introduced us to a very very nice local wine , Pacharenc (a white Madiran)". Yes, the chef is up front all night and even takes your order after explaining the dishes is more detail then you'll ever want to know. He also speaks perfect English, but won't let on until you've made your best attempt with French. This seems to be the norm in all good restaurants in France... as it should be. One should always make their best attempt with the local language before following back to English. Starting a conversation in English, assuming the other person will understand, is considered impolite.

I've added a fun 25 second movie that gives a brief tour of the peaceful St-Savin town square.

2001 Tour de France photo of Lance Armstrong and Jan Ullrich climbing Luz-Ardiden and from 2003, Lance pulling away from the competition and on to victory after his crash (see photos above).

Dear Rebecca, My goodness. You ARE a serious rider. I actually know that stretch of road through the Pyrennes just north of Luz St. Sauveur. When I was in college (and that was a very long time ago) I saw the Tour de France from the village of Viscos on the opposite side of the valley from Cheze. We watched the race from a meadow high up the mountain. Seen from such a distance, the Tour was amazing, if brief. First a pack of toy-sized police cars clearing the way, then the toy-sized press cars just in front and then what looked like a river of ants on ant-sized bicycles, followed by tiny team cars. And then they were gone. But that was a lung-bursting stretch of road to walk up, let alone to climb on a bike. My hat is off to you both. -- John Fleischman, United States

I have done the Tourmalet a few dozen times - but only on skis! The road becomes the ski-piste. A fab run down in either direction. -- Jay, Hampshire, UK

So that's what the Tourmalet looks like up there - all I saw on my trip was... this wink -- ricadus

Nice photos. I biked up the Tourmalet last year from the east side. It happened to be the day they were bringing up "le geant du Tourmalet" for the season (they don't leave him there during the winter). I didn't know about this tradition and was wondering why there were dozens of local cyclists passing me (I had full panniers, unlike them) on the way up. Turns out that it's a local tradition for riders in the region to do the climb each spring when the Geant is brought up on a flat-bed truck. The top of the pass was a complete zoo on the beautiful late May day, with probably a couple of hundred cyclists milling around. Lots to eat & drink, which they let me and the handful of other touring cyclists partake in. The descent down the west side was superb!... I forgot to mention in my posting that when I got to the top of the Tourmalet, the local bike clubs were giving out date-stamped postcards which certified the climb. I think I may have said in my posting that I was there in late May last year. Looks like it was early June; June 5 to be exact. BTW, the first high pass I ever climbed in my entire life happened to have been the Envalira in the Pyrenees (Andorra). I thought I'd never make it to the top! Bonne route. -- Neal (from Washington, DC)

It may be worth mentioning that there is a cable car at the top of the Tourmalet that will take visitors another 750 meters higher, up to the Pic du Midi de Bigorre observatory, offering a 360 degrees panoramic view, 360 days a year. Rebecca captured it during one of our movies. The movie, aka “Oh baby, nothing but 9 pct!”, starts with a distant shot of the observatory, pans down to me struggling up the road and then pans up to the restaurant at the top of the Tourmalet.

wink Email your anecdote or comment via Y! Mail or other Email software (Outlook)... and sure be to tell us where you are from!

NICOLAS SARKOZY'S Livestrong Bracelet undelivered

When i got out of bed this morning in Pau i received a call saying that there was snow on the Tourmalet!

Well i managed to get to the start and this afternoon as i catch up on my blogs i watch the action on French TV ! Disappointed for Carlos that he does not catch the break but am hoping Jaffa stays away to win after his unlucky result on saturday.

As you know when i ride these stages the junior boys in blue who are wearing their winter wear make every effort to stop me even when their Commandant has called through a "laissez faire" for me, with this weather i thought it prudent to avoid a misunderstanding , after all sending a cadet to Afganistan for flouting instructions from a senior officer would not be my first choice of reprisal for having to stand aside on the Tourmalet due to misunderstanding.

We all know how badly trained the "acreditated drivers" are so they think that they are doing cyclists a favour by treating them to a halt hours before they stop the local yokels in their cars or on their tractors.Having had the roads swept clean there is nothing worse than a hay truck depositing more dust to tickle the nostrils.

Had hoped to pass Nicolas Sarkozy a "Livestrong Bracelet" this year when we met for his autograph, but Carla will have to keep the dress to go with it in the wardrobe until next time, since i will not be at the finish area where we met in Gran Bornand last year!


For 13 seasons i have been riding the route of the Tour De France and daily have contact with the riders, each of them know my views on "doping"(www.parrabuddy.blogspot.com) !

I would demand 4 year home detention for first offence with the possibility of reduction where the culprit makes written admission of guilt naming sources of supply and guidance.

On return to racing they will have to enter a team two levels lower so that their earning capacity is reduced and their "rest/holiday" does not affect the results of the racing level that they had been competing in before the exclusion. They will undoubtedly win some races but their competition will also benefit as they will have to try harder to succeed and thus will benefit from the publicity that acrues!

Lance is a target for all, there is no doubt that the worm (flandis ) is attempting to benefit from the propoganda and innuendo he is serving up! There are those who enjoy attacking "tall poppies" and there are those who build careers by tarnishing others!

Saint or Sinner we will all be diminished by this enquiry involving Lance brought on by a person who has time and again told us the public that he has cheated us and benefited from this behaviour!

The worm has written books and collected monies from unsuspecting fans and by now All must doubt his credibility, he states he has not a shred of evidence but we should believe him any way, see blog www.TourDaFarce.blogspot.com for an item i picked up recently!

Those who choose to put faith in the worm once again are living in cloud cuccoo land and will believe that the moon is made of cheeze!

Have ridden with flandis on rest days in various Grand Tours and he had little to say for himself certainly to me, some team owners have learnt to their cost that he is not reliable and until there is a body of evidence from other unbiased sources then the investigators should keep an open mind on all and any allegations made to them.

Career building is slow and tedious but is easily destroyed by the malicious

Lance has always used "UCI approved medications " as have other racers and this comprehensive list is freely available. When i suffered "pulmonary embulisums " last year after the TDF i had a cocktail of medications for several weeks, how these interreacted with each other i cannot say but the "UCI & WADA doctors" would know !



Hope you enjoy

* Sport
* Tour de France

'You never stop grieving' – how the closest Tour de France was lost

This week's battle between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck has stirred up memories of the 1989 Tour de France, when Greg LeMond beat Laurent Fignon by just eight seconds

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* Laurent Fignon
* guardian.co.uk, Thursday 22 July 2010 12.58 BST
* Article history

Laurent Fignon Laurent Fignon, wearing the yellow jersey, keeps just ahead of his American rival Greg Lemond (left) on the 1989 Tour de France. Photograph: AFP

In this extract from his autobiography We Were Young and Carefree Laurent Fignon relives the epic drama of the 1989 Tour de France.

"Ah, I remember you: you're the guy who lost the Tour de France by eight seconds!"

"No, monsieur, I'm the guy who won the Tour twice."

The Tour de France is a landmark in twentieth-century history, a microcosm that creates and displays characters as over the top as the event itself. Whether you win or lose, you cannot escape that. As the winner in 1983 and 1984 I'd already drunk that cup to the full. I knew how delicious every drop tasted. And I knew the price to pay if you missed out ...

As far as I was concerned, there was plenty at stake in the 1989 Tour. A month earlier I'd won the Giro d'Italia. Not only had I gone back to being the racer I wanted to be, but at last I could see a chance to achieve the Giro–Tour double; a major achievement that had been snatched from me in 1984. And even though I didn't need to win the Tour to know who I was and what I was capable of, winning it again would earn me a place in the very small group of triple winners.

Before the Tour's grand départ in Luxembourg, we all went through a fine training camp in the Pyrenees. I felt my form was great, and the rest of the team could see it. I was dying to get the kilometres in. And for the Tour, I had a well-knit, highly competitive team: Gérard Rué, Vincent Barteau, Thierry Marie, Pascal Simon, Dominique Garde, Christophe Lavainne, the Dane Bjarne Riis and the Swiss Heinz Imboden.

First came the prologue, 7.8km and won by the Dutchman Erik Breukink. After going absolutely flat out, I came second in the same time as the American Greg LeMond, which suggested two things that would prove to be correct in the next three weeks. Firstly, my form was perfect. Secondly, the man to beat would probably be LeMond, who had shown very little since his serious gunshot wound during a hunting party in 1987.

Firstly, as everyone knows, LeMond was unrivalled as a time triallist, much better than me when it came to riding alone and unpaced. In addition, he was using a very special bike equipped with handlebar extensions with elbow rests, giving him a far more aerodynamic position, and four support points – pedals, saddle, bars and elbow rests – which was totally revolutionary but also strictly against the rules.

Until then, the referees had only allowed three support points. For reasons that still elude me, Guimard [my coach] and I didn't make a formal complaint and the idle commissaries shut their eyes. The rules were being bent, and the consequences would be way beyond anything I could have imagined.

LeMond was now in yellow, a handful of seconds ahead of me, and there was no chance he would take the slightest risk: that was not his style. The first Pyrenean stage, from Pau to Cauterets, was as expected: he sucked the wheels as best he could and made it obvious he was just going to be a spectator. As I've already said, he didn't have a strong team at his side but even so he had the physical ability to control a race on any terrain. But no: he was barely willing to defend his jersey. When Pedro Delgado's Reynolds team sent their men on the attack, putting Delgado at the front and dispatching the young Miguel Indurain towards the stage win, LeMond didn't blink. I was the one who was forced to keep them within reach. All he did was sit tight and take advantage of the work I put in. To be honest, it was extremely frustrating.

To this day I don't know if he managed to come alongside me once, and that's saying something. It wound me up. And when I got frustrated, when I began boiling inside, it had to come out somehow. A few kilometres from the finish of the 10th stage Steven Rooks and Gert-Jan Theunisse attacked together. I looked at LeMond to see if he was going to react. I didn't even try to follow them: physically I just couldn't do it. But allowing LeMond to stay on my wheel all the way to the top would have driven me mad. In the final kilometre I did enough to get rid of him, pushing myself far beyond what I felt capable of at the time. I gained all of 12 seconds on him, in other words enough for me to take the yellow jersey by seven seconds: our battle had begun.

In any case, I was happy to pull the maillot jaune over my shoulders; it had been so long since the last time in 1984. And I was happy to have officially taken over responsibility for controlling the race, and was ready to take it on: LeMond refused to do so. At least there was no question about it now. In front of the media that evening, I stuck to the way I liked to do things, and said openly how much LeMond's behaviour annoyed me. "He complains that he had trouble with Bernard Hinault during the 1986 Tour, but he should take his share of blame. He was called a wheelsucker at the time and the guys who said that weren't wrong." Having said that, anyone can be on the receiving end. A spectator on the roadside yelled as I went past: "Less talk, more racing!" and clearly he was right. That's how I've always seen it.

Of course, a few perceptive onlookers pointed out to me that LeMond had been clear that the weakness of his team prevented him from riding more ambitiously. There was no way he could dictate events. I had to go into some detail in my answer. "Perhaps his team isn't up to the job, but the way he behaves is not acceptable for a maillot jaune. On the Col de Marie-Blanque we were both on our own, without a teammate to help either of us, and he agreed that we would share the work. What happened? Nothing. He made the pace a bit on the Aubisque, but after that, it was all over. He didn't ride on the front once. Today, he let me do all the work. When Rooks and Theunisse attacked at the bottom of Superbagnères – and they weren't pushing too hard – he didn't react. I had a go at him, and promised that I'd get him off my wheel."

The morning after I'd said all this, LeMond came to see me in the village-départ. Now it was his turn to have a go: "You shouldn't say that stuff!" His image had been tarnished, and he didn't like that. LeMond is someone who has always paid attention to his popularity with the public and the press. He always rubbed along with them quite well, and his relations with journalists and fans were as chummy as could be, permanently flirting with them. I've never been able to do that. What's the interest in it? What's the point? I've always preferred to be myself. I'd rather shut up than just tell them what they want to hear.

There was just one thing. I'd felt a fairly sharp pain between my legs. That evening, it was clear. I had a sore spot in a very inconvenient place: Just below the buttock, right where the saddle rubs on the shorts. There were only two stages left. One for the sprinters, finishing at l'Isle d'Abeau and relatively short at 130km. And then there was Sunday's time trial. Nothing much to worry about. And I wasn't worrying.

I should have been. The evening before the final road race stage it hurt so much that I couldn't go and urinate at the dope control. Just moving was a penance. Sitting down was horrendous. In extremis, because the entire caravan had to catch the TGV that evening to get up to Paris, the drug testers were kind enough to wait until we were in the train before collecting the sample.

Apart from Cyrille Guimard and the team doctor Armand Mégret, few people were in on the secret. During the journey I didn't show my worries, although I was getting more and more concerned. And when we got off the train, there's no point pretending what kind of mood I was in.

When we arrived at the Gare de Lyon, we were mobbed. There were dozens of photographers and dozens of [television] cameramen: it was mind-bending. A Frenchman was on the point of winning the Tour – the first since Hinault in 1985 – and the day before the finish, which meant they all came mobhanded.

We had hardly begun to move along the platform before someone bunged the usual camera under my nose and began throwing aggressive questions at me. It was Channel 5, who never ignored a possible scandal. I heard the words: "Why did you refuse to take the drugs test?" As you can imagine, I didn't want to answer such a dumb question. The test had taken place in the way it was meant to. I wasn't happy about the allegation, but kept going along the platform in spite of the crush.

The journalist from Channel 5 kept on. Rather too much in my book. Worn out by the stressful ambience, I spat at a camera crew who were in the way. Just my luck: they were from a Spanish channel against whom I had no grievance at all. Afterwards, as soon as any news story about my arrival at the station was run, the images were played again and again. It wasn't the best publicity.

At one point there was a scrum and a cameraman from Channel 5 knocked over Jérôme Simon, who happened to be next to me. I didn't even think about what I was doing and shoved the cameraman. At the end of the year he filed a suit against me for injuring him. Actually, he wanted to negotiate a settlement with my lawyer: I refused. In court, he claimed I'd hit him in the genitals and caused a hernia in the groin; he lost the case.

That night, I barely slept. I felt sore even though I wasn't moving. I was tired out, worried; I didn't look my best the next morning. But that was kid's stuff compared to the warm-up session: I got on the bike and did a U-turn straight away. I just couldn't turn the pedals. It was completely impossible. Even so, I didn't panic. I remember as if it were yesterday how I told myself: "Look, it's not as bad as all that. All that's left is a time trial. I've only got to do what I have to. I'll hurt like hell but afterwards I'll forget it."

How could I ever forget what was about to happen?

How could I ever forget something that will last for ever in every cycling fan's memory?

I had to force myself to be cheerful even though I wasn't exactly in the finest fettle. But I did have something on my side: the 50-second gap on LeMond. I was convinced deep inside that I could not lose. According to my calculations, I knew that it should take the American about 50km to regain more than a minute on me, not the 24.5km between Versailles and the Champs-Elysées. I could not see how it could happen. It was not feasible.

It was down to LeMond and me. We pedalled slowly round the start area, fully kitted out, warming up in the closed space. He had no idea that I was under the weather. He didn't look at me once. The suspense reached a climax.

The American was definitely stretching the rules by using his celebrated triathlon handlebars, which gave him quite an advantage. I shouldn't have lost two seconds per kilometre to him. But as soon as Guimard began to give me time checks, that was exactly what I was losing: two seconds per kilometre. I put all my strength into it, gritting my teeth, trying everything I could to concentrate on the effort I had to make and forget that pain shooting through me. But it was like being stabbed with a knife; every part of my body felt it, even my brain.

Everyone has seen the pictures at least once in their lives. I cross the finish line and collapse. Simply to get my breath back. A bit of air, please. Just a bit of air, if I may.

At that precise moment, I don't know what is going on. I'm gasping "Well?" again and again, to the people who flutter around me. There's no answer. I ask again. Still no answer.

No one dares to look me in the eye and show me reality.

The reality of which everyone is now aware apart from me: I've lost. By eight seconds. Eight seconds in Hell. The American has taken fifty-eight seconds out of me in 24.5km. In the chaos, someone finally brings me up to date by admitting: "You've lost Laurent." I can't get a grip on what he is saying. I don't believe it. More precisely, I can't manage to believe it. I hadn't believed it could happen.

I'd always felt that I could be beaten. Losing was never a problem. A cyclist who doesn't know how to lose can't become a champion. I was used to the fact. But losing like that, on the last day, by such a minute margin and primarily because of a handlebar that had not yet been permitted by the rules; no, all that was too much for just one man. I was nearly 29, and it wasn't yet time to have lifelong regrets. I had rarely been in such fine physical condition, which made this defeat feel particularly unfair. How on earth could it have happened?

It took me three days to get back on my feet. But when I write "get back on my feet" that's just a manner of speaking.

Because you never stop grieving over an event like that; the best you can manage is to contain the effect it has on your mind. Even so, I was well aware that there were more serious things going on in life – and I had dreamed so much of coming back to the highest level to play a major role: I'd done that at least.

I looked in the mirror again. I knew that there were two answers. Either I could keep on mourning – and stop cycling. Or I could try to get over the agony and the injustice, and get back on the road. I was in good health. I was a lucky man, with a full life. OK, I hadn't won the Tour again; so what? Was the world going to stop turning? Why inflict more pain on myself?

That very day, I picked up the telephone to call Alain Gallopin. He was worried about how I might be dealing with it. I said to him: "Come on, Alain, let's get going. I'm going to prepare for the world championship."

Extracted from We Were Young and Carefree by Laurent Fignon, translated by William Fotheringham. The book is published by Yellow Jersey Press and available in paperback from Amazon – to buy it click here.


What a laugh!

Who in their right mind that is not in an elite team would ride a bike like that!

Fact is i come across too many people who take up cycling and triathlon and the first thing they do is throw money around, doesn't help them one bit! Sure a few mates might take a polite interest, certainly a few theives will show a lot more interest but until you have learnt to ride then the bike whether 50 quid or a multipleof that doesn't matter.

Got to have the shiniest most expensive toys then go for this but like the people i meet at the TDF who think they are getting a good deal when they pay to cycle across the stage finish line, then you have more money than sense!

This year i am again riding the 2001 Fondriest alloy frame repainted pink for the 2009 Giro, does all i need including catching the "stars" when i need to do that. Only thing wrong with the bike is that it was supposed to be a free paint job (see www.parrabuddy.blogspot.com ) but the guy helping me(what a joke) stuffed up and a regular job from these jokers was 60 quid but they charged him 155 quid.

When i came over to put the bike together he had been retrenched but had those bristol jokers been dealing with me i would not have touched them with a pole, a year and more later i am still awaiting touchup paint . Fact is the job was substandard and i needed the bike to ride the Giro the next week.

As stated earlier the bike doesn't count but your ability does, this my 13th TDF is litle different to the others except today with the crap weather i decided to watch Sanchez chase down the peleton and jaffa ride in another breakaway , hope he has better resuls than saturday. Reports of snow on Tourmalet and problems with boys in blue (see www.TourDaFarce.blogspot.com) on route in this weather makes watching TV the best option particularly as the return trip would have meant 300 on the carbon saddle in cold,wet,indifferent weather.

Bike suppliers who would like a REAL workout for their bike can contact me but at your own risk as i don't insure any of my bikes!

Back to the TV for the latest action


Mr up of brisbane probably has problems pulling his socks on every morning so let us disregard his comments as they were probably dictated but applied to the computer by another!
Cadel is doing the TDF and his team a great honour by his display of courage and you need look no further than the captain of the Garmin team and his companion from south africa.
Neither of those guys wish to be at home, but their teams sent them home and when the truth comes out it will be the same with BMC's choice if Cadel had allowed that !
Cadel deserves to make it to Paris but the reality is that the human body can only stand so much so it will be a day by day effort on his part to overrule the teams concerns for his welfare!

Good luck to the racers today in a cold wet Pau where i am not even thinking about walking to the start whilst my back continues to suffer from actions of the turd brigade at St John de M on the 13th( google tourdafarce for the story) !

Could even be snow/slush on the Tourmalet today so sitting in the warm watching TV with a coldie will be a first for me after riding 13 TDF routes !

SRM Graphs from Chris Horner & Others

Copied this from the SRM site, well worth the visit!


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Tour de France 2010: SRM Analysis Stage 16 "Queen Stage"

It was the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France in the Pyrenees, but the riders didn't even have a moment to celebrate. It was an epic stage - 199.5 kilometers, four mountains with 4,300 meters of climbing in 5:31:43 hours. And it started full gas up the Cold de Peyresourde. One attack followed the next and one of the first victims was Ivan Basso who got dropped immediately. While he couldn't follow the pace, his teammate Sylvester Szmyd led Roman Kreuziger to the group with Lance Armstrong and Chris Horner. We are proud that we can present Horner's data again, and we highly recommend his blog, really interesting inside view, very well written.


Some riders have trouble kick starting into a stage like this, they need time to find their rhythm and get their circulation to going. Riders with asthmatic problems can get restricted, oxygen supply is reduced - and when they are riding on or above their threshold this is decisive.
Riders who are aware of that they are like thiswarm up on the turbo trainer before the start to prevent these problems.

Chris Horner's average power for the Col de Peyresourde was 380 watts (5.9 w/kg), and after 29:22 minutes he reached the top with the group in front. The data we have for Chris Horner's weight might be too high (or the weight we have for other riders is too low).

tdf-10-16-horner-peyresourdeClick on graph to enlarge

Rinaldo Nocentini followed in one of the groups, riding at around 364 watts (6.0 w/kg) after 31:01. His heart rate reached 167 bmp after only 2 minutes on the climb, and stayed at this level until the top.

tdf-10-16-nocentini-peyresourdeClick on graph to enlarge

Kristian Koren (Team Liquigas) was most probably with Ivan Basso when he got over the mountain top. 343 watts (4.9 w/kg) was his average power for 33:10 minutes..

tdf-10-16-koren-peyresourdeClick on graph to enlarge

The peloton was split into pieces after the Peyresourde, but a lot of the groups reunited on the downhill. The group with Chris Horner hit the Col d'Aspin - 12.3 km with 6.3% average grade - with 30 seconds to the group that included Contador. Again Szmyd lead the group with high speed into the mountain to gain time for Kreuziger. It was a little too fast for Chris Horner, who got dropped halfway into the climb. He rode at his own rhythm and got caught by the group with Contador close to the top. As soon as he went on his own, his green power line got a lot smoother.
He rode at an average of352 watts (5.5 w/kg) for 31:55 minutes - 358 watts (5.6 w/kg) average until he got dropped after 16:52 minutes, then 346 watts (5.4 w/kg) for the second half. This small difference and the smoother power output made it much "easier" for him.

tdf-10-16-horner-aspinClick on graph to enlarge

Rinaldo Nocentini rode the Aspin also with high ambition, 367 watts (6.1 w/kg), max heart rate 160 bpm for the first 4 kilometers, then he had to reduce the speed, but his heart rate still stayed high with 343 watts (5.7 w/kg). His average power for the whole Aspin: 348 watts (5.8 w/kg), 33:22 min.

tdf-10-16-nocentini-aspinClick on graph to enlarge

On the descent, the first group got caught by Contador's group again. There was just enough time on the downhill to eat and drink before the riders hit the Col de Tourmalet - 17.1 km, 7.3%. They had no time for a look at the blacksmith in St. Marie de Campan where in 1913 Eugène Christophe repaired his fork on his own, which broke on the downhill from Tourmalet - one of the famous stories of the Tour de France.

Chris Horner rode on his limit, and when Lance Armstrong attacked (!) - 355 watts (5.6 w/kg) for nearly 25 minutes, then he had to slow down again. 305 watts (4.8 w/kg) for 28:22 minutes - total 52:48 min, 328 watts (5.1 w/kg).

tdf-10-16-horner-tourmaletClick on graph to enlarge

Rinaldo Nocentini found his group up the Tourmalet, and could save some energy riding at 296 watts (4.9 w/kg), average heart rate 147 bpm. It took him 1:01:19 hours to reach the top.

tdf-10-15-nocentini-tourmaletClick on graph to enlarge

The last climb of the day, another Tour monument, was the Col d'Aubisque - 29.2 kilometers at 4.2 %. A mountain with different sections, false flat in the beginning to km 12, then to km 20 an 8-8.5% grade to the peak of Col de Soulor and after a short downhill up to the top of the Aubisque.
Chris Horner was back again in the front group with Lance. The group found its rhythm, and then Lance attacked again to reduce the size. Chris was just able to keep Christoph Moreau's wheel, very important for the team classification. The group split but reunited on the short downhill after the Soulor.
It took 1:11:56 minutes to climb the Aubisque, Chris averaged 288 watts (4.5 w/kg).

tdf-10-16-horner-aubisqueClick on graph to enlarge

For Nocentini, who already knew he wouldn't win the stage, it was important to stay in a group and just "survive". He rode the Aubisque in 1:19:53 hours, 263 watts (4.4 w/kg), with an average heart rate of 140 bpm.

tdf-10-16-nocentini-aubisqueClick on graph to enlarge

Carlos Barredo attacked after the fast downhill, with but with the group working together very well he had no chance of winning. Chris Horner's SRM data from the last 5 kilometers show the efforts of the final. With an average of 356 watts (5.6 w/kg) for 6:41 minutes after more than 190 km of extremely hard racing - he worked hard to help Lance and sprinted with a max of 810 watts in the final.

tdf-10-16-horner-final-5kClick on graph to enlarge

Chris Horner burned 5,300 calories in this epic stage. A stage he won't forget. He'll be looking forward to the rest day tomorrow.

tdf-10-16-hornerClick on graph to enlarge

Tour De France, stage 16
Kristijan Koren
R. Pauriol C. Horner R. Nocentini
distance [km] 199.5
199.5 199.5
time [h:min:sec] 6:04:58 5:55:46
5:31:43 5:54:54
power [w] 231 225 267 245
speed [km/h] 32.4 33.2 35.7 33.3
cadence [rpm] 64 68 72 64
altitude [m] 4,280 4,185 4,173 4,196
energy metabolism [kJ] 5,063 4,810 5,308 5,218

Max power [w]

5 sec 717
701 830 944
10 sec 622
1 min 442
475 482
4 min 410
402 422 412
10 min 393
20 min 371
389 377
60 min 280




Writing this blog to vent some of the frustrations from the TDF of 2010!

Looking to find others that rode the route but were the subject of petty actions of adults behaving like children in tantrum.