Saturday, September 19, 2009

Edvald Boasson Hagen - The skys the Limit

Although close to 50 years old I am a relative novice to cycling, only taking it more seriously in the last few years. In many respects I feel that the same could be said about British cycling.
For years our achievements have been rare and have in some way provided a novelty factor for the garlic munchers across the English Channel.
Call me ignorant but winning the odd prologue does not count for me.
As I watched the cycling classics and grand tours I also used to play 'Spot the Brit'.
It was a difficult challenge, but I soon worked out that if you watched the support cars you might spot one. They were the domestiques, the ones fetching fresh water bottles.
Never expecting things to change my allegiances went to the US riders and my unashamed hero Lance Armstrong.
Then came along a certain David Brailsford who transformed British Track Cycling and gave us all household names to look up to.
Garden sheds were revisited and tyres were reinflated.
People suddenly took to the road and liked it and the best part was it was free.
Despite the recession cycle sales are now soaring.
That's obvious you might say........ people are buying bikes to go to work in to save fuel cost.
I fully accept that - but the actual biggest area of cycle sales are the top end performance bikes.
Every Weekend the roads are strewn with cycles taking part in events which are multiplying throughout the country. I used to have to travel half a day to enter an event, now there is always something local
With the Success of Mark Cavendish, Bradley Wiggins at this years Tour de France, British cyclists are now having water bottles brought to them, and quite right too.........
The Sky is the Limit
Next year we have the new Sky Team to look forward to.
The new team, funded by broadcasters BSkyB, will be managed by Brailsford, the GB performance director who was responsible for delivering 34 medals at the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics.
Having the top British cyclists training together should improve chances of success on the road at future World Championships and Olympic Games.
Team Sky squad so far:
Kurt Arvesen - 34, from Norway; has won stages of the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia and will be a mentor for young riders; part of Saxo Bank squad that included 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre and Frank and Andy Schleck.
John Lee Augustyn - 23, from South Africa; Barloworld team-mate of Thomas and Froome during 2008 Tour de France; has potential to be a great climber.
Edvald Boasson Hagen - 22, from Norway; currently sits third in the UCI rankings, having won a stage in this year's Giro d'Italia.
Kjell Carlstrom - 32, from Finland; a specialist climber, he has ridden all three Grand Tours and is a stage winner in Paris-Nice.
Steve Cummings - 28, from Birkenhead; part of pursuit teams that won gold at 2005 World Championships and 2006 Commonwealth Games and silver at the 2004 Olympics.
Russell Downing - 31, from Rotherham; winner of 2009 Tour of Ireland; one of the most successful ever GB-based professionals.
Juan Antonio Flecha - 31, from Spain; has 10 years' professional experience, including a Tour de France stage win in 2003; known as a Classics specialist.
Chris Froome - 24, born in Nairobi, Kenya; became British-registered in 2008; has completed two Tours de France.
Simon Gerrans - 29, from Australia; has won stages of all three Grand Tours this year and the 2008 Tour Down Under.
Greg Henderson - 31, from New Zealand; world scratch race champion on the track in 2004; has recorded nine victories with Columbia in 2009, including the Tour of Spain.
Peter Kennaugh - 20, from Isle of Man; British Under-23 Champion who is dominating the Under-23 calendar in Italy; partnered fellow Manxman Mark Cavendish in madison at 2009 world track championships.
Thomas Lovkvist - 25, from Sweden; a five-year pro who wore the leader's jersey during this year's Giro d'Italia as part of Columbia HTC squad and could contend for overall tour wins.
Lars Petter Nordhaug - 25, from Norway; former mountain-biker who switched to the road and became Norwegian national champion; runner-up to Russell Downing in the 2009 Tour of Ireland.
Morris Possoni - 25, from Italy; wore the best young rider jersey during the 2008 Giro d'Italia as part of the Columbia squad.
Ian Stannard - 22, from Chelmsford; came third in 2008 Tour of Britain and rode 2009 Giro d'Italia.
Geraint Thomas - 23, from Cardiff; youngest rider in 2007 Tour de France; won gold in team pursuit at Beijing Olympics
I am sure that once their contracts have expired that Cavendish and Wiggins will also be joining this Team.
In the meantime there is a certain Viking who may keep us Anglo Saxons on our Toes
'Edvald Hagen'.
He is just about to win the Tour of Britain and has some real star quality.


Lance Armstrong says Britain's Team Sky cycling team can succeed in Tour de France and that
the formation of Team Sky is "a great step forward for cycling".
"A few years ago if you had said that the British Cycling Federation (now British Cycling) is going to dominate the Olympic Games people would have said 'no way' but Dave Brailsford and his entire team there has made amazing progress.
"Not only are they (Team Sky) going to be in the Tour de France, they are going to be a factor.
"It is good for cycling fans in Britain and cycling fans all over the world."

1 comment:

jeff said...

I was disappointed when Mark Cavendish had to pull out of the Tour of Missouri after 3 days with a viral infection. I was hoping to see him sprint to the finish line. I'm amazed how everyone knows what he and his teammates are going to do, and they do it anyway!