Archivo de la etiqueta: preview

Paris preview

Yes! That’s right! I managed to get a ticket to the 2015 UCI Track World Championships in Paris Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

First, before you keep reading, check out this prowomenscycling.com post about how to watch from home. Sarah’s put up an excellent guide to follow the action, including what to do if the UCI’s youtube channel is geo-blocked for you. Check it out!

What’s left for me is gossip: obviously, I’m most excited to see the stars of the sixes race without the benefit of spotlights, loud music and a disco ball, but more faithful track fans will have followed the world cup track meets – last November in Guadalajara, Mexico; last December in London, UK, and last January in Cali, Colombia. Anyway, here’s a couple of races to watch out for:

The Omnium (obviously). Much has made of the rivalry between Laura Trott and Sarah Hammer, and for good reason¹: everyone wants to see if the American will win the stripes for the third year in a row. But I’m tipping Jolien D’Hoore, riding for Belgium, with flying Dutchwoman Kirsten Wild² hot on her heels. And I’ll be yelling for Marlies Mejía García, who took fifth in London (and a silver in Guadalajara), because it’s cool to see what the Cuban team can do. Fun fact that Cuba brings a women’s selection but no men’s, no?

And sprinters! It’s hard to ignore Guo Shuang’s dominance in the Keirin these past months. But Elis Ligtlee won’t let her go easily, and Kristina Vogel will be trying her best to defend her title. I’d like to see Juliana Gaviria.

Speaking of Ms. Gaviria, turns out that there are men racing too (!), among them her brother Fernando Gaviria, who you may remember as The Guy That Beat Cavendish Twice In San Luis. Or at least, that was a popular headline in the cycling press last month; as always, check the Alps & Andes blog for, well, real content.

I still don’t understand why the women don’t have their own Madison – it’s a bummer because it’s my favorite event³ – but the men’s is going to be a great race. I spent all winter listening to whisperings about Jasper de Buyst and Otto Vergaerde. While it’s true that six-day racing is heavy on northern european hype, the strength of De Buyst’s accelerations cannot be exaggerated. The 21-year-old was disqualified last year, but he will return wiser and, most likely, even faster.

Regardless, the Spanish Balearic⁴ duo of David Muntaner and Albert Torres won’t go down without a fight. They’ve been spending time refining their technique, and if they race with the form that won the title last year then they’ll be the team to beat. I’m also very excited to watch the European champions Andreas Graf and Andres Müller compete; while others are racing, these two are playing chess, calculating attacks, and finding wheels with one eye on the scoreboard.

As far as the Keirin goes: who could forget Fabian Puerta Zapata’s win in Cali? The home crowd must have helped, but he’s leading UCI’s points world cup standings. Still, Jason Kenny’s not going to make it easy for him, and – above all – keeping François Pervis off the top step of the podium is never an easy task.

Spectators don’t have it easy this year, either: escaping the clutches of the City of Lights and its wine, cheese, museums, expositions, and – finally – good coffee, is a challenge. But well worth it for some of the best track racing of the year!

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1. Probably plenty of bad puns, as well, but I’ll save that for another post.

2. See footnote #1.

3. Obviously?

4. Balearish? Balearese?

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The final countdown

I’m off to the track! But a few quick words about what we’re in for this evening. The standings:

1 Kneisky, Morgan – Mørkøv, Jesper        0    235

2 Lampater, Leif – Stroetinga, Wim           0    230

3 Kalz, Marcel – Rasmussen, Alex            1    297

(Complete list here.)

The three-way battle for first is going to be a fierce one this evening; Kalz/Rasmussen will almost certainly be awarded a bonus lap (for hitting 300 points), so nothing is a given this evening. No cake walk for anybody else, either; new team Grasmann/Marguet are only a lap and
ahead of Müller/Graf, and tonight’s final madison is an hour long, so team #2 will have to watch their back. And ditto for world champions Muntaner/Torres – with two separate teams within two laps, defending their place will be a battle.

Who will be throwing the flowers tonight? IMG_7883

(More on my instagram.)

Happy New Year: A Rotterdam preview

Happy New Year!

Much has happened since the Six Days of Ghent. (Obviously. I mean, it’s been six weeks already.) But I mean: much has happened in the six day world in those six weeks.

Most importantly, the Six Days of Zurich! I, unfortunately, was not in attendance, but it looked to be a great race, with superstar duo Cavendish and Keisse solidifying their win in the last night’s Madison. Hometown hero Silvan Dillier and Leif Lampeter put up a great fight, the only team to finish on the same lap as the winners, while Jasper de Buyst and Kenny de Ketele finished third.

Speaking of the Belgians that upset Cavendish in Ghent: congratulations are due to de Buyst and de Ketele, who won the Belgian national Madison championships last week, along with the right to wear their national colors for the rest of the year to come.

The best news: the new year starts today, and tomorrow we’ll ring it in with the Six Days of Rotterdam.

Click here to check out who all is showing up, it promises to be a great race! Niki Terpstra, who you may remember from the podium of the Amsterdam Six (or, more likely, from the podium of Paris-Roubaix) teams up with Iljo Keisse, who also needs no introduction. But if you’re only a road fan, certainly you remember his nail-biting victory at the 2012 Tour of Turkey? The pair has won in Rotterdam for the past two years, they’ll be looking to make it three.

We’ll have to see if the champion’s jerseys of de Ketele and de Buyst can give them that extra gear. Michael Morkov and Alex Rasmussen are also an experienced team, having won eight six-day races together. And we can’t forget reigning world champions Muntaner and Torres: they’ve only gotten stronger since their fifth-place Zurich finish, and if their technique falls into place, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Flying Dutchmen Yoeri Havik and Wim Stroetinga will be up front, too: Havik won the Amsterdam Six this year, and Stroetinga won Rotterdam in 2012.

If you go, make sure to take advantage of the design capital that is Rotterdam: the International Film Festival may not be held until the end of the month, but if you read this blog, odds are you’d be interested in checking out the Kunsthal, if only to see the James Bond exhibit. Don’t forget the Netherlands Foto Museum, too.

More news (ahem, “news”) and reports to follow in the following days.