Me ‘n’ J.G.

Me 'n' J.G. banner

The skinniest-and-freakiest man in cyclocross has been busy putting the finishing touches on his inaugural ProTour road season, while getting his feet wet on the ‘cross circuit. John Gadret is one of only two riders (Enrico Franzoi of Lampre being the other) who has let it rip in 2006 in the Spring Classics, a Grand Tour, Fall Classics, and the Euro ‘cross circuit. His initial forays into cyclocross this Fall seem a bit subpar, maybe he got even freakier-lean to rock the hills (on the road) at the expense of raw power necessary for ‘cross, but there’s plenty of ‘cross to come…

Superprestige #1 - Ruddervoorde Ruddervoorde, Belgium Gadret did not show his face. What?…Just a wee bit tired after Lombardia? Roger De Vlaeminck would have made the trip. In fact, he probably would have hopped in a car in Como and driven himself overnight from Italy to Belgium. Kids today are so soft.
Giro di Lombardia Como, Italy 34th @ 4:03
Giro dell’Emilia Bologna, Italy 11th @0.38
Cyclocross World Cup #1 Aigle, Switzerland 25th @ 3.04
Vlaamse Houtlandcross Eernegem Eernegem, Belgium 17th @ 3.09


Quik Step-Innergetic must be laughing all the way to the bank. They’ve got the world champion on their squad for another year, and all they have to do is put Tom Boonen’s kit and bike in an industrial strength drier for a few hours so it will shrink to fit wee Paolo Bettini.

And not being satisfied merely using Boonen’s hand-me-downs last week in the Championship of Zurich, Bettini integrated some leftover Paola Pezzo gold lame shorts into the kit a few days later for the Giro dell’Emilia. Leave it to the Italians to bust out the exotic threads.

The Olympics are truly a new frontier for professional cyclists. It’s only been since 1996 that professionals were allowed to compete in the Games, with Switzerland’s Pascal Richard emerging victorious in the inaugural pro/am Olympic road race in Atlanta. Realizing that this would likely be the last, great race he’d ever win, and having no precedent to follow, Richard invented his own Olympic kit, complete with a pretty tame set of gold shades to boot. And don’t forget those world champion bands to commemorate his 1988 world cyclocross championship:

A garish Pascal Richard in 1998 (note to Pascal - Casino kit and Olympic rings are a hard visual combo to digest)

A tamer Pascal Richard in 1999

I think the IOC then became aware of Richard’s copyright infringement and shut down his self-styled Olympic tribute, leaving future road cycling Olympic champions at a loss to commemorate Olympic glory. Because it there’s one entity on the planet more freakishly protective of its intellectual property than Disney, it’s the Olympics. Hence, Bettini’s use of gold and gold lame instead of concentric rings to honor his Olympic victory. Curiously, it doesn’t appear from a cursory review of photographs between 2001-2004 that Jan Ullrich ever took liberties with his kit to reflect his Olympic glory, preferring sartorial Telekom pink and when appropriate, his German national championship jersey.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

If there’s one thing our current administration does better than anybody - better than Nixon, better than J. Edgar Hoover, better than the Stasi- it’s spying on people. The NSA is just going crazy, sucking cell phone and land line conversations out of the ether from anyplace on the planet. Now, call me old-fashioned, but I think antiquated documents such as the Constitution still apply. Spy on anybody you like, just get a warrant first.

But the upside of this perfidious conduct is the juicy conversations acquired amidst our world-wide eavesdropping net. File yourself a FOIA request and you, too, can hear casual conversations from just about anybody. Like what transpired between Alejandro Valverde and Oscar Freire moments after the conclusion of the recent Salzburg world road championships. Who knew Mr. Freire was such a fiesty little bugger.


Ugly Americans

No, not our riders, (I trust that any Americans selected for a world championship position have enough decorum and respect to represent our country properly), but our clothes. Just look what Bjarne Riis thought about the 2006 Team USA kit sported in Salzburg…

And on a somewhat tangentally related note, if you want to delve into the world of someone whose life’s passion is “the obsessive study of athletics aesthetics”, check out Uni Watch. A recent read through the site reminded me of the unflattering kits worn by Americans at the road and mountain bike world championships.