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Active Expert: Bruce Hildenbrand

2 Posts tagged with the chipotle tag

I took a few photos that didn't fit into the earlier blogs(OK, how does something not fit into a blog, you ask!) so here they are with appropriate comments.

 

Will Frischkorn was the star of stage 3 of the Tour de France initiating a 200km+ breakaway with three other riders and almost winning the stage. For his actions he was rewarded the most aggressive rider for that day.  Will was also off the front for over 200km in the season's first classic, Milan-San Remo. Hopefully in 2009, Will gets to stand on the podium.

 

 

Ryder Hesjedal has ridden at the highest levels in both professional road cycling and mountain biking.  He is totally capable of winning one-day and stage races, but during the 2008 Tour de France he was a super-domestique for team leader Christian Vande Velde. Ryder was there on that critical day on the Col de la Bonnette to help Christian limit his losses when he was dropped halfway up the massive, 6000-foot climb.  Unfortunately, Christian crashed on the descent and lost a further two minutes which ultimately cost him a podium place. Ryder's crucial role was all but forgotten, but he did his job well. As did Christian!

 

 

Christian Vande Velde's father, John, was also an elite bike racer.  He was a member of the 1972 Olympic team as part of the team pursuit squad.  BTW, Jim Ochowicz was also on that team pursuit squad. However, John is probably best remembered for his role as one of the four Italians on Team Cinzano in the Academy Award winning movie 'Breaking Away.'  John wasn't the one who put the pump in Dave Stoller's spokes; that was Eddy Van Guyse.  A devoted track racer, John had a portable board track constructed nicknamed the 'Vandedome' which was used for a few European-style six day races throughout the US in the 1980's.  John sold the track for $5 to another passionate cyclist and word is that it might be re-assembled for some races in New York next year.

 

 

While the actual 2009 Garmin-Slipstream jersey has yet to be unveiled, here is a look at what might be very close to the final design. Note that long-time sponsor Chipotle is still part of the team, they are just not one of the primary sponsors so are not included in the official team name. Those of you worried about the departure of argyle need not be concerned. The power of the argyle is still strong!

 

 

Bruce

977 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: bruce_hildenbrand, chipotle, will_frischkorn, garmin_chipotle, christian_vande_velde, ryder_hesjedal, john_vande_velde

In 2005, the UCI, the governing body of cycling, created the Pro Tour in an

attempt to form a season-long competition involving the premier European pro

races. Unfortunately, the organizers of the premier European races such as

the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana, known as the grand tour

organizers, were skeptical of the real reasons behind the UCI forming the

Pro Tour.

 

Over the past three years of its existence the Pro Tour has been a rocky road.

At the end of 2007, the UCI and the grand tour organizers agreed to remove the

grand tours and the other races put on by the grand tour organizers such as

Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastogne-Liege and Milan San Remo from the Pro Tour.  So,

instead of the original 30 races, the 2008 edition of the Pro Tour will have 16

races. Is this divorce and new version of the Pro Tour a good thing for

professional cycling?  I think it is and for a lot of good reasons.

 

First off, the UCI needs to prove that it can manage and promote a premier

race series on its own. Trying to latch onto races like the Tour de France,

Giro d'Italia and Paris-Roubaix, which are already wildly popular, is like

coming in to close a game with two outs, two strikes in the ninth inning with a

ten run lead. It doesn't prove the UCI's capabilities to deliver what they

promised with the Pro Tour, notably to grow cycling by increasing it's

popularity and sponsorship.

 

Secondly, the Pro Tour was an huge burden to the already established events

because its 20 team format severely limited the wild card invitations a race

organizer could offer non-Pro Tour teams. This caused a real have and have-not

situation. If you weren't a Pro Tour team, your squad was unlikely to get the

opportunity to prove yourself on the world's stage. A few teams, like

Barloworld at last year's Tour, got the chance and they stepped up their game

several notches and were one of the real bright moments in France last July.

 

This is great news for the two US teams, Slipstream-Chipotle and BMC Racing,

who are trying to gain a ticket into Europe's big races. Slipstream just

received an invite to the Giro. Would that have happened under the Pro Tour

system last year? BMC and Slipstream are also looking for a slot in the Queen

of the Classics, Paris-Roubaix.  With 2004 winner, Maggy Backstedt on his

roster, Jonathan Vaughter's Slipstream squad should get an invite. It would

be great to see the BMC boys alongside them at the start as well.

 

And for those of you used to seeing a US-based team at the Tour, the removal

of the Pro Tour restrictions means that Slipstream could be lining up at the

start come this July.

 

Don't get me wrong. I am not a Pro Tour hater. One of the things I really

liked about the Pro Tour is that if a team held a multi-year Pro Tour license,

it was guaranteed entry into the biggest races. With such a guarantee, a team

could approach a potential sponsor in, say 2007, with the promise that they

would be at the Tour in 2008. Unfortunately, there were just too many Pro Tour

teams and they basically sucked up all the spots at those same big races.

Again, this was the case of the haves versus the have-nots.

 

It's extremely early in the season, the first Pro Tour race, the Tour Down

Under in Australia has just started, but I have a good feeling that this new

arrangement is going to force both the UCI and the grand tour organizers

to bring their A games which will ultimately be the best for professional

cycling. What do you all think?

 

Bruce

1,211 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: tour-de-france, bruce-hildenbrand, bruce_hildenbrand, slipstream, chipotle, bmc-racing, pro-tour, giro-d'italia, paris-roubaix, uci, vuelta-a-espana