Ed’s Rant: 2020 and a new season is about to start, but there are a few unanswered question rattling around we need to address before we go any further. They maybe ‘What Ifs’ and ‘Should Haves’ but still important nonetheless. From Lance Armstrong to retro equipment, Ed hood brings the curtain down on those burning puzzles of the past… maybe.
The chaos of 2019 Tour de France stage 19
Over the Festive Period here at PEZ we got to wondering about some of Cycling’s biggest questions, here’s what we think on a dozen issues which trouble us:
# What would have happened if Lance Armstrong hadn’t ’unretired’ himself and come back?
Despite what certain journos claim, it wasn’t their dogged determination which ‘did’ for Lance. Rather it was Floyd Landis’s frank, detailed confession which ultimately rendered the, ‘Man From Plano’s’ position untenable and lead to his fessing up to Oprah – my jaw hung open for that one folks. But if Lance hadn’t seen Carlos Sastre win the Tour – a man the Texan probably believed he could beat on one leg – and come back, then there would have been no team for Floyd to ask for a ride on and Lance would never have spurned him. ‘Hell hath no fury like a Mennonite scorned,’ as the saying goes. To answer the question then, Lance’s smiling face would still be on the magazine covers, he’d possibly have his own chat show or even be Governor of the Lone Star State by now.
‘What was I thinking?’
# Are rim brakes doomed?
Yes. Remember the story about King Canute trying to stop the tide? If you’re a ‘disc denying’ individual then you’re, ‘doing a Canute’ – I was one but I’ve learned to live with through axles and rotors – my next bike may even have them. . .
The Roompot team had disk brakes in 2015
# Could Alberto’s (+) really have been the steak?
Very possibly. Just because some dude in Argentina says he’s not kitting his cows up with steroids to bulk them up doesn’t mean to say he’s actually not. What troubles us about this one is when good old Aussie Mick Rogers was done for the same offence, there was an outpouring of righteous indignation about, ‘contaminated Chinese beef.’ Damn racist if you ask me. But of course, it’s just dodgy Latinos and East Europeans who kit up – us Anglos would never stoop so low. . .
‘Should have been vegetarian’
# Did the mudslide in the Tour this year rob Geraint of his second Tour win?
Possibly. It also perhaps robbed Julian Alaphilippe of another day in yellow. But in Thomas case, the decision meant he was suddenly behind Bernal in the GC standings and then had to ‘play the good teammate.’ A stage is either cancelled or it’s not; who’s to say what would have happened in those closing kilometres had not the weather gods intervened? To take stage placing from an arbitrary point on a parcours which was never completed cannot be right.
‘But… Monsieur Prudhomme’
# Is Bjarne Riis coming back?
If someone comes up with the moolah then it’s possible, his toe is still well in the water with his Virtu team and sooner or later he’ll get bored with golf and his wine cellar. And ‘the ink hadn’t dried’ when I received this message from my Danish amigo Jakob; “Bjarne Riis to join World Tour again as part-owner and DS/Manager of NTT. Press release expected tomorrow at 3:00 pm. Great news for Danish cycling”. So I got at least one right answer.
Riis back, Tinkoff next?
# Has Gianni Savio cut a deal with the Devil?
Perhaps not the Devil but certainly those in South America with super natural powers to foretell the future – he told us some four years ago to, ‘watch out for this young Colombian guy I have, Egan Bernal.’ He got that right. And I can’t help but wonder how much that clause in the young Colombian’s Sky contract which said Gianni gets a bonus if Egan wins the Tour is worth? Sosa is one of Savio’s too and will also win big.
‘Have I got a deal for you!’
# Is SRAM better than Campag and Shimano?
Wireless electronic gears stole a march on everyone and most guys I speak to love them. It’s like Viktor says; “a big black cable between your TV ‘remote’ and the cathode ray tube was what your grand parents had;” it wasn’t really ‘remote’ and the same applies to electric control cables. We know Shimano have been working on a system for years but. . .
‘Where are the cables?’
# Should Jonathan Vaughters have been awarded Sir Bradley Wiggins knighthood?
I say, ‘yes,’ the future Tour winner who’s natural habitat back then was the grupetto had run out of under-performing French teams and it was Vaughters who saw the potential in the man that most – me included – didn’t. Wiggins repaid Vaughters faith with a good hard kick in the teeth – but I’d love to know what it cost Sky to buy off JV’s contract.
And of we course we can but speculate about what JV would have worn to the Buckingham Palace investiture? I’m saying, big silver buckles, knee length breeches, lots of silk and faux animal skin. . .
‘Arise, Sir Brad’
# Why did the International Olympic Committee bin the individual pursuit and kilometre for the Beijing Olympics in favour of BMX?
You can help with this one, where are most of the world’s bikes made? – China, correct. And what do you think punts more units; top end pursuit bikes as ridden by a handful of people in serious cycling countries or BMX bikes as ridden by half the world’s kids? Hope that clears that up.
BMX: Bike sales or excitement?
# Should we ease back slightly on the Remco Evenepoel pagan idolatry; preciously brilliant though he may be ?
Yes – justification for that answer? Didi Thurau, Danny Willems, Frank VdB, Jan Ulrich. . .
Remco, not the next Frank
# Have we seen the best of the six day world?
Sadly, yes. If organisers could get Sagan, GVA and Phil Gil to sign on the dotted lines then you’d see full houses every night – but their budgets don’t stretch to six figure contract fees.
Didi Thurau behind the derny – When the road stars used to ride the ‘6 Days’
# Should we get nostalgic about 60’s/70’s bicycle equipment, using Mafac brakes as an example.
Categorically not; neither should we grieve for Stronglight chainsets, Regina freewheels and chains, leather saddles – nor the ultimate horror, the cotter pin. All please, rest in peace.
Don’t lose any tears over Mafac brakes
If there are any other of the sort’s burning issues you want answered then drop us a line. . .
There are still some questions we don’t want answered, Ed
It was November 2005 when Ed Hood first penned a piece for PEZ, on US legend Mike Neel. Since then he’s covered all of the Grand Tours and Monuments for PEZ and has an article count in excess of 1,800 in the archive. He was a Scottish champion cyclist himself – many years and kilograms ago – and still owns a Klein Attitude, Dura Ace carbon Giant and a Fixie. He and fellow Scot and PEZ contributor Martin Williamson run the Scottish site www.veloveritas.co.uk where more of his musings on our sport can be found.