So with today being the 1st of January 2011, we officially bid goodbye to the year of 2010, and what a year for cycling it was! We saw epic grand tours crafted to extol unprecedented suffering, a three-time tour champ testing positive, Spartacus dominate some early season classic action, and of course the rise and rise of popularity of cycling within the UK. Below are some of my top highlights from the past 12 months, some personal, some as a cycling fan, but all as a lover of all things on two wheels!
Mark Cavendish cries after victory in stage 5 of Le Tour
And I cried with him! I will never forget it, it was one of the handfuls of days off we had whilst posted in South Africa for 6 weeks with work, and I watched the last 80k or so of the stage live on tv, and maybe it’s because I was a little tired (actually exhausted) and emotional, I just thought it was the most amazing thing, and I loved seeing how much it meant to the guy, especially after his early season arrogance and that whole two finger salute shtick. It showed how much the chap cares and how much he needed it. And well of course we all know what him form was like after this…. hats off to Mark.
London gets two epic cycle hangouts
Early summer bought us the arrival of two cracking bike-loving venues in town. The Rapha cycle club, a temporary cafe come boutique come gallery sat proudly in Farringdon, welcoming all manner of cycle fans for their daily Giro and Tour screenings, as well as throwing some very nice soirées come the evening, such as new range and book launches. It’s tenure ended late July rather sadly, but rest assured the club will return summer of 2011 serving some lovely nudie roast! Look Mum No Hands! is a rather more permanent cafe venture plonked in the heart of the old street area, serving food, drinks, running a repairs workshop and bike film screenings aplenty. As well as screening live races and old cycling films, they have also hosted some great nights such as a q&a evening with pro-tour rider Dan Lloyd and most recently the launch of the Gran Corsa charity challenge. Be sure to pop in when in town, it’s a one of a kind venue.
Alexander Vinokourov wins Liège-Bastogne-Liège
April saw Vino win Liege in an emphatic manner, motoring away from Kolobnev in the closing section to take his second LBL title. After serving a two year ban for playing with his blood, the Kontraversial Kazakh made a return to the Astana team and rode in a manner akin to a super strong diesel engine.
Rapha launch ladies specific range
Finally a brand stepped up to the challenge of making some super functional and stylish ladies specific cycle wear. Drawing from the designs of the popular mens products, Rapha have created a range for the most discerning of cycling women. Reviewed here and here the range has performed wonderfully over many miles in 2010, and rapha have built a truly solid foundation of products that hopefully they will keep adding to as the seasons tick by…
Cadel Evans takes a truly epic victory during stage 7 of the Giro d’Italia
I don’t think anyone will disagree with the use of the term ‘epic’ when recounting stage seven of what could be described as the most brutally entertaining grand tour for years. The giro had it all, insane mountain time trials, evil climbing stages and of course the pavé and dirt of the seventh stage, the 220km from Carrara to Montalcino. Cadel, Cunego, Vino and others amongst contention, it took a natty kick from Evans to shake his adversaries and give us a victory salute to remember. He looked battled drained and completely spent, and for that reason it has to be one of my favourite stages this year.
Editing at Le Tour final day
In 2010 I had the privilege to be sent out to edit for two amazing photographers on the last day of Le Tour de France. I did a small write up of the experience here. 2011 should hopefully see me heading out for this stage again on behalf of Getty Images, all fingers crossed and calendars allowing. I will of course try and document the thing a little better this time, with of course having another whole years worth of on-the-road experience under my editing belt 🙂
Quote of the Year 2010
This nod had to go to Omega Pharma Lotto’s Matt Lloyd for the following golden nugget after several crashes had blighted the tour, with Euskaltel’s riding being widely blamed – “They just fall off. There’s no reason why. You’ll just be riding along and there they’ll be like a bleeding carrot in the middle of the road lying in pain.”
The “Hell Of The North” ride
Possibly the funniest craziest ride ever undertaken, you can read a report of the day here. I simply cannot wait for the 2011 ride, and rest assured I have even booked it off work already to ensure nothing gets in the way of getting dirty and scoffing some frites courtesy of Rapha whilst enjoying the spectacle of roubaix on the big screen. A sublime day that wont be forgotten for a long while Also, I will ensure I don’t wear speedplays this year boys 🙂
Giro vs TOC
A great wee chart knocked up by the Ritte boys explains why the giro this year was just SO damned good. If the 2011 version is half as good it will be amazing still.
Cancellaras April Romp
Chris Newton takes the Premiere Calendar title
What a way to retire. Chris Newton retired from road racing by winning the Premiere Calendar title in his final season on the tarmac. Finishing 200 points ahead of the super strong Simon Richardson, Newton rode the races classy and legs like dynamite. It struck me how awesome the level of domestic racing is in the UK, I really enjoyed watching the races on eurosport, and think 2011 is going to be an awesome year for the domestic racing scene, with teams like Endura, Le Col and Rapha ready to duke it out.
These are just a few of my top 2010 cycling moments, please comment below as to what the highlights were for you, did you reach your goals of kms? was there a particular race that reduced you to tears of emotion or frustration? Was there a product that helped you get everything you wanted out of 2010? Then jot it down below and share. I have a feeling 2011 is going to be another belter of a year. I’m in the process of penning down my cycling goals, mainly relating to my continuing back/leg issues, but that’s another post for a few weeks time! Here’s to a great year passed, and another great one to unfold…