Friday, December 31, 2010


Australian N/E is flooded and Sth Austalia is under "Fire Ban" so there are a lot of uneasy people out there trying to make the best of the cards dealt them.

Controversy rages in New York as they try to clear up after the storm and hopefully when the next dump arrives there will be less aggro to contend with.

Here in the Zillertal there is a foggy start to the day with little snow recently so slogging up the various pistes on skins is not as much fun as when the sun shines and you can view the surrounding terrain, coming down on Telemark is not as much fun either as the surface feels like it is bulletproof.   My balance is better but cutting across ice in the telemark position with tired knees is no joy.

Hope that 2011 is a better year for all.



Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Greetings

Christmas is here once again and i am in the Zillertal with snow on the ground and a heavy mist marring the views.Christmas Eve for us is the Xmas day for the continentals so it is early closing for the stores and ski lifts.

Laziness kept me in the house today but i turned on the CNN Heroes Programme for a while, and there were the Chilean Miners. What a story that was , absolutely inspirational result but the thing that comes over most strongly is that they are travelling together to events where they can show their continuing unity. Can you imagine being cooped up in such a situation for two months ? That they survived and then continue to make the rounds as a group is amazing, and to see representatives of the rescue crew in the audience was a nice touch, well done CNN ! The rest of the program i will catch later as i finished up at lunch with the local "Libenshilfe" house and whilst not fully understanding the comments in german enjoyed the hospitality and comradeship.

Luckily i do not have to travel but the past week has been a series of disasters for those relying on Airports and Eurorail to get around. Had thought of a visit to Ulm but decided the autobahns were worth avoiding for another week .

During the past weeks i have been entertained by the Pegasus Team debacle and the resurgence of the Aussie cricket team, hopefully their momentum will carry them through Melbourne and allow them to reclaim the Ashes.

Best wishes to all for the festive season

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Consistent snow is the outlook this weekend which gives me a chance whilst watching the Alpine Ski Racing to review some of the news from the past week.

Jon Vaughters wrote an interesting article about Sponsorship and Team rankings mid week and then this morning I read that Pegasus( new Aussie team) are not only missing out on the Pro Tour Status but possibly the Pro Tour ranking also. Racers of the calibre of Robbie Mc Ewen & Stuey O’Grady could well be side lined by this decision and this will defeat the Sponsors prime objective for setting up the team , which was apparently to contest the Grand Tours in 2011. There is something to be said about BMC ‘s approach to the Pro Tour in that they started out as Continental and worked their way up through Pro Continental to Pro Tour Status. Sponsors are all interested in “Return on Investment” no matter what else they say and gravitating to teams that are constantly in the news and presented on TV is the main objective of any commercial decision. Since 2000 when I visited John Morris in Sydney and told him that “Australian Tourism” should sponsor a team, I have been waiting to see an Aussie team at the Grand Tours, looking bleak for 2011 at this time.

Contador continues to be in the news as Spanish Sport in general is having a successful period, but with the latest Police Raids and confiscations the tide of sympathy even in Spain must be turning against him. An article about an Italian Cyclist caught my eye because the Italian Authorities are going after the whole family. Lampre are unlucky to have had several Cyclists over the years become casualties of their desire to take short cuts. Gerolstein was a team that collapsed because of lack of sponsors because several of their roster were either too smart or too greedy, and each of these individuals blame all but themselves.

This week I commented on Contador and suggested that either UCI boss Pat Mc Quaid bite the bullet and bring his desire for 4 yr suspensions to reality or resign and allow a stronger personality to get the job done. Seeing that CONI the Italian Organisation taking a firmer stand about doping came as a surprise but I hope that they will continue to prosecute families and supporters in the future instead of their previous wishy washy defence of their “Sporting Fraudsters” ! High Profile Athletes are the idols of the young and impressionable and thus when they behave badly we have a new generation of “copycat behaviour” which is detrimental to all regardless of the sport. Having been somewhat of an oddity since 1998 I have had access to some of the Prime Movers In Cycling and have advocated more Drug Testing and Longer Suspension periods since I first visited UCI offices in Lausanne during 1999. What effect I have had on their thinking is obvious in that nothing appears to have changed except the names being suspended and the drugs and methods they use.

Sporting Fraud is a Criminal Activity whether by individual or by team it deserves being treated by draconian measures, the athletes involved and their “handlers” are petty thieves and just as you would lock up a burglar or drink driver these miscreants deserve a spell behind bars. Fact is the prisons are full so being locked in the house with an Ankle Device for 4 years causing the family grief would save the community money and serve as a warning to any athlete contemplating similar activities. Andy Schleck was 2nd at the TDF but I know IF “pistolero” is suspended he will not wish to wear No 1 at the Start in July 2011. Most of the prestige in winning the TDF is being able to make that triumphant Lap of Honour on the Champs Elysee on the final day, being deprived of that by the likes of flandis must be hugely disappointing to the eventual winner.

Over the years I have written to various Heads of State to ask them to call for a Moratorium on the Drugs Question, “Drip, Drip, Drip “ seems to be the order of the day , pass the 10 year cut off period and then put your hand up to usage when there is no longer risk of prosecution. Continually hearing of these criminal activities does not encourage the public to believe that the fight against drugs is being waged let alone won. Several countries have put “Sporting Fraud” into their legislative powers in recent years but there are too many out there still awaiting the end of the 10 years to get their transgressions out in the open. Proclaiming a World Wide Moratorium on all SPORT with a time limit and removal of the current cut off will cause many a head line . Those with the skeleton in the cupboard will face a bleak future with Draconian sentences when found out if they refuse the “Olive Branch”.

Cycle Safety is another area that needs far more attention, too many cyclists are being bullied by those who most likely also rode a bike whilst growing old enough to earn the PRIVELEGE of a driving license. What is it with these people who fail to leave their starting point with time enough to arrive safely at their destination. Life isn’t about how much aggravation you cause as you spend your day and it certainly doesn’t require causing others harm. The Cycling Silk Blog recently has come to be a series of items about a thug who the authorities refuse to investigate let alone censure. English authorities handle formal complaints from the public with an eye to how much time and resources they will use. Being presented with Video evidence by a prominent member of the legal profession and treating this with disdain sends the wrong message to the rest of the cycling community. When you or I get on our bike we wish to be treated equally and fairly by road users and deserve to be penalised for transgressions but when the authorities treat cyclists as a lower form of life then all the encouragement by politicians for us to get on the bike are frustrated.

Martin Porter QC is not only a cycle commuter but cycle racer and Blogger and with his knowledge of the law deserves more respect from the authorities he is attempting to involve in prosecuting the miscreant who not only abused him but threatened to kill him., currently he is looking for action by the head of the English Criminal Prosecution Service with the support of a variety of cycling organisations.

Monday, December 6, 2010


Last week i settled into new accomodation in the Zillertal and set up the rowing machine and Tacx trainer to get the level of fitness that i will need for Ski Touring. For those not sure of this it is strapping "Skins to the under side of the skis and sliding them up the gradient which requires a lot of energy and produces tons of sweat. Starting out generally slowly but as time passes the energy level grows.

At 80kg i am in good shape compared to previous years when with beer in the diet i find myself with a spare tyre weighing in at 89+kg ! Imagine my chagrin last week to read Fatty's blog offering prizes to those overweight and looking for motivation to drop more than 10lbs ! Even at the TDF i cannot drop below 77kg without getting lightheaded and the shakes. Of course i could have had a couple of days over indulging myself to inflate the body and then genuinely signed on but not really realistic is it ?

!998 i did the 24hr Imst Ski Race and have been planning each year to repeat the experience but so far unable to find anything other than Villars in feb 2011. Anyone able to offer an alternative ? I will be fit enough but finding the support team to handle the ski waxing and money collection will be the hardest job.

Commenting on current events brings out the "Anti Cyclist Brigade", even where Lives are lost there is some miscreant turning a tradegy into a rant on "Mary Jane" for example, could be they are out of work as i am but then at 65yo i guess i am classed as retired rather than unemployable.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


2012 Paralympics, Olympics 2012 London,MR PRESIDENT


As a sportsman you would have grown up enjoying news( from a variety of sources) of new "records" being set in the Sporting World. No matter which sport you follow there would be headlines to captivate the audience.

Later you would hear of "transgressions" and sanctions imposed, perhaps you would have been like the rest of us to see someone that you thought worthy of praise brought down by "misdeeds by them or their associates"?

Of course we have "Agencies" to control Sport and the "misdeeds committed" but ask yourself what is happening. Year by year the problem grows the more money committed to the "fight" against "Sporting Fraud" the more people and more sports become "known" to the public.Recently we have certain Swim Suits banned and Horses are testing "positive" to prohibited substances" !

2012 we will have the Olympic and Paralympic Games in London and we will be told that there will be stronger controls in the fight against "Doping", who knows , perhaps there will be a step forward before once again new discoveries will intrude into the Sports World.

There are genuine Athletes(dismayed at what they see around them) out there but there are also Drug Companies whose products will be "bent" into a new usuage which will assist the "Rotten Apples in the barrel" and so some of those on the margind will also be tempted to try their "luck", because that is what is happening now and more and more athletes who are getting their 2 years are saying they were unlucky to get caught !

Look at Road Cycling at present, Basso, Vinkourov and Ricco amongst others returning from their "2 year holidays( because that is what it is !)"are winning almost immediately against Athletes who continued to work for their teams in that period. Most of these disgraced athletes did not suffer greatly because they were "celebrities" and so would have received benefit from employment during their "rest period",even publicity as they continued training and claiming "Errors in the System" that brought them to the attention of the Authorities.

We could continue all day with a variety of sports but i would remind you of an Australian Athlete who was sent home for drinking too much coffee. The Caffeine level was since relaxed and is now once again under consideration. There are many athletes who use "WADA" approved medications and some may benefit from the marginal side effects but nobody chooses to suffer Cancer or other life threatening ailments.

MR PRESIDENT only YOU can put a stop to the "Merry go Round" you have the ability to toughen Federal Laws and Impose Sanctions that will cause the World Leaders to follow your example.

We all know about Marion Jones and some other athletes that have suffered the same fate or are in the system that can impose the same fate if they behave as she chose.

BY IMPOSING A MORITORIUM ON ATHLETES WHO HAVE CHEATED AND ADMIT THEIR GUILT BY 31 December 2010 you will clear a lot of "deadwood" from the "Playing Field"! Not only Current Athletes but Former Athletes should be given this opportunity. When the time has elapsed any people that did not own up will be subjected to HARSHER PENALTIES including Severe Jail Time and lifelong bans from engaging in any sport related employment or visiting any sporting venues.

Too many former cyclists are currently working in the industry in a variety of capacities and many have "Owned Up" to "Sporting Fraud" , the new generation rely on their experience and benefit from the Good but there will always be a taint and the possibility that "weakminded" will try to take the easy road for short term gains. So it is with all sports and only when YOUR moritorium has discovered the depth of deception that is out there will those now in or entering higher levels in their chosen sport be aware of the risks they run in associating with these people.

When your Moritorium "Weeds out" those weakminded individuals, some athletes will choose to continue working with them and others will seek new coaching but there will still be a need for even more stringent Doping Controls and it will be necessary to impose harsher penalties on the "Inspectors and the Laboratories " to avoid the likes of the 2004 Athens samples mixups which allowed a Gold Medal to stand even though through a technicality !

Mr President when you were elected you promised more than you have acheived so far and the public expects that you will reach more of those promises in the next years. Sporting Fraud affects the fabric of society in so many ways and once the younger generations see that they havev a level playing field they will stop trying to cut corners in other fields of endeavour. Eradicating a "Mind Set" will not be easy but Harsher Penalties and the ability to test previously "Negative Samples" in the future with the new techniques becoming available will "OUT" most of those who have a conscience. Many of those people only indulged because they "KNEW( or thought)" their colleagues on the team and their competitors were doing so .

Presently in so many sports the conception is that the "ATHLETE with the best Pharmacist and the deepest pockets" will win so it may also be necessary to prosecute the "Drug suppliers" once the Moritorium has taken effect since if the head of a company knows he is at risk what will happen to the "Researcher who strays outside company guidelines" ?

MR PRESIDENT i like so many others do not have the answers but wish to see the London 2012 OLYMPIC and PARALYMPIC conducted in a fair and sporting manner. Jacques Rogge heads an organisation that wishes for a level playing field but are the victims of those who seek to take whatever short cut that can be acheived .

Worldwide action can only be acheived through your government setting a higher standard and that will come about when those currently in Sport realise they have more to lose than they gain by not "OWNING UP TO THEIR MISDEEDS" !

IN sending this item to the white House it was necessary to send in 3 sections due to their 2500 character limitations !

Saturday, August 14, 2010


This blog item is also on TourdaFarce blog

Personalities are undoubtedly ammunition for the media at the Tour de France each year, but normally all we see is "El Diablo" jumping up and down and "Antler Man" running alongside the race as just two of so many examples of the antics that people get upto so as to appear on the TV.

Consider those who quietly go about their mission and Liam Flanagan and his father are head and shoulders above the scrum.

So many occasions i have come across this pair at the Tour that i wonder if there is a magnet. At Rotterdam i found them near the "Permanence" but on the sunday i went to their hotel. At Morzine i found them on the road as an artist was finishing his artwork which you can read about in their blog. Passed them days later after the climb from Sisteron and at the finish in Bordeaux as i was looking around for georgethecyclist . There are many more sightings as i don't get off the bike each time i see someone that i need to speak with, Fignon & Indurain to name a couple but then my recognition skills aren't instant and braking distance and returning in a one way situation is not always possible.

Lifted item the folowing from Procyclinglive who was describing the visit for racing to "Assen Youth Races".

"In his yellow and black shirt Liam Flanagan stands out in the category 3 peloton. On the cycling track around the campsite people are already calling him Mr. Armstrong. He is not Armstrong yet but is from the same country as the seven fold Tour de France winner.
How does a rider from California end up in Assen? “In Bordeaux where we were for the Tour de France time trial we met the parents of Canadian pro Michael Barry who rides for Team Sky,” Liam’s dad Bill explains. “They told Liam about the youth tour which Michael had done when he was young and Liam got more excited by the minute.” “When I heard about it I knew that I wanted to go there immediately,” Liam says with a big smile.
“First we thought the tour had already been but when we were in Paris and looked it up on the internet, Liam saw that it was still to come. We quickly arranged an UCI license which is only possible from 10 years on in the US. Liam turned ten a week before we arrived in Assen,” Bill continues. “When I was at the start Monday I could hardly believe I really was in this race,” Liam says.
Liam trains a lot with his dad who did triathlons himself. Father and son have followed the 2009 Tour de France and in 2010 they did a recon of 7 stages too. The list of mountains Liam has climbed is impressive: Joux Plane, Mont Ventoux, Col de la Colombière, Col de Madeleine, Col d’Aravis, Morzine-Avoriaz, Andorra-Arcalis and Col de Tourmalet. “I think the Mont Ventoux was the hardest,” Liam says. It seems only the first and HC category mountains are good enough for the 10-year-old.
Despite all his cycling experience, he started at age 4, Liam has never raced against his peers. “That was something different,” Bill says. “The pace of these girls in category 3 has astounded me. Liam has great stamina but copes less well with the changes in tempo.”
Liam rides in the Livestrong shirt. Last year they met Lance Armstrong at the foot of the Colombière. He wanted to race with Liam. “It was awesome,” Liam remembers as we watch the YouTube clip of that day. After this encounter Bill and Liam got more and more interested in Livestrong and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. During the Livestrong Challenge 2009 we raised $2000 and this year the amount raised is above $1000 already. “We met a lot of survivors. They are incredibly strong people,” Bill says. He has taken a year off but worked with cancer patients before that.
Liam will live in France for the next year with his brother Aidan, Roan and his parents. “I hope there is a club where I can learn to sprint and then I will be back in Assen next year, for sure,” he promises.
The young rider wants to add one more thing. “I ride for all people who have and have had cancer. Livestrong is far more than just Lance Armstrong. My dream is to win the Tour de France one day but my biggest dream is to wake up one day in a cancer free world.”
Follow news and videos from father and son Flanagan on and make a donation too.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


With friends from many nations over the past 12 years of riding the routes of the "Pro tours" as "SKIPPY " so now blogging as "SKIPPYAUS" ! As well as this i have been Volunteering at various events such as Summer & Winter Olympic & Paralympic Games so i am taking the easy route to the "Google and other search engines" so that people can find SKIPPYAUS & SKIPPYBLOGGING !
You may have read some of the blog postings elsewhere and i won't apologise for this as not all will have had the opportunity this past half year.

This past TDF proved that finding access to Internet is difficult even when you are staying with people who are online, there can be limited success in getting a posting up also, and as you have seen with "Skippi-cyclist & TourDaFarce" there has been a lack of the photos interspersed with the postings on "Parrabuddy" ! Yesterday i tried to post a photo to "parrabuddy's latest item w/out success !

With this Blog i will drop in previous SKIPPY news postings and in some cases will edit or mix previous editions so as to help those from various countries use the "Translate" available in Google.

Those "Followers " that i already have on "Parrabuddy" may need to transfer themselves to the SKIPPYAUS & SKIPPYBLOGGING list since i am no expert at "Blogger " and the gadgets available