Sunday, July 31, 2011
Swanning around in your Limousine with a variety of " notable personalities " you will rarely see the "Glitches" that the everyday visitor to " Le Tour " has to overcome ! Certainly your subordinates have done their best to see that you have a " Trouble Free Ride " each day . No doubt you have briefings with your personnel each day to keep you abreast with potential problems .
Whilst you were with France TV you were quick to pick my brains about my activities on the periphery of "Le Tour " and also whilst " understudy to JM Leblanc ", but since becoming " The Man " you rarely deem a simple "hello" as appropriate for a man of your importance . Amazing then that i get to meet some of the General Officers of the Sapeur Pompiers , Army and Gendarmerie as well as assorted Politicians whenever i find the time to be at a " Depart " or " Arrivee " ! Some i have advised of my Blogs , so it may be that their staff have been detailed to have the occasional read . Phillippe Sudre is also aware of these blogs but as to whether he deems it worth his time to read my offerings i couldn't say .
In previous " Open Letters " to you i have suggested ways to improve the security of the " Signage " but neglected to point out that many of the large Roadside Signs proclaiming " Road Closure details of route nos with dates and times " could be better . All Media receive a looseleaf book , known as the "Guidebook" and this is a very helpful tool to ALL , but it neglects to coordinate that very important issue of "Road Closures" ! Surely you want the world to know WHEN the routes of the " Le Tour " each day will close , don't you ? Many of those i speak to at the " Le Tour " tell me that each Department of France has a Web Site that offers info on these " Route Closures " but the general public are rarely aware of this , let alone the Overseas Visitor , many of whom do not understand the French Language whether written or spoken .
BY adding an additional column in the “Guidebook “ to the Caravan and the Racers anticipated passing certain points times , " ASO " will in consultation with the various authorities be able to advise the WORLD of the "Road Closure " times . Media of all persuasions will no doubt pass on to their readers this information, as they tend to copy out your pages , as if it was their own work in the effort to inform their audience . Each Department has it's own branch of the Police National and Gendarmerie responsible for the "Security of the "Le Tour route" and since these signs have to be constructed to inform the public then the information should be accurate and thus ALL will see a coodinated result !
During one Etappe in the Pyrennes , when i was at the bottom of a " Col " , i had a Gendarme Officer , as he was passing me in his official car , tell me that i should stop cycling , as the "Col" was NOW closed ! This was more than an hour before the time PROCLAIMED on the" Sign displaying Closure times " that i had only just passed ! When i arrived at the " Col" there were several " touring cyclists " but none of the private cars that passed me after this rash statement was made . The Gendarme with the rank " Major " then again told me that the road was closed even though there remained 35 mins until the posted time . My solution was to pick up the bike and walk off the road until i reached a point beyond the " Col "
where i could ride once again . Further down the road i found that the times posted had been extended another hour and half , as is normally the case when you pass into a new area of control . As to what happened to the " touring cyclists " i could only speculate , but had they relied on the published information then they were sadly inconvenienced and carrying a "touring bike " with luggage weighing as much as 50kg , in many cases , would be out of the question .
Expect to hear more points of interest from me over the next months as i know how hard it is to get action when too many issues are raised at the same time . Have your people read my " OPEN LETTER to Pat Mc Quaid “ about the " Authorised Driver Permit " , that i feel is required to avoid a repeat of the incident that nearly killed two racers .
No where on page 7 of the " Guidebook " does " ASO " refer to driver conduct in relation to the Racers or even the ordinary cyclist AND since the " Le Tour " as an event is about Cycling , one wonders who was responsible for coordinating the material published ? No doubt Phillippe Sudre after our discussion took a look at that page . After publishing my blog post about the RMC Radio Stationwagon i saw the driver many times but he never again caused me any problems . Whether this was good luck or he had the matter brought to his attention is not for me to say .
Security of the "Le Tour " route is an important concern but having the Public sit on the side of the route for 5 hrs each day is asking too much particularly since the "Tour de Suisse" is able to run an event with "Private Security on motorcycles " and Army reservists causing the routes to be closed for periods ranging from 10 mins to 30 mins before the arrival of the racers unless in the mountain passes when longer periods may be required . Could be that your people need to look at the abilities they display and adopt some of their expertise !
Saturday, July 30, 2011
This week i am seeing a lot of commentary about a " Deserving Australian "and some would say his " heroic efforts " to win the Tour de France ! Can we agree that this Guy is the epitome of the " Bleeding Aussie Battler " ! His efforts over 20 years have finally achieved perhaps his Greatest Ambition but there have been other Goals along this road that he has achieved and others that he did not achieve . Being Vice Champion in Mountain Biking was the spur to taking up Road Racing as i discovered in reading about his being tested by Dr Michele Ferrari in St Moritz so many years ago . Here are the links to that story and his reports on the Tour de France :
Throughout a long and determined career Cadel has shown the depth of Character and Perseverence that is required by a Sportsman to attain their self set goals . Epic events and huge disappointments have accompanied him throughout these years of sporting endeavour . Now the world is able to recognise what few were aware of before waking up last Saturday morning , the day of the Individual Time Trial in Grenoble , that here was a quiet Unassuming Australian who was about to achieve a boyhood Dream ! That he was able to rise to the occasion and deliver a performance that was bested by one other , Tony Martin , showed his character . This was the second time he raced this course and he absorbed the lessons of the first occasion to improve his resulting time .
An EPIC effort but it was no way "Heroic " !
There has been huge amounts of ABUSE directed at an Australian Woman for her definition of " Heroes " , given on a morning TV show . Mia Freedman in all probability was "ambushed" by the show presenter , Karl Stevanovic , who may not have read up on Cadel either before going to Air ! Whether there was an agenda or her utterances were " ill conceived " one can only speculate but the uproar and the " hate " generated by some of those viewing the show were definitely " Un Australian " !
HERO for me is " Someone who risks their life to assist another " ! We read about them all too often and i don't mean a fireman climbing a tree to save a cat !
Police , Firemen and Ambulance Personnel do not consider themselves "Heroes " BUT they will point to some in their ranks WHO they consider to be " Heroes " since they have seen them in action and acting " Beyond the call of Duty " !
Members of the "Armed Services " also do not consider their service " Heroic " but again they are PROUD to relate episodes of " Heroism " that they have seen or heard about !
" ROLE MODELS " are what youngsters need as they grow to maturity and we all know that a child's ambition to be a "train driver" will convert to being a " musician " and then to countless other professions as they grow older . Boys and Girls come from all walks of lives and some grow in better circumstances than others and their ambitions are coloured by their family heritage and country . Some children of third world countries have little to look forward to other than finding something to eat each day so a " role model " is not a part of their daily life .
So many labelled " Hero " for their actions would tell you that they are NOT ! Cadel would be one of the first ! He would be PROUD of the fact that he is an Australian and that he is a " Role Model " to so many people !
Some of the reading that inspired this Blog Post :
Worth a Comment ?
BLOGGER PROBLEMS !
BLOGGER PROBLEMS !
HELP NEEDED ! OAP that I am doesn’t mean I am helpless , yet each alternative I have tried to post direct to Blogger in the past week on my laptop has failed .
Read another’s blog this week where the author paid £80 to have a bike serviced , well that was a lesson that I learned years ago , fix all the problems as they occur otherwise they will bite your arse ! Rarely in All the Tours that I have ridden did I put the bike away without solving ALL the “ niggles ” , so that I could get up and ride the Etappe of the day with at least one less problem . Having said that I loaded the washing machine this morning and turned it on and after 2hrs arrived back to find nothing had happened . Tried a variety of solutions before seeking help but had overlooked the fact that the last user had turned off the water , why do that I wonder ?
Posting through “ Posterous “ means I am repeating the blog post in several of the blogs , so if you read the same item twice , I hope you find something there that encourages you to get your friends , family and followers to read my blogs ! With “ Posterous “ I am able to post photos but am unable to “ Preview “ so I am unsure of the result until I see the finished product and then I am unable to edit , if I find something I wish to change .
Now also using “Microsoft Works Word Processor “ to prepare the text , thus I hope I spot all the errors before you do ! Also where I have been in the habit of providing the Op. to click on a link for a story I have mentioned , I now am unable to do that so will have to leave my readers to make their own way to those stories .
Wondering if I have to start up using “ Wordpress “ as a blogging vehicle , which at least will provide
me with an OP. to learn additional skills !
LAST SHOUTOUT FOR HELP ! !
Thursday, July 28, 2011
CENSORSHIP of abuse is warranted but judge for yourself IF the following is " unworthy " or off the subject !
My Comment :
" Wonder if "M outh F irst "saw an Op to promote her book and self ? Look at ALL the Pollies hopping on the "bandwagon " as mentioned in my blog earlier in the week ( jumping on too ! ) about Cadel !
Long overdue that Cycling Pros' were recognised on the Front Pages of the National Press since they ENDURE hardship AWAY from home and family to PROMOTE Australia and their sport .
As we build to the London Olympics there will be a need for "role models" who have endured disapointment BUT continue!"
There was more to this comment but for some reason there was a "Word/character limit" on the comment content !
My comment :
"Gerry Ryan" may think he is another "Alan Bond" but this is a NEW Century and things are done differently these days ! GreenEdge has a long hard road to plough before it has ANY sort of license so it has to be a TEAM EFFORT to get to the STARTING POST ! Met Mike Mc Kay briefly at the Giro and talked to him about "Disabled Sport" ! He was kind enough to listen even though he may not have known who i was or why i was talking to him . Shows that he was an open minded person and willing to hear out people . More in my blogs about that and the team . "Pro Tour Status" is not a " DONE DEAL " , huge amounts of work will be needed to get the team proposition to the starting post AND THEN more work will be needed to convince the UCI that the team deserves the "Highest Grade " in the team structures ! Shane Bannon has several assistants that will help him do the grunt work but be under no illusions that " GreenEdge " will sail through the preliminaries’ . If there are not several "Fall Back " plans then there will be a repeat of last years debacle !
"Gerry Ryan" may think he is another "Alan Bond" but this is a NEW Century and things are done differently these days !
GreenEdge has a long hard road to plough before it has ANY sort of license so it has to be a TEAM EFFORT to get to the STARTING POST !
Met Mike Mc Kay briefly at the Giro and talked to him about "Disabled Sport" ! He was kind enough to listen even though he may not have known who i was or why i was talking to him . Shows that he was an open minded person and willing to hear out people . More in my blogs about that and the team .
"Pro Tour Status" is not a " DONE DEAL " , huge amounts of work will be needed to get the team proposition to the starting post AND THEN more work will be needed to convince the UCI that the team deserves the "Highest Grade " in the team structures !
Shane Bannon has several assistants that will help him do the grunt work but be under no illusions that " GreenEdge " will sail through the preliminaries’ . If there are not several "Fall Back " plans then there will be a repeat of last years debacle !
Would hope that the presentation when it is made is successful BUT don't count on that happening ."
STILL TRYING TO FIND OUT WHAT THE PROBLEM IS WITH " BLOGGER" AS I CANNOT EVEN "EDIT " THESE DAYS LET ALONE POST
ANYONE HAD THE SAME PROBLEM PLEASE ADVISE !
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Didn't he come second twice ? Wasn't that an ACHIEVEMENT in and of it's self ? Not for the Polies , that is for certain !
After Cadel soloed to the World Champion win i posted on "parrabuddy " and to a variety of other outlets my view that Australia could by setting up a variety of additional " Cycling Events " become a MAJOR destination for those connected with cycling during the European Winter Cycling Season . Of course Europe has other cycling events during the winter in which the Cycle Road Racers enjoy participating !
Can anyone show me ONE event that was added to the Oz Cycling Calender since Cadel became World Champion ? Of course to put on events requires "Sponsors " but there are many out there with "cash " burning holes in their pockets IF ONLY the event organisers would have looked ! I realise that my suggestions in October 2009 would have been too early for that " European Winter series " but IS there anything additional planned for this the 2011 European Winter Season ?
ALL are going to want to see Cadel perform on the Bike when he returns to Oz this year , no doubt he will be selective of the events he will participate in OR visit to acknowledge the Cycling Public BUT had Event Organisers put their thinking caps on there would be Additional Incentives for European Road Racers to have Wintered in Oz and bring their family and friends with them !
John Morris when head of Tourism in 2000 headquartered in the Westfield Tower was kind enough to hear me out , about some proposals i offered about "Sponsoring Cycling Events " ! Did he pass on to his colleagues any of the ideas to research ? Doubtful , as i was a "lightweight , outside the " IN circle " and it would have cost money . Wonder if i would get time now to propose some of the ideas i have espoused here and elsewhere ? NO CHANCE JOSE !
ALL the media are scrambling for ANY story about Cadel since this will sell newspapers , journals , DVDs and grab attention for the advertisers on TV and Radio . Wonder if any of the Cycling Event Organisers are able to INTEREST Cadel's Management team in "Personal Appearances " at some yet to be arranged Cycle Events ?
At the Pinerollo Arrive, i was able to grab a photo with Matt White and speak briefly with Stevo who were there talking to those racing at the TDF .
WE LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES for cycling .
Monday, July 25, 2011
This is a pleasure that i had not anticipated at the beginning of the 2011 Tour de France ! Frankly having seen Cadel looking so tired before the ITT of the Dauphine Libere in Grenoble i commented to the team Doctor that i felt he was not at the top of his game ! Certainly that day he did less than was expected of him and thus was second to Wiggins at the end of that Tour !
During the period of the 2000 Sydney Olympics i first heard of Cadel and was able to meet him at the "Rundfahrt Ossterreich " in 2001 whilst he rode for SAECO and i was on the Kitzbuehler Horn when he took the win the next day . Cadel has always been hard to get alongside during the various tours that i would meet him at but was always gracious enough to autograph the various items that i would pass to " Disabled / Behinderten / Physically Challenged Sport " over the years . In London at the Grand Depart there he warned that he had little time for talking to " fans " and the team "distanced " the media during that event so that he could get the personal space that was needed for recovery each night .
NOT being involved in Cycling before the World Ski Championships in 2007 at Sestriere i had no idea of the Downhill scene let alone the Mountain Bike Stars . In fact i went to a Downhill event in 1998 and was delighted to see an Aussie out of Perth take 3rd place and whilst chatting to him after he passed me his goggles which are in my possession to this day . Who knows where they are in my luggage but i recall using them when ski touring on several occasions .
So often over the years i have been asked if i am a fan of particular Cycle Racers but always answer "I am a fan of Fair Play " , for me the important thing is not the nationality but the attitude to the sport .
Being in Mendrisio was a rare pleasure as i was a VIP guest of the locals and meeting and greeting the "Ancients " of the sport was a day to remember . Where i was entertained was close to the finish line so seeing the action on TV , cycling around the area and then seeing Cadel physically cross the line was a memory i will treasure . During the day i greeted Sean Kelly , Carmine Castilana and many others as well as sampling the local wines and cuisine .
There will be people who will dispute my opinion BUT " Waltzing Matilda " would have been more appropriate for the Ceremony on the Champs Elysee on Sunday ! Cadel has always been for me the epitome of the " LITTLE AUSSIE BLEEDER " and i think that all " DIGGERS " will agree with me !
Having been at Grenoble for the ITT of the Dauphine Libere i was quite content to miss the Hoopla on Saturday and follow the action on the TV and enjoyed watching Cadel " Bunny hop " after the 3rd time check as he headed downhill !
IN 1998 i rode the Champs Elysee through the caravan with the French Flag from the Hotel Carillon and an Aussie Flag from Georges of the bar near Brussels Airport so having that experience it has been some years since i have visited the Champs Elysee on the Sunday as trawling around the back of the barriers farewelling people until next year tends to be " Hit or Miss " !
Every year i meet people who arrive at the Tour de France for the first time and i enjoy watching their reactions to the " Circus " that the TDF has become during the 14 occasions i have ridden the routes .
One night several of us camped in a field and i got asked once again why i don't write a book , fact is the blogs are not well enough attended to justify the expense in time and monies to rave on about the places i have been and the people i have met .
Some of the experiences i have enjoyed have been right off the scale in that i find myself the guest of so many generous people both in their homes and as a guest at the side of the road . It is impossible to relate the generosity of so many people even if i could find the correct words since in many cases these people have put aside their own commitments to help me ! The spread of nationalities and countries is mind boggling as not only Europeans but Asians have treated me so kindly !
Currently i don't seem to be able to post direct to the Blogs and so am using " Posterous " as the Portal so the stories/blogs are repeated in several blogs and for that i apologise . Hopefully i will discover the problem and solve it quickly !
TODAY i am copying an email into the blog written by Vincent who has ridden the "Routes of the TDF " these past 3 years .
"" Skippy appeared riding from behind me on my first trip to the Tour de France in Monaco 2009 on the TT course . I had camped for 5 days in my first foreign country and the sound of a friendly Australian accent was welcome and after the usual exchange of details , he proceeded on along the course and shortly after i met another Tour devotee George the cyclist , who informed me of Skippy’s long running involvement with all the grand tours .The power of the event and the challenge to view it while riding the course as much as you can handle got into my head with some power so i returned to the 2010 edition which started in Rotterdam to meet up with George . It was world cup soccer time and Skippy , George , and a new find of George’s , David the German and i took part in the excitement of a game watching the screen at the IYH where I was staying . The dutch won ,the locals where more than pleased it was a happy time to be amongst the revellers.
Over the coming days as gGorge and i rode the course Skippy would appear always loaded up with Skippy’s Legacy which was a special cycling jersey autographed by all the riders of note in the Pro Peloton. Skippy had plans to auction the shirt with proceeds going to his primary interest “ disabled sports people “. Regularly our paths would cross as the tour stages went by.2011 came around and again i could not resist the Tour of France atmosphere , after riding to the rider presentation and discovering that it was invitation only i settled back in the car park to watch the Team buses roll up with all the tour Champs and Personalities passing by and i felt my 500 km ride was well worth it.
Then a gentle whack from a passing cyclist revelled Skippy once again , after greetings where done Skippy arranged for me to shake the hands of some tour stars Erik Zabel , Cadel Evans , Danilo Hondo ,Chris Horner , Mark Renshaw and others . Even though i am of a mature age , 54 , just to meet these guys was a great thrill and i doubt I’ll forget it ever, this was all down to Skippy , as he is one of the personalities which add to the whole tour experience .
What i should like to do is INVITE others to contribute their stories relating how we have met up , over the years .
People like my friends in Crest , Brussels , Redom , Montigenevre , Torino and so many more places occasionally visit the blog so i would encourage them to contribute their piece to the Blog .
Now that Vincent has set the ball rolling , who will be next ?
Sunday, July 24, 2011
Once again Australia celebrates persistence of a Sportsman who has finally achieved his ambitions ! Some will remember Bob Hawke declaring that " Only a Bum will sack workers for taking the day off to celebrate "! This was after Alan Bond Achieved the " impossible " with winning the " America's Cup "!
WILL Julie Gilliard take the same attitude , of course Kevin Rudd would ! Wouldn 't he ?
Apologies to Cadel for my lack of belief in his ability to achieve this triumph , so many europeans asked me if i favoured his chances during the past years and i always answered that the " first 2nd place was as close as he would ever get "! Even on Thursday night i was certain that the effort expended to pull back Andy Schleck would have diminished his chances . When he got angry with Voeckler & Co i thought it was because he felt the need of their help but it was more ! I feel certain now that he was trying to help Thoma fight back , and had Voeckler made more of an effort he could today be standing on the podium instead of a Schleck !
Cadel has always been more of a sportsman than he appears at first glance and i am sure that carrying the team on his back once again has caused him to dig deep and suffer greatly to achieve the impossible task that we Australians expected of him !
Sadly today is marred by the tragedy in Oslo but there will be an abundance of Aussie flags on the Champs Elysee ! For my part i will be watching Eurosport as i had my run on that Parcours in 1998 during the caravan procession . Since then cycling around the back of the spectators has lost it's appeal .
Raising my glass i salute another fine Australian realising his ambition and hope that he will be chosen to carry the Australian Flag at London 2012 and will inspire another Australian Medalfest and perhaps bring home the Olympic Road Race Gold medal !
14 years riding the routes of the Pro Tours and finally i have seen THE AUSTRALIAN take the top step at the TOUR de FRANCE !
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
M.Le President N.Sarkozy you can use your "power" to stop the miscreants dishonouring France as they fleece the "public" with their "plastic drapeau" and "nougat" ! An open letter to you that the Gendarmerie and Police National should read and ACT UPON TODAY !
Saturday, July 9, 2011
Whjlst the weather was bad on Super Besse i was in the warm in Issoire awaiting the Sunday start ! Georgethecyclist and his team rode out this morning into lousy wzather whilst i drifted down the parcours in the car thinking to ride the final 50 km but even 5 hours before the racers arrive the Gendarmerie were lining the route and there was continual drizzle even dampening " El Diablo's enthusiasm .
Several posts in place to amuse those that qre interested .
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Sunday, July 3, 2011
Trying to upload photos taken over the past days has been frustrating since it is taking 3 attempts in some cases ! Find photos on Tourdafarce , tourdafrance and skippi-cyclist .
Enjoy as i am going to watch some of those wearing their dog collars parading like preening turkeys !
Friday, July 1, 2011
Found Vince and Georgethecyclist in Les Herbiers yesterday and at the Team presentation enjoyed chatting with some of the big guns including Cadel whose photo amongst others will be added later .
AT 10 am my only thoughts are who i will find today rather than sitting here in the tourist office talking to you all !
Looks like you like to read BUT NO ONE HAS advised the name of a "PARA ATHLETE they would like to receive a "Conti Tyre " . Guess i get to save the postage monies !