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Team OUCH

25 Jan

Now that we’re back to the States, we’re putting our focus on American teams. We’re sure a lot of you know the real state of professional track cycling in this country. At its current state it’s well organized, and promising but our cyclists can’t dominate this sport at their level when the French, British, Germans are very well ahead. We have a lot of catching up to do. The London Olympics 2012 is almost near and it’s our wish that our national track cycling team will be able to perform superbly in this event and all the events leading up to it. So what’s the missing ingredient? We can’t really say, it’s multifactorial really. We already have world class Olympic champion and medalist Jamie Staff training our team as well as sufficient financial support. We also have a decent sized fanbase and supporters for our track cyclists, so what we probably lack is the enthusiasm and coordination of all fans, athletes, and media outlets with regards to the sport of track cycling. Perhaps one day, and we hope it will be one of these days in 2011, we can all see everyone working together to produce a world class track cycling team who will topple the Brits, Germans and French off the podium.

So in relation to that rant above, we have here a track cycling team we’re all very excited to see. Team OUCH. Don’t let the name fool you, what we have here are world class athletes who, with the right support and training can give the other teams a run for their money. The support here is quite good, and their performance in the nationals is nothing short of stunning. Moreover, the athletes are on their way to becoming the best cyclists in this nation. The team is led by Sarah Hammer, and is composed of Jimmy Watkins, Austin Carroll, Daniel Harm, Cody O’Reilly, and Brent Kay. So as you can see in the photo above, they are big guys in the sport and even Austin Carroll is quite a beast himself. We hope this size gives them a distinct advantage aside from looking badass and intimidating. (Although as you might have noticed, Malaysia’s pint sized cyclist Azizulhasni Awang proved to be quite the opposite of what we just implied). So okay, the launch of a new track team will only spell excitement for the first few weeks and months after its launch. But our point is, the fact that there is some movement in the professional track cycling world in this nation means something. We’re going for gold.

Procycling Magazine Cover Shoots

25 Jan

You probably have read the article from Cyclingnews showcasing some cover shoots of Procycling Magazine by photographer Jesse Wild. You can read the article HERE. Of course, the best part is the photographs he shares of some pro cyclists including one of our favorites, Tyler Farrar (photo above). Now that the 2011 pro cycling season has officially started, it’s about time to revisit these cover shoots of 2010. Obviously, Mark Cavendish is one of the favorite and most reported cyclists out there stemming from his exploits and his electrifying personality. Personally, we kinda like the guy for his balls. He has the ability to add spice to the sport even though his ways are quite questionable. Word wars end up with Cav receiving the short end of the stick from the press and he even has a couple of brushes with the press. Still, you can’t deny his presence brings a fresh personality to the sport. Though we wish every cyclist out there would have the amazing personality and charisma of Tyler Farrar, Tyler is one of a kind and that makes him unique and well loved by the press despite underperforming and some say, overhyped performance. Read the article in the link above and if you’re interested go ahead and subscribe to the mag. Here are more photos from the article.

Yet another black themed kit

19 Jan

Team Sky started it all. A predominantly black themed kit. It looked cool, classy and best of all, the riders looked good in it. That also made the team quite visible in the peloton. Then the rest followed. Since the 2011 professional road cycling season has kicked off with the Tour Down Under, all the teams are now sporting their new 2011 kit. As we were watching the videos on TV, we can’t help but seem to notice that while the black kits really are stunning, it’s quite hard to differentiate one team from the other especially in a crowded peloton. But other than that, we love these black kits.

So here we have Team Leopard-Trek’s 2011 kit. This new team made headlines when it featured cycling stars Cancellara and the Schleck brothers. Moreover, the unveiling of the kit revealed yet another black themed kit but was good in its own right. The minimalist approach is very appealing. The kit overall has very limited use of colors and even the colors seem muted. The sponsors are brilliantly placed in a neat corner above the light blue bar in the jersey and they are wonderfully arranged despite the asymmetrical shapes of the logos. The shorts part are good too with the Leopard branding visible and the overall crotch area looking very clean. Some people hate this kit because it looks boring, bland and unoriginal. But we love this kit. It even trumps Team Sky’s!! Here are more photos of the team and the kit.

The Return of Jason Queally

13 Nov

Perhaps buried under the news of Chris Hoy’s shocking defeat was the surprising return of British track cycling legend Jason Queally to the track. You might have already heard of the guy who is frequently mentioned in this blog. Yup, he was the track cyclist who started Britain’s gold medal haul in Olympic track cycling back in 2000 when he won and broke the time trial record. Now 10 years later and at age 40, Jason has returned to the track, shifted to the endurance events in the European track champions, and subsequently performed magnificently in the team pursuit winning gold alongside the younger cyclists Ed Clancy, Steven Burke, Andy Tennant.

Here’s what Queally had to say post-race: “It’s brilliant, I’m over the moon and really chuffed for the boys. It is great to be European Champion again. I was European Team Sprint Champion and now I’m Team Pursuit Champion and there’s around 12 years between the two!” Which reminded us, hey! Queally was a sprinter before, and he looks like he’s not aged quite well. He looks quite skinny now with a build much more typical of an endurance rider and he seems to have shed his past sprinter body build, not that it’s a bad thing but it’s just a little surprising to see Queally in this form for his return. I guess that’s how a couple of years can make a difference.

It’s quite exciting to see where all this will go. Queally’s return was met with lukewarm responses from some track cycling analysts but he exceeded a lot of expectations by performing well in the team pursuit. Will he return to the sprinting events? Will he give it another go in the Olympics? Queally’s plans haven’t been made public but he seems to be enjoying this. The photos above show Queally with old rival Pavel Buran who now does coaching duties. Will he go the same way in the coming months? Regardless of the future, it’s good to say “Welcome back, Queally!”

The View from the Saddle

30 Oct

We’re quite sure a lot of you attempted or tried this one. Taking a picture of yourself while riding a bike. More often than not, the photos come out blurry and badly shot or composed. Cyclist and photographer Stefan Rohner manages to take incredibly good and exceptional photos of himself riding a bike. We don’t know what kind of trick he uses here, but the shots come out beautifully. Of course, we suspect he may have already picked the best shots out of a dozen or so that he may have taken per ride, but still it’s a brilliant achievement to take these breathtaking photos. Take a look at his portfolio for other dazzling photos. Some of our picks and favorites are as follows:

Brotherhood

29 Oct

Siblings who excel in the same sport are quite rare nowadays. Apart from the Williams sisters, I can’t think of any other pair which receives more publicity and media coverage. Even though cyclist brothers are not too uncommon, they’re either very unpopular or too obscure to gain media attention, well except for a few cases. These are the pairs which come to mind when we talk about professional cyclist brothers. This is by no means a complete list but what just came to mind when we first thought about this topic. Moreover, these are currently active athletes. The old legends of cycling twins, brothers, or even a whole family are not featured here.

Frank and Andy Schleck: You can’t deny the star power of these siblings. Both ride for Team Saxobank and both have won several road races and even stage races in major road cycling events. Their chemistry is indeed unbeatable. They’re arguably the most popular professional cyclist siblings today and more often than not they’re treated as some kind of media darling.

Dean and Russell Downing: Probably the most popular professional cyclist siblings in the UK (2nd photo: the 2 guys in the left, 3rd photo: the guys in the left and right side) Both are professional road cyclists and both have gone their separate ways. Dean, the older sibling is with the Rapha Condor team while Russell, is currently with Team Sky. Both have impressive career highlights.

Cameron and Travis Meyer: These professional cyclists from Australia ride the same team, Garmin-Transitions and specialize both in the road and track. Cameron, the older sibling recently became one of the most celebrated cyclists in the recently concluded Commonwealth Games for his achievements in the track, winning gold in 3 events. Someday, their chemistry may rival that of the Shclecks.

Christos and Zafeiris Volikakis: Here’s a personal favorite. The track cyclist brothers from Greece. They’re quite popular back in their own country because of their sporting achievements. Christos, the older sibling is a fast developing track sprinter previously featured in this blog, and is definitely the superior sibling but Zafeiris is quite developing nicely in the track and has even won major races. Definitely a pair to look out for in the track.

Shane Perkins and Ryan Bayley: Now this one, we’d like to add to spice things up a little bit. The photos look bad but the top features a shot of Shane Perkins and Ryan Bayley meeting eye to eye after Ryan crashed during the match sprint. Now what makes this pair special? Are they even brothers? If you’re an Australian, or someone who has been following the track cycling sport down under, you’ll know the kind of relationship these 2 have. They’re bitter rivals, a sports rivalry that something Australia hasn’t seen in years. Complicating the matter is the fact that Shane Perkins married Kristin Bayley, Ryan’s sister and a national level track cyclist. So they’re essentially brothers in law, thus their inclusion in this list (or that’s just an excuse)

The 6 days-An artist’s rendition

28 Oct

These brilliant renders of the recent 2010 Six Days event in Amsterdam by Horst Brozy is simply breathtaking. The details are eye-popping and the art is superb. It even looks like a diagram with matching arrows and labels. The attention to detail in creating all these images is simply outstanding. We can’t think of enough superlative words to describe the work of this artist. Just peruse the following gallery to see for yourself.