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.
So last December 16-18,2010 while we were all merry making somewhere along the coast of Washington, the world’s best riders met at this little, cozy place called Cali located in Colombia. The event: The UCI Track Cycling World Cup Classics. If you were up to date with all the track cycling news, then you’ve already read about it, seen some footage and feel the news is so last year which.. it actually is. Unfortunately though, for the casual track cycling fan it’s hard to get some decent footage and coverage of this event. Until now, it seems in our humble opinion this event remains underreported. Despite the high profile riders joining, it’s very hard to find some exciting videos of the event. Worse, by the time the news is reported on TV, it’s already late and everyone knows the results. Some countries are lucky to receive live coverage but even the live coverage is somewhat poorly received. We decided to wait out until we can find a couple of decent footage and so by some mere chance, our very reliable friend of ours, Danny, was kind enough to show us grabbed videos of the events as well as some vertigo inducing shaky cam amateur footage from the velodrome itself. But anyway, at least we got a good look at the event. Now there really is nothing much to say about it except that somehow, the US cycling team makes a very strong showing here. Still not enough to beat the other countries but surprisingly good. Despite some crashes, the events went smoothly. You can check out the results HERE.
As usual, the same teams made it to the podium which includes our current bet for best performing team for 2011, the French team. The British also performed well proving that they are still a very formidable team. The team from Colombia performed really well showing that they too deserve to host this kind of event. Now, here are some photos of the event courtesy of Nuestro ciclismo, and copa mundo pista cali. All in all, this is very late news and you could probably read in depth analysis about the individual events elsewhere. Then again, all we can say is that, yep, the US cycling team is getting the hang of it. And hopefully in the future, they’ll make it to the podium of every event.
We just spent the past few days reviewing footage and amateur videos of the World Cup 2010 held last month (December 16-18) in Cali, Colombia. The World Cup Event in Cali, despite being high-profile with the best riders in the world participating the event, remains rather underreported. After all, Colombia has this reputation of being a dangerous place but based on the accounts of the cyclists and some of our friends themselves, this reputation is rather exaggerated and Colombia seems like a very nice and hospitable place. So anyway, some have asked, what to track cyclists bring to an event? Of course, there’s the bike, perhaps the most important thing, plus all the things needed to maintain and repair a bike. They’re wonderfully housed in a sturdy enclosure such as the photo below. It’s from American track cyclist Kevin Mansker, and don’t expect any fancy enclosures, track cycling teams aren’t professional road cycling teams. They’re a humble lot, which we’re eternally thankful for and we hope the track cycling community stays this way. Also here’s what Kevin prepared in his bag, skinsuits, bib shorts, and jerseys.
We’ll be talking about the Cali world cup as well as the other events we missed in December in the next blog posts. Also, we’re currently watching some beautiful road cycling action from the Tour Down Under.
Dianne Manson is one of our favorite photographers from the NZPA. You see, photography as a hobby is fairly easy and fun. Photography as a career is hard and unfortunately unforgiving but quite rewarding. We’ve learned a lot from sports photographers covering track events and while their claim to fame is the superb and splendid shots of fast moving objects such as cyclists, motorcycles in the MotoGP, cars in an F1 race, a lot of them are also known for producing superb portrait and so called ‘candid’ shots of the athletes. Moving objects are spectacularly hard to shoot and photographers go through lots of bad shots and rigorous editing before submitting to their employers. Simpler photos such as podium shots, and off the track scenes are easier to shoot but are less dramatic hence usually fail to go in print.
These set of photographs by Dianne Manson shows elite track cyclists from New Zealand during the Cycling Carnival in Invercargill, off the track. You may find familiar faces including Jesse Sergent, Sam Bewley, Sam Webster, Marc Ryan Myron Simpson, etc. It shows the life of a track cyclist inside the velodrome but off the track. Very few exciting things happen in between races of most track cycling events with the very notable exception of the 6 Days which features booze, boobs, music, and food. So you can just see cyclists chatting with each other, their team mates, photographers, and fans. Others would get a good massage, sleep, exercise in the rollers, analyze their videos, tinker with their bikes, etc. It all is a simple life before mounting in their bikes and heading into battle. Dianne Manson has beautifully captured that in this photo album.
We’ve already featured Horst Brozy’s works in this blog before and we can’t emphasize enough how stunning it all is. Here is the world of track cycling viewed in a completely different light and no less than through an eye of a brilliant artist. We’re already loving his works and can’t seem to get enough of it. View more of the artworks in the gallery below and try not to drool so much.
Way back during our time in New Zealand, we spent much of our work in Invercargill. This place, considered by many as the southernmost city in the region is known for having the only indoor velodrome in the country. Thus this is where the best of New Zealand’s track cyclists are formed and developed. One velodrome for a country brings both advantages and disadvantages but needless to say in a country as small as New Zealand, a single velodrome allows an amazing sense of community for the track cyclists. Heck, this must be the most tightly knit internationally competing world class track cycling community we’ve ever seen. The velodrome is maintained by the Invercargill Licensing Trust thus the ILT which sponsors this event along with Cycling Southland. The event was held last December 7-9 and despite the humble beginnings as chronicled HERE the support it got was pretty good which goes to show New Zealand is very supportive of this sport. Moreover, the events of the past few days have showed that New Zealand track cyclists are definitely one of the best in the world. Barely days after the Track World Cup (and winning some events) these same cyclists endure 3 more days of intense racing yet still deliver some impressive performances, one of which is the amazing dead heat between Eddie Dawkins and Simon van Velthooven (who BTW just recently celebrated his birthday last December 8 Happy birthday Simon!) shown by the photo below which ultimately ended with both being declared joint winners. More on the story with video HERE.
This would have been a very interesting event to attend were we still in the lands down under, and we fervently hope this event would grow into something bigger the same way Revolution grew up to be now (which also had very humble beginnings). We also wish such events will be held locally in the U.S. hoping it would grow into something bigger. Oh well, yeah T-town is exciting stuff and so are the Track Worlds but we think it’s better for our cyclists to be able to engage in more racing events so as to develop them better. Training is good, racing is better is what a lot of cyclists would think and we tend to agree. But anyway, back to the ILT, we’re really very excited at how Myron Simpson and Aaron Gate have developed as madison riders. We remember them as junior cyclists who had a very promising career and that promise has come. Their performance is indeed exemplary and we can’t wait to see more of their races in the future.
Here’s a photo gallery of the events. (Photos by NZPA’s Dianne Manson)
Day 3 of the Melbourne Track World Cup recently concluded with an amazing sprint match which ultimately ended up with crowd favorite Shane Perkins bagging the gold, while GB sprinter Jason Kenny had to settle for silver and Teun Mulder of the Netherlands with bronze. In the team pursuit, the Australian team of Jack Bobridge, Michael Hepburn, Leigh Howard, Cameron Meyer rode spectacularly to beat the Russians for the gold. Team GB ended up third against a very strong New Zealand team. It was quite the spectacular closer for this round of racing and for the 2010 season. It will be incredibly tough next year with both Australia and GB proving to be exceptional teams with the New Zealand team closing in and proving to be a very strong dark horse which could at anytime deliver an upset. Other teams to look out for are the Germans and the Dutch who are still riding extremely well despite being overshadowed by the Aussies and the Brits lately. Full results HERE. Video highlights for Days 2 and 3:
Veeral Patel has some amazing photographs of the event mostly in sensational black and white, definitely the classiest set of photographs of the event we have seen. Moreover, at Cycling Tips, he shares his first time experience in the velodrome and the sport of track cycling. It’s a very good account of a first timer and excellently recounts a very exciting sprint match. (From Ride the Black Line)