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Friday, February 26, 2010

That's so couch - the Michelob Ultra version

Packing/moving so this is a mished up mashed up ‘liter’ version of That’s So Couch with a few Still(s) from the Sofa (sorry about the Ozcentricness) and seriousness thrown in. In honour of the beer’s biggest drinker, I mention him more than once – apologies.

Couchiest quote from journo/blogger/microblogger


He's made it here before, that's because the guy can express his velo love so well, even in 140 characters. Nic O'Donnell who I follow on Twitter has been waiting patiently for his new Baum to arrive after his other bike cracked months ago. It's been hard to watch sometimes as he's had a couple of let downs on the way and a bashed body from going back to an older bike. This week it finally arrived. He tweeted as it was built, but this is my fave:

‘…(the) welds are jewel-like. Paint job is luscious. Immaculately finished.'


Armstrong proves my mum’s always right

As a kid when I looked for things, I’d search hard for about 30 seconds then whinge to Mum “I can’t find it, it’s not here.” She’d wander over patiently and in a flash, pull out what I was looking for, which had been sitting under my nose the whole time just at the bottom of the draw. She’d then utter her favourite line in mockery “If it’s not on the top, it’s not there,” a saying which then became ingrained in the Lee dialect.

Lance reminded me of Mum’s saying this week with this tweet:

“Interesting to read the British press in light of the first ever HGH positive w/ a rugby (sic) player here. Nowhere in the paper…#doublestandard And in reply to someone questioning him as to how he found out about it, he said he discovered it: ‘on cycling sites.’

I mean, how dare he question the integrity of the British press? There’s never been any evidence before to do that! After vaguely remembering I thought I’d actually saw this in the Guardian first anyway, not a cycling site I follow, I went looking for myself. Here’s a few examples after my search in Google, although admittedly, I had to scroll down a bit on the first results page: http://bit.ly/bL0U77 and http://bit.ly/daUvCl and http://bit.ly/8XjsxV  and http://bit.ly/dDsD6W

While I agree with Lance that cycling get its unfair share of scrutiny and derision when it comes to doping, he is totally and utterly wrong on this occasion. Why does it bug me? Because it’s been RT’d by so many of his followers who are also too dumb to use a search engine. In a week when the Coles took centre stage in the UK press, and because it’s a sport so low in popularity compared to football, this is awesome coverage. It’s not only a case of ‘if it’s not on the top, it’s not there,’ but yet another case of ‘if Lance didn’t see it, it didn’t happen.’ And thousands of his followers went about their day thinking that the UK didn’t take this issue seriously at all. God I hope he doesn’t go for President. Would you want the launch codes in his and JB’s hands?

This week's cycling rivalries - all about Lance 

Lance v Wiggo

Wiggins ‘....heated towel on my nut sack for massage, bloody great!'

Lance 'bro, you're (just) paid to say that.'

Lance v Vaughters

Maybe Lance has called a truce because I thought Lance blocked Vaughters on twitter – but here he is even retweeting him and feeling free to comment on his parenting:

“Classy. RT @Vaughters: I taught my son the word "shart" today about 4 hrs after eating at Wendys. Ah, the joys of fatherhood.”

Lance v Contador
(beating a Tri Ironman)

vs

(beating The Shack)



Still(s) from the Sofa



(cyclingweekly.com)





(sportinglife.com)



@Cycleopspower – followed Cervelo Test Team around on the cobbles during testing before the Omloop. Check out the other photos on Twitter.



(twitter.com/joelfelicio)

Friday, February 19, 2010

That's so Couch - 19 February 2010

What's a photographer to do?

Faced with a Valentine’s Day on his own, cycling photographer Graham Watson comforted himself with his back catalog:

(from Graham Watson's twitter account and twitpic)

He said to Lance via Twitter “was better in Late Travis TX, no.? About 17 years ago..."  *sigh*


Which way to the beach?  Gert says "I'll show you."

Another guy who will have trouble forgetting a shoot is poor Joel Felicio:

(joel felicio twitter)


Even more embarassing...(poor guy) - skip to about 4mins in:

 



Mcquaid elected as member of IOC

'My new role will extend beyond cycling and my objective is to replicate the success of the IOC's working relationship with the UCI which has contributed significantly to the enhanced professionalism and globalisation of cycling while also resulting in the introduction of new Olympic disciplines.' Pat McQuaid on rte.ie. Paraphrased: this pretty much means he vows to do to all of the Olympics what he did to Olympic track cycling. Which, for some reason involved scrapping an event in both genders that is often the only reason why people may tune in the first place.

Could the Summer Olympics one day include some of these events on the programme:
Athletics: all events, including the 100m and 200m – to be scrapped except for the field events and the decathlon – men’s and women’s - and the marathon.
Fencing stays – but athletes must quote Shakespeare as they lunge.
Triathlon: distance changed to Ironman – not only boring, but could give Lance shot at hanging around even longer in sports.
Synchronised swimming - in a bid for gender equality, men’s synchronised swimming will be introduced and conducted in the place of the 50m,100m and 200m swimming races.
Replace table tennis with a pub sports triathlon: darts, snooker and scotch egg & spoon racing. McQuaid has to be careful here, he might lose an audience in Asia, but could gain high UK TV ratings.
For all the talk about gender equality, women’s road cycling probably won’t be in the programme - they are after all losing events like flies.


Who owns these pearly whites? 


We'll all be dying to see how different they look when Ruta del Sol starts. They'll have to be - what takes that long to fix? Were they grown from stem cells? 


Tales from the Sky Bus 

1. Scott Sunderland tweeted this pic about the cleaning of the Sky bus.

(pmpr.co.uk)



2. Overheard in Oman:

EBH: Why were you guys soft-pedalling? That jersey was mine.

The DS: (they've all been reading from the same desk calendar): ‘ask not what News Corp can do for you, but what you can do for NewsCorp….and EBH…next time when your DS gives an order, you listen – wear the incontinence pants…your bunkmate told us what happened at training camp..."

What could you spend $1.8m on?

It’s reported in many places on the web that WADA has spent nearly $1.8m against Landis. Is it money well spent? Consider what can $1.8m buy you:
- 1 x Rapha kit
- approx. 1 x payment to get the rider you want out of his existing contract
- 0.5 x lab technician’s loyalty – any side
- a few up and coming riders developed
- 25 x Papp’s $80,000 stash
- 7.2 x $250,000 – amount Lance donated to Haiti
- new teeth for any UK rider who wanted them
- a few car wash franchises
- pay Floyd's supporters back
- approx 36,000 bicycles to donate via  http://www.bicyclesforhumanity.com/category/donate/


Papp smeared?

So Joe Papp had all the usual suspects fooled. Joe Papp? Remember, he was that guy who gave a testimony for WADA about the therapeutic benefits of steroidy gel rubbed on the thighs (let’s hope they’re not wearing red bib shorts!). You see, it aids in recovery. This therefore was a given to explain Floyd going from 8m.08s down on s16 to climbing back up to 3rd on st 17.  And that testosterone can make that much difference to someone’s performance overnight. Joe couldn’t give names, but gave this description of one offender he'd seen to the court illustrator – here’s the final drawing:

 
But Papp implores his new found buddies to not let his past smuggling/trafficking ways undo all the work he’s done. He says it’s in the past, he regrets it and that it was bad timing given the Floyd warrant palaver. He genuinely has a disdain for doping and wants to continue the fight. He also said his silence was because he had this cooking with the government and something is still cooking. A list of names? Believe him guys, after all, he's got a blue bike pure band on his avatar. 
 
 
Lance v Vaughters - part deux




Still(s) on the sofa #4 - MOOF Over




(pic from Vanmoof - solar/usb cable charged LED lights inside its aluminium tubes -
you can win one at SBS Cycling Central

Still(s) on the sofa #3: Schleck versus





Joel Felicio's twitter Versus TV shoot

Still(s) on the sofa #2: Tour of Oman Stage 1






(Team Sky website - Tour of Oman Stage 1 Photos)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Still(s) on the sofa #1: Where am I going to put my spokey dokeys?




spokeless. pic from Engadget



Tour de couch is watching: P-R 2009 Carrefour de l'Arbe

Once the last bottle was put into the recycling bin after Paris-Roubaix 2009 (and before Tommeke went out on the town), Mayor of Baisieux, Francis Delrue passed a by-law which prevents riders from using a 500m section of the 2.1km Carrefour de l’Arbe pavé. Sick of picking up after the swill fest-ees (including their damage to nearby crops), especially after last year and also, thinking of rider safety, Delrue is seeking a few things from organisers before he lifts the restrictions in time for the race. These include: alcohol bans, camping restrictions and more police. No Carrefour de l’Arbe – and no beer – no Paris-Roubaix? After you watch these vids by spectators from 2009, it is hardly bureaucracy gone mad. No doubt they'll come to some sort of agreement before 11 April.  





(my summary of sources velonation.com and translated version of sports.fr)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Master of my domain: Cadelentine's Day

Well, there was a resounding silence to my call for you to share Cadel love in honour of a)Valentine's Day and b) Cadel's 33rd birthday.  So, master of my domain I went searching for just a few pics.


bikeradar.com

This year, Cadel returns to the Giro.  He last rode it in 2002 when he wore the pink jersey for a day. There's only one thing I want to see more than Cadel in yellow (or rainbow) - and that's Cadel in pink - on the final day that is and on the top step of the podium. 

And then came a couple of injury filled years at T-Mobile.  And politics.  Click here for an interview conducted just before he started at Lotto. 


                                                      



I was so proud of Cadel this day - 2nd in the Tour in 2007.




And this day too (TDF 2008 2nd overall):

(cyclingnews.com)
   
I cried when I saw this picture:

(a f p?)



And this one:


(the australian)



Loved seeing the rainbow, and Cadel riding so well at the TDU this year.

  
Ever since the Worlds and his announcement of his move to BMC, Cadel instantly became a lighter rider, ridding himself of the, by then, dysfunctional relationship with Omega-Pharma Lotto. 




A new Cadel, a new attitude....and getting on so well with his BMC teammates.  In the TDF 2009, George joined Fabian in chastising and chasing Cadel, now....buddies...awww: 

(twitter)


Really looking forward to cheering on Cadel again in 2010. 

Friday, February 12, 2010

That's so couch - 12 Feb 2010

Updates from the cycling rivalries

#1 - Armstrong v Vaughters

Armstrong tweeted this about Vaughters:










and this was the comment:





#2 Armstrong v Contador

Tech-no-malogical/Scien-ma-tific

vs
  
PRO/EURO/naturally gifted
play video

#3 - Abbott v Rudd

The annals of Kevin Rudd, PM of Australia 10.2.10

Dearest Diary,

Flamin' heck - (Australian) Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's been at it again. Well the galah's only gone and challenged me to a nine-day cycling duel from Melbourne to Sydney in April.  



Of course, there have been obvious jokes made among the cycling tweeps about chamois cream.  I've heard all the political bromance talk before folks - Hockey (another Opposition politican) and I've been there,done that when we were awesome and walked the Kokoda track. Here's a photo from those happy times:

Remember that scene from Planes, Trains and Automobiles "Those aren't pillows."   Well, we very nearly reenacted that. It gets scary in the PNG jungle - of course we snuggled. 

But I feel just like Marty in Back to the Future when he gets called chicken/yeller. Tempted to join Abbott. I have however just a few issues:
1. Labor has got its own cracking policies for reducing the gap. I even read out some statistics this week showing how I'm slowly closing it already. Will doing this ride make my stats look like spin and that I need a charity to fill a gap to close the gap?  But maybe the Aboriginal people have a point when they say they can't eat statistics?*
2. Promoting cycling for cycling's sake? Pfft. Are Lance/Cadel going to be there?
3. How will I constantly push my glasses back up on my nose AND hold the handle bars?  Maybe Swanny
    could tandem?
4. I'm not sure I can ride a bike.
5. Abbott's all lean, fit and bony, how can I snuggle up with THAT?  It will be just like after Therese lost all
    her weight.  :-(

Has that Rolling Stone cover come out yet? Oh DZ nuts, I'll tell the team tomorrow I'll do it but only if Sunrise cover it. 


More tales from inside the Sky Bus

So this is what a bored Scott Sunderland likes to get up to:

Not treat cats badly, but read Mark Twain. Or is this quote just off one of those desk calendars? Probably. Anyway, maybe he's alluding to a new training technique for the boys: ride like that in the crosswinds again and I'll..... 


Tour of Ouch-Ah


Whose collarbone is this: 
1. Gerald Ciolek
2. Kirk Carlsen
3. Steven Cozza
4. Kurt Asle-Arvesen
5. Just some guy's - random pic from Google images.


Other couchy things from pro cycling this week:

Milan San Remo Organisers to ban breastfeeding at the event: Ricco's team not invited.

Tit for Cravat:
"(Sky) They're not a popular team within the world of pro cycling, they're not really respected,"
David Millar
"It's easy for Dave to sit down and say that now because a year ago he was ready to come to this team [Sky] and be part of it."
Bradley Wiggins

Couchiest Alliteration headline: Farrar flummoxed by four flats in Qatari finale Stephen Farrand

Couchiest quote from journalist/microblogger - (Stage 2, Tour of Qatar) An echelon bashfest in the desert. Nicholas O'Donnell



*quote from blackfellas

Monday, February 8, 2010

A view from the couch: a few velo vids for ya



Thomas Edison filmed these bike tricks. (found through the explorium.edu)



Paris-Roubaix 1994. Said to the be the wettest, muddiest with only 48 riders finishing - "brutal."  After this on the cobbles at Ennevellin, Franco Ballerini eventually finishes third a minute or so behind Tchmil.  RIP




2010 Tour Down Under | UCI Pro Tour from Mike Hone on Vimeo.

It's been RT'd and blogged everywhere this week, but it's worth it especially with the sweet dispositiony music. Check out his other stuff from the TDU at Vimeo. (also appears on the excellent bianchista)

Friday, February 5, 2010

That's So Couch - Friday 5 Feb 2010

Welcome to Tourdecouch’s new weekly couch at cycling. Couch* you ask? Couch can be anything you want it to be – much like the smurfs use the word smurf. E.g. Tourdecouch is so couch. It can mean awesome, beautiful, funny, bad, shite, good, - anything. This is a couchy look at pro cycling, with poetic licence thrown in.  Come back to the couch Fridays at 4 or 5pm (AEST) - or if you’re following me on twitter  – watch out for a tweet about that time and follow the link.

Adelaide v Geelong *

(Geelong Advertiser)
In a recent interview*, Lance couched about whether he’d go to the World Championships in Geelong:

Lance: “Sure, I’m very tempted to ride the Worlds in Gee-long, but my decision will be a no brainer – they just haven’t offered me, let alone Livestrong, enough…yet. South Australia paid me (inaudible amount) of spoondolicks and frankly, I don’t think Melbourne showed me much respect. They gave me a pretend Cats jersey. Geez, even Cadel got a real one and he hasn’t even won one TDF yet. And Tiger got an interview with Eddy Everywhere Mcguire. Wassup’ Melbourne? Sure, Cadel looks out for those Tibetans and Tiger takes special care of all those disadvantaged women, but I fight cancer, dudes.
Interviewer – But what about South Australia and Bruce McAvaney*? That was a bit of a let down, surely?
Lance: Ranny won’t make that mistake again….when we went for another night out on the Jacob’s Creek with McQuaidy and McEnroe, I made Ranny slip me another wad of wonga.
Interviewer – Another…wad…of…wonga? But did South Australia get anything in return for that extra amount?
Lance - I twitpic’d a picture of Adelaide I took from out my private jet’s window as I flew out. That particular tweet to my 2.5m mj’s was not part of our original deal.



Where’s Team Sky’s Bus?
In a display of couchy journalism, Cycling Weekly started its major investigation into the whereabouts of Team Sky's new bus by tweeting: “It hasn't made it to the south of France and no one is saying why!” If it has been “stolen” or hijacked like that “guy from that shitty little team” said maybe Team Sky’s PR/marketing geezers got the phone numbers for these guys, from Trek representatives:


Or, maybe Brailsford’s using it for an office when he’s doing the British Cycling part of his job?

Saxobank to book Cooke in for political correctness training?


 And maybe training to understand politics too?


President, really? Well, the US was couch enough already to vote a Texan in – aka - a guy who is always in the same pueblo…surrounded by “yes” men - maybe it might again.



The Argus
Sorry, I don’t mean to write about Lance again, but speaking of Lance and presidents, here’s more from that earlier interview. (I forgot to mention earlier, that apparently, during the entire interview, Lance had been wearing a race radio):

Interviewer – why did you decide to ride in The Argus (a race in South Africa)?
Lance: We need a photo opportunity/meeting with Morgan Freeman…..Hang on Johan’s yelling something to me in my ear…What? That wasn’t a documentary? And Morgan’s never been the President of South Africa? But that white guy’s South African accent was so convincing…What Johan? Matt Damon? No way?
Anyway, doesn’t matter, Mandela then. Yes, a photo opp with him is very important – why? HIV/AIDS is much bigger than cancer in South Africa; we have to raise cancer’s profile there. Shiiiiiiiit - even Annie Lennox has had more photos with him. I don’t know whether we have even one…Johan?......No, Johan can’t remember either.  But Morgan’s still a brother. Would love to chillax with him at my crib one day. But it’ll have to be soon though – you’ve seen the Bucket List, I don’t think he’s got much longer…


Couchiest Quotes/Headlines of the Week (remember, they can be awesome or bad or funny)
“resplendent rainbow stripes coil around his torso,” Anthony Tan interview with Cadel Evans, Velo News

"Best bit (about pro cycling) is you’re getting paid to do what you would do for free; I now have an excuse to be lazy if I’m not on the bike. ‘Mum, I can’t hang out the washing, I’m recovering...it’s my job.’" Australian HTC-Columbia rider, Chloe Hosking

"Even some of the Swiss guys think it's very precise and they are Swiss, so imagine how this feels for an Italian!" Alessandro Ballan on his new, BMC team, in uscyclingreport.com interview

“We also put riders in wind tunnels…but we don’t put out a press release about it,” Marc Madiot, team manager of Francaise des Jeux complaining about Team Sky (and pretty much every other modern pro team). He was later visibly shocked when someone explained the internet to him and then needed medical attention when social media was also explained.
-----------------------------
*Got this phrase from a Gen Y girl a little while ago I know, who explained to me “it can mean anything.”  She had all her friends saying it. I remembered it the other day when coming up with this idea, and thought it fit with the whole tourdecouch name thingy….

* This Lance interview was the poetic licence, everything else is true and what people did/said….maybe



* no offence intended to Bruce, he’s a good guy…


* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eddie_McGuire

Learning to ride



http://www.thegyrobike.com/

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cadelentine's Day

(sorito)

After a casual 30 second Google search on Valentine’s Day it doesn’t seem like there’s any real reason to associate the origin(s) of the day with sending stuffed teddies to the person we’re stalking, and/or, taking our partners out to dinner on the 14th February. In the light of that, and as an up yours gesture to Hallmark and capitalism, I propose a renaming to Cadelentine’s Day. It  also happens to be Cadel’s birthday!

Don’t sit at home, bitter about being lonely, or, in a relationship where the other person says “I don’t need a special day, I show you love/woo you everyday” before he/she farts reaching for another beer. Instead, share links to your favourite photos, videos, quotes and other Cadel lovin’ by posting them in the comments screen below so we can all enjoy them all in one place on February 14.

I'll kick things off with link to this cool blog http://bianchista.blogspot.com/2010/02/bike-lust.html 

Ladies Tour of Qatar - Stage 1

(a f p - from cyclingnews.com)


1st - Rasa Leleivyte (Lithuania)- Safi-Pasta Zara Manhattan
2nd - Giorgia Bronzini (Italy) - Italy
3rd - Chloe Hosking (Australia) - HTC - Columbia
4th - Rochelle Gilmore (Australia) - Ladies Lotto

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The seconds dropped,but the UCI's scilling hasn't

We all know Jack Bobridge rode himself to the third fastest time ever today in the 4km individual pursuit (IP) with a 4.14.427. Actually, I prefer to say it is the fastest time ever. What's with this "Jack's time was effectively fastest ever" business? Did Oscar Pereiro "effectively" win the 2006 tour?  I don't think so. Rules are rules baby! Jack's ours and so is the fastest ever IP time damn it.  You British - not only do you have a pro team, you can call your cyclists Sir - what more do you want? 

So yes, Bobby smashed 'em.  But let's also quickly look at a few other rides from today:
- Dale Parker broke the World Record for the U19 3km pursuit - 3min13.958sec
- 19 year old Rohan Dennis qualified for the 4km with 4:15.764
- Despite being beaten by Sarah Kent in the final, Ashlee Ankudinoff rode the fastest time in qualifying and shaved nine seconds off her PB finishing with 3min34.769sec.  Kent's time too was impressive with 3min37.442sec in the final.

And that's just the Australian national track championships. Such depth exists in the IP around the world.  I don't want to mention what's his name's mini me, but yes, even him. Not just world records, but young riders slashing seconds - not just tenths of seconds - off their PBs.  They are all young, talented and in the case of many of the Australians today,tired from a long season or just picking up their form for the new one. Imagine what these guys and girls could do peaking for an Olympic Games. Imagine the duels; and the expectations and excitement fans will store up for the next two and a bit years, only to scream it out at their heroes in the London velodrome.

Sporting records and fast times impress the world, especially when the world is watching.  Besides that, the IP is arguably and traditionally the track's signature event. But the UCI/Turtur/Pat McQuaid are as stubborn as the bull on the Irish scilling on this one - they plan to keep people glued to the telly with the omnium - cycling's so called decathlon equivalent - and the team sprint. 

So in memoriam for Boardman's record which will one day really fall, and the IP's removal from the Olympic Games, here's a video of Superman flying for 4.11secs:











Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Interview from the couch - catching up with Chloe

(from chloehosking.com and HTC-Columbia)

The 2010 Ladies Tour of Qatar begins on Wednesday, and one rider eager to get the wheels rolling is Australian Chloe Hosking. It will be the first time she races with new team HTC-Columbia.

At 19, Chloe already boasts an impressive palmares. Her stellar 2009 included the following results: 1st overall Tour of Chongming Island, 1st Omloop der Kempen, and 2nd Stage 2 Tour Féminin en Limousin, to name just a few. (click here for more).

Hardly surprising then such riding captured the attention of Bob Stapleton and late last year she inked a one year contract with one of the best pro teams in the world.

In January, she left Australia for HTC's Mallorca training camp with a victory in the U23 category of the Australian Criterium Championships (silver in the overall race) and a 2nd overall in the four day Jayco Bay Criterium Series in Geelong.

Tourdecouch caught up with Chloe today.

HTC, Australia, the World....

TdC: You said you were with Greipel before the TDU talking tactics, what tips did you give him? Did he put them into action?
He wouldn’t stop picking my brains, it was a little irritating! I just reinforced to him he needs to have faith in his team mates and trust his instincts. You know, the basics...he was all ears.

TdC: On your blog you mentioned saying to a fellow HTC'er "I can win" after a reccy of the Australian Criterium Championships course - what prompted you to say that - e.g. did you feel in form or the Crit course suited you...
I love Criteriums, they just suit the kind of rider that I am, so I’ll always go into one with the thought that I can win. You can’t go into a race thinking you’re already beaten; otherwise you’ll never be on the top of that podium.


TdC: You said you felt so much pressure after saying it. Do you tend to put a lot of pressure on yourself?
I think more of the pressure came from the fact it was the first time the new team was watching my race in their jersey, that’s what I was more freaked out about. I felt it was important to perform, to show the team and the public that it was the right decision to sign me.

As for putting pressure on myself, generally, I’m the only one who has piled it on me. I have really high expectations of myself in everything I do and don’t like to do things half-heartedly. I think it’s something that has definitely helped in my cycling.

TdC: Is it more of a stress/pressure riding at home i.e. to win an Australian championships...or is it the same across the board?
I think actually the pressure is lifted a little. I always feel more relaxed when riding at home, but in saying that most of the races I do when in Australia are more ‘training’ based because they’re always so early in the season so there isn’t that pressure to perform. Although as I said, at the National Championships I definitely wanted to put in a good performance because I was in the HTC-Columbia colours.

TdC: What are the things you think you still need to learn/improve on as a cyclist?
There’s always things to learn. I think I definitely need to improve my climbing abilities and endurance, something I’m currently working on. I want to try and develop into a more well rounded rider, similar to the sort of rider Oenone Wood was (a fellow Canberran), but this won’t happen overnight.

(from cyclingnews.com - winning Tour of Chongming)

TdC: What are your thoughts about the Australian nationals being on the same course for six years?
It’s a bit disappointing to say the least. Every other country changes the course every year. It just means that Australia will have the same national Champion, or the same sort of rider at least as National Champion for the next six years and how is that exciting?

2010 presents Cycling Australia with the best opportunity to change this, the World Championships are being held in Geelong, why not give our riders the opportunity to race on the course before other nations, and use it for the National Championships? It would have given us a huge advantage- and probably drawn a stellar field also.

TdC: How did you feel signing that contract with HTC?
It’s something that I hadn’t really even ever dreamed of. I always said that I wanted to be a professional cyclist but I’m not sure I ever really fully believed that I was capable of it. It’s still a little surreal, I ride for the best team in the world and I’m 19...what!?

TdC: So you've ticked one of your goals (sign with a pro team) what are your other career goals? And for 2010?
I’m definitely looking towards the Olympics in London and then after that I’ll reassess. For 2010 I’m hoping to make both the Commonwealth Games and the World Championship Squads. While they’re definitely ambitious goals I don’t think they’re that far out of my reach.

TdC: Your hopes for Qatar
I’m not really sure what to expect actually. Not only will it be my first time riding the race but it’s the first time racing with the new team so I want to go in with an open mind.

TdC: Where are you basing yourself for the European season?
I hooked up an amazing apartment in Girona, Spain with two other Australian girls Tiffany Cromwell (Australian National Team) and Josie Tomic (Lotto Belisol Ladies). The former tenant rode for Garmin-Transition and our next door neighbour is someone from Astana!

TdC: How did the training camp go in Mallorca?
It was pretty fantastic, while it took me a few days to stop whingeing about the weather I left behind in Australia the riding was actually amazing. It was really good to get to know all the girls a bit better also.

(Girona or Canberra, tough choice!)

Bikes, freedom..and loneliness

TdC: What got you into cycling/how you get into cycling? Once you were, how did you feel?
The father. I was always really sporty, doing every sport under the sun and then one day I just asked Dad, who is a keen cyclist, if he could set me up on a bike. He couldn’t get me on one quick enough and I just never stopped.

Initially I just really liked the freedom of it. I thought it was super cool that at the age of 12 I could wake up in the morning and meet the local junior bunch for the weekly ride and have done 30km before school even started. And then I started winning, so that was a bonus!

TdC: Biggest influence on your career
It may sound a little lame, but definitely my Dad. I’ve never really had those ‘Heroes’ that other people might have. I just always wanted to be the best I could be. So Dad has probably had the biggest influence on my cycling. He has always been so supportive and has taught me so much about racing.

TdC: First bike?
Some metallic blue compact frame Giant, a hand me down from my Dad. It had illegal wheels which all the juniors complained about me riding. At the time I didn’t understand why they were illegal; I just thought they looked pretty.

TdC: How do you like your current bike?
The Scott is fantastic. Super light and just accelerates beneath you. I’m really looking forward to racing it in Qatar in a few days. Qatar’s well known as a race specially for sprinters so it will be good to test it out in my home environment.


TdC: Describe how you feel when you're riding
I’ve never really thought about it. I love the rush of adrenalin you get when you’re racing. The challenge and how when it comes to a sprint and you’re moving at 60km/hr you have to make split second decisions that can make or ruin your race.

TdC: Hardest bits about being a pro cyclist? And the best bits?
Constantly being away from home and loved ones, especially my puppy! People don’t realise but it can get quite lonely, there is definitely some quality Skype time going on.

Best bit is you’re getting paid to do what you would do for free; I now have an excuse to be lazy if I’m not on the bike. ‘Mum, I can’t hang out the washing, I’m recovering...it’s my job.’

A few of my favourite things:

TdC: Favourite belgian beer
Leffe, for sure.

TdC: Fave ride around Canberra? Anywhere else in the world?
Actually, if you had have asked me two weeks ago I would have said it was just a nice cruisy ridearound Cotter in Canberra. But I just finished my first training camp in Mallorca, Spain with the team and found some amazing rides there. I loved the rides through the mountains around the bay there. Beautiful views and the climbs didn’t even hurt that much!

TdC: Favourite cycling moment - of all time, your own and/or as a spectator
Hmm, a tough one. For me personally it probably would have been my win in the third stage of the Tour of Chongming Island last year because I really had to fight for it and the team had put everything on the line to get me to the finish, so it was great to be able to reward them.

As a spectator, the stage in the TdF last year when hTC-Columbia just got on the front into a cross-wind 30kms from the finish and drilled it causing chaos and panic in the peloton behind them was pretty awesome. It showed how tactically switched on the team was and it’s something you don’t really see in the Grand Tours, especially so early on. (I’m not even being biased because I’ve signed with them, I swear!)


TdC: Favourite cyclist of all time, currently riding or not
Jens Voigt for sure. It’s always the man behind the guy that wins, but you see an interview of him and he’s just the funniest most good humoured guy out there. Such a good attitude also- I once heard a story about him, it was terrible weather and everyone was like ‘well this sucks’ but Jens was like ‘this is fantastic, half the field has already lost the race’. The glass is always half-full.

TdC: Greatest rival? Friendly rivalry or is it like Contador/Lance?
Generally I’m really good friends with everyone I ride/race with. But I think at the moment there's definitely a lot of competition between fellow Australian sprinter Rochelle Gilmore and myself, but friendly of course!
 
 
Chloe, middle, gets a win over Rochelle, right, at Women's International Cup


Canberra – the cycling capital

TdC: Canberra born and bred?
Born in Bendigo, but moved to Canberra when I was two or three and have been here ever since.

TdC: How do you rate the cycling scene in Canberra?
I think next to Melbourne it’s probably the best in Australia. Awesome riding, awesome club, and a really good quality of riders at the moment.

TdC: Favourite coffee place in Canberra? Anywhere else in the world?
Gus’s (Canberra)

TdC: I see from your blog we have a lot in common as cyclists - "dragging ourselves...(up the) small hills on Canberra's bike paths - they're tough" That one up the back of the AIS/CIT for me is a bit of a struggle with tired legs, or the one up O'Connor Ridge coming from Lyneham. Which ones you find the hardest?
I have always maintained that a lap of the Canberra lake is NOT a recovery ride. That drag up behind the golf course near the Governor Generals gets me every time!


TdC: Ever been to Mooseheads?*
Of course! Thursday night is cheap night...see you next week right?


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Ladies Tour of Qatar - 3-5 February 2010:
- 15 teams of 6 riders – seven national teams, eight sporting teams
- 3 stages totalling 304 kms
- windy, hot, and deserty
- Touristy things: Museum of Islamic Art, the Al Khor Corniche, the Al Zubarah fort, the Oryx Farm, and the Sealine Beach Resort and the final stage on the Doha Corniche.

Find out more at http://www.letour.fr/us/homepage_horscourseTQL.html

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At the Ladies Tour of Qatar everyone will be expecting big things from world number 2 and last year's winner, Kirsten Wild. Giorgia Bronzini and Chloe's teammate Ellen Van Dijk - best young rider in the 2009 editiion – are also expected to feature.

A sprinter's course, expect to see Chloe up the front in the bunch on the final sprint, her favourite place in a race.

Follow Chloe's progress at her website http://www.chloehosking.com/



(*infamous Canberra nightclub)