Thursday, April 18, 2013

Liege Bastogne Liege: Top tube cheat sheets

My original plan for today's post was to share my second round of images and insights from last weekend's Amstel Gold race. I then realized that Liege Bastogne Liege is this weekend, and it would be an ideal time for me to post the images below. As such, the remaining content from Amstel Gold will be up next week. In the meantime, enjoy the the charm of top tube cheat sheets. You can see a couple more of them from Flanders here.

Yukihiro Doi (Argos-Shimano)
2012 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Note that Doi's cheat sheet only includes the climbs up to kilometer 223. Perhaps his work would be done by then, or he never planned to finish, which he didn't. In fact, he was one of 82 riders who did not make it to the finish line last year.

Thomas Damuseau (Argos-Shimano) 
2012 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Like Doi, Damuseau didn't finish the race, although it would appear that he planned to.
"R" or "Ravito" = Ravitaillement, French for "refueling", feed zone.

Mickaƫl Cherel (AG2R)
2012 Liege-Bastogne-Liege

Having endured a healthy partion of the Liege-Bastogne-Liege route last year, I can only agree with Cherel's use double exclamation points. Note that the last climb, which is 1.2 kilometers long happened at kilometer 525 according to this cheat sheet. 525! Yes, that's a typo. The numbers are inverted. It's supposed to read, "252". Clearly this didn't make Cherel panic. He finished 42rd, 5:39 down, in a group containing Nicki Sorensen, Andy Schleck, Robert Gesink, Tejay Van Garderen, and Luis Leon Sanchez.

Other matters

1. A strong showing for Colombians with adult braces

I've always said that this blog doesn't and will never function like a cycling news site. I simply don't have the time and resources for it, but would also grow bored with such a monumental task.

Having said that, it's difficult to ignore the fact that Sergio Henao and Carlos Betancur were on the podium at Fleche Wallone. In fact, one could argue that Betancur could have won, had he only known the Muur a bit better (it was his first time doing the race). Through the last kilometer, I was gritting my teeth, clenching my fist and generally losing my mind at the prospects of what could happen. Through that, I also became saddened by the fact that these results are coming at races where men like Henao, Betancur and Quintana are able to race for themselves. At larger stage races, their wings will be clipped. But one must ask, for how long? Henao, Quintana, Uran and Betancur should be lining up for Liege Bastogne Liege this weekend, to cap off what has been an impressive run since the Tour of the Basque country.

Lastly, it's worth noting that Velo News ran an interesting article about Betancur, since it brings up a point that some believe to be part of the Colombian's success. According to the article, the decrease in EPO use has given Colombian riders back the advantage that living and training at altitude once brought. Make of this what you will, but I thought I'd share this with you. If you think this is true, it serves as a book end of sorts, consider what it was like to be a Colombian rider at the other end of that span of time, when sprinters could suddenly out climb you. That was what Henry Cardenas experienced in the early 90s.

From the Velo News article:

“With so many anti-doping controls and the biological passport, it’s helping us because we live and train at altitude,” he said. “So when we come down, it’s a bit of an advantage for us.”

"With less EPO, the natural benefits of living 10,000 feet above sea level are once again becoming an advantage. "

2. Spring

I've often heard people who ride bikes talk about their favorite signs of spring. The first ride in short sleeves, taking off their knee warmers, watching certain races, and the like. For me, no two things signify spring more than these two:

a.) Taking off the bits of tape that blocked off the vents in my shoes through the winter
b.) Taking off worn handlebar tape, and putting it on the the handle of my lawnmower instead.

What are yours?


  1. It's spring when I'm hocking up massive loogies that develop from hammering through virtual curtains of pollen in NY's Central Park. I later use it as my excuse for getting dropped. Hah.

  2. Here in Minnesota where we have had the latest Spring in nearly 20 years I'll know it is spring when I don't think about having to ride my cross bike with studded tires. Ugh.

    I love the shift from full-fingered to fingerless gloves almost as much.

  3. You've been remarkably restrained given the recent success of Colombian riders. Feel free to bask in collective national glory! Anecdotally, if not empirically, I think we are seeing the return of the climbers now that blood doping is being massively reduced in its effectiveness now that (presumably) only micro-dosing is possible. Long overdue!

    Spring = oversocks + Belgian knee warmers (embro). Putting the winter cap away. New bar tape is an absolute must.

  4. Spring: Cute girls in sun dresses.

  5. At first Spring means my morning mtn. bike rides aren't finished with frozen feet and numb hands. After a few more weeks I notice how much easier it is to ride off road when it's light out instead of dark. A couple more weeks and the birds are up and singing to me, the air smells nice, and riding becomes beautiful again.


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