RIDE Cycling Review Issue 50 – Onsale NOW!
If ever there was a time to review cycling, this is it. There is never a dull moment in this sport. The road racing season lasts the best part of 11 months of the year and although there are some who consider that the main focus is what transpires in France (and surrounding countries) each July, Australians have learned a lot about other major events recently.
The Tour de France remains cycling’s biggest event but the popularity of that race has prompted many to explore what else is part of the calendar. This was the first year that live coverage of the Vuelta a España was broadcast in Australia. Although the influence of ‘our’ riders there wasn’t as significant as we’ve come to expect from Aussies at Le Tour, it gave us a glimpse of another aspect of the sport. It’s also a reminder that it’s fun to cheer about a spectacle, no matter who is winning.
If it’s success alone that inspires you, then there’s plenty of that too. The Commonwealth Games may be a misunderstood competition these days – it’s difficult for pro riders to explain the context of them in the Australian sporting psyche to their trade teams – but the quality of racing in India was amazing! Originally, it was difficult to find the space for coverage of the Games, especially in an issue that is packed with coverage of two compelling Grand Tours, but five pages were found to pay tribute to an impressive team effort. Bravo to all concerned. According to the head coach of the Australian cycling program, Shayne Bannon, “We haven’t seen anything yet.”
That may be true; the influence of our riders on the world stage is growing with each season. More victories, faster times, and now the arrival of a professional road team at the top level that is managed by an Australian company – it all adds up to even more interest than ever before.
Cycling, it is often said, is a great equaliser. People from all classes can come together and enjoy a ride. Or they can gather to witness the excitement of events like the Tour, the Vuelta or the Commonwealth Games. And, this year, we got to experience a bit of history as Geelong hosted the world championships. As I explain at the end of this issue, it’s hard to find the time and space to report on all the events of a three-month period. This is the 50th edition of RIDE and it’s been quite a journey since the previous release. A lot has happened. Most of it fills us with enthusiasm, some makes us angry or frustrated but we tell the stories – with all their glory… or grime. ROB ARNOLD