31 August 2012

For a times they are a changing

Changes in the sport of cycling
Some people have stopped complaining and are trying to tip us off that the future holds changes for cycling. What ever you think of the recent headlines about Lance Armstrong (and the truth is our opinions really won't change the past), the in-fighting that his case created could result in changes in the organization of the sport of cycling. And this is where our opinions and actions do matter. 

One thing is for sure, more information will be released over the next two years to shed light on the Armstrong subject, but the sport of cycling cannot wait that long. We need to get a solid handle on who is in charge of regulating doping in the sport internationally. We need to improve organization, and we need to improve rider salaries, but most importantly we need to make sure Sponsors don't walk out the door disgusted. I don't know if Lance Armstrong is guilty, I do know he declined to continue the fight for his innocence, but Armstrong's reputation is not worth taking down the sport of cycling.

When I hear that race organizers spare no expense to expand their events, I want them to expand the wallets of the true stars of this show - the riders. When I wrote in my post from yesterday (Podium Girls 2012 USA Pro Challenge) that the fans were interested in the prize money for the recent USA Pro Challenge, I was almost embarrassed for the fans to discover how little the winners make. I overheard a Mother at the race answer her son's question, "Do they make a lot of money?" "Yes," she told her son. No, I refrained from correcting them, they do not. 

Lance Armstrong made a lot of money, many of the riders who have had ProTour contracts for years make hundreds of thousands of dollars year after year, but most of the hard-training hard-racing cyclists at the USA Pro Challenge do not make a lot of money. They do it because they are bike racers. I wish we could get 50 of the generous VIP pass paying fans to pool their money and sponsor a Continental team rider to help him train for another year. There has to be a way of making it in this sport without doping being the means to making it into the big leagues and making the big bucks.

Changes are coming 
Read Texas Fold ‘Em Lance Armstrong gives up, but his saga is likely still not over, By Joe Lindsey; and also Commentary: Building a cycling union, straight from Miller’s mouth, By VeloNews. Perhaps George Mitchell could do for cycling what he did for American Baseball in his Mitchell Report to the Commissioner in 2007.

I realized I still have a framed photo of Lance Armstrong on my bookshelf. I make all these comments fully appreciative of what Lance Armstrong accomplished for the fight against cancer. And having a brother who this very day sat in a chair to receive chemo treatment, I mean that, but it is time to separate the man and his cause from the sport. Maybe we should accept this as a real outcome; we have a lot more work ahead of us and many more excellent young athletes to focus our attention upon. It is time to move on.

"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Let's give a cheer for the Pro Conti and Continental teams that competed at the USA Pro Challenge
©Photos by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Team Bontrager-Livestrong in Montrose last week  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Joe Dombrowski the overall Best Young Rider rides for a Continental Team
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Team Exergy signing autographs for fans in Aspen last week  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
3 time U.S. National Road Champion Freddy Rodriguez rides for a Continental Team  
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
On Independence Pass  Photo by deNavaille Photographique
Big climbs, hard stages    Photo by deNavaille Photographique
Rory Sutherland rides for the Professional Continental team United Healthcare   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
The Bissell team in Beaver Creek
Bontrager-Livestrong in Breckenridge    ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Starting stage 5 in Breckenridge   Photo by deNavaille Photographique
The Russian Russ Velo riders in Breckenridge   Photo by deNavaille Photographique
Fans and riders relating in Golden   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
EPM-Une riders rolling through to the start line in Golden
Spidertech team heading to sign-in in Golden
Team Exergy   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Team EPM-Une (Columbia)  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
United Healthcare and Team Type I-Sonofi riders
Ready to race every morning
EPM-Une, Champion Systems, Team Type I-Sanofi, Bissell out on the road racing ©Photo by Laurie Valaer
Rory Sutherland won Stage 6 on Flagstaff  Photo by deNavaille Photographique
Russ Velo on the start ramp on Denver ITT  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Exergy ready for the individual time trial   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Optum/Kelly Benefit Strategies racing through the streets of Denver   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Exergy racing  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Bontrager-Livestrong crossing the line in the ITT in Denver
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
EPM-Une rider on the last corner ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Champion Systems crosses the finish line  ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
The Continental teams are a big part of the races in America
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
They gave us a great mix of 16 teams
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
A blend of riders
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
I hope they'll be back again next year to make the race even better
They'll be back   ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Every rider and team needs your support
UCI ProTeams
Astana Pro Team (KAZ)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Garmin-Sharp-Barracuda (USA)
Liquigas-Cannondale (ITA)
Omega Pharma-QuickStep (BEL)
RadioShack-Nissan-Trek (LUX)
UCI Professional Continental Teams
Champion System Pro Cycling Team (CHN)
RusVelo (RUS) and select translate page
Team SpiderTech powered by C10 (CAN)
Team Type 1-SANOFI (USA)
UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team (USA)
UCI Continental Teams
Bontrager Livestrong Team (USA)
Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies (USA)
Team Exergy (USA)
Bissell Pro Cycling (USA)

30 August 2012

Recommended reading: Jens speaks

Seriously not one to be missed

The honest and loyal Jens Voigt yesterday on his decision to stay with his team, please read: Hardly Serious with Jens Voigt: One More Round, With RadioShack for Bicycling.com.
Photos of Jens Voigt last week at the USA Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado.
Signing Autographs before the Start of Stage 4 - the stage he would later win!  
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Jens Voigt waves to the fans in Aspen
 ©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com
Jens Voigt, truly popular with the American Fans, the race would not have been the same without him.   
©Photo by Karen at PedalDancer.com

Podium Girls 2012 USA Pro Challenge

Prize money and beautiful women
Okay, you did it again. Another week spent chasing a Tour around an entire state only to return home and find out that all you want are pictures of beautiful women. Remember how I covered the Amgen Tour of California last May for 4 stages only to find out that The fans want Podium Girls?  I had reviewed my top keyword searches after the ATOC to discover that the top-5 keyword searches all pertained to beauty (and I cannot fault you for your desires). The winning keywords during my week at the Amgen Tour of California:
  • giro d'italia 2012 route map
  • mario cipollini
  • specialized venge
  • tour of california podium girls
  • tour of california 2012 podium girls
Want to see the most popular keywords searched for on Pedal Dancer after the past week of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge? The winners from the USAPro:
  • usa pro cycling challenge prize money
  • usa pro cycling challenge podium girls
  • usa pro challenge podium girls
  • us pro cycling challenge podium girls
  • specialized venge
  • pedal dancer  (I am so happy to come in a close 6th - thank you!!)
Oh how nice, money seems to have trumped beauty for this race. Sorry I didn't have current 2012 figures up for you to ponder over, but you seemed happy enough discovering the prize money from 2011 that I compiled from last year. USA Pro Cycling Challenge Prize Money
Bikes were still in there, and Pedal Dancer seemed to have edged out Mario Cipollini! Why I am not sure; I would have personally been googling like mad for Mario (if I had known that he would in fact be at the VIP tent in Denver, still sour about missing that one). USA Pro Withdrawals.
Fans only found two ways to google for Podium Girls during the ATOC, but for the USA Pro Challenge they upped it to three sets of popular keyword strings. Impressive. I am about to spend a couple of hours scouring my vast archives of photos from the past week to bring you images of Holly and Leah the 2012 USA Pro Challenge Podium girls in Colorado. What I do for the fans. Next year could you please get back to googling Mario Cipollini and put him to the top of the list. For me. 
Just a reminder that this mass of human effort attempts to bring you real race news and coverage. Little do they know all you really want is money and women and a good venge. Or maybe they do. 
Some of the photo media   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Photos of Holly Andersen (blonde) and Leah Ferris (brunette) - the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge Podium Girls
©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Holly Anderson
Holly   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Leah Ferris
Leah   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
My favorite Podium Girl picture from the USAPro 
Podium Girls 2012 with Tom Danielson  ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Holly and Leah on the job
Stage 1 with Tyler Farrar   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Holly with Stage 4 winner Jens Voigt   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Leah with Joe, Tom, Tejay, Stage 4 in Beaver Creek  ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Assisting with sign-in at stage starts (in Breckenridge)  ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Smiles with Taylor Phinney winner of Stage 7 time trial  ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Leah and Holly with overall classification winner Christian Vande Velde  
 ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
giving a kiss to Tom Danielson's son, Stage 7,  Denver  ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Their final podium presentation in Denver  ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Champagne bath!   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Related Posts by Pedal Dancer: to learn more about podium girls, go back and read The fans want Podium Girls? A piece I wrote last May after the Amgen Tour of California. They had some beauties at that race too.
Leah Ferris - Donna Baldwin Talent    Holly Anderson - Donna Baldwin Talent

Read about: The McLaren Venge By Pedal Dancer®

29 August 2012

Winning feels good

Emotions are real when races come down to seconds
We talk so much about competition. About preparation, measuring power, pain and suffering, who will win, who didn't win; in the end only one man wins. And when he wins all those miles spent on the road no matter the weather, all those injuries recovered from, all those times saying no to temptation, of ignoring the doubters and finding steadfast belief in the self, come rushing to the foreground of the mind.
What else comes forward is how much competitors appreciate the men that get out and compete against them. When elite athletes are trained into a concrete habit of focusing on their ability to win, it is actually uncomfortable for them to name who else might win. I believe they learn to talk about the strengths of others out of courtesy and the need to answer interview questions about their opponents. But basically these questions are like trying to derail a speeding train that has slowed enough to let us get on board for a brief moment in time. One does not become one of the top cyclists in the world without a competitive nature that goes to the core of their being.
These cyclists are not like us. They have that "right stuff" that only some are gifted with. And although we enjoy seeing them do things just like we would do, there is an intensity that burns deep inside them to win. There are cyclists all over the world who have a dream to compete at this level, but they will never get there. It requires the perfect storm of talent, hard work, family support, team support, sacrifice, opportunity taken, and an unyielding belief in the self.
Release that much bottled up intensity from the start line in a pack of colored lycra, and emotions are bound to come out when an individual delivers a win on the finish line. I believe that is why we as fans are drawn to the moments that the camera captures just prior to and after the winner crosses the finish line - because we are trying to share the human experience. The thrill of victory, the reward of a hard fight well done.

© All Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Tyler Farrar wins Stage 1 in Telluride   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
When Christian Vande Velde recently won the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge, years of riding a bike were rewarded. He more than deserved to win. And the men who competed so strongly against him were able to turn on-a-dime to acknowledge the achievement of their good friend. A good competitor raises the performance of every other competitor in the field.
Christian Vande Velde earned admiration and respect for being an excellent competitor.
Honest respect   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
And all the other competitors showed their emotions as well at the end of a brutal week of racing.
Sweet victory   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
An emotional Tejay on the final podium in Denver. He is a true fighter.    ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
The youthful joy of Taylor Phinney   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
And playfully stealing the limelight from his friend Christian
Jens Voigt, a man whose emotions run the gamut   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
A successful and grateful Tyler Farrar (with the Mayor of Denver)
Tom Danielson feeling the pride as his son receives the podium kisses
Team RadioShack-Nissan-Trek celebrating their week of work as Best Team
Realizing the rewards of hard work
Congratulations Christian Vande Velde on your win of the 2012 USA Pro Cycling Challenge
Winner Christian Vande Velde   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
He won a bowl   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
And some champagne   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
And our admiration   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
A heartfelt farewell to George Hincapie. You inspired us all with your dedication of 19-years to the sport of cycling. Looking forward to following your next accomplishments as you and your family grow together outside of competition, but inside of cycling.  [Read an earlier Pedal Dancer post: George Hincapie is retiring ]
George and Melanie Hincapie   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Good luck George!   ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com
Winning feels good
Relax. The competition is over ... for now    ©Photo by Karen of PedalDancer.com