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Sunday, July 11, 2010

And.. The Tour Stage 8: Armstrong... legs not so.

Big day on the Tour:

Today was the first to have some real climbs, including two Cat-1 climbs, which are a great way to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Andy Schleck won Stage 8 and puts himself is a pretty good position to battle Alberto Contador and Cadel Evans for the GC title. Cadel has also taken over the Yellow Jersey from Fabian Cancellara, so David R. in Taichung must be ecstatic about that.

The old dog of the peloton, Lance Armstrong, can pretty much kiss his chances of an 8th Tour de France title goodbye. After two minor crashes his biggest enemy was himself and the limitations of a 38 year-old body without an assist from Lance's Little Helper. He trailed roughly 7 minutes behind the group of GC contenders led by Astana. It is a little disappointing for his chances to dim so early and give us old guys a little hope, but it is now time to open it up for the new faces, including Levi Leipheimer who managed to stick with the GC group.

The contest is still up in the air and I hope it makes for an exciting Tour.

Hey Ladies: Abbott In The Pink

The Giro Donne (Women's Giro) is also going on right now and sadly taking a backseat to the boys action in the Tour de France, which is too bad because an American is in the lead. Mara Abbot of the USA just took the Queen Stage (Stage 9) in 2:27:15, just ahead of Cervelo Test Team and favorite, Emma Pooley. Abbot now leads the General Category by over 2 minutes.

I hope everyone can follow the women's action along with the men's. It is just as gritty and exciting.

Stage Recaps: here

Tour Links: LIVE FEEDS

I am currently watching the tour LIVE. here

A few more media resources can be found here.

Good Luck!

News Around The Hub

*Cycling is healthier than pollution and accidents... or at least that's what a new study reveals: here

*Tour de France Stage 6: Barredo beats Costa... with a wheel. here

*INRI--Floyd Landis: "Mr. Landis, you're not worth any further word or attention except perhaps from psychiatrists." here

*Ensuring a hard day in the saddle every day: Erectile Dysfunction and Cycling. here. What the article doesn't say is that a proper fitting saddle will not give you trouble. If you are feeling numb or pain in the nether-regions then it is time for an adjustment. You should balance the entire weight of your body between the handlebars and the two sit-bones on your pelvis and not on your junk. Someone needs to do an article on the opposite situation while on the bike in full kit.

*Proper Footwear: It may be hard to believe, but selecting a good set of shoes can be the difference between three weeks in the saddle and three weeks hearing about everybody else in the saddle. A little guide to shoes: here

Schemes For Cycling's Eastern "Green Highway"

The Ministry of Transportation has unveiled its new scheme to build a recreational highway for bicycles on Taiwan's East Coast. According to the MOTC:

The project will be conducted by Tourist Bureau, Taiwan Railway Administration, Institute of Transportation, and Directorate General of Highways. The project uses Provincial Highway#2, #9, and #11 to string up the eastern area’s local bicycle paths network. In the mean time, it is expected to combine popular bicycle paths with the nearby train stations or tourist service centers, providing the eastern area a complete bicycle paths network.
A budget of NT791million has been allocated for the project under the Economic Revitalization Policy, which seems to be heavily reliant on tourism related infrastructure projects that seek to realign local industries from traditional modes of production to more service and entertainment related industries.

Michael Turton touches upon the government's eagerness to drive construction and fuel tourism in an excellent post on water. here

One of the main benefits of such a program may be to make recreational cycling safer and protect cyclists from the caravans of tourist busses that have been clogging the highways. The real trick is to see if the government agencies involved will actually consult cyclists for input and if this system will expand beyond recreational cycling to encompass cycling as a means of transportation and not just recreation.


The Mingdao Private High School and Mingao University have signed an agreement with Giant Manufacturing to establish a scholarship and program to promote cycling. The project is aimed at providing training and financial assistance to young, talented riders who seek to compete at the professional level.

It is really a shame that Taiwan, one of the world's centers for bicycle production and an enthusiastic base of talent does not have a support system to put Taiwanese into the professional peloton.

As Taiwanese tennis player Lu Yen-hsun was quick to point out in the midst of local adulation and government suits hailing him as 台灣之光, or Pride of Taiwan, the government has actually cut expenditures to support advanced athletic programs and therefore Taiwan does not deserve taking any credit for these accomplishments.

It is nice to see the private sector stepping up to promote cycling in Taiwan and I would like to see a Taiwanese (not a rock the pelotons of the future. With such a healthy cycling culture emerging it would be a shame to waste Taiwanese talent.