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欧州自転車レース追っかけ日記

欧州在住者が自転車レースを追い掛けてる日記とか

La Course by le Tour de France

I now understand that (in hindsight) that the the 2013 edition of Tour de France, which saw a evening finish on the Avenue Champs-Élysées, was a tentative rehearsal for THIS event. Am I right or wrong?

A.S.O. held the Champs-Élysées finish later in the evening in 2013. At that time when they announced the format, I thought that it was just for the reasons that 1) to ease the burden of the long transfer (for the staff members who have to drive the cars and busses from the previous day's venue to Paris) and maybe 2) also to lighten the duties of set-up staff in Paris (not to have to start the day early in the morning).

The TV broadcasting sales of TdF is a big part of A.S.O.'s income. They will not wish to endanger this hen that lays the golden eggs in anyway.

This year this "La Course" should take place in the early hours of the afternoon before the male race takes place.

They (female riders and all female jury, according to the article that I read on cyclingnews.com) will make 13 laps. 90 km done at an average speed of 45 km/h would results in a 2-hour race (more or less).

The will be podium boys! Cyclingnews.com writes. Yeah! Baby!

I think the day's event will be;
1) La Course
2) The publicity caravan parade
3) Male race (Tour de France)
4) The podium ceremony for Men (and Women?)

It is also predicted by cyclingnews.com that the female race will be likely to end in a sprint finish. Unfortunately, I have to agree. It would be nice to see escapees making all the way to the finish line but it is unlikely, indeed.


I will be there to watch the event this summer. I will bring a nice comfortable folding chair.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [La Course by le Tour de France]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/30(水) 14:01:21|
  2. Bike Races in France
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Things to do before TdF 2014 (self-reminder)

I have lots of things to do before the Tour de France 2014 edition. Here is the list of things to be done before it.

I intend to follow the entire Tour (from team presentation ceremony to the finish in Paris). I have done this several times and I know I can do it. The question is how well I can do it this summer.

This is only for me so you don't have to read the following paragraphs.

1) Bike must be thoroughly cleaned and some components have to be mounted
2) Book a ferry ride - a round trip (Dover-Calais)
3) Secure the Team Presentation in Leeds ticket **** DONE!
4) Buy a set of tires for my Ford Ka
5) Do more detailed planning of the Tour trip
6) Train and get fit for the Tour.


Notes:
#1) Upgrade some components to SRAM RED components. Get it ready for the Tour. Make my bike lighter and meaner.

#2) What time and which date? I have to work on the exact trip plan. I may use aFerry.com for this. They also have an iOS app. I will check their time tables and prices.
Ferry Operatiors:
DFDS Seaways
MyFerryLink
P&O


#3) Done. I got the cheapest tickets available.

#4) On my way to Bruges (Brugge), one of the front tires blew up (burst). I had two front tires replaced in Belgium on Saturday afternoon. The rear tires are still OK with relatively deep treads after 60,000 km. I don't want to take any chances when it comes to tires during the Tour.

#5) This is the most important part of the trip.

#6) I enjoyed climbing Alpe d'Huez, Mont Ventoux and some other peaks during the Tour 2013. I have to be fit. Mont Ventoux was hard and I had to rest a couple of times before reaching the top. I did not like it.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Things to do before TdF 2014 (self-reminder)]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/29(火) 16:29:25|
  2. Tour de France
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Before Liège-Bastogne-Liège

I am writing this English edition after Liège-Bastogne-Liège. I just quickly jotted down something that explains something about 'how to read certain names' in Japanese before Liège-Bastogne-Liège.

Today is Monday, April 28. I am back in Luxembourg (and already working) and the vibrations and joys from the previous week is still in my vein. It was a brilliant week and was also memorable one, too. The weather stayed fair to a bit cloudy all through the week. Almost no rain during the races, which, as everybody thought, was impossible.

I have to jot down things for my own recollections later.

1) "Allez Les Flecheurs" (in English, Go the Arrow men or something like that) was the paint job I did at the foot of la Redoute. It was requested by those who were doing the job, "Flechage." You know that the race course is marked with arrows pointing to the directions in which the race should go. The guys driving vans are doing the job, making sure that the peloton will not get lost.

That was on Friday, two days before Liège-Bastogne-Liège. We (me and a friend of mine, who single-handedly did more than the half of 'PHiL' on the climb of la Redoute) were wrapping up the paint job. I was talking to the people for whom I did some other paint jobs when the "arrow men" came by to check their work done previous days (just in case some people tampered with their work or for unexpected happenings). They saw me with the paint and then they asked if I could do some paint job for them (they offered me T-shirts).

So I did. They were happy and I was also happy not JUST for the T-shirts but because I also respect their work and I could do something for them.


2) I was really surprised to see with my own eyes the previous year's painting was still there! Yes, they have faded out a bit but almost all of them were still recognizable (or readable). I guess the climb of St. Roch has so little traffic and the painting was not so much rubbed off by the tires.

On normal asphalt paved roads, the water paint will fade away after two or three weeks and will be completely gone after a month or so.

So my work turned out to be less difficult nor challenging. I just re-touched the painting that I did last year. Of course I added "Fränk" to them (as he was non-participating last year).

I also re-touched and added to the drawing done by Jil (Andy's partner and his son's mother, of course) and reinforced by me. They (her and her friends) did the drawing by chalk and I offered to trace it with my water paint.

The drawing is a man on a boat fishing, which was intended to be Andy fishing. I added "Teo" to the drawing, which I thought was appropriate.

3) The Bofferding scandal. Bofferding is a beer brand of Luxembourg. I read before that Bofferding (the company that produces the beer) was actually owned by a bigger company based in Belgium. And I also know that Bofferding also sells their beer in some part of Belgium as I have seen the signs at some cafe, restaurants or bars in Belgium.

This year they decided to promote their product by partnering up with the Philippe Gilbert Fan Club. As you may have seen on TV, flags and other promotion stuff were seen on the climb of la Redoute.

How do you think the Luxembourgers (including the participating riders Bob, Andy and Fränk) felt when they saw them there? Happy or betrayed?

4) Liège-Bastogne-Liège 100th Edition disaster. This year's Liège-Bastogne-Liège was the 100th edition. Was it? Was it a bigger event than last year? No! Blame the economic situations in Belgium.

5) The show stoppers. The baby rush. Schleck brothers brought (as the race events were held near Luxembourg) their babies to the team bus area. In more accurate description, their (babies) mothers (and their grand parents) came to cheer for their partners and those babies came with them.

They figuratively or literally (If you like Ted on HIMYM, use the former if not use the latter) stopped the show or stole the show. The TFR team bus (before, during or after the race) was surrounded by many fans and also Luxembourgers and most of them (all?) were personal friends, relatives and family members of the Schleck clan.

When you see such pretty babies, you just stop and get enchanted by them. You just forget why you are there (to watch the race and show your support for your favorite riders).



In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Before Liège-Bastogne-Liège]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/26(土) 11:46:37|
  2. Bike Races in Belgium
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TdF 2014 Team Presentation Tickets on sale now!

I wrote about this "tickets (to be) on sale" before. I don't like to pay for it but the venue is some kind of indoor arena and seating costs.

I registered for the notice service to be informed of the ticket sales as soon as it started. At that time I did not know the pricing.

I had not checked my mail for two days and did know that they had sent me one. Late 24th evening a friend let me know it. I checked my mail and knew that 9 am of 25th the ticket sales go public (general public). Registered people got the pre-sales notification.

So I hurriedly purchased one. The one that cost the least and still it cost me dear. I chose a registered mail service (so that the mail wound not be lost) and all together the price was a bit more than 58 £, which is roughly 71 €. Oh dear!

My friends also got the same tickets. We don't need expensive ones. If you pay more, you get closer to the stage. Who needs those? I was the first (or second) person to show up at the Liège Team Presentation in 2012 and was the first person to stand behind the barrier in front of the stage in Corsica in 2013!

I was determined to do the same in 2014 but it turned out It won't be possible.

Luckily we personally know some riders that we support. why pay for expensive tickets and sit a bit closer to the riders when you can come up to them to say hi.

I saw the mayor of Leeds or someone like that (Yorkshire' governor?) in Compiègne at the start of Paris-Roubaix. A nicely attired gentleman from Yorkshire. In my taste, his attire was to gay (I have nothing against gay people and in fact I have a good gay friend). I just want to say that I can not be dressed like him. By the way, the rubber wrist bands that promote Yorkshire's Grand Depart is in pink. I think that says it all.

I wanted to get one but they were hard to come by. I finally got one in Huy. I am happy.



In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [TdF 2014 Team Presentation Tickets on sale now!]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/25(金) 06:25:36|
  2. Tour de France
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I am back to Luxembourg for an urgent errand.

I am back to Luxembourg for an urgent errand. I was supposed to stay in the Netherlands and Belgium all week. Something came up this morning (not a bad thing so I am not unhappy).

I came back to pick some things up. I will be back in Liège tomorrow (Tuesday, April 22), pick up a friend of mine and visit the hotel where Philippe Gilbert is staying. Obviously this friend is a big fan of the winner of 2014 edition of Amstel Gold Race. I am doing this for the last several years.

Anyway, this morning I visited the hotel where TFR (Trek Factory Racing) bunch were staying. I had a good time there. The hotel was in Belgium but on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium so that you won't notice anything that would say that you are in Belgium. Lampre-Merida and FDJ.fr was also staying at the same hotel. Omega Pharma-Quick Step was staying at a hotel nearby and I could see the team bus and some riders riding in the area.


This is something I found (this year) at the top of Cauberg (in front of Casino Holland). They have a new name for Cauberg. "Col du Cauberg" and it announces proudly its height (over the sea level) as 134 meters. I like this Dutch humor.


colducauberg134m.jpg


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [I am back to Luxembourg for an urgent errand.]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/21(月) 18:24:00|
  2. Bike Races in Belgium
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TFR team kits needed!

I wondered why I could not get any of them in the previous entry. I still don't know why and I know my guesses are far from the truth. So I don't conjecture any further.

I just hope that I eventually get them before TDF 2014 this summer.

Oh I am busy packing for one-week camping trip. I can not find the Trangia cooker in my room. Oh well, I give up.

I'll be in the climb of Cauberg in several hours from now. I will be painting something there.

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [TFR team kits needed!]の続きを読む
  1. 2014/04/19(土) 23:05:42|
  2. Trek Factory Racing
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TFR (Trek Factory Racing) Team Jersey wanted!

Today (Friday, April 18) I drove to Asport Ingledorf (a sporing goods chain) to get TFR's jersey or something.

A kind personnel asked me what in particular I was looking for. I said that I wanted to get the items above mentioned.

His answer was that he had only three L-size jerseys and that otherwise everything was sold out. I also asked if he knew the shipping date for the next batch. His answer was no and he believed that the next shipping is before the Tour de France.

Sold out!

Why?
1) Because Keith Bontrager (I thought the founder's name was Keith but I could be wrong) made a fatal error in the estimate number of first batch of the production (too few).
2) Because the capacity of the sewing facilities located somewhere (Malaysia, Indonesia, China or ??) is not ample enough and those factories can not meet the demand.
3) Trek is negotiating a sub-sponsor deal with some company (or companies) and the team jersey design is about to change so the production is being on a halt.
4) The truth is none of the above.

Whatever! I don't have them. [TFR (Trek Factory Racing) Team Jersey wanted!]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/18(金) 23:28:42|
  2. Trek Factory Racing
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Ardennes Classics Week is nearing!

I am taking one-week off from work next week. I will be sleeping (mostly) at various camping sites.

(April 16th, Wednesday) Philippe Gilbert won "De Brabantse Pijl". He is on form, no doubt.


Today (Thursday, April 17th) I met Andy Schleck and his girlfriend Jil. They were enjoying the dinner together. The baby was home. Actually, Andy told me a joke, "We left him in the car."

Anyway, I was happy to see him relaxed before the big week. I am sure he will make us excited.


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Ardennes Classics Week is nearing!]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/17(木) 22:13:38|
  2. Bike Races in Belgium
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la Flèche Wallonne (Bastogne - Huy) 2014 and "Ardennes Classics"

I have forgotten or did I know that this year's la Flèche Wallonne starts from Bastogne not from uhhhh...., (Charleroi, I later found out) from the city that I have been twice but totally forgotten its name.

Bastogne is well known to me at least. I have been there, I think, only once (?). I was a bit surprised to see a kind of desolate small town. No offense! No offense to the people living there!

A.S.O. has held Liège-Bastogne-Liège long time and helped promote Bastogne. This year they have even stepped up the their efforts. Now Bastogne is double-featured!

Bastogne is far from Huy. Bastogne is a nice quiet town where you can have a peace of mind of that I am very sure.

I have been to Huy many times and slept there many times. There's a camping site near so-called Mur de Huy. I stayed there in the past.

Calendar:
Amstel Gold Race: 20 April Sunday
Rund um Köln: 21 April Monday (Easter Monday) ???????
la Flèche Wallonne: 23 April Wednesday
Liège-Bastogne-Liège: 27 April Sunday

Jens Voigt is participating the race (Rund um Köln as a member of the German national team)

Seeping schedule:
This year I will try a camping site in Aywaille. It is very close to the Côte de la Redoute, an iconic climb of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
20 Sunday: Sleeping in Huy? at the camping site above described
21 Monday: Sleeping in Huy
22 Tuesday: Sleeping in Huy
23 Wednesday: Sleeping in Aywaille
24 Thursday: Sleeping in Aywaille
25 Friday: Sleeping in Aywaille
26 Saturday: Sleeping in Liège?
27 Sunday: Home




In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [la Flèche Wallonne (Bastogne - Huy) 2014 and "Ardennes Classics"]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/14(月) 19:27:55|
  2. Bike Races in Belgium
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Paris-Roubaix 2014 Plan Part II

Now A.S.O. has stepped up the info on the Paris-Roubaix available at its official site. PDF map and others are available.

I am looking into the detailed course map and its pavé sections (and the feed zones). They are not the same as those of 2013 edition. I am plotting all on the Garmin BaseCamp. This tedious work is very important. Without this painstaking tedious tiresome work, I can not make the plan.


TO BE CONTINUED!


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Paris-Roubaix 2014 Plan Part II]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/09(水) 07:55:01|
  2. Bike Races in France
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Fabian Cancellara wins and I was there.

Please stop reading this entry if you don't want any disgusting thing concerning my medical conditions.


If you are still reading this, you know that you have been warned. This is gross.



Rotavirus hit me? The last two days (and partly today, Monday April7) I had a terrible condition. I can not hold anything in my digestion system. Everything came down without being digested. And they come in whitish color. Anytime I went to the bathroom, I had a terrible diarrhea. It is not like I wanted to go as I felt like it. "Anytime" I went, I had diarrhea. Uncontrollable emission of whitish water.

You don't want anymore details so I quit here.




I left for Bruges at 03:00 (O-three-hundred). I drove about 170 km and it was around 06:00 passing somewhere near Eghezée when suddenly I felt extra vibration on the steering wheel. My first action was to stare closely at the surface of the road.

Generally speaking the southern part of Belgium is plagued with potholes on the roads. The situation is worse when you hit them on the motorway since you are driving at a faster speed. The surface could be rough.

So naturally I thought I was driving on a rough surface. It was hard to see as it was still dark. The steering wheel did not sit still at all. I had to pull over and see what was wrong with my car. I had a vague idea what was happening.

I stopped just in front of a big road sign "Eghezée 1,500 m" meaning I was at 1,500 meters from the exit ramp leading to Eghezée.
eghezee-exitrampbig.jpg


eghezee-exit1500m.jpg

Fortunately the roadside was broad. There was enough place for me to safely park my car. I stepped out and saw the front left tire burst completely.

I had hit some of those damned potholes. I could not avoid them. I guess the front tires had been structurally damaged by those potholes and the consequences I had to follow came now.


Chance favors the prepared minds. I had prepared for this.

Back in 2008 when Carlos Sastre Candil won the Tour, I was following all of the Continental stages. That was a Friday evening. I was driving to the Saturday's stage course (The last deciding time-trial) and I was about 10-15 km from my destination when I felt the violent vibration on the steering wheel. A tire burst.

I was driving a used Mercedes-Benz A class. It was equipped with a electric pump and a bottle of chemical for sealing the puncture holes in case of a "flat" tire. A tire burst is not covered.

I have already written about this unpleasant and traumatic incident so I cut to the chase.

I decided at that time that I would equip my future car with a real tire not with a puncture sealant bottle. When I shopped for a car in 2011, I carefully looked at the standard equipment list to see if the real tire was included or could be equipped as an option. My present car Ford Ka did not have a spare (temporary) tire as a standard equipment. I payed for the option.

I quickly changed the tires. It took about 20 minutes (including the time to put on a light-reflecting bright vest as required by law when you go outside the car on motorways) to do the whole operation. I was really quick.

The instructions for the temporary tire (narrow) stipulates that you should not exceed the speed limit of 80 km per hour when using it. I was about 160 km away from Bruges. I drove slowly and made it to Bruges.

Well, the rest is already history. I changed the tires (both front tires) in the afternoon. The mechanic told me that the wheel had been damaged that would make vibration at a high speed, unrepairable damages done to the wheel because of those damn potholes!


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Fabian Cancellara wins and I was there.]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/07(月) 14:46:00|
  2. Bike Races in Belgium
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  4. | コメント:0

I haven't ridden my bike regularly for .... two months by now?

The last time I rode my bike was on Sunday March 9. That was the day I saw the first stage of Paris-Nice near Mantes-la-Jolie.

I used to ride my bike regularly. I used take my bike to work. Now I work on a different schedule and at different locations and I can not take my bike to work.

Not good. It is not good at all. I have to do something.

I want to ride my bicycle more!


In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [I haven't ridden my bike regularly for .... two months by now?]の続きを読む
  1. 2014/04/03(木) 22:48:16|
  2. Bikes and related things
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  4. | コメント:0

RVV (De Ronde Van Vlaanderen) 2014 Watch Plan Part III

Now (as of April 2) TFR has officially announced (made public) who are participating in De Ronde Van Vlaanderen.

1 Cancellara, Fabian
2 Devolder, Stijn
3 Irizar Aramburu, Markel
4 Popovych, Yaroslav
5 Rast, Gregory
6 Roulston, Hayden
7 Sergent, Jesse
8 Stuyven, Jasper

Wait a minute! The list above is taken from the PDF (provisional) start list from the official site (http://www.rondevanvlaanderen.be/). 3 Irizar Aramburu, Markel? I thought it was Aranburu. And yes, it is Aranburu.




In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [RVV (De Ronde Van Vlaanderen) 2014 Watch Plan Part III]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/02(水) 23:37:46|
  2. Bike Races in Belgium
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  4. | コメント:0

RVV (De Ronde Van Vlaanderen) 2014 Watch Plan Part II

Trek Factory Racing [USA]

1 Cancellara, Fabian
2 Devolder, Stijn
3 Irizar Aramburu, Markel
4 Popovych, Yaroslav
5 Rast, Gregory
6 Roulston, Hayden
7 Sergent, Jesse
8 Stuyven, Jasper

R Beppu, Fumiyuki
R Hondo, Danilo
R van Poppel, Boy
R van Poppel, Danny

SUI19810318
BEL19790829
ESP19800205
UKR19800104
SUI19800117
NZL19810110
NZL19880708
BEL19920417

JPN19830410
GER19740104
NED19880118
NED19930726

According to the PDF start list (provisional) downloadable from the organizer's site (http://www.rondevanvlaanderen.be/), above riders (including the reserve) from TFR are expected to participate.

TFR's own official site has not come up with the participating riders list yet (as of April 1st).

This year I will go to Brugge (Bruges in French) in the morning. I will then get back to Oudenaarde area.

One thing worries me a bit. It is expected to rain on Sunday.


11 Paterberg
12 Koppenberg
These climbs are well-known, of course. I have been to Koppenberg before but so many people were there since the morning of the race so If you go there in the afternoon there is no way you get in the good places. The place is practically packed as a sardine can.

Where should I go?

In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ

[RVV (De Ronde Van Vlaanderen) 2014 Watch Plan Part II]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/01(火) 16:23:24|
  2. Bike Races in Belgium
  3. | トラックバック:0
  4. | コメント:0

Paris-Roubaix 2014 Plan Part I

OK, finally ASO has released the details of the parcours of Paris-Roubaix 2014.

Now I am on it.

1) Home to Compiègne: 325 km by way of (but not actually running into the towns of) Charleville-Mézières, Reims and Soissons. I usually take a break at a gas station named "Aire des Ardennes Woinic," where a huge steel-plates-welded-together sculpture of a Wild Boar (a symbol of Ardenne men) stands. This route does not include a tollway at all.

2) Arriving in Compiègnu at the wee hours of the morning. I take a nap in the car if possible. Some local police officers and/or Gendarmerie officers are already there (several yards away) to block the traffic trying to come through the castle/park.

3) Meeting with friends there in the morning. This year I have three of them.

4) Driving up north following and then taking over the peloton. Stopping occasionally to watch the race pass. This year I am thinking of Pavé secteurs (French word for sectors, of course). My MacBook Pro (Mavericks) tenaciously tries to correct the word into English but I refuse.

Here is the comparison of the sectors from 2013 edition and 2014 edition made on Garmin BaseCamp.
pr14-paves-gbc.jpg

Almost all the pavés sectors are the same.

5) It is going to be a long day for me. I have to drive more around 1,000 km in 24 hours. I need a good rest before the trip.



In Japanese: 続きをどうぞ [Paris-Roubaix 2014 Plan Part I]の続きを読む

テーマ:自転車ロードレース - ジャンル:スポーツ

  1. 2014/04/01(火) 14:09:05|
  2. Bike Races in France
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  4. | コメント:0

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