2011 - A Year In Review
Great races, stupid quotes, best rider of the year and more.
was the toughest. Raced at altitude over steep mountain climbs, this race left riders humbled. And each year the organizers do a great job of slowly growing the event. I hope that they continue to pull in top talent and perhaps more marquee riders.
Speaking of marquee riders the Tour of Colorado ... I mean the USA Pro Cycling Challenge ... scored big with some of the best riders in the pro peloton. Tour de France champion - check. Huge crowds - check. The only dig I could take at this event was the social media was disjointed and the website a cluster. And of course there was the name of the race itself - a mouthful that means what exactly? Regardless, at the end of the day racers and fans had nothing but high praise and first year stumbles should be expected.
The Amgen Tour of California is our grande dame of stage races. With only six races in its history this event has secured an important spot on the professional racing calendar. Sure there was horrible weather in past editions and this year's stage 1 was canceled with stage 2 shortened, but it still managed to highlight the beauty of the Golden State. I just wish the racing had been more inspiring as it quickly turned into a Team RadioShack training ride. No one was able to mount a serious challenge to the Shackers as they rode some of the best climbers off their wheels on the ascent of Mt Baldy. As we know RadioShack's prowess or luck didn't hold in July.
Best One-Day Race
Paris-Roubaix was my favorite one-day race of the year. We had the usual favorites: Fabian Cancellara, Thor Hushovd, Juan Antonio Flecha and American favorite George Hincapie. In the end it was Johan Vansummeren of Team Garmin-Cervélo who entered the Roubaix velodrome alone, taking the win. I have to give credit where credit was due. The favorites were all looking at each other, or more exactly all the favorites were looking at Cancellara, and Vansummeren used that to his advantage to solo away.
This category has so many possibilities but the one quote that did the most damage was from the sport's own leader, UCI president Pat McQuaid. In a post-road race world championship press conference Mr. McQuaid said in reply to a question regarding a minimum salary in women's racing, "We have an agreement in men's sport, but women's cycling has not developed enough that we are at that level yet."
As expected McQuaid felt the wrath from some of the top women in the sport. Ina-Yoko Teutenberg called his statement complete "bullshit."
If the president of the sport feels this way you know that change for women racers is still a long way away. A word of advice for McQuaid, don't stand near the side of the road during a women's race. He's likely to have a water bottle hurled at him.
Wouter Weylandt killed in stage 3 of the Giro.
Rider of the Year
There are many possibilities in