Team Camps and other Time Killers
The off-season is over and pros are back training as well as doing other activities.
Gilbert hasn't been the only rider winning awards. Mark Cavendish scored some hardware from the Queen of England - the "services to British cycling" medal. For those not familiar, it's star shaped and garish enough that it would go with any of Elton John's outfit. The Queen of England presents the MBE (I think that's an acronym for More Bling of Elton's) to Olympic medalists, however the Isle of Mann rider earned his by becoming the road world champion. And let's face it, there was a lot of moaning from other countries on why they didn't score the victory (I'm looking at you Italy). But no other nation did such a great job leading out their rider and was so single-mindedly focused than the British.
While no awards have been given out yet, I fully expect that the new Andy and Frank Schleck movie, "The Road Uphill" to get the nod at the upcoming Luxembourg independent film festival or whatever they have over there. This movie is a documentary that follows the Leopard-Trek brothers as they contest the 2011 Tour de France.
The film's producer told Cyclingnews that it's an, "intimate cinematic portrait of two brothers and a team who are under pressure to live up to the expectations of their country." The always funny @Dwuori on twitter said he had heard that the movie starts off fast, but ends slow. I'm hoping that Cavendish includes this into his rotation of DVDs instead of "The Human Centipede" which he subjected his teammates to recently. Mark, don't you know that movie was banned from England for a reason?! And you just won the MBE from the Queen too! In Cavendish's defense perhaps he thought it was a movie demonstrating the perfect leadout.
Anyways, the trailer looks interesting and I for one will try and score a copy. But I guess I need a copy that plays in American DVD players. Well forget that idea - I guess I'll check out why Cav watched "The Human Centipede."
Finally, I have to comment on the team training camps that are in full swing. As you know Saxo Bank's Bjarne Riis has made survival-style training camps en vogue and every year it seems like each team has to out-do the other. QuickStep did a blindfolded march in the forest. That's not too impressive, but I bet they're thinking that the chance of doing some season ending damage to their riders while walking through the Belgium wilderness is the smarter choice. Wimpier, but smarter.
But leave it to Riis to step it up a notch. He threw his best general classification rider out of an airplane! Sure Alberto Contador was strapped to an experienced skydiver, but come on! Having your Golden Calf leap from a plane to build loyalty? How about he close his eyes and fall backwards, trusting that a teammate will catch him? At worse if Contador gets dropped he gets a knot on his head.
Sure skydiving is impressive, but all joking aside, it's fairly safe. The exercise that really impressed me was