Thursday, June 18, 2009

RiderHowe Hitches onto the Cadel Pelaton

On Tuesday of this week, I had the pleasure of joining Cadel Evans (2 time Tour de France runner up) and Hendrik Redant (Sporting Director for the Silence Lotto Cycling Team). The background links to an Australian friend of mine, Peter Beatty (a Ranch Target) who now resides in Verbier. Pete, who hosted the dinner, grew up competing with Cadel and they have maintained a solid friendship since. Cadel and Hendrik were visiting Verbier to scope the 9 kilometer climb (one that we Ranchers are all familiar with) as preparatory work for Cadel’s assault on this years TDF.

Fresh off of a 2nd place result at the Dauphine Libere, Cadel (followed by Hendrik in the Team Car) was “casually riding” 3 stages of this years TDF that were new to him (including the Verbier stage). Known as one of the lower profile top riders on the circuit, not everyone is familiar with Cadel. His achievements speak volumes;
- 2 x Tour De France Runner Up
- 2 x Dauphine Libere Runner Up
- 2 x Tour of Spain 4th place overall
- Along with multiple single event and individual stage victories

Hendrik was no slouch himself, groomed from solid Belgian riding stock, he competed professionally for 10 years, riding 5 TDF’s and multiple top finishes in the single event and short tour circuit.

Over a bottle of red and a hearty spagbol, it was a fascinating evening of sharing tour and rider insights coupled with the regular banter you would expect to hear from a couple of Aussies. There’s did not appear to be a “rockstar” lifestyle, but rather a very serious and committed approach to their sport with a cost conscious approach to overall team Management. A couple of interesting anecdotes throughout the evening included;

- typical TDF riders will put on at least 40,000 kilometers of training per annum

- we always think of the challenge of the climbs in the TDF, what we rarely consider is the 8 to 20 kilometer descents that are done with speeds consistently topping 100 km’s/hour. Try that in light drizzle with a 100 rider pelaton!

- incredible preparation in terms of researching the nooks and crannies of each of the stage’s roadways including detailed analysis of the finishing areas

- a certain level of frustration with Nationality Partnering overtaking Team Partnering (you will know what I mean if you watched the last 2 stages of the Dauphine)

- and finally, a call from Doping Control, advising they would be in Verbier at 7am to give Cadel the once over as part of a routine spot check. Turns out the guy drove half the night from Stuttgart to meet his time commitment.

All in all, a great evening with a couple of humble guys who are so entrenched in their sport, that they don’t really seem to see the magnitude of their achievements.

It looks probable that Cadel will ride the Giro di Lombardia, and for those of you coming to Como, I am hoping I can line up Cadel/Henrik for a post race intro to Team Ranch. In the meantime, and despite confronting a slight latino bias within our team, please join me in supporting a real “class act” for the sport. Hope to see you in Verbier on the 19th of July “pour Etape 15”.


RiderNOSHOW said...

That's a fantastic Post riderHowe. I can imagine a very interesting evening.

riderpitts said...

howe - yet another vicotry