Freeman Cebu Sports

We have a new World Champion

ALLEZ - Jose Vicente Araneta - The Freeman

The UCI World Cycling Championships is not just a single race but all categories are included, with men and women- Juniors, U23, Elite Men and Women.

Last weeks’ event was as usual, was a success, except for two things: the disqualification of a U23 category, Nil Eeckhoff, for drafting behind a team car. BTW, drafting is when you ride behind a rider (legal) or a car or a motorbike (illegal) to avoid facing the wind. Remember that in cycling, the energy you expend is not purely for the turning of the pedals but to fight the wind. Drafting allows a rider to expend less energy which will be needed in the last moments of a race,

There are lots of issues about the DQ of Eeckhoff, but what matters is he did it and that although the UCI has in some races don’t give it much attention, it has made a decision and is within its rights to do so.

My question, although not important, was, “who lodge the complaint?” Again, it would have been a good story to know who did. I don’t believe that it was the UCI who, without any provocation, reviewed the race. The drafting occurred 130-something K’s before the end and the reason why Eeckhoff drafted was he just crashed heavily and had dislocated his shoulder. If a rider can draft unpunished because of a puncture, then Eeckhoff is a hero. But the deed has been done.

The second was the Elite Men. Throughout the WC Week, the weather in Yorkshire, England, was not good. But the heavens really saved the best for last. It was literally raining cats and dogs and kitchen sinks the whole time. Its not that the pro cyclists are wimps when it come to the wet but it was cold. Riders were not wearing raincoats or regular gloves like what you see during the March and April classics but they were wearing clothes and gloves like they were about to assault Mt. Everest.

Of the 197 riders who joined, only about 60 who finished. Even the defending champion, Alejandro Valverde quit with 170/280km to go. “I was completely frozen,” Valverde told Spanish website Marca.com. “I would have liked to have finished, out of respect for my teammates and Spain generally, but I couldn’t.”

Valverde has bee a pro for almost 20years and isn’t a quitter but Mother Nature did him in. The winner turned out to be a rider nobody picked, Mads Pedersen of Denmark. He is the first WC from his country and at 23yo, the future is still ahead of this young man. I’ll do a feature about him in the future, I promise.

Finally, the Philippines is now scrambling very hard this late to qualify for next years Tokyo Olympics. The last time I think we sent cyclist to the Olympics was in 1992, that’s almost 30 years ago. Just like in any sport in this country, the problem is not the talent, Manny Pacquiao has showed us that,  but the problem its when politicians and sports are married.

For Philippine sports to succeed, politicians should get out of sports. Period.

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