Cycling has its fair share of hard bastards, which isn't too surprising when you think what the riders put themselves through to win the world's hardest races. But some riders take the term 'hard man' too far. Ed Hood takes his pick of the 13 top 'Bad Asses' of the peloton.
ROADSIDE Replay: I've been fortunate to see the Tour of Flanders in person and ride the famed Belgian cobbled bergs on more than one occasion - and as we plod into a 2nd year of locked down travel, a look back at happier times might serve as a look ahead to what's coming when travel opens up.
Judging from the spate of videos and perhaps related to the explosive growth in interest in gravel riding, endurance riding has become A Thing. One can only be impressed by Mark Beaumont's circumnavigation of the world. Who better to write a book about endurance cycling? But “Endurance,” a fine volume from the Global Cycling Network, is a valuable instruction manual for those seeking to go the distance.
After Jason Saltzman's hit and miss 2020 season in Austria, he has bounced back with a new team, Wildlife Generation Pro Cycling, and managed to kick-off 2021 with a good block of training and racing in Turkey. Thinks are looking up for the PEZ blogger.
Settling in for hours of watching the 2021 race season come alive as Milan-San Remo blooms along the sparkling Ligurian coast requires more than good wifi - that's where Peroni, Menabrea, Moretti, and other select Italian birri joined Ed Hood for his hours-long view-a-thon.
Much of bike racing lore seems to centre around how much participants have to suffer before reaching the finish line, assuming they even make it that far. For sheer awfulness 1919's “Tour of the Battlefields,” one of bike racing's worst ideas, would be hard to top. Almost immediately forgotten, author Tom Isitt brings it back to life in “Riding in the Zone Rouge,” a mixture of history, travelogue and some invention.
"If there had been the Poggio back then, they wouldn't have seen me until the finish!" So says Brian Robinson, who in 1957, became the first English-speaker to stand on the podium of the Primavera. But for the cycling politics of the time, Robinson might well have pre-dated Tom Simpson as the first Englishman to win this legendary race, but let's go back to '57 and hear it from Brian.
VIDEO: This ride along the gravel covered Steveston Dyke (aka the West Dyke Trail) from the fishing village of Steveston to the north arm of the Fraser River is flat, often windy and popular with pedestrians and strollers. But the scenic views to the north and west make it worth slowing down and fitting into any ride around Richmond, and is a perfect early season refresher when flat slow miles are on the training plan.
At one time Britain was lucky to have one or two Continental pros fighting at the pointy end of the top races. Now there is a list of Grand Tour winners and a queue of riders in the wings. Ed Hood has listed his twelve 'young guns' to watch in 2021.