Al Hinds Mon 24 November 2014, 03:00PM

Why I don’t give a hoot about the hour record

road, cycling, blog, al hinds, hour record, tony martin, cancellara, cookson, UCI

Jensie, Tony, Fabs, Matthias, Jacky Bobby, maybe Thomas. Off the back of the UCI rule changes that have completely overhauled what was, ‘the hour’, the hour record has captured the imagination of a number of the sport’s big hitters. It hasn’t, however, captured mine.

It’s just that I don’t get it. I don’t get it, and I don’t love it. There was a romance to the notion of the hour that existed because of its timelessness. That timelessness was anchored in the strict rules riders had to abide by to undertake it; a Merckx-era bike, limits on rider position and equipment, and a rawness to the whole event that stripped down athletes to the bare essentials.

A bike. A man (or woman). An hour.

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Al Hinds Fri 14 November 2014, 12:30PM

The answer to all our problems

cycling, road, al hinds, blog, helmets, smarthat,

You know all those issues we cyclists had with safety. Like being run off roads. Like being treated like second-class citizens. Well, I can say now that fear no more comrades, divine intervention has given us deliverance.

I present to you, the Smart Hat.

From Sydney designer, Toby King, this aesthetically pleasing wonder helmet, provides a full suite of safety features including:

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Al Hinds Tue 04 November 2014, 04:00PM

Is Chris Boardman a fool for not wearing a helmet?

road, cycling, blog, al hinds, helmets, safety,

Question the need for a person to wear a helmet, and brace for the backlash. That's been the experience of former Tour de France cyclist Chris Boardman after he set out to tour Manchester with the BBC by bike sans helmet - but did he have a point?

Monday, the BBC broadcast a short piece on cycle safety that featured British Cycling policy advisor Boardman touring Manchester on a bike. He guided Louise Minchin, a cycling novice, around the city, explaining some basic tips for keeping safe.

His points were simple. Plan your route. Be careful around junctions and intersections. Position yourself away from the curb and hold the lane. Be wary around trucks and larger vehicles where vision is obstructed. Obey traffic signals.

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Al Hinds Fri 24 October 2014, 05:30PM

Quick conclusions from the 2015 Tour de France course announcement

cycling, blog, al hinds, tour de france, course, course announcement, TDF, opinion, blog, talking points, discussion

There was a lot in the 2015 Tour de France route unveil to take in. Al Hinds takes a look over some of its critical points.

Points reworked
Apparently sick of Peter Sagan winning the maillot vert at a canter, ASO has rebalanced the points system in a move that tries to reposition the classification. A massive 50 points is now on offer for the first over the line in any “flat” stage, with a quick drop-off to second (30) and third (20), putting a premium on winning stages over high finishes. The last two years has seen one solitary stage victory and a lot of seconds, thirds etc. deliver Peter Sagan the maillot vert, meanwhile Marcel Kittel, who notched up eight in the same period, finished fourth. The sentiment of the new system is good, the green jersey should be a sprinters classification to retain its relevance, but while the revisions will likely shake things up, there’s every chance Sagan could still win.

Time bonuses
Time bonuses return to the Tour for the first time since 2007. The 10, 6, 4 bonuses on offer at the finish and 3, 2, 1, at the intermediates aren’t dramatic amounts but they do allow yellow to move around in the first week. A good move, and less chance of Fabian wearing yellow for the entirety of the first nine stages.

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Al Hinds Fri 17 October 2014, 05:00PM

The Astana chronicles

cycling, road, mpcc, doping, astana, al hinds, blog, overview, history

The third positive this year for an Astana rider is the just the latest chapter in the team’s shadowy history.

Said without judgement.

2006. The team spawns out of the remnants of the Liberty Seguros-Wurth team. That squad, and its manager Manolo Saiz are deeply implicated in Operacion Puerto, an investigation conducted by the Guardia Civil which uncovers systematic doping within the team. Alexandre Vinokourov becomes de facto captain, and is an arm’s length from management. Despite the team’s history, the UCI awards it a new four year WorldTour license.

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