Thirteen years is a long time between drinks for fans of Australian
cross country (XCO) mountain biking but on Monday the community awoke to
a pair of victories and blossoming hope for the future, writes Phil Gomes.
On Saturday night (AEST) Rebecca Henderson was the first to break the long running Australian drought by winning the opening race of the under 23 category at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Albstadt, Germany.
Her victory was the first recorded at that level by any Australian rider since Cadel Evans and Mary Grigson at the turn of the millennium in 2000.
The last time I saw Miguel Martinez in person he looked like the above image. On his way to winning the men's cross-country (XCO) at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
For those who don't remember Martinez, he was the best mountain bike rider at the turn of the century, and in 2000, he won not only gold in Sydney at the Olympic Games but also the MTB world cup and world championships.
There was another guy you may know chasing Martinez in Sydney that day; Cadel Evans, who went on to finish seventh, and later, of course, Tour de France glory.
There is questioning, then there is questioning, but if you are going to ask, make sure you have a form guide sitting next to you.
Universal Sports (USA) commentators Steve Schlanger and Todd Gogulski clearly didn't when discussing Nairo Quintana’s recent Vuelta al Pais Vasco (Tour of the Basque Country) victory, casting doubt on its validity.
There’s been a lot of jibber-jabber on Twitter about the performance of Team Sky since last July’s Tour de France, won by Bradley Wiggins, some of it legitimate and lots of it simply misinformed tosh.
Sky did make a rod for its own back with its hastily cobbled together ‘zero tolerance’ stance on doping and past dopers within its ranks, and did itself no favours with less than transparent responses to instances where difficult questions needed to be answered.
Certainly the handling of the cases of Michael Barry, Steven de Jongh, Bobby Julich, Sean Yates and Geert Leinders left a lot to be desired.
Milan-San Remo is the longest and second oldest race on the professional calendar, with the past two years featuring riders from Australia on the top step of the podium.
With the two past champions in its ranks, Matt Goss (2011) and Simon Gerrans (2012), Orica-GreenEDGE will be hoping to add another with one hoping to win and the other talking down his chances after struggling with illness.
The 2011 champion, Goss, who is bullish about his chances, described the race this way to Cycling Central.