Sunday, September 25, 2022

World Champions 2022

 UCI Cycling Road World Champions 2022

Are you tired of looking at this image? Me too!

Congratulations and Chapeau to both Annemiek van Vleuten and Remco Evenepoel on winning rainbow jerseys this weekend. Zio Lorenzo is not a fan of either, but they both won in their own dramatic ways.

In the women's race you can't write a script like this! After breaking her elbow in a crash caused by mechanical failure just a few days before, the woman who has already won almost everything this year lines up to help her Dutch team, even pausing to wait for Marianne Vos, who one assumes was the designated leader of the team. Vos seems to indicate she doesn't have it on this day so van Vleuten is free to chase the breakaway. Too many up there are racing not-to-lose rather than win so she catches them in the final kilometers and stays away to win, broken elbow and all! Chapeau!

The men's race also had a not-to-lose scenario though it was for the silver medal as Evenepoel was long gone - typical of many of his race wins. He attacks from far out and dares anyone to come with him. If they do he usually rides them off his wheel and goes on to win. Zio's called him robotic in the past, but without race radios it's tough to make that call this time. Chapeau! 

But just like the women's race a bunch of riders ended up with nothing due to "after, after you!" as they neared the finish. Have modern racers become so radio-controlled these days that they don't have a clue about how to race without someone yelling into their earpiece? Reading some post-race quotes suggest that is exactly the case*. Safety is often cited as a reason radio earpieces (introduced in the early 1990's) can't be banned, but is there any proof races with radios are more safe than those without? And if they really do make things safer, how would someone justify holding a race where these so-called "safety devices" are banned? For another view more inline with ours go HERE.

On the other hand, Zio screams "NO Chapeau" to whoever was sitting in the TV image director's chair at this event. Too often he thought he'd tuned-in to "Rick Steves' visits Australia" briefly interrupted by a bicycle race! And even when he actually showed us racing images, this director would too often miss an attack, instead showing riders going out-the-back of the group. The Italian Eurosport commentators were as annoyed as Zio was, so there's hope the message gets through to those in-charge for next time. 

The travelogue even spread to the moto camera operators! C'mon, the race is going uphill and all we see is the crowds at the roadside? I enjoy laughing at the people wearing inflatable dinosaur costumes as much as the next guy, but I tuned-in for a bike race! Is this part of the modern cycling idea - that the thing has to be turned into a spectacle that people uninterested in cycling somehow enjoy watching? Please hire a TV director with top-level bike racing experience for next time, you are the International Cycling Union for Pietro's sake!!!

*To be fair, it does seem the organizers did a terrible job on the traditional chalkboard with time-gaps as described HERE.

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