Back to Work
Its always a struggle to get back to work after a holiday. I had convinced myself I had booked the Wednesday off after getting home at 7pm the night before but unfortunately that wasn’t the case this time. I dragged myself out of bed for my 9am appointment with my desk which I duly kept. Work was busy which was good
Rio Olympics – Opening Ceremony
The Olympics kicked off on Friday with what was termed a ‘budget’ opening ceremony. Some facts were banded around confirming it was 12 times cheaper than London 2012 and 20 times cheaper than Beijing 2008. Having been unable to keep my self up till midnight, I opted for the highlights the following morning. I expected cheap as chips but I have to say, having seen what it tried to get across about the environment and the fireworks, I was left thinking London and Beijing were wholly ripped off with their opening ceremonies. Given all the problems Rio have had in the build up to the games, it was a spectacle to behold and something they should be proud of given the budget constraints they were under.
Jessica Varnish – British Cycling
I’ve kept quiet about this saga but she popped up again last week just before the Olympics saying she ‘wouldn’t recommend’ BC which annoyed me a bit so I will say something now. Its all over now isn’t it anyway? A brief history (as I see it). She fails to qualify for the Olympics and then criticizies British Cycling and her coaches for their selections which she blamed for the non-qualification. It all goes quiet and then she is told her services on the team are no longer required.. She goes public and alleges sexism by Shane Sutton who told her to “.. go and have a baby..”. Shane Sutton resigns, BC begin an investigation. Sutton denies it all, enquiry is ongoing, Varnish stands by her claims.
To be honest this whole whole affair is pretty torrid and its up to the casual observer to decide which side of the fence they sit on it. All I will say is after she popped up in the media last week saying she’d advise anyone against BC in its current state, it left me with two questions.
1. If she had been selected and had gone to Rio, would she still have said something like she has?
2. Why didn’t she say anything sooner, or has it only occurred when she was told to leave?
My personal opinion is I don’t think she would have said anything if she had been selected and regardless of whether Sutton and BC have acted improperly (which I don’t condone btw if they have) it smacks of a bit of sour grapes. That said if how she was told is true, BC need to be held to account and heads need to roll.
Rio Olympics – Olympic Road Race’s
Gutted for G in the Mens RR. The more you look at it, you know what a great chance he had and with such small teams its hard to control and your options are limited. But it does make for exciting racing, having small teams, something the Grand Tour’s may need to consider so the BIG teams can’t dominate so much in the future.
The womens’s RR was a shocker. Van Vleuten’s crash was a heart stopper which I think I reacted to the same as everyone else. The lack of movement and the angle she stopped made it look like she had maybe broken her neck or back but thankfully she got of quite lightly with concussion and some fractures relative to the severity of the crash. We all felt for Mara Abbott who was caught in the final metres. I thought Armitsead did a great ride considering the nature of the parcours and the pressure she has been under in the build up with her missed doping tests. For the record, I belive she is clean.
My final thought is on the RR course itself who a number of commentators have called out as dangerous. True there were a number of crashes and if you look at Van Vleutens, in particular, you can clearly see she took the completely the wrong line and speed into that bend. We didn’t see the men, only the aftermath but crashes happen on almost every stage of the opening ‘flat’ week of the Tour. Crashes are as regular as clockwork on Paris-Roubaix. Are these courses dangerous? No. Do all the riders crash? No. So was the Olympic RR course dangerous? No BUT, probably excessively technical compounded by the severity, the distance of the event and the prize on offer leading to greater fatigue and the increased risk of riders making mistakes and crashing as we saw. I lke Boardman, but he got it wrong when he called the organisers out on that one.