Friday, March 29, 2013

A Real Sagan vs. Merckx Comparison

It has been an exciting spring.  The early classics have been marked by unpredictable weather and unpredictable racing.  The clear headline story, though, has been the ascension of Peter Sagan to the darling of the cycling media.  This is not without good cause, as his performances in huge races have been great.  I cannot help but be a little annoyed at just how quick we are to anoint Sagan as the greatest rider since sliced bread.  He is impressive, young, and full of potential that he is beginning to fulfill—but if we are being objective, he is not even the best classics rider currently in the peloton. 

This lack of perspective, has even led to what I would call ridiculous comparisons between Peter Sagan and Eddy Merckx.  Now I’m no stranger to sports media hyperbole, but I have a hard time even putting Sagan in the same sentence as Merckx.  This is no dig against Sagan.  I just think we have lost perspective on just how unmatched Merckx was, and probably ever will be, in his accomplishments.  So here is a healthy dose of perspective on the company in which you are putting Sagan, when you claim he is, “the next Merckx.”

Friday, March 15, 2013

A Short History of the Longest Day of the Year

Popular logic says that the longest day of the year falls on the summer solstice.  In 2013, that happens to fall in late June—the 21st, to be specific.  But the longest single day for a cyclist comes this weekend; the professional peloton will depart from Italy’s cultural center, Milan, heading south-west towards a city situated on the Mediterranean coast, just across the French border from Nice.  It doesn’t seem like an insane distance to travel in a day—especially by train or car.  This is no car race though.  The peloton will travel via bicycle—which should have been obvious to you—not as the crow flies, or even the most efficient paved route, but rather nearly 300kms at race pace to San Remo. 


Let me give you a second for that to sink in…