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January 30/01 11:20 am - Berlin Six-Day, Calendars, Provincial News, Cyclist Strike


Posted by Editor on 01/30/01
 

Berlin Amateur Six-Day - Night 5
By Kris Westwood

The racing schedule in Berlin switched back to the evening today, after yesterday's morning program. That gave the riders a few extra hours to recover, on top of which the races were much shorter than on any other day. What's more, the organizers decided to lop ten minutes off the madison to accommodate a delay in the program, leaving a total of just 36 minutes of racing for the amateurs. None of these factors worked in favor of Canadians Glen Rendall and Alexandre Cloutier, and they made life harder for themselves with a couple of errors at crucial moments.

This is a good moment to explain exactly how the six-day's different events all fit together. The Berliner Sechstagerennen is run by an organization devoted to this professional event. The six-day is made up of diverse events that provide the spectators with a never-ending show for the whole evening: besides the track pros, who compete in madisons, derny races (behind small motorbikes) and points races, each night there are separate events for sprinters (the field includes Jens Fiedler, Florian Rousseau and Jan Van Eijden) and stayers (insane riders who motorpace at unwise speeds behind loud, massive motorbikes driven by obese, black-leather-clad men - the crowd loves it). The amateur racing is part of the Berlin six-day's "Rahmenprogramm", or "side-program". The organization of the Rahmenprogramm is contracted to the BRV, the regional cycling governing body, who, as a filial of the national federation, have a mandate to promote development. The racing is therefore oriented to four different groups of riders: pre-junior, junior, amateur and masters. The first three groups all race madisons, while the masters riders do points races.

When pondering exactly what approach should be taken in developing riders in a particular discipline, one can be forgiven for being discouraged when faced with the mountain there is to climb to even approach Germany in the madison. Because it may be hard to believe that 13 and 14-year-olds can safely compete in a proper madison using handslings, I have attached a couple photos to prove it (Photo 1, Photo 2. What's more, they race six nights in a row and do not crash. Over time, they then have the opportunity to move up to the junior and then the amateur categories, and those who do eventually race as pros have as much as a decade of experience under their belts.

It is a shame that there is such a huge gap in the continuity of North American madison racing. Just imagine how strong Canada would be if riders like Vancouverite William "Torchy" Peden had been able to pass their knowledge on to a continuous line of riders racing high-quality events down to the present day. Torchy still ranks 6th on the all-time winner list of six-day pros, with 38 victories.

If Glen and Alex had the benefit of this kind of experience, rather than just a few months of racing together, perhaps they wouldn't have made the mistakes that cost them sorely tonight. The first event was relatively uneventful: a 20-lap tempo race, scoring points for the first two riders across the line every two laps. Glen initiated a brief break, placing in one of the sprints, but the pace was too high for any move to stay away. Alex wasn't able to get to the front early enough to contribute either, and in a sense the race was a bit of a lost opportunity for them to work together to gather points. However, most races are just settling in after 5 km, when this one ended, so nobody really got a chance to get into the race.

The critical race was the madison, shortened from 40 to a mere 30 minutes so the Rahmenprogramm wouldn't run overtime. The race was, predictably, very fast and any mistake would be costly. In the end Glen and Alex made two that cost them a lap: first, by following the wrong wheel in the train they found themselves on the wrong side of a 100 m gap. As Glen began to close the gap, he came up to relay Alex into the race. He also came up on a rider who had just thrown his partner in and was riding at the bottom of the track. Just as Glen was about to pass him, the rider moved up the track towards Alex without shoulder checking. With too little space between Alex and the other rider, Glen's only choice was to stay low and miss the exchange. However, to do a second stint and still close the gap was asking too much so they ended up stuck in no man's land for a number of laps. If the pace had eased at this point they might have saved the lap, but no such luck. To add to the downturn in fortunes, while Alex was on a relief lap riding slowly on the banking, he touched a pedal and slid down the track. He got up so quickly that neither Glen nor I had noticed he'd crashed, but now both his elbows are scraped up . . . At least he now knows the lower speed limit on the track!

Though the night didn't go so well, it wasn't an total disaster. As always, the lessons learned will pay in the long run. In the meantime we're focussed on tomorrow's racing. No matter what happens, this race has brought Glen and Alex a long way towards achieving their goals.


Tour de Langkawi, Malaysia

Favoured Mapei-Quick Step has lost leader Andrea Tafi for the Tour de Langkawi, due to injury. However, his replacement is no slouch - Paolo Lanfranchi, the overall winner in 1999. I watched Lanfranchi win two years ago with an incredible ride up the killer Genting Highlands stage (the last 25 kilometres solid climbing). Eric Wohlberg was in a stage long break, and was only caught in the final kilometre.

We will be providing complete daily coverage of the Tour de Langkawi, starting February 4th.


Calendars

We are starting to fill in the 2001 provincial calendars, as they become finalized. On our Calendars page you will now find 2001 race calendars for B.C. and Alberta (in addition to the National calendar).


Saskatchewan News
(courtesy Sask. Cycling Association)

Cycling Seminars - Seminars @ In-Door Cycling 7:30-8:30 pm - Regina Sportsplex. There are two seminars remaining prior to in-door cycling in Regina. The seminars are free to SCA members but the general public will be charged $5.00 or $10.00 for all three sessions. The general public are also invited to bring their bikes and helmets and ride on the track from 8:30 to 9:30pm for free - but they must attend the seminars.

- February 11, 2001 - Designing a Cycling Training Plan, Learn the components to a good plan. Five physical performance factors. Types of training.

- March 11, 2001 - Cycling Nutrition, The food & fluid that can help you enjoy your cycling more.

Bike Show & Swap, Free Admission! The Regina Bike Show & Swap returns for the fifth year on March 25, 2001. It will be held at Doris Knight Hall, Centre of the Arts. Local clubs, volunteer organizations and local bike shops will have displays. 9:00-11:30 am - open to bring bikes and accessories for the swap, there will be a 15% admin fee on sales plus 50¢ per item registered. Noon-4:00 pm - Bike Show & Swap For more info contact the SCA or Saul Lipton (306) 586-6984.


Manitoba News
(courtesy Manitoba Cycling)

2001 Icebike Race:

The 3rd annual Icebike Race will be held at The Forks on Sunday February 4th 2001. Registration is at 11:30 AM and the races begin at 1 PM. Details about the race and entry forms are now online at Icebike 2001 Website.

Bike Park:

The Manitoba Cycling Association is looking for volunteers to participate at the committee level in the planning of a Bike Park at Springhill - if any one is interested they can contact Mike McKee via e-mail; cycling@sport.mb.ca.


Cyclist Strike - Toronto

When: Thurs Feb 1, 6:00 pm
Where: Corner of College and Grace
Why: On November 15th, a car driver at this intersection opened his door into the path of a cyclist. The cyclist was thrown under the wheels of a truck. He is still in hospital. ARC plans to continue with regular actions until he is back on his bike. We have demands. We want them addressed.

WHAT DO WE WANT?
*We want sideguards on big trucks so we can't be knocked underneath the wheels
*We want dooring to be taken as seriously by car drivers as it is by cyclists
*We want safe passage on College Street

*********************
SAMPLE LETTERS

FEDERAL:
The Right Honourable Jean Chretien M.P.
Prime Minister Of Canada
House Of Commons, Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington St.
Ottawa, Canada K1A 0A2
Email: pm@pm.gc.ca

Dear Mr. Jean Chretien,

In November 2000 you received dozens of letters from Toronto cyclists who were concerned that nothing has been done to implement Coroner Dr. William Lucas' 1998 recommendation that large trucks be equipped with sideguards (as they are in the United Kingdom and several European countries) to ensure that cyclists and pedestrians cannot be crushed by the rear wheels.

Although not all of these letters were answered, one cyclist received a response on Jan 19/01 from Cameron Summers, your Minister of Transport's special assistant for Ontario, in which he says: "If the department's ongoing review of safety technologies indicates that the employment of side guards on trucks would reduce the risk of injury in a cost-effective manner, Transport Canada will not hesitate to propose a new safety regulation."

Although this response is galling in its attention to cost-cutting measures at the expense of the safety of pedestrians and cyclists alike, it should be pointed out that such vehicle modifications are in fact cost-effective. "A study conducted in the United Kingdom calculated that the reduction in fatal and serious pedestrian casualties resulting from vehicle design changes as proposed by the Experimental Vehicles Commitee of the European Union would produce a net benefit in the year 2000 of 1,569 million ECU, giving a benefit to cost ratio of over four to one" (Lawrence, G.J.L., Hardy, B.J. and R.W. Lowne (1993). Costs and benefits from OECD countries. Contribution to the OECD workshop on Children's safety and education held in Warsaw, October 1995. D-95-15. SWOV. Leidschendam.)

Please consider the research that exists on both the cost-effectiveness and the benefits to the overall safety of Canadian citizens and do what you can to ensure that sideguards on trucks are implemented in Canada as soon as possible.

Sincerely,



PROVINCIAL:

Hon. Michael Harris,
Premier and President of the Council
Room 281, Legislative Building, Queen's Park
Toronto, Ont. M7A 1A1
Email: webprem@gov.on.ca.

Dear Mr. Mike Harris,

In November 2000 you received dozens of letters from Toronto cyclists who were concerned that careless opening of car doors has proven to be fatal to cyclists. To my knowledge there has been no response to these letters. Most certainly there has been no action taken.

On November 15th, the driver of a car, parked illegally at the corner of College and Grace, opened his door into the path of a cyclist. He was thrown under the wheels of a passing truck. He is still in hospital and the driver was issued a $100 ticket. The Highway Traffic Act does not reflect the seriousness of this dangerous crime. We demand an adjustment to the HTA that would increase the penalty for dooring a cyclist to a charge of criminal negligence causing injury or death.

We also demand a province-wide publicity campaign to educate drivers of the life and death consequences of opening a car door into a cyclist's path. It doesn't hurt drivers to check. Forgetting to check could kill one of us. Please take action on this important matter as soon as possible.

Sincerely,


MUNICIPAL:

Mayor Mel Lastman
Toronto City Hall, 2nd floor
100 Queen St. West
Toronto, ON
M5H 2N2
Email: mayor_lastman@city.toronto.on.ca

Dear Mel Lastman,

In November 2000 you received dozens of letters from Toronto cyclists following the careless opening of a car door into a cyclist's path on College Street. To my knowledge there has been no response to these letters. Most certainly there has been no action taken. We would like to update you on the condition of this cyclist. He remains in hospital where his condition has worsened recently as he battles a bacterial infection as a result of all the surgeries he has undergone. It will take at least a year for him to walk again. This horrible incident could have happened to any cyclist riding on College Street.

Cyclists demand safe passage on College. College Street between Manning and Grace is particularly dangerous. There just isn't enough space between the parked cars and the streetcar tracks for a cyclist to ride safely. The City is developing a Bike Master Plan that makes no provisions for cyclists on important east/west routes such a College, Bloor, Queen or King. This is unacceptable. We demand that parking be removed on College west of Euclid in order to provide a safe bike lane all the way to High Park.

In 1998 the coroner recomended that City staff visit the sites of cyclist injuries and deaths to study the infrastructure and see how it can be improved. ARC requests that City Staff make an immediate visit to the intersection of College and Grace with the goal of improving the street for cyclists.


Sincerely,


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Advocacy for Respect for Cyclists (ARC)
c/o Intersection
761 Queen St. W., Suite 101
Toronto, Ont. M6J 1G1
Phone: (416) 504-2918 x1
Fax: (416) 504-0068
arc.to@poboxes.com
www.web.net/~detour/arc

 


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