Ready for a season of sleepless nights

It’s 10am. My eyes are heavy. And it’s a Monday. This is not your regular case of Mondayitis. This is Monday morning, I’ve been sitting up watching cycling all night-itis.
It must be March. The Australian summer has now departed and with it the local pros honing their form. This is when the European cycling season really gets going, and when those of us stuck in the Antipodes really learn that sleep is indeed a luxury – and it will stay that way well into October.
As a cycling journalist, it’s über important to be watching as much of the racing that you make your living out of. Otherwise, well… Let’s not go there… I’ll get a brief reprieve over the Classics this season, given I’ll be on the ground from Dwars Door Vlaanderen through until Liege-Bastogne-Liege for Cyclingnews, but for the most part this yearly sensation of permanent  lethargy is something you grow to relish.
Viewing from midnight into the morning’s wee small hours is a sedentary lifestyle. A comfortable lounge, widescreen HD television, heater or blanket, and a steady supply of tea, coffee (if you’re brave) and snack of choice – I tend to go for nuts or crumpets – and you’re set. It’s quiet, dark outside, and as you take in all the action very little sits in the way of you and the action. With the exception of a social media community which has the power to both entertain or infuriate.
When I say it’s quiet, you would probably have to check in with my neighbours who have a very different story to tell. It’s quiet until I see a performance to get excited about and the next thing I know, it’s a one-woman party in my lounge room.
Of course, one needs to be selective in their viewing choices. Given the eight month stretch, you physically can’t watch everything. Sprint stages for the most part can be viewed in the morning on replay. Time trials can be hit and miss. But you figure it out over time.

This weekend Strade Bianche and Paris-Nice are on the agenda.

The white gravel roads of Strade Bianche

Would you like gravel with that?

The one day race over the white gravel roads of Tuscany is a favourite of mine. The parcours demands that the
winner not only be smart, tactical in his approach, but also daring. Just the type of racing I love most. And
well, it’s Tuscany. I see BMC’s Greg Van Avermaet as a real chance for the win this year with two top-10 performances in the last two seasons. His form is solid and I think this is his time.
La course au soleil on the other hand gives us a small preview of the form of the Tour de France hopefuls. It’s
hard racing, with the weather providing the biggest obstacles. If there’s a common theme here it’s that the
Côte d’Azur, is one of my top-three destinations for travel.  Given it’s March, the region is far from it’s best so it makes it easier to concentrate on the racing if I’m honest. This year there’s a bit of a showdown on the cards
from some of the next generation who will likely become major players in grand tours over the next few years
with Tejay Van Garderen (BMC), Richie Porte who will take the lead for Sky given defending champion Bradley
Wiggins is probably off at a training camp somewhere and Andrew Talansky (Garmin Sharp). Paris-Nice is also
an opportunity to take a look at some of the Classics contenders – Philippe Gilbert (BMC) and Tom Boonen
(Omega Pharma-Quick Step). All in all, plenty to think about an assess.

photo credit: Luca Violetto via photopin cc

One Response to “Ready for a season of sleepless nights”
  1. Bring it on I say.

    Nice work Jane.

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