Twisted Spoke

My twisted take on the world of pro bike racing.

Archive for the ‘Cavendish’ Category

Riccardo Ricco hits back at Cavendish. The parasite speaks.

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Parasite, bike.

Biological impossibility? Parasite talks!

Doper Riccardo Ricco responded to recent comments by HTC-Columbia’s Mark Cavendish that he was a parasite. “Why am I parasite? What does he mean when he says I’ve shown no remorse?” Ricco asked.

The alleged ringworm or intestinal fluke insisted that he’s filled with remorse after his suspension for CERA during the 2008 Tour de France.

“I even helped the anti-doping investigators and that’s why they gave me a 20-month ban instead of 24 months. Of course, he (Cavendish) is at the peak of his career and so he can say what he wants.”

In a recent interview, Cavendish heaped abuse on the Italian climber. “It’s insulting to the passion that I have and the others have for cycling … and for someone else to not give a shit about that, it’s incredibly demoralizing to have to compete against that,” he said.

However, in an interview with Gazzetta dello Sport, Ricco hit back at the Manxman. “I’m not going to respond because I’m the last person who can speak after what I did. He’s the number-one sprinter in the world and so he’s always right.” said Ricco. “I’m not that bothered about what he’s said or what he thinks. Anyway, you shut people up with your legs, not with your mouth.”

Ricco’s legs are in for quite a challenge. Mark Cavendish isn’t’ the only HTC COlumbia rider disgusted by Ricco’s imminent return to racing. In a Twitter message, Marco Pinotti said the idea that Riccò and fellow CERA doper Emanuele Sella could be at this year’s Giro ‘made him puke’.

“They’ve had a second chance but they’ve never apologized to the other riders in the peloton, to the team staff that lost their jobs and above all to the fans they betrayed,” said Pinotti.

Cavendish versus Ricco. No doubt round three is coming soon.


Written by walshworld

January 18, 2010 at 11:55 am

Cavendish calls Riccardo Ricco a “parasite.” What kind, specifically?

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Ricco's mechanic testing his new bug bike.

Somewhere in Italy, Riccardo Ricco is acting out a variation of a climactic scene from David Lynch’s film, The Elephant Man. “I am not a parasite!”

Speaking with journalists at the HTC-Columbia training camp in Mallorca, sprinter and amateur biologist Mark Cavendish called Ricco a parasite. He said Ricco doesn’t deserve any welcome back bear hugs from the peloton.


“He’s like a parasite coming back. It’s not just the fact of what he’s done, because everyone can make mistakes, it’s that he’s not even sorry about,” Cavendish said. “It’s the lack of regret for all the damage that he’s done, that’s what upsets me.”

Cavendish neglected to offer specific details on just what kind of parasite Ricco was. Is the former Saunier Duval rider, who tested positive for CERA during the 2008 Tour de France, a tape worm, intestinal fluke or hookworm?

As of this writing the Center for Disease Control has no data on the number of parasites in the pro cycling ranks.

However, Cavendish was pretty sure he’d identified Ricco as one. And hasn’t happy that the Italian parasitical organism didn’t seem to possess much of a conscience.

Dwarf tapeworm

“It’s insulting to the passion that I have and the others have for cycling … and for someone else to not give a shit about that, it’s incredibly demoralizing to have to compete against that,” he said.

Cavendish noted there was a wide ethical gulf between  Riccò’s zero apology approach and the one taken by the Manxman’s good friend David Millar at Garmin.

“(Millar’s) deeply sorry for what he did and he wants to do something right about it,” he said. “It’s about people who don’t regret what they’ve done.”

Ricco? Is that you?

In separate news, Cavendish was also candid about the loss of teammate George Hincapie to BMC. “In every single race, he was right in front of me,” he said. “That’s a massive, massive loss to the team. His experience and power will be hard to replace. On a personal level, he was one of my best friends on the team, to share that joy of success with him. It will be hard without him.”

That’s all the news from the Cavendish channel. File under parasite returns, good pal leaves.

Written by walshworld

January 12, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Stapleton says Armstrong “handing mantle” to Cavendish. Uh, no.

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Mantle not moving

Bob Stapleton, head honcho at Columbia HTC  said in a CNN interview that Lance Armstrong was ‘passing the mantle’ to Columbia sprinter, Mark Cavendish.

“I think it is very interesting that the biggest name in the sport is embracing, and indeed passing the mantle, to the second biggest name in the sport. From Lance to Mark.” So sayeth Bob.

Twisted Spoke news analysis: uh, no. Don’t think so.

The most dominate endurance athlete of the modern era and winner of an astonishing seven Tour de Frances does not pass mantles to anyone. That’s part of what makes Lance the man. If you have a YouTube scoop of Lance in his bathrobe outside his house in Austin handing over the mantle to anyone, you let us know.

Remember the 2004 Tour when the Texan refused to throw T-Mobile rider Andreas Kloden a small bone and let him win the Alpe d’Huez stage? Armstrong accelerated hard and wiped out the German. Commenting on the win, the Badger himself, Bernard Hinault, a ferocious five time tour winner, congratulated Armstrong. “No gifts,” said Bernard.

The mantle ain’t going anywhere. If you want it, bring a crowbar, shotgun, bazooka, a flame-thrower and enough dynamite to blow Texas to China. Lance will not part with the mantle. He likes the mantle. He ripped it away from Greg Lemond years ago and Greg is still ticked off about it. Until the next great American stage racer shows up, Mellow Johnny isn’t gift wrapping the goods.

According to Stapleton, there are a number of common points between Armstrong and Cavendish. “There are many similarities between the two, both in their attitude and the way they look at themselves. Both are very confident and highly capable, but also very, very self aware,” said Stapleton.

But there is also one big difference. Armstrong has mantle in hand, ain’t handing it over. Sorry Manxman.

Farrar has speed to beat Cavendish, says Garmin’s Weltz.

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I'm a buddhist till the last 1000 meters.

Boy Racer versus the Battling Buddhist. It could be the sprint match-up of 2010.

Columbia’s Mark Cavendish going kick-to-kick against Garmin’s Tyler Farrar. Is the young rider from Wenatchee, Washington catching up to the fastest sprinter in he world?

Garmin-Transitions’ directeur sportif Johnny Weltz thinks so. “Tyler has really come around,” said Weltz at the Vuelta launch. “We knew that he had the potential, but it was just the moment for it to happen. I do think that he has the speed to beat Mark.”

Mark, you hear that over in the Canary islands where you’re training? Cavendish made a point last year of tweaking Garmin and Farrar constantly. It was a running joke at Team Columbia and there’s no love lost between the two American squads at odds.

After a frustrating string of near misses, Farrar finally got his first Grand Tour victory in stage eleven of the Vuelta a España. He also knocked off three wins in the Eneco Tour and stage three in Tirreno Adriatico where he beat the Manxman at the line.

According to Weltz, there are more first places to come. “If you look at the difference in Tyler, between the beginning and the end of the year, he is much leaner and stronger, and is climbing very well. He is perhaps not quite as snappy as Cavendish, but he is stronger [all round]. And I think he can get even stronger again.”

Farrar is a student of Buddhism, has traveled to Tibet and has two tattoos written in Pali, one on his arm that says “May you be happy,” and another on his wrist the denotes “inner peace.”

You might think the last 1000 meters of a ProTour sprint is the last place to bliss out. As the Lion King Mario Cippolini once said, “it’s like a war on the bike, with the words and the mind. This is what a sprinter is made of.”

When it comes to the trash talk, nobody beats Cavendish. In last year’s Giro, Cavendish said of Farrar, “it’s a shame for me to say this, but he’s not — he’s a super, super good sprinter, but he’s not at the level of Petacchi and me.”

In the classic Western True Grit, bad guy Robert Duval laughs off John Wayne’s bold statement that Wayne will arrest him — “I call that bold talk for a one-eyed, fat man.” Twisted Spoke things Cavendish better watch the wise cracks next year.

Tyler Farrar is closing and closing fast.

Written by walshworld

December 19, 2009 at 5:47 pm