The Roar
The Roar

John Thompson-Mills

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Joined January 2013

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'Big Mig' has a lot to answer for. Better known as Miguel Indurain, the five time Tour de France winner is responsible for getting John hooked on cycling in the early 1990's when SBS first started their nightly TV coverage. Yes, the amazing French scenery helped, but so did a face-to-face interview John did in 1997 with Stuart O'Grady just after his debut Tour. Since then John has reported cycling for radio, print and online media. He has only missed one edition of the Tour Down Under (1999) and in 2014 went to the Tour de France for The Roar and ABC Radio. John also loves riding and in March is riding in the Three Peaks Challenge in the Victorian Snowfields.

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that’s why I don’t support listening to music while you ride. Your ears are as crucial as your legs in my opinion. I reckon they could hear a large vehicle approaching from behind. Rear view mirrors? Personal choice I guess, but for those who feel they need them, then why not. Anything that helps improve our safety on the roads has to be good.

Let's be careful out there, but learn some bloody road rules!

It may be legal, but that doesn’t make it safe. Sometimes it will be safe. Sometimes it won’t. It’s about good decision making.

Let's be careful out there, but learn some bloody road rules!

Nothing sinister in my motives for writing this column Rabbitz. The Editors didn’t ask me to write it and have published it. I’m not trying to be militant either, as I have attributed faults to both riders and motorists in my piece. And I don’t think there’s a case of faux controversy here. I’m just observing a series of accidents ranging from scary to tragic and giving an opinion. Thanks for reading though.

Let's be careful out there, but learn some bloody road rules!

Is it a designated bike lane though? I don’t live in Melbourne but the article I read in The Age says that part of Collins St is NOT a bike lane. If it is though, it looks way too skinny to be a proper one and should be doubled in width. That said I would still ride around the outside of cars, to avoid being “doored.”

Let's be careful out there, but learn some bloody road rules!

Yes it is a sports opinion site, but in the wake of these recent incidents where some of the people injured were engaged in a sporting pursuit–albeit probably a social sense, I felt I needed to comment. I also figured that many people who read this particular page of this excellent website, like me, ride a bike. So, I’m assuming it strikes a chord with many of you, whether you agree with my comments or not. “Normal” service will resume next week.

Let's be careful out there, but learn some bloody road rules!

HI Luke, I can’t comment as I can only go on what I saw in the video. And I said in my piece, it’s not how I would ride in city traffic.

Let's be careful out there, but learn some bloody road rules!

re Cofidis…from memory, O’Grady claimed that riders were being arrested before he’d even begun riding for Cofidis and then the team withdrew from racing etc. so essentially, it was all going on around him. When Millar was busted, O’Grady says he called his good friend to see if it was true, which of course it was, Millar later came to stay with O’Grady for a while, but they both say Stuart never fessed up to his dark little secret. Millar just remembers how non-judgemental and supportive O’Grady was.

Stuart O'Grady: Once is enough

fair point..as Armstrong said in the movie…nobody wanted to stop what was happening because”everybody was making money from it..everybody.”

When will we be told what really happened with Lance Armstrong?

and we will talk about the racing this season. Look at my columns to see how much I wrote about the TDU. But unfortunately, as much as you’re sick of all things Lance, so are we in the media. It would be great if none of this was happening, but sadly it is and when there’s a new angle to focus on, we have no choice but to report it.

When will we be told what really happened with Lance Armstrong?

No matter what happens, Armstrong will never be destitute because if the doco is right and he earned more than $120m in his career, then he probably has a fair bit squirreled away by now. He also still has an earning capacity, but should never work in cycling again. Jail? Probably not as the statute on limitations re criminal convictions has surely passed unless he also doped on his comeback. I just want to see him properly confess, because we all know he and his fellow riders didn’t act alone, There were those who employed Lance who knew exactly what was going on. As much as is possible we should be told the full story and sadly we ain’t even close yet.

When will we be told what really happened with Lance Armstrong?

G’day, it’s the writer here…
my point about the blood doping wasn’t actually a point about dehydration.
In the doco Armstrong said in reference to the particular test, he had never had his blood taken directly after a stage.
Urine yes, blood, no.
So he made a point of how dehydrated his blood would’ve been and therefore showing a higher level of red blood cells.
Correct, I’m no expert on doping tests but this is what Armstrong said in the doco and others in the film doubted his story.
My point on the other hand is that, and I stand to be corrected, is that immediately after a stage/race it’s usual for riders to provide urine but not blood.

When will we be told what really happened with Lance Armstrong?

It would be excellent to live in a: Lance-free” world, but until he faces the ultimate judgement day, IF that ever happens, it ain’t gonna go away. Nice wish though.

When will we be told what really happened with Lance Armstrong?

thanks for your comments. The debate will go on and on with everyone holding justifiable opinions. I caught up with O’Grady late last week when he came into my work for a radio interview. Have to say, I can see both sides of opinion on his story, but I (perhaps naively) do believe that such was the gravity of the Festina affair just as he was pulling on a jersey that he had dreamt of all his life, it did scare him into shunning doping.
When he look at his results post the 1998 TDF, he never quite was fast enough to win the Green jersey, or good enough to compete on the highest peaks and therefore challenge for GC honours.
Not that winning is the only measure but O’Grady actually didn’t win a huge amount of individual races–two Tours Down Under, a stage in the 2004 TDF, the HEW Classics and GP Villers-Cotterets and Paris-Roubaix.

There were lots of podium finishes, but with his undoubted talent I’d be disappointed if, as some allege, he was a serial doper because he had a lot of “nearly” moments.

As for the people who say he shouldn’t be allowed to profit from his book, well, unlike Schapelle Corby O’Grady isn’t a convicted criminal. Doping may be an offence in some countries, but O’Grady hasn’t been convicted of a crime and at this stage there’s no evidence to make a case that proceeds from the book should be frozen.

O’Grady has denied he doped at any other time though, so it will be on his head if one day, more details emerge.

Stuart O'Grady: Once is enough

You’re right Hutchoman, there isn’t much wrong with the TDU. It’s just a case of how the race continues to evolve. It’s been here for 16 years and has changed a lot in that time. But nothing can stay the same forever. Mike Turtur himself said he wants to grow and improve the race, but he knows that he has serious limitations to deal with. So it’ll be a case of a tweak here and there. Sometimes it may not work but I think it’s definitely worth trying out a few things. Ditching the time bonuses would be an easy move, although Turtur may argue that’s what makes the race so tight and strategic, and therefore more exciting.

How to improve the Tour Down Under

So would you rather have another sprint stage instead of a Classic? Have to agree, I’m not totally sold on an ITT in January, but maybe it’s worth a try at some stage.

How to improve the Tour Down Under

some great ideas, but the budget for the race would need to be massively increased to cope with the huge logistical challenges. I reckon something like this might happen over the next three-to five years, but with perhaps a maximum of three stages to begin with.
excellent thoughts though.

How to improve the Tour Down Under

thanks the for the feedback.

Yes, potentially there is room for two more stages so that the race could start and finish on a Sunday, but I’m wondering whether eight stages in January is too many?

The answer to that might be, ok, so we move the race, but as the Herald-Sun tour starts on Feb 5, the tour of Qatar starts on Feb 8th and the Tour of Oman on Feb 18, it would really crunch up the calendar to shift it there. Moving it to late Feb would schedule it in the middle of Adelaide’s Fringe and Festival and Clipsal V8 madness and would be a real nightmare.

Also, February in Adelaide tends to be the hottest month of summer and the kids are back at school, thus robbing the event of a lot of spectators, which as you’ve seen, help make the TDU what it is. So, despite the UCI Review of the World Tour Calendar, I’m not sure the dates will be shifted.

How to improve the Tour Down Under

So, now Michael Rasmussen says the whole 2007 TDF Rabobank team doped. If so, that means Pieter Weening doped too. If so what does Orica Green Edge do now? I assume he was asked about doping when he signed, and presumably said no. If what Rasmussen says is true, then Weening could well have lied. But, then again, why should we believe Rasmussen? If it is true then what do Green Edge do? Do they have any choice but to suspend Weening for at least six months? We could be looking at another belated confession. And another apology. This can’t go on. Amnesty. now!

Hesjedal positive: the tipping point for Vaughters?

The TV gurus inside ASO want to have their say too on what le Tour does each year. So the inclusion of cobbles represents an opportunity to broadcast a rarer set of Tour de France images. But how the riders approach it will be fascinating,

One question has occurred to me though. What if it is wet? Given this is a three week and not a one day event, will serious thought be given to neutralising the stage? Imagine how slowly the contenders will ride if the cobbles are wet? They may even walk some sectors if the racing is not stopped. Of course the train of thought is that it’s easier to ride fast on pave than slowly, but in Paris-Roubaix there’s no tomorrow, where as in le Tour there is. What a potentially juicy scenario! Bring it on!

Tour ’14: should the cobbles be included?

Bones506 I can’t see the TDU being downgraded for two reasons:
Firstly, we keep producing brilliant riders who with the ever increasing media coverage will keep the fans flocking to the roadside to watch them race. Quality local riders will keep our racing thriving.
Secondly, Race Director Mike Turtur has to keep finding ways to make the race an exciting one each year. He has some significant logistical hurdles to overcome when he’s designing the race route, but he is yet to find the challenge too big. Should he start to struggle for some reason, then that MAY bring pressure on the race to justify its place on the calendar.
That said, I go back to my first point.
Thanks for reading and commenting.

Trouble for the Tour Down Under? Re-designing the UCI World Tour

Mark I can’t see the TDU being used as a political toy caught up in the Gaudry vs Turtur fallout. Australia has itself a magnificent event and our riders are punching above their weight on the World Stage. Politically it would be suicidal to snare the Oceania UCI gig and then knife the biggest race in the Southern Hemisphere.
But assuming for a moment, that is what happened but then a TDU type event was set up in say, Victoria, I still can’t see how it can function in February after the kids have gone back to school. It has to be held in January and of course Melbourne also has the Aus Open tennis then. I guess Sydney would also like a race like this, but the timing issue still stands.
It is odd though about the Tour de San Luis. They obviously feel they have an advantage over the TDU, but if the UCI forbids overlapping events then will it apply to all races, just the World Tour or just races in the World Tour and the second tier?
Roll on January and we will find out, Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Trouble for the Tour Down Under? Re-designing the UCI World Tour

HI Mark..

Good question on Simon Clarke, but as I understand it, the selections are based on UCI World Tour points earned this year and according to the current World Tour Ranking, Clarke hasn’t earned any, so isn’t eligible.
Re Rohan Dennis, I just didn’t pick him in my nine. It was purely based on the balance of the team.
Thanks for reading and commenting.

My Aussie Nine for the World Championships

Couldn’t agree more Bobo. I have had many people poke fun at me about the state of cycling saying that no one is clean. I’ve always said though I do believe Cadel is clean because of the way he’s ridden. He’s always been a good day/bad day rider. Not that consistency that others have had where they never seem to suffer. Fingers crossed we don’t ever hear about Cadel turning up in some random lab sample 10 years from now.

How will we remember Stuart O'Grady?

And as @kimbo_ramplin reminded me (quite forcefully & several times) , it’s been reported O’Grady was also prepared to sign a Stat Dec for the AOC so that he could go join their Athlete’s Commission. Had he done that, he would be in even more trouble. We can only imagine. Thanks for reading.

How will we remember Stuart O'Grady?

Can’t say I disagree with you Scuba…
I was just acknowledging the hype that has surrounded this story in Adelaide..it really has pushed the TDF into the background. Crazy, but at the end of the day that’s what mainstream media does to any story, reduces it to a local angle.
The newspaper poll is of course questionable, but it’s what the SA Government wanted….so yes, I’m laughing with you. Thanks for reading.

How will we remember Stuart O'Grady?