“Gent-Wevelgem photo guy” is highly acclaimed photojournalist

Damien Vandamme, the crazy snapper behind the lens at Gent-Wavelgem, may look reckless but it’s “just my artistic style”, the photographer said in a photo exhibition on Monday.

“I don’t know what all the fuss is about. Photography isn’t about fancy equipment — it’s about immersing yourself in your subject and capturing the moment.”

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Vandamme has been capturing history’s greatest sporting moments since 1958 when he was a determined young photographer capturing Machester’s burgeoning music scene.

Vandamme got his start in sports photography during the 1985 World Cup soccer quarter final. After having too much to drink he fell on to the pitch before capturing Diego Maradona’s legendary goal against England,

“It hurt a little bit and I nearly got a soccer ball in the face, but it was the best photo I’ve ever taken. Now, I take all my photos like this and things have mostly been okay. Mostly…”

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Click here to see more of GW Photo Guy’s work.

Lee “Hollywood” Turner wins the 6am bunch ride in solo breakaway

Lee “Hollywood” Turner has won the Tuesday edition of the popular 6am North Road Ride in Melbourne this morning, after someone dressed in $2,500 worth of luxury kit brought down the rest of the bunch at the final set of traffic lights while trying to clip in.

Hollywood said: “I didn’t pull one turn for the entire 45 minutes and took my chances at the end. Pulling turns is for suckers anyway. I just sat at the back and moved up to the front when the bunch stopped at the lights.”

But the rest of the bunch was critical. One rider said, “I know Hollywood’s dirty tricks by now and he and that rider who brought the bunch down were in cahoots with each other. That was no accident.”

Hollywood rejected the criticism by saying, “I’ve proven before that I can win on the long solo breaks, in the bunch sprints, and to Cafe Racer. I’d like to thank the suckers at the front who did all the work and covered all the attacks, and that hubbard who crashed the rest of the bunch. Oh, and to my teammates who slept in and didn’t even show up to the ride. #$%@TARDS”

Click here to see the highlights from the race.

New UCI rule to allow riders to dope for one race per season

Cycling’s governing body, the UCI, has announced a controversial rule change which, from next season, will allow all professional cyclists to use banned substances for one race per season.

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Riders will have to nominate which race they are ‘targeting’ before the season starts and it will be at the riders’ discretion whether to target a one-day race like the Tour of Flanders or a multi-stage race like the Tour de France. There is no obligation on the rider to disclose publicly which race they are targeting.

“Ever since the sport got cleaner, the fans have been telling us that the racing isn’t nearly explosive enough”, a spokesperson for the UCI said. “This new rule will make things more exciting for the fans, but also will create a sense of mystery for everyone, other riders included.”

For riders that are targeting races like the Tour de France, they’ll likely use their “turbo boost” for that race, creating performances reminiscent of the ‘good ol’ days’. But other riders might opt to target a smaller race which others might not be targeting.

Click here to read more about the announcement.

Andre Greipel to race Flanders despite a broken collarbone

Andre Greipel (Lotto-Belisol) appears set to defy the odds and has been confirmed as a starter for Sunday’s Tour of Flanders.

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The German national champion broke his collarbone in a crash at Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday and underwent surgery on Sunday. But after applying for a special exemption from the UCI, Greipel will take to the start of Sunday’s race.

“The UCI has been good enough to grant a one-off exemption to Andre Greipel to contest Sunday’s race on a recumbent”, a spokesperson for Lotto-Belisol said. “We know Andre’s got the legs to be a contender at the Ronde, we just needed to find a way to take some of the pressure off his collarbone while it heals.”

Greipel will wear a sling on his injured arm and steer with the other.

Click here to read more.

Essendon Football Club recruits Lance Armstrong for consultancy role

Lance Armstrong may have been banned from taking part in any competitive sport, but in a move that has shocked even James Hird, the Essendon Football Club has invited the disgraced cyclist to the club as a “sports science consultant”.

“The doping ring we had going before was good, but those peptides actually don’t do that much. Plus we got caught”, a club spokesperson told CyclingTips. “This time around we’re doing things a little more professionally. We’ve got Lance in our corner and we reckon he could make a real difference.”

Armstrong is due to join the club in the coming weeks and, when asked whether he’d seen much AFL before, he replied:

“Not at all. That’s the one where they run around in tight little shorts with a football, right? Anyway, I’m just excited that someone’s offered me a job. Plus it’ll be a piece of piss. I flew under the UCI’s radar for 10 years – the AFL doesn’t even test, do they? This is our chance to do some cool experiments and really test the human limits. It’s been a bad few years with sponsors ditching me and lawsuits all over the place. To make some money will be good.”

Click here to read more.

SBS reveals new strategy for race highlights

SBS has announced a new partnership with the makers of the Pro Cycling Manager videogame that will allow the broadcaster to deliver highlights packages for all races on the professional cycling calendar.

“Every time we searched YouTube for cycling videos we’d get gameplay videos from Pro Cycling Manager instead”, an SBS spokesperson said, “Initially it was really frustrating, but then we realised this was a real opportunity for us.”

The SBS team will use the popular videogame to simulate and record each race after it’s finished and simply record a commentary track to go over the top.

“Covering bike races, even as a highlights packages, is an expensive business”, the SBS spokesperson said. “By simulating the race rather than actually filming it we can save ourselves lots of money. We don’t have to send anyone to the races and we don’t have worry about any equipment really. It’s a win-win: the fans get to see more races and we don’t have to spend any money.”

Click here to read more.

Assos releases “Revolution Series” clip-in shorts

Following the release of their S7 “GameChanger” knicks late last year Assos has upped the ante and released the S7000 “Revolution Series” knicks.

“We’ve already changed the game but now we’re changing it again”, an Assos rep said. “This is nothing short of a revolution in knicks design. The S7000 knicks have 10% less volume, -16.37% less pressure on the perineal area, 12% less seams and 100% more awesomeness.”

The defining feature of the knicks is a clip-in system which connects the pad of the knicks to a compatible saddle, much as a pair of cleats connects to a set of pedals.

“We paid for some independent testing to be done in our lab and the results show that by reducing the movement between the saddle and the knicks you increase the power you’re able to produce”, the product’s lead designer said.

“Clipping in to the saddle is as easy as lining up the cleat with the port on the saddle and sitting down. Unclipping is as simple as rotating your hips as you get out of the saddle.”

The knicks retail for just $100 while the compatible saddle retails for $900. Assos recommends that riders wearing the Revolution Series knicks don’t sit down in the cafe during their post-ride coffee.

Click here to read more.

The Secret Pro revealed

After more than a year of speculation about his identity, the CyclingTips Secret Pro has finally been unmasked. And no, it’s not Koen de Kort.

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“I DIDN’T WANT TO REVEAL WHO I AM BUT I GOT A NEW JOB AS A CYCLEING COMMENTATER AND WILL BE NO TIME LEFT TO GIVE MY INSITES AT CYCLETIPS”, the man known as A Hubbard Called Gary said.

“IT’S BEEN FUN GIVING MY INSITES FROM INSIDE THE PELOTONE BUT NOW I CAN DO IT WITHOUT PRETENDING I AM A PRO RACER HAHAHAHAHA. I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO THE TOUR LE FRANCE WHERE I’LL BE COMMENTATEING FOR EUROSPORT.”

The Secret Pro segment will now be replaced with The Secret Hubbard, which Gary will contribute to when his busy schedule permits.

Click here to read more.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Submit your Strava KOM to race the Tour of Flanders

Organisers of the Tour of Flanders have made the last-minute decision to invite a composite team to start Sunday’s WorldTour race. The team will be made up of amateur cyclists from around the world in a competition being run by Strava.

Koppenberg helling

To be eligible, riders simply have to prove that they hold a Strava KOM on a climb similar in length and difficulty to the famous Koppenberg, which features in Sunday’s race. The cobbled Koppenberg is 700m long at an average gradient of 10% and competition entries must be for climbs between 500m and 1km long, with an average gradient of 10% or more.

“We believe that being able to KOM a steep climb that takes a couple minutes is a good indicator of a rider’s overall fitness and their ability to match it with the best riders in the world over 256km”, a spokesperson for Strava said.

“We’re very excited to be working with the Tour of Flanders to give everyday cyclists the chance to line-up alongside the likes of Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan.”

A local rider, who preferred to remain anonymous, told CyclingTips:

“This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. For years I’ve been smashing my mates on all the climbs and ever since Strava started I’ve been racking up KOMs left, right and centre. Now I’ll be able to put it all to good use.

“I’ll submit my entry and if I get into the team my plan will be simple: stay with the leaders until the Oude Kwaremont and then attack. I think the big boys might be in for a bit of a surprise.”

Strava will pick the eight most impressive entries to race in the colours of Team Strava come Sunday.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to join the team, fill in your online application here.

The Rocacorba Recap

And finally this morning, here are a few things you might have missed:


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Today’s feature image comes from Cor Vos and shows the now-infamous “Gent Wevelgem Photo Guy”.