Monday, January 21, 2013


 Martin Bina took the win on a snowy and slippery course in Hoogerheide this Sunday. 

With the top guys like Nys, Albert and Pauwels falling on their asses all day, in what I could understand the announcers describing as "Holiday On Ice Performance," Czech rider Martin Bina just rode away from the crowd to take the win. This isn't the first time I've seen a Czech kill it on ice - they are pretty good at - and it was a great day for Bina to shine, it's his best finish, in a big race, ever.

Here's a look at the last lap of Hoogerheide, with Bina taking the win - pretty tricky riding and racing, and plenty of crashes. Czeck it out!

Here's Bina in unhappier and muddier times.

Since I had never heard of Bina before, I was like "who-the-hell-is-he-what's-team-and-what's-riding?" before the dude had even crossed the line. I haven't really researched his team much, which looks like just a big "E" or something, but I got on the bike right away. At first I thought it was Specialized Crux, first because it looked like a Specialized Crux, and two because the most famous Czech rider, Mr. Pink himself Stby-Stybar rides a specialized, and since there are only about six people in the Czech Republic that race cross, I thought maybe Styby just let him use an old one - on that wasn't pink.

Here's Styby on his pink Specialized Crux, with matching Specialized helmet hat.

Martin Bina's bike: It's a Merida! Who knew?

While I was a total fail on the the Bina's Team I did find out what bike he was riding. It's a Merida. Ever hear of it before? Me either. While there wasn't a lot of information on Merida website, which seemed to cater to the Australian market, with the catalog copy was nothing but a boatload of bad Chinese translations - the company was pretty forward looking, though, and both the high and low (carbon and alloy) bikes in their cyclocross series both featured disc brakes. Here's what the Merida site had to say about that:

"Once the UCI allowed unlimited use of disk brakes, cyclo-crossers have extended their enormous application range once again: They are sporty like a road racer and master off-road rides like MTBs. Making it the ultimate solution for sports equipment and/or everyday riding fun."

 I'm not sure about what extending enormous application range, means or WTF the ultimate solution for sports equipment and/or everyday riding fun ... is all about, but okay, that's cool, just get a better translator next time, I'm not going to hold it against the bike. So I'm thinking while everybody was falling on their ass Bina was riding that shit like he owned it because of his awesome disc brakes, right? 

Well on closer inspection it looks like Bina Czecked out a Merida with canti's, instead of disc brakes for his World Cup racing and winning Holiday on Ice performance.

On closer inspection, and after an eye test, those were canti's on Bina's bike, and Albert on his wheel at Hoogerheide this weekend.

So you'll say I'm just a disc-brakes-for-cross hater, but oh well, that's life. I did however enjoy all that Merida website copy. Check or Czeck it out about what they had to say about the history of cyclocross.

"Ambitious road racers visualise tough athletes on mud covered bikes when they think of cyclo-crossers. This challenging bike sport was "officially" born at the French Riviera around the turn of the century 1899/1900 after it had gradually emerged from the winter training season of road racers. The appearance of cyclo-cross machines have changed and have developed mass appeal over time–without negating their origin."

Well I'm certainly glad that cyclo-cross machines have changed and developed mass appeal without negating their origin, 'cause that would suck and I would have a whole garage full of "negated cross machines" in the garage with nowhere to go. I was also surprised to learn that cyclocross was born on the French Riviera. That's news to me - I mean can you imagine a cyclocross race here?

The French Riviera - where cyclocross was born? You're kidding me ...

Yeah, there's  a few really nice sets of barriers down by the beach you can practice on ...

Wait, you mean Nationals isn't going to be on the French Riviera again this year? F#%#@ that sh*t! (Jeff "Lil Pony Weinert picking up a top-ten finish at Nats but probably wishing he was racing on the Riviera, I'll bet.)


Who is this guy with crazy hair product, squatting with a road bike in the snow and hating on Nys and America? Let's find out, shall we? 

Adam McIntyre sent me a link to an interview with what appears to be the Sunweb Napoleon Games Director Sportif, as we call 'em; a guy named Jurgen Mettepenning. Seems like this Jurgen, or Jurgie as I like to call him thinks he can manage both cyclocross and football (really, it's soccer) and he's pretty bad-ass at both - or so he thinkgs. He also has a lot to say about Nys, Albert, Kevin and Klaus and having the World Championships in the U.S. The whole thing is like the worst translation ever, even worse than the Merida website, so if you'd like to ready some garbled snarkiness by the guy above go here. Otherwise I give you my own take below.

"Jurgen Mettepenningen: "Sven should show less disposals'"

What in the hell the headline above means, I'm not sure, but maybe Jurgie is saying that Nys should recycle more and not throw so much stuff away - like all those trophies and bouquets he throws out of the window of his tricked-out camper.

Here's a description of Jurgen by the writer:

"He came out on the football field and in the drive they had but little of him. But Jurgen Mettepenningen today is a figure in the microcosm of the cross. His team, Sunweb Napoleon Games, won Klaas Vantornout the BK and in two weeks, it is to Kevin Pauwels. "I've always said I will not stop until I'm a world champion."
I can't figure out who will be World Champion, Pauwels, or Jurgen. You tell me. Here's what Jurgie had to say about Nys ....

"Sven would totally fit in my team. Three years ago I have been in negotiation with him. It was close, but I'm glad we did not come to an agreement. Look at his camper: his own logo stands higher than that of the sponsor. I think Nys takes his own person more important than the team. 
Brave sponsors who accept it. "

I'm glad you didn't get Nys either, Jurgie. Smart move on everyone's part here. And, oh yeah, it would take a brave sponsor to rake in all the dough Nys would make for you. Here's what Jurgie had to say about Mr Personality, Kevin Pauwels ...

"He is my top favorite. The trail is perfect on its size. And he can totally relax go: for us this season have nothing. We have Belgian sweater and victories in seven television crosses. Our year is double thick and successful. "

I think the trail he's referring to is the course in Louisville. The old double thick and successful deal, I'm not so sure about.  But I think whatever you're talking about, Jurgies, it would have been double-double-double thick with results if you had bought everybody, including your top favorite, one of these things this year.

Yeah, Jurgie, next year, if you're not managing Manchester United, buy some chain keepers for your boys.

Just a few weeks ago a dejected Klaas Vantornout (Sunweb-Napoleon Games) at the finish in Rome after a last lap mechanical cost him a podium result. (His chain fell off.)

You could use the same photo this weekend (if I could find it) only with a dejected Kevin Pauwels crying over his bike after his chain fell off while he was in contention for the win, or at least a podium finish at Hoogerheide. It was just more of the same .... here's what Lars van der Haar, who finished second to Bina this weekend at Hoogerheide had to say about the incident.

“The initiative only came from Kevin [Pauwels] or me. When he (Pauwels) dropped his chain it was up to me. I came back on him but then I bobbled. In the final lap I came close again but not close enough,” Van der Haar said.

Final Jeopardy question for Jurgie was about the World Championships in the U.S. this year ...

Finally, what do you think of that World Cup in the United States?
"Honestly, I do not see the point in that. When I see what it cost my team, I say it can not. All respect for the work of Peter Van den Abeele with the UCI. He has an interesting vision and delivers excellent work, but must cyclocross really internationalize? All sponsors are Belgian-Dutch oriented. Let us be honest: Cyclocross is a sport for Belgium and neighboring countries. So let us also here the crosses organize. Here we have least knowledge of. "

Least knowledge, for sure Jurgie ...