Track may seem a little strange to some. No brakes, no coasting and sloped tracks can puzzle even the most seasoned road cyclists. But as with the road, there is a sense of romanticism around racing on the boards. Track cycling has been around in one form or another for the last 150 years, with track cycling reaching its peak in the US during the 1930s when six day races would be held at Madison Square Garden, watched by capacity crowds and cheered on by Hollywood celebrities. Despite the grandeur of the early days, this blog doesn’t focus on any of that… Instead we look at the other side of track cycling. The fails, and there’s been quite a few over the years. So sit back and check out some of the biggest fails in track cycling.
Running for the Line
We all know the difficulties of walking in cleats and how silly you can look/feel. Juan Peralta Gascon took this to the next level during the 2011 Track Cycling World Cup in the Mens Keirin Final. After a big crash just before the finish line, all but Sir Chris Hoy came off and there was a scramble for the line to get second and third. The Spanish rider Peralta made the rookie error of trying to run in his cleats, pushing past New Zealand rider Ed Dawkins before shortly falling over in a comical fashion. All this was for nothing as Peralta needed to cross the line with his bike which he had left behind, and eventually was relegated to last for pushing Dawkins while also looking like a bit of a plonker (does anyone still use that word) in the process.
Australian track team Olympic kit
Cycling has a history of wardrobe malfunctions, and when it comes to Lycra, there’s little room for error. We’ve all seen the horror of a pair of white Lycra shorts in the rain, a real view into prison life… But it seems that the Australian London 2012 track squad have had a little (no pun intended) issue of their own with their yellow Lycra shorts. It seems they’re rather happy to be at the London 2012 Olympics though…
Robert Forstemann thighs
Forstemann’s thighs are more famous than the German rider himself. Pictures of the 26 year old’s bulging muscles have been appearing all over the internet in the run up to the Olympics. Despite his lower body muscle mass, Forstemann came third during the 2012 world cup in London earlier in the year behind fellow country man Max Levy and GB rider Chris Hoy. Not sure if a bronze medal is worth not being able to bring your knees together…
Kerrie Mears fails to get going
Getting a good start on the track is crucial in any race, but for Kerrie Mears this was not the case during the 2003 Aussie National Champs. Not only did she tumble before the race even got going see injured her knee in the process.
Dodgy team kit
We’ve seen a few kits over the years which people have taken an instant dislike to, but eventually turn into a classic. This may not be the case for the 2012 Erdgas 2012 team kit. The German track cycling team may boast some of the top German track riders out there in its roster, but their 2012 team kit leaves a little to be desired. The oriental theme may look at home on a Ming vase, but when you’ve got two dragons that look like they’re nibbling at your crotch, eyebrows will start to raise.
Jody Cundy’s misfire
Jody Cundy is an incredible athlete. He was originally a swimmer for the GB Para Olympic team but migrated over to track cycling after being spotted on the Newport Velodrome in 2004. A year later he entered the 2005 National Championships in Manchester and broke the British record for the flying 200, catching the attention of the GB Team who offered him a place in the Team Sprint at the 2006 Paralympic World Cup, riding to a new World Record alongside Darren Kenny and Mark Bristow. Despite his success, Jody is still human and succumbs to the odd mechanical mishap like the rest of us. We’ve all had those stem slamming awkward moments when our chain snaps just as we’re looking for maximum power, unfortunately for Jody this moment for him was caught on camera.
I’m a big fan of tandems on the boards. There seems to be something rather exciting when there’s two riders involved in propelling a bike round a track. This being said, I’ve always felt for the rider at the back. Not only does he not have any control of the steering, he also has the sweaty rear end of his team mate in his face for most of the race. Still, long live the tandem!
The Early Days
And finally I’ll leave you with this…