CARLOS SASTRE

26/05/2010 Leave a comment

 Carlos Sastre is the winner of the 2008 Tour de France and have several top 3 placings in Grand Tours, and is probably my favourite rider in the world. Why? There are many reasons. First of all, during the press conference before the 2009 Tour de France he was asked what he, as defending champion, felt about Lance Armstrong calling the 2008 Tour a joke. He replied, ‘He is a great champion, but behind every rider, must there be a person and that is his opinion’. I simply love the way he answered that question, and it shows what kind of person he is. Also the main quote on his website says; ‘The greatest victory is to enjoy what you do and what you achieve.’ But there are also other reasons why he’s my favourite rider. He does a huge amount of work for charities. He supports no less than 7 charities, most of them aimed at improving the lives of children in different situations. Here’s a little bit about the charities he supports.

 

Fundación Provincial Deportiva Víctor Sastre – a charity based near where Carlos grew up in Spain. The charity is aimed at children, using sport to help children develop physically and personally. Cycling has been the main sport for the foundation, but they are now also working with other sports.

 

Kinderkankerfonds – This is a Beligan charity, which works to support children suffering from cancer. Money raised from charitable initiatives and t-shirt sales are donated to the hospital in Aalter, near Gent, where Carlos has a fanclub.

 

Velokhaya – is the awareness and fundraising vehicle for the Life Cycling Academy, which is a non-profit organization focused on introducing the sport of cycling to previously disadvantaged communities in South Africa.

 Ávila Down’s Syndrome Association – This foundation’s philosophy centres on the dignity of human beings, considering all people with Down’s Syndrome as individuals with feelings, abilities, experiences, ambitions, needs and flaws. The foundation works on the principle that there should be more emphasis on their capabilities rather than their limitations or differences.

 

VIhDA Association – the main aim of this charity is to contribute to the life expectancy and improve the quality of life in the HIV/ADIS community of countries where economic levels are low and health and social assistance structure is scarce.

 

 

PYDS (Purkal) –  Founded by a small group of people who are committed to do what is within their power in their own community and their example is encouraging others to get involved in what is happening in the small village around the Purkal Gaon complex.
In Purkal, PYDS has made great efforts to change the life of almost 140 children. These volunteers provide education, food and tutelage for children that come from the poorest villages in India. These children, who were hardly even able to understand their lessons when they joined the project, can now express themselves perfectly in English. They have become interactive students who are developing interest and enthusiasm for science, history and geography.

 

The Sid-Can organisation is acknowledged by the Spanish Home Office and was created by a group of people that have lived through an experience of cancer or aids, either directly or through a friend or relative, and have joined the organisation to give thanks for life and to the people who have done so much for them. Its members want to engage in doing something for those who are now experiencing difficult moments.

 

All information is taken from Carlos Sastre’s website.

Advertisements

RIDER OF THE WEEK – Tejay Van Garderen

10/05/2010 Leave a comment

This 21 year old is aiming high for the future, and with a recent 2nd overall in Tour of Turkey I think his goals are very realistic. He’s just joined Bike Pure, and is one of many young riders who speak out for a clean, fair sport. Next race up for Tejay is the Amgen Tour of California where I hope he’ll get another chance to shine.

-What got you interested in cycling and when did you start?

My father is a club cyclist, and that kinda sparked my interest. I started when I was 10 years old, which was when I could fit my legs over the old bike my dad had hanging up in his closet.

-What have you sacrificed for cycling?

I need to spend a lot of time away from my friends and family. And sometimes it’s hard to find motivation in training or a race that isn’t going well. But cycling has given me so much in return that I don’t really see it as much of a sacrifice.

-What is your biggest achievement so far?

I would say my biggest achievement so far would be making it into the Pro Tour. In terms of results getting 2nd at Tour of Turkey was a big step for me.

-What would a perfect 2010 season be for you?

A perfect 2010 season for me would be having the team be happy with me. Hopefully getting a good result in the Tour of California and getting a start in the Vuelta and finishing.

-What 3 things would you change about cycling?

a) I wish the UCI stopped making all these stupid bike restrictions.
b) There would be no more cheaters, although I think that is almost a thing of the past, with a few exceptions of course.
c) That the riders would have more of a voice rather than being forced to race and sleep and travel wherever the people in charge tell us to.

-What 3 things make you proud to be a cyclist?

a) The fact that this is the hardest sport in the world
b) That we are paving the way in sports for antidoping practices.

-What’s your goal for the next 5 years?

Over the next 5 years I want to develop into a grand tour contender.

-Which race would you most like to win during your career?

The Tour de France

-What do you, as a young rider who’s fairly new to the peloton, think is needed to fight doping in the sport?

I think the biggest thing we could do, would be to make harsher punishment for people who get caught. Make it not worth the risk.

-What is the general morale in the peloton at the moment regarding the recent cases of doping?

What I’ve heard mostly from people in the peloton regarding doping cases is “man I can’t believe how stupid that guys is”. And also frustration that these guys are ruining our sport.

-How big a part of your life was sport when you were growing up?

I have been racing since I was 10 years old, so it has been a big part of my life for a long time.

-Why do you think it is so important for children to have the opportunity to participate in sport and play?

It’s a good way to build character and interact with others, and it’s also a great way to learn and stay fit and healthy.

I would like to thank Tejay for taking the time to answer these questions, and I will be watching out for him in the future.

RIDER OF THE WEEK – Kurt Asle Arvesen

27/04/2010 Leave a comment

Norwegian Champion Kurt Asle Arvesen is one of the most experienced and talented riders in the peloton. The 35 year old turned pro in 1998 and joined Team Sky this year after many years with Bjarne Riis. When he’s not busy training or racing he sometimes hold spinning classes and lectures. He recently did this for the employees on an oil rig, but thanks to a certain volcano he got stuck there for 5 days. He’s back on the main land now and I’m very happy he took the time to answer some questions.

What got you interested in cycling, and when did you start?

I started cycling as alternative training during the summer of 1990, at that time I was doing cross-country skiing.

What have you sacrificed for your career?

I feel privileged that I’ve been able to do what I have for the last 20 years, so for that reason I don’t feel like I’ve sacrificed anything.

What’s your biggest achievement so far?

The victory in Worlds U23 in 1997 was the  most important one, as that is what got me signed to a pro team. The biggest achievements are stage victories in Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, and also the TTT stage in Vuelta a España was important. It was fun winning something together, and to stand on the podium with the whole team.

Do you look up to anyone? Who and why?

I look up to people who keeps going and makes it, doesn’t matter where, being sports or business.

Are there anything you would change about cycling?

I wish the riders were organised better and that our opinions were considered more.

If you could invite 5 people for dinner (dead,alive or fictuos) who would it be?

My wife, grandfather, father, mother and brother.

Which opportunities and challenges are there with being on a brand new team?

We can create something new. The challenges can be small things that will fall in place after a while.

How is it being in Team Sky? Do you get the time to get to know everyone?

There are a lot of new, very nice people. There are so many that it takes a good while to get to know everyone properly.

What would a perfect 2010 season be for you?

To ride the Tour de France in top form and do a good job for the team.

Where do you find the motivation to come back after injuries?

I don’t like it when my body doesn’t work as it should.

Would you want to become a DS when your cycling career is over?

I’d like to work with cycling in some way.

Would you rather wear the Maglia Rosa, Worlds or Yellow Jersey?

Worlds

Are there any plans for the team to work for you in any races? Which ones?

The chances will come when I’m in form and I’ll get the teams support.

RIDER OF THE WEEK – Steven Cozza

22/04/2010 Leave a comment

This 25-year-old Garmin-Transitions rider is truly something special. And it’s an honour for me to be allowed to portray him as ‘Rider Of The Week’. There might be a lot of you that have never heard of him, and some who only know him for his moustache, but this week we really get to know the person behind the rider. At just 12 years of age Steven took a stand against discrimination within the Boy Scouts, and started an organisation, Scouting For All, to change their policies. From the age of 12 – 15 he spoke all over the USA against discrimination, and still goes to schools during the off season to speak to youth about standing up for what you believe in. When he made it into the professional world of cycling, he decided to start the ‘Race For Kids Fan Club’ where he aims to raise $1 million for children all around the world. It’s not a charity where the money goes just one place; you can choose which childrens charity you want to donate to. ‘Race For Kids Fan Club’ keeps a total of all the money donated to all the different charities. I thought this was such a fantastic initiative by Steven, and decided all the money we raise for Right To Play will go towards the total.

What got you interested in cycling and when did you start?

I started off racing BMX. I worked for an old guy taking care of his garden for a year and bought my first racing bike that way. Then my friends got me into mountain biking. I started off by taking my mom’s mountain bike, but then got in trouble for taking it on the trails without permission, so my parents got me own for my 13th birthday. I started racing on the road in ‘99, the year Lance Armstrong won his first TDF. He really inspired me so I got a road bike. Well I had to also ride on the road due to a broken shoulder I sustained in a high school wrestling accident. I never went back to racing mountain bikes or wrestling after that.

What have you sacrificed for cycling?

I have sacrificed a lot. The greatest sacrifice is not being able to live by my family, but instead across the world. For the most part though, the sacrifices have been all totally worth it. Following your dream is the best thing you can do in your life and I want to encourage all kids to continue to follow their childhood dreams.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

My biggest achievement is coming back after every time I’ve been knocked down. Breaking through every wall that’s put in my way and never giving up.

Do you look up to anyone? Who, Why?

Yes, I look up to Muhammad Ali. He is the greatest athlete ever – in and out of the ring. What a champion – to not only be the greatest athlete of all time, but also a great human being, always standing up for others and never looking down on people. He is the greatest.

What would a perfect 2010 season be for you?

The perfect season would be to race to the best of my ability and to help my team the best I can.

Which 3 things would you change about cycling?

I’d make more races in other parts of the world.

Which 3 things make you proud to be a cyclist? I’m proud to be a clean cyclist. I’m proud to stick to my beliefs. And, it feels good to be a good role model for kids.

If you could invite 5 people to a dinner party (dead, alive, or fictitious) who would they be and why would you like to invite them?
Muhammad Ali, Ghandi, and the rest would be homeless, starving people and children

What is your favorite race of the season? Paris-Roubaix. I love this race because it’s so different than the rest.

Which race would you most like to win? Paris-Roubaix.

What is the reason you wanted to start Race for Kids Fan Club? Because I like helping others rather than just myself. All children deserve a chance in this life. We can all make a positive difference.

Right To Play already has projects in 23 countries worldwide, but where do you think sport and play could do the most good for young people and society as a whole?

I think it’s important to give all youth in the world these opportunities. Sport is such a great activity. Competition used in a peaceful way. It teaches kids so much and should be available to all. Thanks to Right To Play, they are paving the road to making this happen.

Why do you think it is so important for children to have the opportunity to participate in sport and play?

It’s good for everything: health, teaching responsibility, teamwork, building confidence and self esteem, encourages friendship and so much more. Sport/Play and Education are crucial in the development of a young person’s life.

If you want to support the fundraising, and also become a member of the ‘Race For Kids Fan Club’, you can donate to Right To Play here, or bid for items in the auctions that will be on ebay.

Thanks so much to Steven Cozza for taking the time to answer the questions! Good luck with the season, and of course with the amazing work you do for all the children in the world!

And thanks to Kristof Ramon for the picture.

RIDER OF THE WEEK – Svein Erik Vold

21/04/2010 Leave a comment

The 24-year-old Norwegian rides for pro-team Joker Bianchi. Also known as ‘the pro-factory’ as it’s where all the Norwegian pro’s come from. He lives in Stjørdal, about 30 minutes from Trondheim (which is where Mona lives, so obviously being from somewhere so close to her he’s bound to be one of the best riders in the world!?). His siblings and family got him interested in cycling, and also the great environment in the local cycling club, and he started cycling actively when he was 10 years old. When we asked him what he had sacrificed for his career he said; ‘I have sacrificed a lot, but I have been given, learned and experienced a lot more than I have given up.’ He says he absolutely loves being in the team, and everyone in and around the team are great people. They always have fun together, being good times or bad! A perfect 2010 season for him would be a few victories in UCI races, and also gradually increasing results for the team. He’d love to one day be part of a team like HTC-Columbia, Team Sky, Cervèlo Test Team or Garmin-Transitions. Difficult to pick just one favourite team here, but maybe if we tell him that in Team Sky they get blue M&M’s it will make it easier? And if you’re going to be a pro, you can’t stay in Norway, so he’d love to live in Italy or the south of France (where he surely will have the guestroom ready at all times for us to come stay, right?) And for our final question, we asked him which race he’d most like to win during his career: ‘Well, I wouldn’t mind winning Paris-Roubaix…’ So guess we’ll see you there!

RIDER OF THE WEEK – Jonny Bellis

21/04/2010 Leave a comment

The 21-year-old Manxman is on his way to full recovery after a nearly fatal accident in September 2009. He is already back on his bike training, hoping to be ready to race again as soon as June. And we think it will be hard to find a more determined and focused rider than this! We’re really happy he took the time to answer some questions for us.

-What got you interested in cycling and when did you start?

I started when I was 11 but i took it up seriously when I was 15, my dad took me to a local cycling club and it went from there.


-What have you sacrificed for cycling?

Moving away from home at a young age to pursue cycling.

-What is your biggest achievement so far?
I would say getting 3rd in the Under 23 Road World Championships in 2007 as a first year u23.

-Do you look up to anyone? Who, why?

I would say Mark Cavendish because we are good friends and we are both from the Isle of Man.

-What would a perfect 2010 season be for you?
Just to get back to the level I was already at. Then gain selection for the road world champs.

-What 3 things would you change about cycling?
More TV exposure in the UK, ProTour event in the UK and the same specification of equipment for track racing.

-What 3 things make you proud to be a cyclist?

Family spirit in the peoloton, feeling of success, to know I am at the best level possible of riders.

– If you could invite 5 people to a dinner party (dead, alive, or fictitious) who would they be?

Tom Simpson, Muhammed Ali, Jesus, Steve Hawkins, John Lennon.

– How has the accident changed you?

It’s made me more determined to achieve success.

– What’s the best thing about growing up on the Isle of Man?

The terrain and the cycling community.

– Do you have any rituals before a race that you have to do?

Listen to music.

– When did you get your first bike, and what kind of bike was it?

Age 4, a blue mountain bike.

– Are you aiming for London2012?

Yes, I would like to be part of the track team or road team.

We’re looking forward to seeing you in Worlds in October!

MINI-RIDER OF THE WEEK – Joe Wilson

21/04/2010 Leave a comment

On Saturday 20th March, 9-year-old Joe Wilson rode 40km on his Mongoose BMX around Windsor Great Park to raise money for Sport Relief. And he managed to raise just short of £700! We thought this was such a great initiative by such a young boy, so we just had to ask him some questions.

– What made you want to raise money for Sport Relief?
I decided to try and raise some money after watching a TV advert for Sport Relief, I could not believe some children have nothing, not even a football to play with.

– Why did you choose to cycle?

I decided to do a bike ride because Daddy rides lots and I like riding with him.

– Was it hard completing the ride?
Yes it was very hard because it was quite far and it rained all day but i wanted it to be a real challenge.

– How long have you been cycling?
I’ve been riding 4, nearly 5 years.

– Do you have a favourite cyclist?
My favourite riders are Bradley Wiggins and Daddy.

– Do you have a favourite cycling team?

My favourite team is Team Sky.

– Would you like to become a professional cyclist when you get older?

I want to be a footballer when I’m older.
– What do you do for fun?
I like watching football, practicing my reading and playing computer games.

– Do you do any other sports?

I play football and cricket for the school and I am just about to get my first proper race bike and start racing. I’m very excited.

I want to wish Joe good luck with everything, and we hope to see him do something like this again one day!