Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Easy to criticise bad driving ? You have all seen it and occasionally wondered how there was not a wreck due to the stupidity of the driver !

Case in point , having been overtaken by the Peloton a couple of km before the Pass Thaun I decided even though rain was falling to persevere and then descend to Mittersill before heading homeward by way of the Gerlos Pass . On the downward slope there are occasionally two lanes to allow overtaking and these are separated by about a kilometre of winding narrow road . Having passed through this choke point filled with delayed traffic , because of the Tour of Austria , heading upward the road runs about a kilometre before narrowing as it enters a 60kph zone due to tight corners . Well into the 60kph zone I was letting the bike run even though the road was wet and the wind was gusting . As you will know a wet road will tell you that there is following traffic and at 60+kph keeping to the centre of the lane as you approach a tight right hand turn is a sensible precaution particularly on mountain roads where there are potholes .

Hearing the following vehicle I continued in the same position and speed since no way could anyone get through the fast approaching corner at these speeds . Well whoever was following either did not know the road , or how fast they were travelling , since there was now a dark blue passenger van straddling the double white lines and overtaking regardless with the corner less than a hundred metres in front . Holding my line and still in excess of 50kph I started into the corner with no idea what was a hundred metres ahead . However by this time the van was on the other side of the double white lines and to cap it all was towing a dark blue box trailer which was being buffeted by the wind and rocking along side to side , from wheel to wheel ! Expected that a gust of wind would have blown the trailer over , but luckily for the driver this did not happen nor was there traffic heading towards them .

Most of you will realise that on tight bends a bike will get through them faster than most motorbikes and certainly vehicles but this clown was hell bent in getting down the mountain regardless of the dangers of reckless driving  . Through a series of bends passing traffic that was struggling upward this combination succeeded in getting into Mittersill . At the point of danger the local churches were sounding the midday hour and as the Tour of Austria was listed in the programme to pass through Mittersill at about that time , one wonders why this driver was in such a rush !

Of course I haven’t mentioned yet the “ Apparent Owner of the van and trailer “!  Emblazoned so that you could not fail to see , “ Tchibo “!  Yes , one of the main sponsors of the “ Tour of Austria” ! Of course the company are not responsible for their drivers are they ? Never heard of “ Corporate Manslaughter “ , have they ?  Luckily on this occasion no harm done ! Doesn’t matter what I say , BUT , the helmet camera on “ YouTube ” will tell it’s own story !

Accreditation of drivers at “ UCI Events ” still relies on the driver saying they are legal ! No other checking appears to take place . Now this incident was outside the “ Parcours “ and thus not subject to anything , other than the “ Normal Driving Regulations of Austria “! It will be interesting to see the reaction of the Polizei , when they review the positioning and movement of the trailer ?

This post of course will get to the “ Tchibo” company , doubt they will do anything and no doubt the “ Polizei ” will reject the situation for “ Lack of Credible Evidence !” . Wonder how long it takes the Info@tchibo to arrive with the CEO , and , yawn , whether a minion will use their email to reply ? Their coffee i never bought  , but they do offer  some good gadgets in their outlets .

Yesterday , Tuesday , the day started gloomy , far better than the two hour torrential downpour of Monday at the DEPART in Innsbruck ! I arrived in Kitzbuehel later than planned , but was able to congratulate Danilo Di Luca and Tommy Rohrregger for their success on Etappe 2 . Near the start I caught up with Tim Roe for the photo and then with a 10min start headed for Pass Thaun , most of the time in company with the Polizei Motor cyclists who were sidelining the traffic so the Tour Accredited Vehicles  , followed by the Peloton , could make its way along the “ Parcours “ !

Contrast this with the Tour de Suisse , which operates with the same efficiency and the “ Le Tour “ where the road is closed for several hours to ALL but snails , unless you have paid a HEFTY FEE to the “ ASO “ for the “ ACCREDITATION BANNERS “! When these smaller events have caused so little disruption to the “ Locals ” , WHY does the “ Le Tour ” insist on creating even more disruption each year ? Pass Thaun is only a Cat 3 climb with a banner and timing device but “ Le Tour “ needs to close the road for Hours !

Read a blog recently that mentioned that the French Gendarmerie and National Police are again this year , having to contend with the same “ blight” on France’s Honour , Those thieving Baskets that control the road junctions and demand money for their plastic flags . Once again they are going into shops and menacing the shopkeepers to add to their revenue ! Last year I wrote about this behaviour several times , but it appears that “ Crime” in France will continue whilst “ Le Tour” visits !

Those of you with bikes at the “ Le Tour “ , the bike stays in your hands , or stands in front of you ! Bikes behind you , are out of sight and out of mind , thus the target of the PROFESSIONAL GANGS that raid the route , the Campsites and even the Team Hotels ! Of course if you are crooked , you can take an oldy , hope it gets stolen , then report to the Police for the paperwork to relieve your Insurance Company on a claim for your clever substitution !

TOO OFTEN last year I met with people , later in the Tour and heard of “ thefts “ , regardless of these warnings . Costs of getting to the Tour these days are astronomical , so losing your bike or property can turn the “ Holiday” into a Nightmare !


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