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Highs Points & Low Points: 2017 In Review

Bonus Treasures

Highs Points & Low Points: 2017 In Review

We worked with two key MFS correspondents to compile this year’s High Points and Low Points, then hired Thomas Slater to illustrate.

Highs Points & Low Points: 2017 In Review

I II III IV V

I Introduction

Manual for Speed is more or less a form of media, and it is media’s responsibility to report on the passing and subsequent ending of yet another year with a recap of that self-same year. The year in question at this moment, of course, is 2017.

 

As you may or may not know we feel the need to publish a project we call Road to Rad. What’s Road to Rad? It’s a movement, it’s a commision from on high, it’s saving the future of cycling, it’s a work a fiction, it’s a work of nonfiction, it’s a report, a finding, a manifesto. More importantly, whatever it is, it’s two years late. With that in mind, we decided to end this year with a firm commitment to next year in regards Road to Rad.

 

Here it goes: we promise, we’re doing it, we’re doing Road to Rad in 2018.

 

With that in mind, our end-of-the-year roundup and recap of relevant/exciting/interesting/pivotal/watershed-type moments is coming to you in two parts, and each part plays a part in Road to Rad.

 

  1. Moments: because the good ones inspire us and the bad ones guide us.
  2. Roads: because you’re either headed in the right direction or the wrong direction.

 

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Klaus
Road to Rad & Road to Sad Expert
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The Eagle (Human Form)
Most Animal & Most Stinky Expert
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Thomas Slater
Illustrator

We worked with two key MFS correspondents to compile this year’s High Points and Low Points. We asked the Eagle to give us a rundown of this year’s Most Animal and Most Stinky Moments. And we asked Klaus to present evidence professional cycling is headed in the right direction (Road to Rad), as well as evidence that professional road cycling is headed in the wrong direction, (Road to Sad). Then we had Thomas Slater illustrate a few of the more crucial highlights for visual emphasis and to maintain our commitment to the idea that cycling and art belong together.

 

Yeah, dude, we totally get it, binary IS over. And it should be over. And we want to part of it’s over-ness because we love nuance and subtlety and modulation and gradation and unknown unknowns and all the rest. But bottomline, these lists are funnest when they’re basically a variation and/or loose iteration of Vice’s Do’s and Don’ts. Done and done.

II 2017's Most Animal Moments
by The Eagle

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#1: Slovakian Rocket Blasts Off: "Sagan’s attack over the top of the Poggio during Milan-San Remo was one of the most powerful things I’ve seen since Cav’s come-from-nowhere sprint over the top of Haussler in the streets of San Remo back in ‘09. Both jaw dropping performances... it’s just that Sagan’s attack was up a hill and he dropped every climber from the lead bunch."

#2 - Yves, Dropping the Field

“Yves Lampaert took an unlikely win on Stage 02 at the Vuelta: after Quick Step blew the race to shreds in the wind (one of my favorite things to watch), he rolled off the front of the reduced group and held a slim gap for the remaining one or two kilometers. I always love seeing powerful domestiques take stages from the sprinters.”

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#3 - The Frenchies Romping, Wreaking & Injecting: "The Frenchies really tried sticking it to Froome and Sky at their home tour. AG2R and their no-name, piddly little French squad showed up for Romain Bardet and rode themselves into comas while Warren Barguil romped around, wreaking havoc and injecting some much-needed excitement into an otherwise boring Le Tour (more on that in a minute though)."

#4 - Rigoberto Goes Fixed

“Uran’s Tour stage win on a 2-speed after his rear derailleur broke has to be one of the best underdog stories of the year. Impressive for a climber—is he planning an attack on the Red Hook Criterium next year?”

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#5 - Phil Phil Phil!: "Phil (Gilbert)’s resurgence after his return to a Belgian team while wearing the Belgian TriColor was inspiring. That kit, especially when the masterful design team at Quick Step has their way with it, always looks the best and to see it worn to victory in both a Cobbled and an Ardennes classic was a special treat. Also, Phil looked hungry and raced like the animal he was back at Lotto and FdJ."
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#6 - Romain Bardet, High Roller: "Yes, his hair makes him look like he works at Hot Topic—but he goes for broke every time. He did at the Tour and later at the Vuelta. At the Tour, Uran's more conservative racing earned him a higher placing. But Bardet flirting with self-immolation was great to watch."

III 2017's Most Stinky Moments
by The Eagle

#1 - How Was the Race Won? No, But Seriously.

“The UCI lost TV coverage of the World Championship Road Race on a sunny day in downtown Bergen, Norway during the last four kms, which basically meant people watched a two-hundred-somethin-kms group ride, followed by fixed camera footage of the final corner and a head-on shot of the sprint after the race finally exploded and got interesting. The actual attacks and counters were missed until two days later when grainy heli footage emerged of what was a fascinating race.”

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#2 - U-C-WHY?!: "Losing Sagan and Cav in the first week of the TDF. It was so hard to watch the race after Sagan and Cav fell out. Close your eyes for a moment and imagine the Green Jersey fight between the Slovak and an in-form and fully-supported Michael Mathews. That would have been amazing. Everyone knows the officials sending Peto home was ridiculous, but hey, if there’s a way the sport can shoot itself in the foot, it will."

#3 - Why the Grinch Wears Green

“Froome lining his team up and sprinting for an intermediate checkpoint in order to take the points jersey off Matteo Trentin of QuickStep on the penultimate day of la Vuelta. Winning two GC jerseys on the summer wasn’t enough, he had to take the points jersey from Trentin too. What a fuckface. Trentin rightfully earned it by winning three stages of the race in all manner of fashion: a bunch kick, a small group breakaway on a hilly stage, and a pure HP-flat-out-drag race on the final day and that greedy fajjker Froome decided to line the Skyboiys up and have a go at an intermediate sprint point.”

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#4 - Booooo France, BOOOOOOOO: "Speaking of earning it, Thomas deGendt, the Belgian badass, got properly shanghaied at the Tour de France after being off the front for some insane amount of kms (I just looked it up: 1,280!!! WTF) that added up to like 60% of the total race distance. Fajking nutzo. Total psychopath shit. And then the shit judges ruled that Frenchman Warren Barguil should win the overall combativity award for the three weeks."
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#5 - Tornado Tom’s final spring campaign: "What a disappointment. All I wanted outta the Classics this season was for Tom to win something. I love Tommeke. The sport lost half its style after he retired at Roubaix. No Belgian cyclist will ever wear baldness quite so well—or crush the Taaienberg like he did."

IV 2017's Roads to Rad
by Klaus

#1 - Shorter Stages in Grand Tours

“The Vuelta is starting to experiment with this format. It makes for less predictable and more exciting races. These stages are sometimes harder for teams to control.”

#2 - Flat Stages with Uphill Finishes

“Again, the Vuelta is leading the way here. A short but difficult climb at the end of a stage can make an otherwise boring race interesting, and can cause even great GC climbers falter.”

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#3 - Cannondale-Drapac, Crowd Funded: "Ok, so they got a sponsor in the end. And thus the team was saved. But could a smaller team be crowd-funded? Is this a new model. Is this a way forward?"

#4 - The Tour de Suisse TV Broadcast

“Yes, they used pre-canned cut-away shots (with sound effects of hawks, trains and all). But the production values were interesting. And man, the long shots of riders in the tunnel were cool. Probably not worth what it cost to produce, but it’s great to see a race shot differently from what has become the cookie-cutter standard.”

V 2017's Roads to Sad
by Klaus

#1 - Grand Tour, Decided by Time Trials

“Okay, sure, I guess that GC riders are supposed to be good time trialists these days. But who wants to watch a race come down to time losses/gains from a Time Trial? For that matter, who has ever said, “Did you watch that Time Trial yesterday?” No one. Because they’re stupid. And dumb. And antiquated. And vestigial. The helmets look cool though.”

#2 - Same Old Worlds Course

“Yes, World Championship courses are always pretty similar, and they favor one type of rider (or even one rider). And the fans are bored with the format.”

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#3 - The UAE Kit: "I didn't know you could design a cycling kit in Microsoft Paint."

#4 - Tech Galleries

“They are predictable. No one uses custom bikes—you already know exactly what the bikes will look like. The extent of excitement is down to custom paint jobs and two saddles with Sharpie over a logo. Yay. Why not focus on the more unusual and lesser-known bikes ridden by smaller teams?”

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#5 - The Hammer Series: "Velon's first attempt at making bike racing exciting was unnecessarily convoluted. Interesting one-day races with punchy climbs that are sometimes over varied terrains (think Lombardia, Strada Bianche) are fantastic. Why not learn from races that work, instead of trying to reinvent it completely?"

#6 - RIP Tour de San Luis

“Sure, it wasn’t the best race or the biggest. But it gave us a chance to watch (kind of) actual racing with actual hills and mountains in an otherwise barren portion of the season.”

#7 - Tirreno–Adriatico & Paris–Nice

“Both races have their charm. Both races are well-liked by all. Could they perhaps not happen at the same time?”

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