It’s over

There's gold in them wheels

Yes, after one of the longest and most drawn out courtships in history, it’s over. Mark Cavendish is joining Sky. I know it’s not exactly news is it? In fact when I met Cavendish recently in Copenhagen it never even occurred to me to ask which team he would be riding for come 2012. We all knew which team and have known for sometime it was merely a question of inking the contract on terms agreeable to both sides.

Cavendish, feeling unloved and severely underpaid by HTC, wisely decided to wait until after the World Championships before signing on the dotted line. Matters have been made more complicated by different sponsors: Adidas and Pinarello for Sky versus Specialized and Nike for Cav. Batting on Cav’s behalf are his new management team the Wasserman Media Group who are (to quote from their website) ” a sports marketing and entertainment company with global expertise in Athlete Management, Consulting, Media Rights, Partnerships and Business Development, and Action Sports”.

You may wonder where I’m coming from on this but actually I’m all in favour of what Cav’s done. The life cycle of a top athlete is short, very short and he needs to maximise its potential. Yes, he loves the sport and, as someone who’s fast becoming one of its most recognisable figures, he needs to ensure he reaps sufficient rewards for his efforts. I can only applaud his actions. This has been and will continue to be a hot topic on the cycling websites and forums but at the end of the day it makes good business sense all round.

Hotch potch

Yesterday, I had a very special, overnight visitor, my neighbour’s daughter. She is a truly delightful child, a credit to her parents and teachers. She came for dinner which we prepared and ate together, before settling down to watch the football match.

We’d already had a lively discussion over dinner about rugby. She’d seen her first match this summer, Toulouse v Brive. So she was more than happy to

Ireland v France
I rest my case

watch the Ireland v France match with me. After Anelka scored in the 72nd minute from a Gourcuff assist, she  promptly fell asleep on the sofa, secure in the knowledge that France were now much more likely to be South Africa bound.

It was a tight match which, frankly, could have gone either way. Tellingly, the man of the match was the French goalkeeper, and ex-OGCN player, Hugo Lloris. Though I should add that the  French scored more heavily in a couple of departments by comparison with the Irish: cooler kit (Adidas) and better looks (IMHO).

Earlier, I had watched an understrength England be dazzled by the Brazilians in Doha, Qatar. Ex-Villan, Gareth Barry was easily England’s best player in their 1-0 defeat.

My overnight guest was collected early this morning to allow me to leave for the pointage in Cannes. As I cycled past the hippodrome, I joined up with a group of cyclists, including a guy I rode with last week. To my surprise I managed to stay with them all the way to the pointage. I had anticipated that at some point I would be joined, and overtaken, by riders from my club. But they hadn’t arrived by the time I departed the pointage, returning home via Mouans Sartoux and Mougins.

I then had a quick turn around as I was meeting a friend for lunch. We were celebrating her new job in New York where, among  other things, she’s going to be looking after shipments of Chanel into the East Coast. I’m truly pleased for her. She’s worked really hard to build the up the company’s operation in Nice and needed another challenge. I will miss her, but have already signaled my intention to visit her next year in the Big Apple.

I’m now in my nightwear contemplating either an evening curled up on the sofa watching the TV or an early night with Jens Voigt’s biography. Reading in bed is another of my guilty pleasures and one which I can indulge only when my beloved is away, and he’s away until Thursday.