13 January 2009

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Cycling’s Popularity Soars

A few weeks ago it was reported in this column that following the Olympics there was a massive increase in interest in the sport of cycling. This has been demonstrated forcibly in the local context by the number of lycra-clad individuals taking to the roads of North Down. Each Saturday morning, for example, up to three large groups of cyclists leave the North Down clubrooms at 9am for recreational and training cycles. Additional runs on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays are also attracting growing numbers of those who would like to emulate Chris Hoy.

Similarly the popularity of the sport was obvious last Tuesday night when almost sixty signed on the dotted line for North Down Cycling Club. Others have already signed-on using the internet and there is an opportunity to register this Thursday night in the clubroom. Clearly all forms of cycling are on the up and up and North Down can look forward to a successful season on the racing and recreational fronts.

Bike Works

Once again the Balloo based cycle shop, Bike Works is going to be associated with the North Down club. As was the case in 2008, Bike Works have pledged to give all North Down Cycling Club members 10% discount on all purchases. It doesn’t take a mathematical genius to realize that the £20 North Down registration fee could be very quickly recouped.

World Anti-Doping Agency

Some North Down cyclists might need to note that international sports anti-doping officials are, apparently, considering adding Viagra drug to their lengthy list of banned substances! World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) are currently co-ordinating a series of tests on the pills to see whether they do actually impact sportsmen’s resolve in endurance sports, such as cycling.

Viagra has, in fact already been shown to have a positive effect on lung capacity. Two years ago, researchers at Stanford University published a study showing that at a simulated height of 12700 feet, Viagra improved the performance of cyclists by as much as 40%.

In 2008 Andrew Moletta was suspended from the Giro d’Italia after he was found to have syringes secreted. What was also noted was that he also had 82 viagra pills and although he was banned for having the syringes, questions were asked as to why a professional cyclist would require the pills on such a major event.

So you’ve been warned, this is not an April Fool! Local drug busters may well be up to the task of rooting out those who try to boost their performance by the use of Viagra before, during or after a cycle race!

Henry selected for Tour of Malta

North Down junior Stuart Henry has been selected for the Tour of Malta which takes place at the end of March. In 2007 Ryan Connor was the victor in this demanding stage race and it will be of great benefit to Henry that Connor will again be in the team travelling to the sun. The team had its first get together on Saturday last when the Ballymena rider outlined what to expect in this early season event.

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