A joint message from Gavia and Chris...
It may seem presumptuous (particularly to our Southern Hemisphere friends) for us, now, to declare an end to the Cycling offseason. And in the modern peloton, the gloves come off slowly, one finger at a time. But by the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (this Saturday), everyone is in agreement that Cycling has arrived. And particularly for the Podium Cafe, the curtain raises on the 2010 Cycling Season right about... Now!
With that, we would like to thank the community for what has been a truly transformative offseason here. Heading into 2010 the Cafe has stepped up its game in several major ways, thanks to the more or less voluntary efforts of so many of you. It hasn't always been obvious, but an immense of work has been put in during the supposedly quiet portion of the year to vastly enhancing your experience here, and the results have begun bearing fruit. At the risk of leaving anything out, let us just celebrate a few choice items:
- Rider interviews. No longer satisfied with first-hand accounts as translated through the media filter, we have taken it upon ourselves to contact riders and ask them the questions we think you want answered. Or at least a few dozen questions about the Tour of Flanders. Special thanks to our Vice President of External Affairs, Nikki, for vastly increasing the access we could ever have drummed up on our own. Also, thanks to Jens and tedvdw for helping open doors in their parts of the planet. Super fab! We must also thank the media professionals at teams like BMC, Cervelo Test Team, Saxo Bank, Garmin and more for opening up to us. Watch for more interviews and features as the season goes on.
- Rider chats. We held our live chat inaugural event with Ted King a couple weeks back, and it was such a smash hit that more of these are on the way. Kudos to the same list of characters above. This should be great fun.
- The Virtual Directeur Sportif website. I've been dreaming of this day for a couple years. We've covered the evolution of the project before, but the efforts of tedvdw cannot be overstated.
- Rider rankings. In tandem with the VDS, the data generated from this will be used to sponsor our own 2010 Podium Cafe World Rider Rankings. In case you missed it, we have decided that in the absence of a definitive ranking system for cycling, we would simply create our own. Look for more on this soon.
- 2010 Race Calendar. Thanks to Watergirl for taking the races we identified as our VDS events and basis of the aforementioned rankings and transforming it into a beautiful, printable, eminently handy race calendar!
- The Podium Cafe Kits! Veloki, our ace designer, has created a stunning new look for you, yes YOU! to fly your PdC colors. Special thanks to Sui Juris who (along with Gavia) has managed the business end, and to the editors and Albertina on the design review committee. If you missed out on the ordering, we will likely have some overstock to make available. More soon.
- Women's Racing! Special thanks to Monty for taking the lead in upping our coverage of the Women's peloton. This is a high priority for 2010, as we will constantly look for coverage of big races, either through live chats where video and tickers allow or through recaps. Because the more fans like us know of the women's scene, the more we realize how awesome it is.
- The Adventures of Barbie Barbie! Needs no introduction. Everyone wants more. Thanks Majope!
As always, we are grateful to all contributors, from the editors manning important (if monotonous) tasks to the inspired contributions of everyone here, in posts and comments. This season is going to eleven.
Chris & Gav