What about Steve Peat??

A number of people have asked me, and it would be silly of me not to comment on the addition of Mark Cavendish to the list of potential winners of 2009 BBC Sports Personality of the Year. For me not to comment would be like Nige at work not blogging if Tranmere Rover won the league (or actually winning a game at all!).

In all honesty, I don't Mark should be on the list, it should have been Steve Peat. The legend that is. After years and years of trying, never giving up, he finally became World Downhill Champion.

I'm a big fan of Mark Cavendish, I watched every race of his through 2009 and I proudly wear the Columbia-HTC jersey when I'm out on the bike. Yes, what Cav achieved is incredible, 23 wins this year, 6 of which at the Tour de France and of course Milan-San Remo. He is the most successful British (in terms of wins) cyclist ever, his win on the Champs-Elysees in Paris at the end of the Tour was fantastic, winning by such a distance. To win in Paris is a dream for any cyclist, but despite all of that he didn't win the green sprinters jersey. If Cav had picked up the green jersey then yes, I would definitely say he should win.

Some say he should have won the green jersey, he was deducted precious points when it was thought he had pushed rival Thor Hushvod into the barriers during the final a sprint. He hadn't, the barriers weren't positioned correctly. However, the following day after Cav said the jersey had been "stained", Hushvod in true style, went off the front on his own and gained all sprinters points for the day to prove the point that it wasn't. It was an epic performance which will be talked about for years to come, Cav couldn't match it and that's my point - there is so much more to come from Cav, to win BBC Sports Personality now would be too early.

People say it should be Bradley Wiggins, and his transformation from track to roadie - to see him play in the mountains with the likes of Armstrong, Contador and the Schleck brothers - was both heartwarming and incredible, but this time round he didn't get the Tour de France top 3 placing, and lost out to Cancellera on the time trials, so again I think to suggest Bradley Wiggins, like Cav, is too premature - there is much more to come from Brad.

This year, my money is on Jenson Button to win.

Building A Train Station in a Week

When the floods hit Cockermouth and with it tore down bridges leading into the main working town of Workington, a community was cut off. However in the space of a week, engineers have worked to build a temporary train station in a week. The station will bridge two ends of the town together. I would really recommend watching this video on the BBC which goes through the whole process.

A friend of mine, Richard Worsnip, commented on Facebook about this saying "Good to see they've pulled this off so quickly. It does beg the question that if a temporary (but safe) station can be built and rolling stock sourced (old Inter-city carriages to my eye) in just 6 days, why can overcrowding issues elsewhere in the country not be resolved"?

A very good point. In the space of a week, the engineers had sent a helicopter to scout land, found an ideal spot of land, contacted the council, arranged a 2 year lease, built 2 platforms out of scafolding with non-slip surface, a portable waiting room, a car park and footbridge. A new footpath is currently being built by the Army and will be open in the next week and Royal Engineers laid out the 4,000 tons of rock base foundation. And not only that but services are being operated for free.

It was an incredible feat of engineering, determination and manpower. It was well organised, there was no fannying around, no endless meetings to discuss it. It was: we have a problem, we have an easy solution, we've got a job to be done, let's do it quickly and do it well.

It could only have happened in Cumbria though.

Cumbrians have such drive and tenacity. My family come from Cockermouth, I've grown up there during many a school holiday, it was where I bought my first vinyls when I started DJing and I have a lot of memories there. It is a gorgeous town, no matter what the weather there is always a warmth about the place, it is always bustling. Everyone knows each other, all the shops are family run and to see all that destroyed was simply heartbreaking.

Back in the day there was a farmers market every week which I loved to go and see, unfortunately BSE destroyed that community and Sainsburys has now bulldozed the market over.

What was really heart warming (and the reason why the train station was built in a week), was that despite the floods and the disruption, there was no sulking. It was "we need to battle on and get on with it". There were stories that businesses had grouped together, and the next day were back trading in a new rented premises.

Stories like that are incredible to hear.

Raleigh Back in 2010

Another new cycling team joining an ever increasing UK circuit, as blogged last week, is the Raleigh Cycling Team.

Raleigh have recently been through a tough couple of years, once a key racing team back in the 1980s when the Tour of Britain was called the Milk Race (Joop Zoetemelk even won a Tour de France on a Raleigh), they soon capitalised and went down the cheap, commercial route, distributing thousands through Halfords. They quickly became detached from their racing pedigree, preferring cheap bikes and big profits; roadies didn't want to be associated with the commercial Halfords crowd and with no sexy sport status behind them, Raleigh soon lost vision.

Raleigh are making a return to the pro scene in 2010 with a new cycling team, riding new and improved Raleigh bikes. First impressions are good, they've signed up young talent alongside experienced riders such as Tom Barras, Dale Appleby and Liam Holohan.

I don't think the likes of Rapha Condor will be frightened by the squad, however it will be good to see the classic badge re-appear. I have a lot of fond memories of that badge from when I was younger.

I think the exposure will definitely help Raleigh improve sales of their hybrid and bottom end bikes. Raleigh is a big British brand which has been forgotten and stamped into the mud, the exposure will help Raleigh dig itself out of the ground and become an aspirational cycling brand to families and those popping into Halfords to buy a bike for the first time in 15 years who don't know about Boardman.

For us roadies, I'll give them a miss. I'm with Team Sky and Pinarello.