Thierry Mathy wins Riyadh Wheelers season opener

Updated 19 September 2013
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Thierry Mathy wins Riyadh Wheelers season opener

The first race of the Riyadh Wheelers season kicked off with registration formalities followed by a short but testing 14km hilly time trial, which took in a pleasant mixture of date groves and some of the lesser Dirab hills. Around 60 riders signed on, and judging by some of the machinery on show many were not treating this as a social event as they proudly displayed their considerable summer purchases. Times were a little slower than last year, but that did not deter from another impressive display from club champion Thierry Mathy, who was in a class of his own as he dipped below 20 minutes. After the race he revealed that due to his duties as registration coordinator, he didn’t have time to prepare his bike and rode the event on soft tires, making his time even more impressive.
With familiar stars filling the next 7 places, including those who had kept fit riding triathlons, it was good to see new names appearing in the top flight for the first time, Brett Girvan, Darren Bennellick and Stuart Elliot and who could have been joined by Stu Gillespie had not his chain derailed.
Cat B Champion Veronique Mathy was given a scare as Jana Jaruskova pushed her close after benefitting from a successful Ironman Triathlon. Mathy admitted to having a busy summer which left little time for training.
In the absence of junior champion Thomas Cudey, it was left to talented all rounders Alun Thomas and Cameron Ball to make an early challenge for Cudey’s title.
With many top riders missing from the opener, this season looks to be another great contest between talented athletes who in the desert of Riyadh manage to compete to a standard which would be the envy of many cycling clubs. Carrefour LeMall provided generous refreshments for the members to round off a great day.
Results:

1 T.Mathy 19:53, 2 V.Engel 21:02, 3 J.Villalobos 21:15, 4 M.Ball 21:18, 5 K.Ahlin 21:36, 6 J.Kuba 21:52, 7 G.Muetze 22:22, 8 J.Roetter 22:37, 9 B.Girven 22:55, 10 R.Patrick 23:17, 11 D.Bennellick 23:26, 12 S.Elliott 23:28, 13 P.McParland 23:30, 14 S.Gillespie 23:34, 15 J.Hymns 23:45, 16 A. Rodriguez 23:58, 17 R.Gocian 24:01, 18 S.Waight 24:04, 19 A.Wilson 24:13, 20 A.Cuesta 24:23, 21 D.Pottinger 24:31, 22 A.Inglis 24:37, 1(J) A.Thomas 24:47, 23 D.Wright 24:49, 24 E.Lando 25:07, 2(J) C.Ball 25:15, 25 J.Hazlewood 25:31, 26 Y.Forero 25:36, 27 K.Opstaele 25:38, 28 P.Foster 25:49, 29 A.White 25:56, 30 K.Moolman 26:00, 31 J.Daley 26:07, 32 C.Carmichael 26:17, 1(L) V.Mathy 26:24, 33 R.Cope 26:25, 34 L.Phillips 26:36, 35 T.Sangorah 26:37, 36 JJ.Torrontegui 26:38, 37 S.Vientel 26:39, 2(L) J.Jaruskova 26:46, 38 M.Webb 27:14, 39 A.San Juan 27:15, 40 L.Davis 27:36, 3(L) F.Gocian 27:44, 41 J.Cortes 27:59, 42 M.Suckling 28:17, 43 S.Whitfield 28:27, 44 F.Requillo 28:45, 45 C.Watters 28:59, 4(L) M.Araujo 29:18, 46 L. Duffy 29:24, 47 O.Almarri 29:49, 3(J) G.Cope 30:06, 48 T.Mahfouz 30:36, 49 S.Baker 31:04, 50 T.Watts 51:06, 51 M.Alturaif 31:24, 52 B.Ella 32:27, 53 R.Beylouni 32:31, 54 A. El Ahmad 32:38, 55 D.Thomas 33:47, 4(J) M.Bahaa 34:32, 56 A.Bahaa 43:09, 57 R.Minarro 45:02, 58 D.Joubert 55:12, 5(J) W.Joubert 55:42.

Categories: Open Vincent Engel, Veteran Thierry Mathy, Master Rob Patrick, Senioer Jiri Kuba, Cat B Veronique Mathy, Junior Alun Thomas


Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

Updated 20 April 2018
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Why even the #WengerOut brigade should lament Arsene Wenger's exit from Arsenal

  • The Frenchman revolutionised the game in England across all leagues, not just the Premier League.
  • After initial success he found the going tough in the second half of his reign, but will still go down as an all-time great.

Over the past few seasons it has been fashionable to view Arsene Wenger as some sort of figure of fun — a man living in the past, left behind by the modern game, but too stubborn to realize it.
In time, though, even the most ardent, frothing-at-the-mouth #Wenger Out believer would have to agree that the Frenchman will go down not just as one of the best managers Arsenal have had, but also among the greatest in English club football.
As with any caricature, there is a hint of truth in the picture created, crude as it sometimes is. Yes, Wenger’s past few years at the Emirates have been painful to watch. Yes, he was stubborn when it came to both activity in the transfer market and belief in his methods and tactics. Yes, it is fair to say he leaves the club, on the pitch at least, in a bit of a mess. And, yes, he should have left two or three years ago.
But if there is one thing that any sane fan should remember about Wenger’s 22 years as Arsenal boss, it is this: He was a game-changer, a manager who oversaw not only a revolution of the Gunners, but also of the English game.
As soon as Wenger landed in England in 1996, he banished Arsenal’s Tuesday drinking club and munching of Mars bars — in their place came stretching sessions and broccoli. Hardly profound or radical in today’s game, but this was the era when change in English football invariably meant no pies and pints on a Friday night.
The technical, passing, possession football that is now the norm for any side with ambitions to remain in the Premier League, let alone win it, and the idea that eating vegetables rather than a tub of lard would help player performance, were brought in by Wenger alone.
He won the double in his first full season in charge, signed unheralded foreign talent such as Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Viera — who went on to become world-class players — and created teams that were a joy to watch, culminating with “The Invincibles” of 2003-04, who won the Premier League without losing a match.
The irony is that the one-time revolutionary ended up being viewed as a throwback, a stuck-in-the-mud anachronism; a manager who harked back to a time when playing with the owner’s chequebook was not seen as the only path to success and when paragraphs were favored over 140 characters.
And that perhaps explains why so many Arsenal fans seemingly wanted him gone: Wenger is not of the Twitter generation, of instant opinions for the 24-hour news agenda and of hype over humility. The man who was once seen as the future stuck to principles that were deemed as belonging to the past.
It is clear there is a lot of bad blood at the club — a ridiculous Facebook post by an Arsenal fan claimed Wenger’s announcement he was leaving made it the “greatest day in Arsenal’s history.”
But for all the bluster and nonsense, Wenger’s legacy will be that of “The Invincibles” — one of the greatest club sides of modern times; of beautiful football played at pace and with artistry; of being a decent, yet flawed, man who was never anything but articulate and courteous.
Having been in charge of Arsenal for 22 years, he is undoubtedly the last of a kind, and in the era of trigger-happy owners, short-term fixes and sensationalism over stability, that is something everyone, even the #WengerOut brigade, should lament.