Christian Vande Velde, your miracle has arrived.
Twisted Spoke, being as literate and erudite as we are, was reading the New York Times when we saw a work of staggering gee-whizz.
An airbag device that equestrians are now using to protect themselves when they fall off the horse — and far worse, when the horse falls on top of them. That is way more painful than having Mark Cavendish land on your backside.
The Times article noted that 13 riders (horse, not bike) have been killed in the four years from falls. We hope the man who has crashed out of the last Tour de France and last two Giro’s, Christian Vande Velde is listening. Your troubles are over, baby.
We’ll just save ourselves some writing time and quote the New York Times: “The two-pound vest is attached by a cord to a rider’s saddle and is worn over a traditional protective vest made of high-density foam. When a rider is thrown from a horse, the cord is yanked, puncturing a cartridge of carbon dioxide and inflating the vest. The vest can be reused after the cartridge is replaced.”
According to the article these vests can inflate in as quickly as one-tenth of a second. The entire Euskatel-Euskadi squad, the crash test dummies of the peloton, should be wearing these things in bright, screaming orange.
If Lance had slipped a vest on before his high speed crash at the base of the Ramaz climb in the Alps, he might have scored himself another podium. I think he should still wear one in case Landis comes after him with a crowbar.
In any case, the vests go for anywhere from $400 to $700 — a bargain when you look at six months of training wiped out because the guy it front of you hit the brakes too hard and you flew over the bars. Over 6000 event riders are already wearing these protective vests.
Note to Garmin’s Jonathan Vaughters: Buy one for CVV immediately. The Vuelta is almost here — one more bad crash and you know he’s retiring.
Point Two said its vest inflates in one-tenth of a second; Hit Air said its average rate is one-quarter of a second.