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9 November 2011 No comments
European Cycle Messenger Championships 2011Events Sports Cycling
ecmc_2011 from Mrmolusco on Vimeo. Joséphine Reitzel and Raphaël Pfeiffer, both from Lausanne, Switzerland are this year's male and female Cycle Messenger Champions of Europe. They won their laurels in July at the 2011 ECMC which took place for the first time in Madrid. Joséphine and Raphaël both ride back at home for the same company, Velocité, in a city whose topography must provide one of the sternest challenges anywhere in the world for a person wishing to earn his or her living by expediting packages on two human powered wheels. Lausanne is a fine city. Pulling on the brakes to tug grapes from a vine on its outskirts as you meditate upon the not-too-distant visual majesty of snow-capped Alps while the sun pours its Divine Unction into Lac Léman, you could be forgiven for thinking you had died and gone to Heaven. Lausanne- particularly good for cyclists adept at map reading. But Lausanne is also hilly. The only short cuts available to cyclists in a hurry are the ones that get them quicker to their next extremely steep climb. Of course, in theory for every uphill there's a downhill, but in practise it rarely seems that way. A minor misreading of the map can turn a straightforward seven-minute hop into three quarters of an hour of polkadot jersey action. No surprise then, perhaps, to learn that Velocité is run by two former European and World Champions, Raphael Faiss and Dominique Metz. World and European Champ Joséphine Reitzel with something even bigger than the Hampstead. And did we mention that when Joséphine finds herself at the upcoming World Championships in Warsaw over the first weekend in August she'll be defending the Ladies' title which she won last year in Guatemala? (ed. note- She took 2nd, this post was written a few moths back) Among the men, certainly, Swiss couriers over the past ten years have gained somewhat of a stranglehold on messenger racing titles, with riders from Zürich, Basel and of course, Lausanne keeping competitors from elsewhere off the top spot on Finals Day at most CMWC's held since 2001, as well as about half of the ECMC's. There has lately been talk of a bid in the pipeline by Lausanne messengers to hold the Worlds in 2013. They were hosts of a remarkable Swiss National Championships in 2007, whose highpoint for many was, by way of a "thanks for coming", their ingenious construction of a giant outdoor jacuzzi on the banks of Lake Geneva, from which lake they pumped water through a wood-fired portable furnace and thence into said jacuzzi. And should their bid win, it would probably not be outlandish to predict that one of their riders might too. Hometown decision? Highly unlikely. In it to win it. A rare photograph of a fully clothed Raphaël.