Archive for March, 2019

   Mar 21

Rohan Dennis is ‘the guy who can most challenge’ for Bradley Wiggins’ world hour record

Stage by stage coverageMore Tour de France
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After stage 1: 13.8km time trial in Utrecht

UTRECHT: It was only a matter of time before Rohan Dennis pulled off a ride like the one he produced in the first stage of this year’s Tour de France on Saturday.

Not only did he win, but in record speed to also take the yellow race leader’s jersey.

Rohan has been second so many times in time trials since he turned professional in 2013, so a breakthrough win like his in the 13.8-kilometre race time trial in Utrecht was not that much of a surprise.

But boy … it was an impressive performance, even if it initially demoralised me.

When I went through halfway and I was 22 seconds down already, I thought I was on a shocker, but then a lot of riders struggled so I wasn’t that far off by finishing 1 minute, 6 seconds down … at least compared to the general classification guys like Rohan’s leader at BMC, the American Tejay Van Garderen, who was at 42s, or the Italian defending champion Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at 43s, our ace in the deck, Briton Chris Froome (Sky) at 50s, Spaniard Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo) at 58s, and Colombian Nairo Quintana (Movistar) at 1:01s.

I am not the big, explosive power rider you needed to be for a course like Saturday’s. That let me down, but then the heat played a big role. It was so hot. You couldn’t breath, not properly anyhow.

When I heard that Rohan had trained specifically in the heat between 2pm-5pm in readiness for what Saturday dished out it all made sense – and good on him for actually doing that.

Rohan has come on in so many ways this season. We all knew he had buckets of talent and class, but now his commitment to work and his maturity is paying off in a big way – as it should too.

I had to really earn my national time-trial title back in January, in which Rohan was second, but then it’s all happened for him since.

Rohan had a brilliant Tour Down Under the week after that, winning that World Tour race overall. And then, we all saw Rohan back-up in February with his word hour record ride in Switzerland.

Maybe he will go back and make another hour record sometime in his career?

Bradley Wiggins’ current record of 54.526km will be hard to beat, but if Rohan can continue on from how he rode on Saturday, I reckon he is the guy who can most challenge it.

There is also a lot of talk now about Rohan’s potential to become a grand tour rider.

Firstly, apart from being able to time trial, he can climb, which is a must for a grand tour rider.

I’ve seen how well he can climb first-hand. On the stage I won up Old Willunga Hill in this year’s Tour Down Under, I didn’t put that much time into him on the climb with my stage-winning attack.

But for a better marker, I still go back to the 2013 Criterium du Dauphine race after Rohan took the leader’s yellow jersey on the stage-four time trial

The next day, Froome and I gave it to him on the climb up to the finish at Valmorel, where Froome won the stage to take the leader’s jersey off Rohan who hung in there to the bitter end, despite how hard we rode against him. We only just managed to drop him – and that was two years ago

Glimpses like that show he has got the horsepower. With age he will climb better, and by time-trialling like he does, he should be a contender – if not for grand tours then definitely for eight-day races.

* Australian Team Sky rider Richie Porte is racing his fourth Tour de France

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   Mar 21

Neighbourhood fence laws under review

Laws surrounding dividing fences are under review in Queensland. Photo: Steven SiewertIt is perhaps the most likely of legal disputes in which many people would find themselves.
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The policing of the property boundary, the root cause of so many neighbourhood disputes, is in the midst of a legal review.

Queensland Law Reform Commission chairman David Jackson said the Neighbourhood Disputes (Dividing Fences and Trees) Act, which passed Parliament in 2011, had been operating for three years.

Former attorney-general Jarrod Bleijie referred the legislation to the QLRC last October.

As such, the QLRC had been asked to review its operation and effectiveness and its discussion paper has since been published for public comment.

“The commission wants to hear the views of the community about how the Act is working in practice and whether it can be improved,” Justice Jackson said.

Justice Jackson said the Act clearly set out what neighbours can and cannot do if a dispute arose.

“The Act provides rules about each neighbour’s responsibility for dividing fences and for trees so that neighbours are able to resolve any issues about dividing fences and trees without a dispute arising,” he said.

“Where neighbours are not able to resolve those issues, the Act has different mechanisms to help neighbours facilitate the resolution of any disputes about dividing fences or trees.”

Among the review’s terms of reference were: Whether the allocation of responsibilities, liabilities and rights under the Act promoted resolution by neighbours of issues relating to dividing fences and trees;Whether dispute resolution processes under the Act were fair, just and effective;The simplicity and ease of use of the Act for members of the community;Whether the Act provided the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal with sufficient powers to resolve issues;The remedies and penalties provided in the Act;QCAT’s power to make orders to protect the severe obstruction of a view;The ability of a neighbour to serve a notice on a tree owner to prune overhanging branches; and Whether the scope of the Act should be expanded to include disputes about retaining walls built on neighbouring properties’ boundaries.

The deadline for public submissions is Monday, August 10.

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   Mar 21

Racially abused Aboriginal girl finally meets Queen Elsa

Three-year-old Samara Muir, who was racially vilified at a Disney Frozen event in May, attends a Melbourne high tea to meet the Norwegian sisters she adores, ‘Anna’ and ‘Elsa’. Photo: Arsineh HouspianA three-year-old Aboriginalgirlwho was racially vilified at a Frozen-themedchildren’sfunction last month had one thing she wantedto say to her favourite film character, Queen Elsa ofArendelle, when she finally got to meet her: “I love you”.
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After being specially invited toa Frozenhigh tea at the Langham hotel, Samara Muir was excited to meet a “real-life”Queen Elsa, telling the ruler thatshe admired her strength and her magical ability to manipulate ice from her hands.

The experience comes afterSamara was racially abused at aDisney princess event at ashopping centre in Taylors Lakes in May. The girl’s mother, RachelMuir, said her daughterwas dressed up in a sparkling blue Elsa costume while they waited in thequeueto go into the centre’s snow-pit installationwhen awoman in the line aheadturned to them and said:”‘I don’t know why you’re dressed up for because Queen Elsa isn’t black”.

Three-year-old Samara Muir, who was racially vilified at a Disney Frozen event in May, attends a Melbourne high tea to meet the Norwegian sisters she adores, ‘Anna’ and ‘Elsa’. Photo: Arsineh Houspian

Samara began to cry and, after the event, Ms Muir said she startedto refuse to attend herAboriginal dance classes and starting trying to “scrub off her black skin”. Saddened by her little girl’s dramatic change in behaviour,Ms Muir shared the experienceon Facebook, quickly receivingthousands of messages of support from across the country.

“It was heartbreaking for me,” recalls Ms Muir. “But withall the messages from everybody it hasbeen overwhelming. She’s not scrubbing her skin any more. I read her all the messages she receives, including a [video] messagefrom Queen Elsa, messages frompeople telling her not to be ashamed of who she is and to be proud.

“I thinkall those those messages have sunk in.”

Samara has also been invited to several events, including being asked to perform in the Disney On Ice Dare to Dreamperformance at Hisense arena on Friday, where she met PrincessCinderellaand helped PrincessRapunzellift a lantern into the air as part of the show. But absent at the performance was Samara’s favourite characters, Norwegian sisters Elsa and Anna.

On Sunday afternoon, after being invited to the high tea when staff heard of her experiences, Samara again donned her blue Elsa costume and set out to meet her idol.

“She makes magic and turns everything to ice,” Samara said of Elsa. “I love her. And Anna.”

Samara joinedmore than 240 other Frozen-obsessed pre-schoolers for the high teaparty.At a hefty $79 a ticket, the event included a high tea frosty feast ofsnowflake cookies, reindeer cupcakes,white chocolate crackles and more traditional fare such asfluffyscones and fairy bread.

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   Mar 21

‘I’m very emotional’: Melbourne’s Greek community braces for vote

Joseph Xiradakis hopes the country will vote in favour of the measures.As children chased the pigeons outside a Melbourne Greek Orthodox parish, the adults’ emotions were similarly stirred over the crisis back in the motherland.
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Greeks headed to the polls at 2pm Sunday, Australian time, to vote for or against more stringent austerity measures.

The referendum comes after Greece defaulted on an International Monetary Fund loan of 1.5 billion euros ($A2.18 billion).

Out the front of South Melbourne’s St Eustathios parish on Sunday morning, people were concerned for their relatives facing hardship in Greece.

Joseph Xiradakis said he believed if the country voted no to the austerity measures, its economy would collapse.

“If it is going out from the Euro, it doesn’t have the dough to go on,” he said.

“But if it stays in the Euro… there is a little bit more safety.”

Mr Xiradakis, who moved to Melbourne almost 50 years ago, said he felt helpless for his relatives in Crete.

“People are trying to do something,” he said, “but the trouble is, what can you do? You can’t do much. Greece is right in the bottom. It’s a very bad thing.”

But over in Brunswick, recently arrived Olga Grammenou was a “definite no” to more austerity.

“All the years, the governments we’ve had were full in corruption and they weren’t really care [caring] about the people in Greece,” she said.

“This government shows that she fights about people’s rights, that she cares.”

The cafe worker moved to Melbourne from Corfu more than two years ago after losing her 17-year job as an optical dispenser and was unable to find a new one.

She and her son, now 6, joined her husband, who came the year before to escape the country’s dire financial situation.

Ms Grammenou said her friends back in Greece were struggling even to buy food.

She thought most of them would vote no, but said many were were confused because of propaganda from the European Union.

“They’re terrifying them,” she said echoing the words of Greece finance minister Yanis Varoufakis who has accused his country’s creditors of “terrorism”.

“I’m very emotional about the situation.”

Back in South Melbourne, Terry Charalambous described the mood in Melbourne’s Greek community as “worried and anxious”.

He said it was divided on which way the country should vote, with passion on both sides.

“I fear the worse if they don’t [vote yes],” he said.

Maria Kypriotis agreed: “We think it’s a good thing for the Greeks to change their habits and start again.”

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   Mar 21

Reigning Cats down stubborn Bulldogs

NEWLYN has kept its fading finals hopes alive with a thrilling eight-point victory over Daylesford atVictoria Park.
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Saturday’s win leavesthe Cats in 10thposition on the Central Highlands Football League ladder, three games behind eighth-placed Ballan.

The spirited resistance of the Bulldogs was on display from the opening ball-up, as they stunnedthe Cats to establisha three-goal lead.

Jeremy Steen, Michael Cummings and Emlyn Nettleton were in fine form for the Bulldogs, whichwere clearly driven to avoid another thrashing after their 130-point loss to Springbank a week earlier.

However, with their slimfinals hopes on the line, the Cats clicked into gear andreduced the lead to three-points by the main break.

For the visitors, star onballer Dan Wehrung was running riot, while Lachlan Shaw also got on thescoreboard.

With both sides determined not to lose the four points, a relentless half of footy followed withconstant goal­for-­goal action.

Cats forward Will Young, coaching with Wehrung in the absence of brother Kal, finally came into his own withtwo goals.However, the Bulldogs’ Patrick Rowe and Robert Rodgers matched his efforts to land athree-point advantageby the final change.

The ever-­improving Cats held strong in the last quarter to gather a crucial victory, which Wehrung said was an attribute his side had learned in the past year.

Young finished with four majors to his name -including a set shot goal on the final siren -whileWehrung nabbed three of his own in another strong performance.

The Bulldogs, while deflated after their gallant efforts went unrewarded, were best served byRowe,Rodgers and Sam Winnard.

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