On a gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon in North East Scotland, Herbalife-Leisure Lakes Bikes’ Gary Hand finally took the Scottish Road Race Championship after a blistering attack on the main climb of the day took him clear of 2012 champion, James McCallum (Rapha Condor JLT) and Davie Lines (MG-Maxifuel Pro Cycling) over the top of the hill.Full Story»
Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 15: Cesana Torinese – Col du Galibier 149km. Visconti Takes Movistar’s 2nd(0)
I didn’t get much opportunity to see stage 15, it was a long day for VeloVeritas – Alford and back, and then all the editing and formatting that it takes to put a piece together. But it was another tough day in a tough Giro – albeit the ‘Bigs’ declared a cease-fire.
You’ll hear no complaints about that from Giovanni Visconti, Movistar’s former three time Italian champion who grabbed the Spanish team’s second win of the race in fine style. The 30 year-old from Torino saw his stage win as a ‘rebirth’ after what he viewed as a bad year in 2012.
Sky did well to pull Wiggins out of the race when they did, starting Stage 14 today could have seen him contract pleurisy if he’d ridden. There’s still a long way to go but Nibali looks like it’s his race to lose.
However, the ‘Forum Dwellers’ are at it already; when I was looking on CN for the full stage result I stumbled upon the forum bittie at the bottom.
GreenEdge and Cannondale learned again that those who live by the sword die by the sword, Having slyly left Patrick Lefevre’s men to do the lion’s share in bringing back the break of this longest day of the race, they formed their trains late in the tappa; hoping to exploit a Cavendish whose team was all used up.
But they reckoned without Cav’s hunger, power, commitment to his team and God-given positioning sense. There were in excess of 300 metres to go when he went – a long, long way in sprinting circles but that famous ‘jump’ gave him too many metres to pull back. Nizzolo can bang his bars as much as he wants, Cav is the King.
Mark Cavendish, there’s little left to say, really. He’s the best roadman sprinter in the world – and his partnership with Steegmans is developing into something special. It’s not as if anyone is going to lean on Big Gert . . .
The Belgian is quick in his own right and has found the perfect niche as Cav’s final ‘booster,’ developing the power to take Cav clear of the peloton’s gravitational pull and launching him to the top of the podium. The other day I was saying that Bouhanni is quick, he is, but Cav is even quicker.
Ryder Hesjedal is one of the nicest professional athletes you’ll ever meet, polite, grounded, sincere, soft spoken and likeable. To see him languishing in the gruppetto with Cav, yesterday was really quite sad.
He was strong at Liège, paving the way for the win which took Dan Martin from ‘up and coming,’ to firmly, ‘arrived!’
The Giro isn’t over for Bradley Wiggins, but every day he has like today makes it harder to envisage that he’ll make the podium in Brescia. He lost time again today as team mate Uran launched an attack with five miles to go and no one could get him back; the plan looked to be that all Brad had to do was sit on the other GC riders as they chased Uran.
But as has happened to Sky numerous times in this Giro, things didn’t go according to the script. Wiggins couldn’t respond when the ‘digs’ went in and he lost a minute to Nibali, Evans – and Uran.
The Giro d’Italia – if it ended right now it would have been great, aggressive race, but the fact is that there are still two full weeks to go.
I did a race preview for, ‘a well known North American website’ so thought I’d take a rest day wander back and see how my tips for the top are doing…
He has a beard (but he’s not Fabio Baldato), he’s not a fan of disc wheels and would eventually like to cycle around the world; he also took victory in the Scottish 10 Mile Time Trial Championship – meet Whitley Bay and Paisley Velo’s Ben Peacock.
On a cold and blustery morning Peacock was fastest at all our time checks, hurtling around the Freuchie ‘sort-of-out-and-back’ course 15 seconds short of a 30mph average speed, only seven seconds quicker than regular championship winner Arthur Doyle (www.dooleyscycles.co.uk), with Arthur’s teammate bronze medallist Iain Grant a mere six seconds slower still, keeping Sandy Wallace Cycles’ Alan Thomson off the bronze by three seconds.
Known as one of the strongmen of the peloton, today Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) shook off the company of his five breakaway companions one by one and battled hard in the pouring rain and on glacial road surfaces to take a fantastic solo win on the Giro d’Italia’s seventh stage, finishing over a minute clear of the small group led in by Italy’s Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani Valvole) and Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini).
The Aussie rider, a “big unit” in the World Tour and hugely respected as a team player and lead-out engine extraordinaire, is nevertheless a softly-spoken, modest and shy man.
There are aspects of the sprinting phenomenon which is ‘Cav’ that don’t rest easy with me. The baby and Paul Smith on the podium, mouthing off about his team, the swearing… But when I see him sprint, I could forgive him just about anything.
He has the coolness under fire, the spacial awareness, the grinta and the raw speed – but most of all he wants to win so badly. Maybe that’s why he says inappropriate things about his team; defeat hurts him so much that the emotion pours out – he’s disappointed in himself and his boys because he knows that they all could have done better.
There’s a great Spanish movie from 2001 starring Max von Sydow called ‘Intacto.’ The premise of the film is that for some people luck isn’t a matter of sheer chance; it’s a commodity which they possess and which they can trade – or steal. Argos fast man John Degenkolb may be one of them.
Granted it wasn’t luck that he was actually in the group of 95 which contested the finish – which is more than can be said for Cav, Gavazzi, Goss and Modolo – that was due to his ability to get over the climbs; something I’d expected Goss to do. But the German still had Bennati, Bouhanni, Ferrari, Ventoso and Viviani to worry about stealing from him.
Just when I was about to write that there are few fairy tales in Grand Tours, as ‘re-born’ late escapee and former Baby Giro and Giro winner, Danilo Di Luca succumbed to a group of men desperate to put an end to their pain in the closing metres of the tough 246 kilometres from Policastro to Serra San Bruno, Stage 4 of the Giro d’Italia, up popped 23 year-old Enrico Battaglin.
He rides for low budget Pro Continental squad Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox; who produce respectively, pneumatic valves for food and sanitary processing equipment, and centrifugal pumps – I’m not sure I want to know anything more about, ‘sanitary processing equipment’ though.
I was the one who said that the Giro d’Italia doesn’t have a great field – but the fact is, ‘so what?’
It’s only stage three but already the ‘Bigs’ are at it, knocking lumps out of each other.
I was thinking of an ABC of ‘key words’ for each of today’s protagonists – for big Ryder Hesjedal it was ‘aggressive’ but maybe it should be ‘anxious?’
Whilst yesterday’s uncharacteristic Garmin failure in the TTT was, in the overall way of things, little more than a distraction, the head is as important as the legs in pro bike racing.
Sky’s Salvatore Pucccio pulled on the pink jersey at the end of the second stage TTT as specialists Garmin never got to grips with the tricky parcours and Sir Brad got his Giro campaign off to a great start.
Pucci is 23 and doesn’t have much of a pro palmares – but he’s a worker for Sky, not a winner.
But if you check back his amateur palmares you’ll find an U23 Ronde Van Vlaanderen in there – so there’s little doubt about his quality.