Thursday, May 26, 2022
HomeDiariesSaunier Duval Team Launch - Day 2

Saunier Duval Team Launch – Day 2

-

¡Hola! When Matxin, the DS at Saunier Duval says; “six hours today“, that’s what he means. In fact it was six-and-a-quarter hours after we left the hotel when we returned to Granada.

Saunier Duval
Team Managers Sabino Angoitia (L) and Joxean Fernandez Matxin, Ed’s pals for the day.

The day showed what’s involved in being a pro and also what it means to be a top pro.

The first part of the ride was steady-enough and the early climbs wide and fast, but when the climbing ‘got serious’, that’s when it became apparent that even at this level, there are yawning gaps in ability.

Saunier Duval
The riders stop to fuel up and put more clothes on. It’s very cold!

Viktor might not like him, and whilst Leonardo Piepoli is a tiny guy and may have trouble staying with ‘kermesse King’ Guy Smet on a flat road, stick him in terrain like this and he’s special. He makes it look easy, and even when the road flattens-out, he’s there hammering away at the front.

In fact, at one stage today, Matxin had to tell him to come off the head of the group and let others do some work.

Saunier Duval
Piepoli on a rare moment not on the front of the group.

Riccò looked impressive early-on, but by the end of the ride was happy not to be at the front.

The squad has lost Millar and Simoni and I’ve not sussed-out the party-line on old Iban yet, but it’s obvious that Piepoli has at least one more season at the highest level before he retires or goes down to a continental team. If Riccò’s upward trajectory continues, then he’ll be a big star – there’s work to do before the Primavera though, Riccardo.

Saunier Duval
Lots of climbs on today’s route.

The other thing I was reminded of today, was that team car drivers follow a different set of rules to the rest of us, even when the police are around, Matxin drives it ‘his way!’

Saunier Duval
Basque rider Iker Camaño Ortuzar followed Iban Mayo from Euskaltel to Saunier Duval.

He’s a good guy, but broaches no nonsense, when he was displeased with the way that Riccò and Piepoli split things on a descent, there was no holding-back at the bum kicking, despite the fact that these are two of the sport’s biggest stars. It’s not often Piepoli is quietened, but he was today.

The weather here is very changeable, misty in the morning, lovely at the first ‘pit stop’, but freezing at the second stop of the day.

Once you are clear of the city, the roads are quiet and up in the hills there’s virtually no traffic, great training country.

Saunier Duval
Loading up on gels and drinks.

I managed five minutes with the guy from SRAM this morning, he and his team were leaving today so I just grabbed my moment, again that should be up on Pez soon and we have a feature on the new SRAM ‘Red’ groupset here, thanks to the kind offices of Alistair Hamilton. It does look the business though and I was really impressed with the ‘double tap’ shifting last year; this year it’s meant to be even better.

Another wee job I had today was to take pictures of former Tour de France yellow jersey, Rubens Bertogliati – he has a fan in Switzerland and she is always sending us emails at Pez for “photos of Ruben’, I got her some today, so at least someone will be happy.

Saunier Duval
A lovely picture of Rubens Bertogliati.

Off down to the lobby to see if I can organise some interviews… as we say in Edinburgh: “later, dude!”

Ed Hood
Ed Hood
Ed's been involved in cycling for over 47 years. In that time he's been a successful time triallist, a team manager, and a sponsor of several teams and clubs. He's also a respected and successful coach and during the winter months can often be found working in the cabins at the Six Days for some of the world's top riders. Ed remains a massive fan of the sport and couples his extensive contacts with an inexhaustable enthusiasm for the minutiae and the history of our sport.

Related Articles

Saunier Duval Team Launch – Day 4

I didn't sleep too clever last night at the Saunier Duval camp. I think the café con leche I had just before the presentation had enough caffeine in it to keep even Gianni Bugno happy. The team and personnel all headed off today (Sunday): Virginie and Pascal back to Switzerland; Denis Flahaut rides the Tour Down Under; whilst Leonardo Piepoli goes to Argentina.

Saunier Duval Team Launch 2008 – Day 1

The Saunier Duval Team Launch 2008 squad changed a little from last season - the team is made up of 26 riders, and one of its distinctive features will be it's youth: there will be no less than nine men under 24 years of age, and thus the team will be the second youngest in the ProTour peloton. The second distinctive feature of the team this season will be improved training: two personal trainers have been hired: Sergio Gelati, who worked with the team in 2007.

Saunier Duval Team Launch – Day 3

Saturday, and it's official Saunier Duval launch day. The TV cameras are gathering, the cars are being polished and the riders are playing musical clothing with one-another: the full delivery of kit hasn't arrived from Castelli yet. On the big run yesterday there were still plenty of "Prodir" logos, despite the fact that the Swiss pen manufacturers are no longer a sponsor. So, it's not just those British clothing suppliers who get the deliveries wrong.

At Random

Le Tour débute demain!

It’s that time, we go from being saddos to the ‘go to guys/girls’ for info; the papers even pay attention to cycling for a week or two; Viktor hates it but watches every stage and Dave Brailsford is spending a lot of time in church praying for ‘Froomey’s’ form to come good... yes, it’s Tour time. VeloVeritas will be bringing you a word or two each day about the greatest annual sporting event on earth.

Auchencrow Thistle Hilly TT – “Up The Cleugh”

Aidan McIlroy (Auchencrow Thistle) backed up his great ride in the recent Gordon Arms time trial to win his own club's promotion, the hilly TT - "Up The Cleugh". Second was Gary Robson, and third Jon Kelly, visiting from the north of England.

Magicshine MJ-816 Review – Front Light Set

Here in the UK we've been hammered recently by the weather; for the last few weeks Scotland in particular has resembled an Arctic landscape, with blizzards, white-outs, and motorways frozen closed for days - any bike riding that's been done has been in the garage on the rollers, or spinning down the at the gym. The last few days however, have seen a significant rise in temperature and the resultant thaw has us getting the overshoes looked out again, and the lights back on the bike, ready for recommencing the daily commute, training, and some off-road night riding too.

Chris Hoy – the Next Olympic Keirin Champion?

You're the Olympic kilometre champion, but the 'powers that be' decide to remove the event from the programme at the next Olympics-what do you do? If you're Chris Hoy, you go out and transform yourself into the best keirin rider in the world!

The Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship 2010

Arthur Doyle, (Dooleys) comfortably retained his Scottish 25 Mile Time Trial Championship 2010 title with 52:54 on a cool but mostly dry Sunday morning around the verdant Howe of Fife, second was the man on the big fixed gear who was the surprise of the 2009 ten mile champs, Peter Ettles (Sandy Wallace Cycles) with 54:07-surprise this time was Philip Kelman (Deeside) with 54:44 off an early number 45 start. VeloVeritas didn't arrive until number 92 was on the line, so apologies to Mr. Kelman for the lack of photographic evidence. However, we were up at 06:00 am on Sunday to edit yesterday's road race pictures; we weren't slacking...

Giro d’Italia 2013 – Stage 6: Mola di Bari – Margherita di Savoia, 169km. Kit Car Cav.

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.