That final horrible grind up the mountain didn’t affect the GC much at all but Michael Rogers’ (Tinkoff & Australia) ride was wonderful to watch. It looked very much like he had the better of fellow breakaway survivor Francesco Manuel Bongiorno (Bardiani & Italy) anyway, but we were denied their duel going any further by the moron who gave the man in green a push.
Viktor has barred us from attending any races which are patronised by Graham Baxter Tours, this means that the Tour of Flanders is out.
The next-best thing therefore, is Driedaagse van De Panne. It covers many of the roads that Flanders does, the 'Flanders fever' is in full flow but the security is non-existent so you can skek bikes and annoy mechanics to your heart's content.
It was warm today at the World Road Race Championship 2007. It's a cliche, but what a difference nice weather makes. The ladies race was on first: I have to rant, I'm afraid. What is Jeanie Longo doing? What is the French Federation doing? What is the UCI doing? It's not good for the sport for a woman who looks about 60 to finish in the bunch; she's a remarkable athlete, no doubt. But that's not the point, it's time to stop, Jeanie. Now! OK, I feel better now.
Abandon Vehicle ... Three days after Lierde there was a race in Wallonie, a race I intended to do, well that was until the team vehicle almost went up in flames. A Belgian team manager lets us use the team vehicles to get about to races... so I can't really complain too much. They are rather old though, and this one in partcluar apparenty had 450,000km on the clock - maybe time to get a new one?!
Patrick Lefevre said today it was one of the greatest performances he has ever seen; Tony Martin fought for more than an hour to establish a gap of 30 seconds and then go away from the second group of 25 riders with the whole Europcar team trying to get him back. Remember that Lefevre has been one of the most respected managers in the sport for two decades and isn’t prone to throwing praise around.
The hotel I'm in for the Zürich Four Days 2011 is nice, a double bed, en-suite shower and beautiful breakfast spread - but it's a logistical pain. Kris has to 'make massage' with Jesper at lunchtime, but I don't want to hang around the hotel all morning - there's work to do at the track. I had to scrounge a lift - always a pain.
Monte Ologno, high above Lago Maggiore, Thursday 15:00 hours; we had to get up here early to beat the road closures; we got a slapped wrist from Vancouver for 'missing the cut' on the Mortirolo so no slip ups, today. The stage describes a big curve from Melide near Lugano to Verbania on Lago Maggiore; but there's a late surprise - which we're sitting at the top of. It's a nasty one; 10.4 K @ 9.0% average with a max of 13% makes it Category 1 and very tough. Where we are - 450 metres to go - it's scenic with wonderful vistas across the lago but lower down it's not unlike the Mortirolo in that much of it is a tunnel through the trees.