Daniele Bennati saved his season and Radio Shack’s Vuelta with a perfectly timed sprint into Valladolid on Thursday afternoon.
The perma-tanned fast man with the religious bent was just too quick for Sky’s Ben Swift who looked under-geared in the charge for the line.
Sky got Swift’s lead out just right but ‘Benna’ was the smartest, freewheeling a few times in the finale to keep the heart rate down and then timing his bike through perfectly to pip Swift on the line.
Rest day, it's a bit of a misnomer if you are journo on the Tour. My first task was to get the washing done, I try to travel light and do a washing every couple of days, it's a "fine drying day, today" as my mum used to say, so by the time I get back tonight, my wardrobe should be replenished. I left Martin to get a little extra beauty sleep after all that driving and wandered-off to find a caff. It didn't take long and I soon had my cafe au lait and armagnac in front of me.
Raleigh - Back in the Game. The all-new British-based Team Raleigh was launched recently. Our pal Dan Fleeman - who together with Tom Barras will lead the squad - kindly sent us some pics from the team's presentation which took place at the Eastwood Hall Conference Centre and Hotel in Nottingham, home of the legendary marque.
Ooh That'll Hurt. Stage 2 of the Eneco Tour, and we shot southwards from northern Old Zeeland (I can’t help it) which is an amazing place — we were 6m below sea level and 100km inland on a bit of land that was ocean only 30yrs earlier! Incredible.
Stage Five of the Tour of Korea was a historic one - the first ever win for an Ethiopian rider at this level; youngster, Tsgabu Grmay of South Africa’s first Pro Continental team, MTN-Qhubeka powered by Samsung. This year has seen the man from Mekele, 2,000 metres up in the Tigrayan Highlands of Etiopia land a top ten GC placing in the Tour of Langkawi as well as second on GC in Taiwan to go with his stage win. We caught up with him upon his return to Europe to ride the Tour of Trentino.
Just before his dominant performance in the Four Days of Grenoble finale with Iljo Keisse, World Madison Champion, Kenny De Ketele took time to talk to VeloVeritas. De Ketele has been around the track scene for a long time, always there and knocking on the door. But it was the winter of 2011/12 when the man from Oudenaarde finally arrived.
"Bonjour," really that should be the German equivalent there of, but my German is even more limited than my French. We spent the night in Freiburg here at Le Tour de France - just across the German border, the hotel room is huge, if a tad Spartan; but that didn't stop us from sleeping like bricks, before starting our day to Besançon.
Russell Downing rode his first race when he was seven years-old; he’s now 33 and the British pro racing just wouldn’t be the same without him. Some times when you interview a rider you have to work hard to find decent palmarés for the introduction – but not with Downing. The problem is deciding what to leave out; pages could be dedicated to his wins and placings.