Thursday, 28 April 2016

Tour de Yorkshire

Tomorrow will start the second edition of the Tour de Yorkshire.
This young race was born after the cycling explosion, following the Tour de France 2014 start in Leeds.
Despite its shortness (the race presents just 3 stages) the Tour de Yorkshire is an interesting race that should be used by sprinters and stage hunters to prepare the Giro.
The race presents three hilly stages that could be characterized by strong wind and wet roads, forcing the riders to take particular attention, This is not a simple race and its unpredictability coupled with the nice landscapes make the race quite interesting, despite its lack of history.
For the future it woud  be nice if the last stage would be divided in two part, taking inspiration from the Driedaagse De Panne.
This race is in development but I think that, in the future, could become one of most interesting race of the European scenario.
This year there won't be as many Pro Tour teams as expected, but it could be a good occasion to discover new promising British riders.
Waiting for better days for this undervalued race, I wish you a nice Tour de Yorkshire!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

La Flèché Wallonne - Mr. Mur de Huy

We are talking about a true legend. One of the strongest riders of all time.
As I was saying a couple of posts ago, in the Ardennes classics we are in front of a different kind of champions but I think that Valverde is unique.
He has alreay won a grand tours, the Vuelta, and in May he'll try to win the Giro. He has won 3 Liège - Bastonge - Liegè and 4 Flèché Wallonne (3 in a row), what should I say more?
What was impressive today is how he dominated the Mur de Huy, he bossed the opponents, he demolished the wall.
He gave the idea to be in full control of the situation, he made it look incrdibly easy.
There is only one explanation for this, we are in front of a champion, a true talent, born to demolish this race but not just one race.
A curious aspect of the Ardennes Classics is that some of them are race made for particurar riders, see Amstel Gold Rafe for Gasparotto or Raas, but here we are in a different situation.
Valverde is a complete rider, who chose to boss a race in a way that is incredible. Of course he has the record of wins for this race but I think that in this contest It is minor, It sounds almost natural.
Today he seemed a dancer in a classical ballet, he climbed with an elegance tha you couldn't see in his opponents that were struggling to stay hanged on the Mur de Huy and avoid to fall off the wall (Mur means wall).
The only thing I can say, as we are in front of an étoile performing in his favourite theater, is: Bravo Alejandro!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Amstel Gold Race

This has definitely been the most cathartic win of the season.
Gasparotto is a rider who struggled to find a team and went through a difficult period of his life, having problems with his wife and his self confidence.
Wanty Gobert is a professional continental team which dramatically lost a rider a couple of weeks ago during the Gent - Wevelgem 2016.
Gasparotto won for himself, for his teammate and for the only team that believed in him. The inverview after the race has been very touching, confirming that cycling is the most romantic sport in the world.
Most of the riders are romantic heroes, it doesn't matter if they win or not, this is what they are. They are not just running, most of them have personal reasons hidden under their jerseys.
The Amstel Gold Race 2016 was won by one of them and it has been amazing.
Another significant aspect is that, on the podium, two (Gasparotto and Colbrelli) of the three riders ran for a professional team, proving that in cycling there is just one thing that matters: heart.
Gasparotto's race was pure hearth, pushed by his rage and by Antoine. He couldn't loose this race and he didn't.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Ardennes Classics

Today will take place the first of the Ardennes Classics.
After the hard races on the cobbles, the scenery will change and the competitors too. There is only one rider that could win the classics of the Ardennes too, which is Sagan, but he won't be there because he is a human being too (maybe) and he needs some rest after the hard stones campaign.
Some of the riders that will compete in these races are the same that will battle in the Grand Tours. In modern cycling not so many riders can have in their palmarès a Classic and a Grand Tour. These races are almost the only occasion for a Grand Tour rider to reach this dream and this make them even more interesting.
Last year Valverde enriched his palmarès, establishing himself as one of the most complete riders of the peloton.
Will, this year, a Grand Tour rider win one of the Ardennes Classics?

Monday, 11 April 2016

Tom Paris - Roubaix

This should be the full name of this LEGEND.
When Tommeke smells the stones he becomes a superhero.
Yesterday he ran the perfect race. He could be the only rider so brave to decide to attack when there were still 120 km to go, but we are not talking about a general rider, we are talking about The Rider.
The last poet of the stones. He didn't win yesterday, beaten by the Carneade of the day, but what a race by Tommeke.
He demolished the stones, always in front of the bunch of rider that by chance followed him in his crazy attack, giving new impetus to the winning action, started when there were still 120km to go.
The 2016 Paris - Roubaix has been the umpteenth lesson of the king of the stones.
He rode to win, It doesn't matter he didn't, but this is what make you a champion, a legend, a hero.
If you want to know how to ride a Paris - Roubaix, you have just to watch all the Boonen's Paris - Roubaix, not the only ones he won.
Tom, riding on the stones, is pure poetry, you can't find any other rider in the peloton so elegant on the stones. He doesn't need gloves, he is at home, the stones are his natural field.
He should be a protected species.
I don't know if he will retire at the end of the season, the only thing I can say is thank you Tommeke! For yesterday, for every single time you demolished the stones.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Disc Brakes & Road Bikes


I want to start saying  that, in a time where the safety of the riders is the biggest problem to deal with, allow the teams and the rideres to use disc brakes during the race is the worst thing you can do.
Crashes, as we can unfortunately see every day, are incredibely frequent in cycling and riders get injured because they can't control or avoid the crash due to the fact that they are really close to each other.
Consider now what will happen if  every single rider in the peloton mounted disc brakes on his bike: the first crash would be a massacre.
Disc brakes are like super hot blades mounted on your wheels.
We have seen so many times riders stuck in a bunch of bikes and I don't want to think about how the riders would come out of the bunch: bleeding to death or full of wounds in the best cases.
After few races the survivors would be full of scars, more than the Iliad mythological warriors.
I don't want to be a Cassandra, but the first time the entire Peloton will mount disc brakes, it will be the last time too.
In conclusion, I completely agree that disc brakes are more efficent and safer in every kind of wheather conditions and I think that a lonely rider should mount them on his bike, but you can't allow  riders to use them in a race!

Monday, 4 April 2016

There is a Rainbow in the Flandrian Sky

The 100th Ronde has been the best race of the season so far.
The World Champion demolished the road and the opponents winning the race with a memorable solo.
Ten years after Tommeke, the rainbow jersey shines again in the sky of Flanders.
Sagan's race strategy has been perfect and brave, risking a breakaway far from the finish line and without the favourite number one, Fabian Cancellara.
Even if he is a stronger sprinter than Cancellara, Hulk decided to honour the rainbow jersey and win like only Champions can do.
We'll see what will happen next Sunday in Roubaix, but what a race was the 100th Ronde Van Vlaanderen!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Rider of the Month: March

The rainbow finally appeared in Wevelgem and in our special classification!

Congratulations Peter Sagan!!!