Giro dell'Emilia - Esteban Chaves: "In the last 500 metres when everyone was without fire I tried."

Esteban Chaves:
“It was a really good day for the team. I know the climb because I did this race four years ago so I know that everyone usually attacks early in the final. 
I stayed calm and just followed Fabio Aru because his team Astana were working a lot. In the last 500 metres when everyone was without fire I tried.
It is good that I had the legs to win as the team today was unbelievable. We had Keukeleire in the break and then Jack Haig, Damien Howson and Amets Txurruka put me in good position before the final circuit so it was really good.”

1 Esteban Chaves (ORICA-BikeExchange) 5:27:28
2 Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) +0:02
3 Rigoberto Uran (Cannondale-Drapac) +0:03

Eneco Tour 6 - Luka Pibernik: "At 250 meters to the arrival I prefered to begin my progression and it was the winning choice"

Luka Pibernik:
Photo published for Pibernik surprises sprinters in Lanaken“I won my first World Tour race, I’m very satisfied. LAMPRE-MERIDA approached each stage of the Eneco Tour with a battling spirit, today it was my turn to try to join the breakaways and I succeeded in joining the right one.
The cooperation between the breakaway’s members was very good, we were only focused on defending our advantage on the peloton.

Only when we entered in the final kilometer, I realized that we had the opportunity to won the stage: in my opinion, Gougeard was the strongest rider in the breakway, so I decided to begin the sprint following him, however at 250 meters to the arrival I prefered to begin my progression and it was the winning choice“.


1 L. Pibernik
2 M. McNally
3 B. Van Lerberghe
4 A. Gougeard
5 C. Haga
1 R. Dennis 18:09:37
2 T. Phinney '16
3 T. Martin '24
4 P. Sagan '27
5 N. Terpstra '27


Eneco Tour 5 - Rohan Dennis: "There is a reason why we are the number one team in the world when it comes to the TTT"

Rohan Dennis:
"We finished with 8 riders and we showed that there is a reason why we are the number one team in the world when it comes to the TTT. 
We weren't too stressed about performing. It was more about how much time we would take out of Sagan and Tinkoff. I am pretty satisfied with how we did. It wasn't perfect today. We still have some stuff to work on and you never win easily so everyone in the team suffered a bit but we worked really well together. I would have been happy to finish the TTT with an advantage of anything over 20 seconds and I was aiming personally for around 30 to 40 so to get 34 seconds in the end and bring me to a 27 second advantage in the GC was good. Although it is by no means a given that we will take the win, it will make it a bit easier.
I don't race in Belgium or Holland that often so I have to look to riders like Greg Van Avermaet, Manuel Quinziato and Daniel Oss for direction and the best thing to do at certain stages at the race. We have Taylor Phinney, Van Avermaet, Quinziato and myself in the top ten so we have a lot of cards to play in that sense and if one of us wins that's great. If that means the team wins but I lose it doesn't matter if it is still BMC on the podium."

1. BMC
2. Etixx - Quick-Step
3. Lotto NL-Jumbo
1 Rohan Dennis 13:40:47
2 Taylor Phinney "16
3 Tony Martin "24
4 Peter Sagan "27
5 Niki Terpstra "27

Mountain: On Boukreev's Track 4

See also part 1, 2 and 3

"Above the clouds" by Anatoli Boukreev is a true gold mine. I read it in few days and I'm reading it again and again. 
Bukreev wasn't just a very strong mountaineer, but also a curious man, profound and passionate, eager to understand, looking at the world with wide open eyes. His English wasn't good, moreover English didn't suit his way of expressing a complicated inner world, shaped by a different language. Russian's structure is mostly based on hypotaxis while parataxis is definitely more common in English. I guess the translation has been not easy but here finally readers can apreciate Boukreev's nature and point of view. 
Indead he suffered for the acute awarness he couldn't be really understood, fairly judged, contacted in his solitude. That's probably why he always was so understanding toward others: "But I understand" is one of his most frequent saying, about Sherpas not willing to work, about journalists prising sensation more than the truth, about Indonesian generals using mountaineering as a weapon in their power war against Malaysia. Bukreev was going to shake his head in silence or to reply with a caustic sense of humour.
Mountaineering was his religion, a kind of spiritual practice. A mix of nature and education made impossible for him to consider it otherwise. In December 1989 he wrote: "Now, recalling Kanchenjunga's storehouses of snow makes my heart ache like memories of a love that has been lost. Six years, not six months, will pass and I know that I will feel the same way. She possessed a purity and a grandeur that are incomparable. Her summits provide reasons that make the human struggle for physical and spiritual perfection meaningful, motivators that are more profound that vain aspiration for fame or wealth. Perhaps this sound idealistic, but my experiences on Kanchenjunga make those reasons seem shallow and vulgar.
Confronted with the petty concerns of my ordinary life, I feel empty, as if I am wasting a priceless gift... the brief time that is allotted to each human for creativity" (p.36)
Note that in Russian grammatical genders exist: in this passage Bukreev uses the word 'gorà' (mountain) that is feminine. The translator's choice to use the pronoun 'she' is therefore correct, rather necessary to mantain the sematical relation with the word 'love'. The mountain is described like a loved woman in a way that remind the troubadours' poems and the medieval knights' quest
Indead Anatoli Bukreev's concept of mountaineering was the 'quest': "It's about man's struggle to overcome his innate weakness." he wrote in the next page (p.37) and again, in words that have become famous: "Mountains are not stadiums where I satisfay my ambition to achieve. They are cathedrals, grand and pure, the houses of my religion. I approach them as any human goes to worship. On their altars I strive to perfect myself physically and spiritually. In their presence I attempt to understand my life, to exorcise vanity, greed, and fear. From the vantage of their lofty summits, I view my past, dream of the future, and with unusual acuteness I experience the present moment. That struggle renews my strength and clears my vision. In the mountains I celebrate creation, for on each journey I am reborn". (p.36-37)
He remained loyal to this romantic concept and many years later, in Novembre 1997, during an in interview he denied the verb 'to conquer' is appropriate to describe the ascent to the summit of a mountain. "To me conquer means something like rape" he said "to take by force. I don't think anyone should aim to conquering anything, and it is the wrong word to apply to our climbing achievements. At best a person is able to rise to the same level as a mountain for a short time." As well as the Dame whom knights devote their courage and mystic love, Boukreev's she-mountain demands respect, humilty and submission. She decides who's allowed to the summit, and who must die.
That sport is an evolution of spiritual strive for perfection, it isn't new. You can find more here about the Tour de France and procycling modern knights. Something more can be added about the communist, Soviet version of this topic. Ernesto Che Guevara has written a book whose title is "The new man", proto-socialist Ludwig Feuerbach stated that 'god' is indead 'humanity' in its perfection, recalling a concept shared by all time mystics, from Lao-Tzu to Meister Eckhart and Rumi. Karl Marx wasn't far from here when he wrote humans just have to retrive their own goods dilapidated in Heaven, meaning they alienated in god their own human perfection. And that's what Anatoli Bukreev had been educated to in the Soviet Union. Rethoric or reality, that was his ethical background. He tried to live up to it.
......................................MORE TO COME...............


Eneco Tour 4 - Peter Sagan: "I had to hold my line next to Démare, but that’s sprinting."

Peter Sagan:
"I didn’t know I’d won because it was very close with André and after I was waiting for the final result, but I’m very happy with the win because it’s another case of very good timing with the headwind finish. It was a nervous sprint at the end and I had to hold my line next to Démare, but that’s sprinting. I’m happy, it’s good that I got some more seconds from today. We want to make a good team time trial and do our best and we’ll see how it goes."


1. Sagan
2. Griepel
3. Kristoff
4. Demare
5. Groenewegen
1 Peter Sagan 13:17:29
2 Rohan Dennis '07
3 Jos Van Emden '12
4 Jasha Sütterlin '21
5 Martin Elmiger '21

Eneco Tour 4: Tom Boonen crashed out but "fortunately the cervical X-ray didn’t reveal any injury"

"Stage 4 of the Eneco Tour was supposed to be a quiet one for the riders, but unfortunately things took an undesired turn for seven-time Monument winner Tom Boonen, who went down in the second hour of racing and landed on his head, after hitting a pothole as he was trying to get food from his pocket. 
Right after the incident, reminiscent of the one in the 2015 Abu Dhabi Tour, where Tom crashed and hit his head, suffering a left temporal bone fracture, the 35-year-old was attended by Etixx – Quick-Step’s doctor, who decided that the best thing for Tom – who had a few abrasions on his body – was to abandon the race as precautionary measure and go by ambulance to the nearest hospital, so that his condition gets evaluated. 
Fortunately, the cervical X-ray he underwent at the St. Vincentius Hospital in Deinze didn’t reveal any injury, so Tom – winner of three races this season – was cleared by the doctors to go home, where he is to rest until the end of the week, before returning to training."


Eneco Tour 3 - Peter Sagan: "I think God opened the street for me in the finishing sprint like Moses parted the seas."

Peter Sagan:
I think God opened the street for me in the finishing sprint like Moses parted the seas. 
It was fun and I’m very happy to win here. Thanks again to all my teammates as they did an unbelievable job on the last laps and helped me today. For now, we’re doing very well but we’ll take it day-by-day and see how we are tomorrow and then in the team time trial. Sunday is still some way away but for now we’re doing well and we’ll try to continue like this.”


1SAGANPeter Tinkoff 650504:10:36
2VAN POPPELDanny Team Sky42030,,
3BOUHANNINacer Cofidis, Solutions Crédits2818,,
4GROENEWEGENDylan Team LottoNL - Jumbo1 13,,
5MCNALLYMark Wanty - Groupe Gobert1 10,,
6NIZZOLOGiacomo Trek - Segafredo  7,,
7ELMIGERMartin IAM Cycling  4,,
8KITTELMarcel Etixx - Quick Step  3,,
9GREIPELAndré Lotto Soudal  2,,
10KRISTOFFAlexander Team Katusha   1,,
1(1)DENNISRohan BMC Racing Team88:35:24
2(3)SAGANPeter Tinkoff 0:03
3(2)VAN EMDENJos Team LottoNL - Jumbo 0:05
4(4)SÜTTERLINJasha Movistar Team 0:14
5(23)ELMIGERMartin IAM Cycling ,,
6(5)KELDERMANWilco Team LottoNL - Jumbo 0:15
7(6)BRÄNDLEMatthias IAM Cycling ,,
8(8)ROGLIČPrimož Team LottoNL - Jumbo 0:16
9(7)PHINNEYTaylor BMC Racing Team ,,
10(9)KITTELMarcel Etixx - Quick Step 0:17