No dreams today. Just a broken one but it was time. Ok, I open the door and walk away. There is a world out there. It was for good. I'm happy I still could watch cycling passionately in spite of the deep disappointment and pain. I love it more it seems, more than expected. It love it for itself.
Cycling is just life reflected in the small mirror of a race: everyday a story with main characters and underplots, joy, intrigue and tears, landscapes to describe, feelings to feel, reasons to explain and to contest.
|Sky Bus in Paris-Nice ;) Pic by team Sky|
In Paris-Nice Westra touched the final victory with just a finger: he got all in one second and after two he lost everything. Because Wiggins was too strong again, too flat on his frame, too firm in his moving, too focused and great. Greatness is something you read on a body and on a face, on the way a champion looks at the road.
What is great in Wiggins is his determination: he trasnformed himself, his body, his career. He went over his previous greatness in the track to achieve a different glory on the road. Impressive. I didn't believed it when he first appreared on the Tour. Now I do. Chapeau.
Westra probably lost the stage victory in the last meters to Mende finish, where he started celebrating too early, incredulous and proud. But he couldn't know he would have been fighting for the GC in Nice. He almost win. In that 'almost' - like ever - there is an universe of regret. The guy who had left cycling for friends is back, did a super race and learnt for sure his lessons. Wiggins already knew it perfectly. But Perraud? his time resisted till the last storm and he is 3th: chapeau to him too. Chapeau to Coppel (5th, 11th in GC) and to Cunego, the redivive (9th): both expected, both arrived. The young French rider could do even better but he confirmed his talent. Like Uran, like Van Garderen (Best Youth), like Jeannesson. The Old Dogs weren't bad too! The unlucky Leipheimer fought like a lion, Kloden and Voight did a very good TT (7th and 21th). Frank Schleck ended 26th, 24th in the final GC and it's a quite good results for a rider who targets races late in the season and had no team to do better: RSNT squad was decimated by a virus... Vacansoleil won the team classification and Frederik Veuchelen is the Polka Jersey: a great result for an ex small team. Greatness is something you gain on the field.
Or ... on the climb very often! like Vincenzo Nibali in Parti di Tivo. He did all on his own this time, just Agnoli helped him in the first part of the ascent. But if I must say who did the race I must say Astana: Tiralongo put down an hard attack. I wondered if it was for Kreuziger of for himself so hard it was. He went away. At first nobody reacted: the front group included all the big names but was still large. Horner was waiting for Kreuziger and didn't move. When he did you could see how powerfull he was, how strong and confortable making a brutal selection and controling the direct opponents.
|Horner at the start of today Tirreno Pic by RSNT|
Tiralongo was caught but not dropped till the decisive attack by Nibali. Horner let him go because the gap in GC was rassuring but sprinted to limitate Kreuziger's gain. Horner is a master of cycling, watching him like watching Jens Voight you just enjoy the show. He's 40, just recovered from a serious sickness but is there, atop a steep climb, atop a general classifaction fighting against riders like Nibali and Kreuziger who could be his sons. Amazing. "Horner è un vero duro" Bartoli said during the Gazzetta streaming: "Horner is a true strong man".
Nibali won his stage, confirmed his leadership in the team and his price in the market, giving he's told on the way to leave Liquigas for money issues. He is in a good shape already: I expect him in the Classics now because as he said he changed his way to live the season, racing day by day to win not to wait. He seems right sofar.
Roman Kreuziger is really strong too and has a strong team. He finally found his balance and could be a serious podium contender in the next Tour or Giro. Somebody objected he can't last the 3 weeks yet. I think he can if supported by an adequated team. Cameron Mayer's Tirreno shows how important that is: he was 3th yesterday, today is 10th. He resisted because his team supported him in two stages simply awful for a rider like him. I really hope he wins the White Jersey: tomorrow he's going to suffer again but in the last TT he can improve his GC. Allez Cam!
A last word for Domenico Pozzovivo: I'm glad he was amongh the best ones today, he finished 6th. In such a finish he could win. He had could win. In another life. I already told that a few times: Pozzovivo lost the train sadly. But he's still there, in the second row of greatness.
|1||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling||0:19:12|
|2||Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM||0:00:02|
|3||Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale||0:00:33|
|4||Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha Team||0:00:47|
|5||Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun||0:00:51|
|6||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||0:00:52|
|7||Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan||0:00:58|
|8||David Moncoutie (Fra) Cofidis Le Credit En Ligne||0:00:59|
|9||Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD|
|10||Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling||0:01:06|
|21||Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan||0:01:32|
|22||Levi Leipheimer (USA) Omega Pharma-Quick Step||0:01:33|
|23||Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan||0:01:35|
|24||Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team|
|25||Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick Step||0:01:37|
|26||Fränk Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan||0:01:41|
|27||Bart De Clercq (Bel) Lotto-Belisol Team||0:01:43|
|28||Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling||0:01:44|
|1||Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling||28:12:16|
|2||Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM||0:00:08|
|3||Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Movistar Team||0:01:10|
|4||Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha Team||0:01:24|
|5||Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:01:54|
|6||Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ-Bigmat||0:02:13|
|7||Maxime Monfort (Bel) RadioShack-Nissan||0:02:21|
|8||Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quick Step||0:02:42|
|9||Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Astana Pro Team||0:03:30|
|10||Angel Vicioso Arcos (Spa) Katusha Team||0:03:59|
|11||Jerome Coppel (Fra) Saur-Sojasun||0:04:28|
|12||Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling||0:04:40|
|13||Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD||0:04:41|
|14||Maxime Bouet (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale||0:04:50|
|15||Daniel Navarro Garcia (Spa) Team Saxo Bank||0:05:26|
|16||Jose Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team||0:05:33|
|17||Luis Leon Sanchez Gil (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team||0:05:54|
|18||Andreas Klöden (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan||0:06:11|
|19||Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ-Bigmat||0:06:13|
|20||Nicolas Roche (Irl) Ag2R La Mondiale||0:06:28|
|21||Evgeny Petrov (Rus) Astana Pro Team||0:06:33|
|22||Jens Voigt (Ger) RadioShack-Nissan||0:06:38|
|23||Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team||0:06:39|
|24||Fränk Schleck (Lux) RadioShack-Nissan||0:06:46|
1 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling
|1||Frederik Veuchelen (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM||64||pts|
1 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team
|1||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||5:46:33|
|2||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana||0:00:16|
|3||Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan|
|4||Johnny Hoogerland (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM||0:00:18|
|5||Michele Scarponi (Ita) Lampre-ISD|
|6||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) Colnago - CSF Inox|
|1||Chris Horner (USA) RadioShack-Nissan|
|2||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Astana||0:00:05|
|3||Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale||0:00:12|