|Final podium Pic (c)LaPresse|
Alberto Contador? really? It seems that he's back too, after Alejandro Valverde and Davide Rebellin, another rider who served a bann for doping and has no problem in smashing again the field. To be honest Contador had some problem when he came back, he didn't look anymore the same. It's over now: another great win under the belt for him and a splendid shape. I read doubtfull comments around but what can we say? only that we are surprised. Or maybe not: doping has never turned a donkey in a horse.
As far as me I would have liked more a victory by Michal Kwiatkovski, a young rider absolutely great but with a large margin of improvement. He's a complete rider: a good climber, a good cronoman, able to resist in the flat. I'm looking forward to see him in the Classics!
Nairo Quintana... still doesn't persuade me, I'm sorry. I didn't watch Tirreno so I can't tell how he was but in general I don't find exciting his way to race. For sure he's strong. Peter Sagan is very strong too and a versatile rider but in my opinion not the monster many consider him. I wait for him in the North Classics because that should be his terrain. More than a sprinter or a finisseur Sagan looks to me a Roubaix or Ronde's rider but to get a top result there he must work on himself, on his mentality more than on his form or skill. Those are races for mature riders, and I'm not talking of age.
The Italians in the light spot: Pelucchi, Canola, Malori. The last one isn't new but the first two are very young. Malori aims to the Worlds ITT and given that in San Benedetto he let behind champions like Fabian Cancellara, Bradley Wiggins and Tony Martin. About the final ITT: I was cheering for Alex Dowsett and he did a great ride (6th), not his best though. He agreed with me that he can do better than that, maybe not after such a hard week. Alex is one of my favourite riders and a very nice, funny guy: you should follow him on twitter if you don't yet.
|Adriano Malori Pic (c)LaPresse|
Mark Cavendish: he's going to ride Milano-San Remo - back to its classic route. Is he ready? who are his main contenders? In my opinion he's now more a rider for Points Jersey than the pure sprinter he used to be... and just because of that Milano-San Remo suits him well. He's fast but he can endure the climbs and the lenght. He's motivated. In this Tirreno he refined his form. There were two stages good for him, Pelucchi won the second one - but we must consider the crash that messed it up.
To remark the very good performance of AG2R also in Tirreno, with Jean-Christophe Peraud 4th in the final GC - the first time for a French since a very long time! - and Pozzovivo 6th. Also Trek Factory Racing placed two riders in the top ten: Aredondo 5th and Kiserlovski 7th. Team Tinkoff-Saxo won the race by Contador but also Roman Kreuziger made it to the podium and that's very nice by a rider who had a rough time but moved on. Nieve 10th and Wiggins' podium in the itt save the face but Team Sky's Tirreno has been quite disappointing: problems at his back prevented Chris Froome from start, Paris-Nice previous winner Richie Porte switched last minute to the Italian race with big ambitions but had to retire dued to illness (as well as Dario Cataldo). Sum it to Geraint Thomas' crash in france and you'll have a depressing picture... But they look with optimism to the North Classics, traditionally not their cup of tea...
Finally: Tirreno is a splendid race but they should stop with monster climbs. I already told that: it isn't fair. A climb like that can be good in a classic not in a stages race where people are playing also strategy to keep or get a Jersey. Balance is required. Tv show isn't all. But I see that RCS doesn't listen.
Final GC Top Ten
|1||Alberto Contador Velasco (Spa) Tinkoff-Saxo||25:28:45|
|2||Nairo Alexander Quintana Rojas (Col) Movistar Team||0:02:05|
|3||Roman Kreuziger (Cze) Tinkoff-Saxo||0:02:14|
|4||Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale||0:02:39|
|5||Julian David Arredondo Moreno (Col) Trek Factory Racing||0:02:54|
|6||Domenico Pozzovivo (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale||0:03:04|
|7||Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Trek Factory Racing||0:03:09|
|8||Daniel Moreno Fernandez (Spa) Team Katusha||0:03:16|
|9||Michele Scarponi (Ita) Astana Pro Team|
|10||Mikel Nieve Ituralde (Spa) Team Sky||0:03:19|