8.04.2015

Cycling So Far: good news, bad news, sad news


Results aren't all, are they? and sometimes you are allowed to give them random, or better to give them in your own order. So... ladies and gentlemen: TAYLOR PHINNEY! He's back. After a months of pain and hard work, after a crash caused by an organisation's motorbike and a badly broken leg BMC announced that Phinney was going to race in Tour of Utah, but with no pressure and no expectations. You see: 3rd on a beautiful podium! CONGRATS!
I feel the need to add my view: sport isn't just about the body, it's the most about the head. Phinney isn't just a talented rider, he's a cleaver man. Character isn't only nature, it's also and more something you educate. 

Taylor Phinney:
"I didn't play the sprint so well. I had a little bit of a gap coming out of the last corner and just hit it. I was a bit nervous I guess.
I felt pretty terrible in the break-away, it was a cold, rain-soaked race. But Jackson told me the time gap and I just put it together that the sprinter's team were working really hard. With the wet, and also the tiny little climb on the circuit, it could be a good opportunity to go for it. I saw some guys attacking right before we got into town and followed some of those moves. I got a little excited." 

In Tour of Poland Marcel Kittel also made his comeback. And, by the way, the great Susan Westemeyer ‏informs that "It is not Kit-TEL. It is pronounced Kit-tle." and that's a little shocking because it seemed such an easy one! :/

Marcel kittel:
“We rode the final corner in the neutral and at first I thought it was going to be difficult but after we passed through it a few times during the race I got a better feeling. It was a tricky final so it was necessary to be in front with the whole team and we managed this in a good way. The boys were fighting hard for me and brought me into a good position, and although it wasn’t easy to stay together we didn’t lose faith. It’s a very important win for me and it’s too long since I last had this feeling. I had to fight back and I am happy that I never gave up and can now be racing for victory again. It’s a race I’ve been looking forward to, and with two more days of possible sprints we can look forward to racing hard.” 

Embedded image permalinkConfirmations so far, then we had some 'first': not the first victory for Danny van Poppel, that's sure! but the first time he didn't win at the sprint. Gutsy move for TFR Dutch star and a well deserved top result.
It was the Tour of Wallonie, dominated and conquered by Etixx-QS Niki Terpstra

Danny van Poppel:
“I know I am good in uphill finishes so I thought let’s just try and see what happens. I went full gas up the climb. At the top, I looked back because if Gilbert was there then I knew it was over. When I saw I had a gap I just went as hard as I could, it was still a long way to the finish line and I did not know if I would hold it. This is something new for me, normally I win in the sprint. It was very nervous going into the downhill [before the climb] and a big fight for position. We knew that we could win it there, but it was tough with just three, but Boy did a great job. He was first into the chicane into the climb and I just went from there.”

The first pro victory instead for Adam Yates, one of the purest talents in the peloton, and very very young! He won the Klasikoa in such a messy finale that he didn't get it at first...
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Adam Yates:
“Incredible. I won, but I didn’t know I had won. I spoke on the radio to my sport director but because of the crowds the radio was too quiet. On the final climb there was a breakaway still up the road. Then there was a lot of carnage on the climb, there was a crash with a motorbike, and so I just went full gas. At the time I didn’t know if I had reached the lead or not. For sure this is the biggest win of my career. And it’s my first victory this year.
In 2014 I went to the Tour of Basque Country got sick and crashed, last year's San Sebastian I crashed and this year's Tour of Basque Country I crashed again. Normally when I come here I don’t do anything, just crash. It’s fantastic, hopefully I can come back next year and defend my title.”

Jempy Drucker had to fight to find his place at the top of the game but there he is: winner in Ride London. Not bad as his first pro victory! A shining past in the cyclocross, some years in a continental team, finally the chance to prove himself with BMC... and he's keeping all his promises! bravo!
Note the nice podium completed by Ben Swift and Mike Teunissen. Sep Vanmarcke tried to go earlier and was 4th.

Jempy Drucker:
"I am a fast guy, so I was pretty confident," Drucker said after winning his first race of the season. "I looked a bit to Ben Swift because I knew he was a bit nervous. He wanted to do something. I tried to keep his wheel and focus on him." 

Embedded image permalinkUnfortunately it isn't all good news: in Klasikoa Greg van Avermaet was on his way to a likely win when he got hit by a motorbike. That's happening too often for my taste. Too many motorbikes? unskilled pilot? I hope the UCI will investigate.

BMC press release:
"Greg was robbed and the BMC Racing Team was robbed when this happened. I am appalled that this could occur in a WorldTour race. This is the second time this year we have had an incident with a local organizer of a WorldTour race where they have acted in a scandalous fashion. The UCI has been nowhere in this to resolve the problem. This comes back to safety issues in races where the local organizer of WorldTour events and the UCI are negligent in providing a safe racing environment. 
This was not a sporting incident. This was caused by pure negligence, which cost the team millions of dollars in lost publicity. Therefore, we plan to explore every legal option available to us." 

Embedded image permalinkProcycling is already a risky sport. In Tour of Poland stage 2 we had a big crash in the last km, almost at the sprint. A carnage whose consequences were even less serious than expected, and still it's no way. 
I like reporting Alex Dowsett's comment. He said: "Made me quite anti disc brakes as well. Just my opinion but I think we'd see a ton more injuries from mass pileups like that."

Then we had a positive antidoping test in Tour of Utah: Tom Danielson, for testosterone. That's his second failure in spite he had stated: "I would never ever take anything like this especially after everything I have gone through." Ditto.
I think that sory confirms my point: young top riders are clean - not meaning 'bread and water', medicalisation exists - while old riders keep an old mentality, sadly shared with small teams and lower catheories. Some old riders would be better to just retire: they belong to a different age of cycling. And yes, I include Valverde and Contador. But once they retired I don't want to see them welcome as heros at races in the vips area or in a tv studio. Forgive BUT forget. Let them go.
Finally a very sad news: 22 yr old Chiara Pierobon (Top Girls-Fassa Bortolo) died, traveling to Sparkassengiro. A true tragedy that less speechless. That's life. And THAT we should NOT forget. Lets give it all, lets enjoy and be as good as we can!

For the full results of those races go to the still great Procyclingstats.

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