3.31.2012

Ronde van Vlanderen preview

Excited? I am. Flanders is one of the most beautiful races in cycling. Somebody even say better than Roubaix because there luck takes a too large role. Neverthless Roubaix is splendid. Flanders is just more tactical. Not less hard. 
You know the route changed ( http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/flanders-route-changed-after-cobbles-theft ). When you read that "thieves stole a significant section of cobbles on the fearsome Koppenberg climb" you get astonished as when you read a 'fan' (??) stole Cancellara's wheel when he was laying after a crash. Anyway and for different reasons Koppenberg has been stolen from all us. I'm traditionalist in cycling so... I'm sorry. But I someway agree the race will be even more exciting because the last muer is nearer to the finish.
The race looked limitated to the duel between Tom Boonen and Fabian Cancellara but the long Belgian via crucis of cobbled races showed a larger group of serious contenders. I voted for Devolder in the poll but really can't say now who will be the winner. This year Ronde is very very open. 
For sure all the top ten riders will be proud, all the guys who will bring their bike to the finish - like in Roubaix - as well. Good luck everybody and respect because you already did something if you start here!
Start list
Source http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/tour-of-flanders-2012/start-list


3.30.2012

Look what I found ;)

Maciej Bodnar talking Italian and introducing himself for Liquigas YouTube channel! too cool! You can find a vid for each Liquigas rider there so... check it. But I wasn't looking for it, I was looking for this:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ygi5XDlT9s De Panne last TT. But Bodnar's vid is better :D

Ronde van Vlanderen: Fabian Cancellara press conf

De Panne: bravo Maciej! final results looking to Flanders

De Panne podium
Yes I like VERY much :D I confirm my previous opinion that Driedaagse De Panne is a boring race and also admiting the first stage has been surprisingly interesting - the most owing to Liquigas strategy - I can't say the same about the second one (just a sprint: Guarnieri lost again, Kittel won). As far as stage 3 is concerned... the morning road race was just a short flat circuit around De Panne (Kristoff won) so - as usual - the final victory was got in the last TT. I watched it with a mixed feeling: it was technical, quite short but longer than a prologue, with a 360° curve where riders must almost stop and start again. You had to take some risks here to do a good time and few riders wanted to. TT specialists like Durbridge or Sergent gave the impression to be racing prudently. That's normal. Many of those guys were already focused on Sunday Ronde van Vlanderen, one of the Holy Races in cycling calendar. No prudence anyway could stop Sylvain Chavanel (1st), Lieuwe Westra (2nd) and Stijn Devolder (10th): they are in a top shape, are not hiding it and will be strictly watched on Sunday.
I like very much because Chavanel is one of my favourite riders. He has got guts and character. He's talented and in my opinion good for stage races as well as for classics, for the Ardennes as well as for the Flanders. He looks in his maturity now and in the shape of the life. So strong he can hardly control is strenght. His team will try to win again by Tom Boonen but a Chavanel like that can be a very good alternative.
Just like Boonen and Chavanel (and Terpstra), Westra and Devolder are team mates: Devolder aims to the victory on Sunday and I will be surprised if Westra wins... however THAT Westra is impressive. Lets not forget him.
I like very much also because I like Jesse Sergent: 6th in the TT isn't a big results for him but 6th in a prestigious - even if peculiar - short tour like De Panne is great for such a young rider. 
Above all I like very much because I like very much Maciej Bodnar: to see him on the final podium was simply amazing. I interviewed a few riders sofar and Maciej is one of the most interesting and nice amongh them. Read  here: http://allezandy.blogspot.it/2011/12/yes-we-like-maciej-bodnar.html ....what he said. I got especially impressed by two answers: first of all when I ask riders about their favourite book they often reply evasively but Maciej is a good reader. When I think about him thought I always remember these worlds: "I'm satisfied with my season but you could always do better :) ". That is the spirit!
Bodnar isn't a leader usually but an hard team worker: "I am a passista so my field is the flat but when I am in a good shape I can afford some short climbs ;) Anyway my job consists in keeping my leaders covered in the flat saving them from the wind, puling the peloton and other works in the flat." That he said about himself. So maybe you find his name in a break more than in a top ten. A podium is splendid and he can do more. His dream race? Paris-Roubaix: in just few days!
Bravo Maciej! I hope to write again and soon about you! :D
BDW 1
Bravo also the young Tosh Van Der Sande who won his first jersey (mountain) on the muers of Belgium.
BDW 2 
Bravo the 'old' Andy Cappelle who won the sprints jersey by a 50 km solo break. The peloton let him go, ok but he endured.
BDW 3
I got quite angry this morning finding almost NOTHING about De Panne on the Gazzetta. Ok the interview with Gatto by Pastonesi, ok the article about Mantova doping case... but a picture of that podium, a decent report of the race, two words about a rider like Bodnar who lives in Italy and speacks Italian... I expected more!
TT
1 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:17:49
2 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:04
3 Svein Tuft (Can) GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:17
4 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:18
5 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:19
6 Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:22
7 Tomas Vaitkus (Ltu) GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:31
8 Luke Durbridge (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:32
9 Guillaume Van Keirsbulck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:38
10 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:39
 Points
 1 Alexander Kristoff
Sprints
1 Andy Cappelle (Bel) Accent Jobs - Willems Veranda's 9  pts
2 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
Mountain
 1 Tosh Van Der Sande
Team
1 Omega Pharma-Quickstep
GC
1 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 12:05:44
2 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:04
3 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:14
4 Svein Tuft (Can) GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:17
5 Niki Terpstra (Ned) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 0:00:18
6 Jesse Sergent (NZl) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:22
7 Luke Durbridge (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team 0:00:32
8 Stijn Devolder (Bel) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:39
9 Markel Irizar Arranburu (Spa) RadioShack-Nissan 0:00:51
10 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:55

3.29.2012

BMC press release about Mantova doping case

"BMC Racing Team has not been contacted by Mantova  investigators and the investigation itself has been not notifyed to it. We will not start any action about Alessandro Ballan or Mauro Santambrogio till when a competent authority  (WADA, UCI, CONI or  Federazione Ciclistica Italiana) will ask us.  Both riders completely collaborated with the investigators. Till when a court will have not judged them, both riders must be considered not guilty, also by the team.
 Jim Ochowicz, President / General Manager, BMC Racing Team"


Team doping by Lampre?

On today Gazzetta there is a long article saying so. You can read the story in English here: http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/32-named-in-mantova-investigation-to-learn-if-they-will-go-on-trial  
The Mantova investigators decided to go on and so now a long legal iter starts. Riders will probably keep on racing because nobody tested positive in a doping control but evidences are heavy and judges didn't believe to the defence. Those are the names: "Alessandro Ballan (BMC), Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD), Marco Bandiera (Omega-Quick Step), Marzio Bruseghin (Movistar), Mauro Da Dalto (Liquigas-Cannondale), Manuele Mori (Lampre-ISD), Massimiliano Mori (formerly of Lampre) Daniele Pietropolli (Lampre-ISD), Simone Ponzi (Astana), Mauro Santambrogio (BMC) and Michael Rasmussen (Christina Watches). Others on the list are Lampre-ISD manager Beppe Saronni, directeurs sportifs Fabrizio Bontempi and Maurizio Piovani, and former professional Mariano Piccoli." 
Personally I am not surprised by the news itself but sorry to see Simone Ponzi in this list. He's a good young guy. Doping always leaves a bitter taste in your mouth, moreover when people you like and trusted are involved. But team doping is something different from individual doping: the single rider is just a part in a system, he's forced to conform. I don't mean he isn't guilty because as Hegel says "Nobody is forced without he allows to be forced". Nerverthless it takes more to decide something than to accept it. To refuse it require guts, selfconfidence, a strong character. I know a very promising rider who stoped because he refused to dope. Honestly I think he made a mistake because as a talented rider you have the right to race clean and you should let nobody stop you. 
Lampre case regards 2008/2009. I firmly believe things are changing. So I want to say that's a good news for cycling even if an hard one.

3.28.2012

Three Days of De Panne: Liquigas rocks the race

Sorry I'm late! I'm having VERY busy days...  But I watched that race, ah yes: I did. I use to find De Panne boring but yesterday I was open eyes and open mouth because team Liquigas REALLY rocked it: they controled it since the start to the finish, using both strategy and power. Oss didn't break away: he made the race hard allowing Sagan to sit on the wheel all the day while OPQS was geting tired chassing alone. The small group including Herman, Oss, Westra, Guarnieri and Langeveld never pulled hard because they were almost all working for a faster mate waiting in the peloton. In fact Liquigas and Astana didn't chase but stoped every attacks. Nothing serious to be honest. When the serious one came, by a Stijn Devolder in super shape, Sagan himself moved. Greiple had a bad timed flat. Boonen and Cancellara weren't there. Liquigas and Astana solved it at the sprint and a photofinish was needed to say it was Sagan. He finished what Oss begane. On the Gazzeta they say Inglinsky betraied Guarnieri sprinting for himself (11th). Anyway Guarnieri made an excellent sprint. He will try again today. Nice to see so many Italian riders in the top 5: Sabatini was the leader Sagan said - I'm not sure I believe it... - but Elia Favilli in 5th position is cool. In add we saw a very good Ponzi (Astana) and a still good Marangoni (Yes We Still Like!). Bodnar is 4th in GC :D
Are you already thinking to Sunday Ronde? I say Boonen, I say Cancellara, many say Langeveld and  Terpstra, somebody said Chavanel yesterday - he showed an amazing shape pulling all the last muer and trying twice to excape. I say also Devolder, Pozzato and and Ballan. I finally say Bennati: Cancellara is RSNT leader of course but will be very watched... Bennati could take advantage by a larger freedom... if Lady Luck stops wasting his chances of course!
And now lets watch stage 2! A break is on and the gap is at 6'37" as it just reached the top of the Kemmelberg....
Stage 1
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:33:41
2 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team
3 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
4 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team
5 Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
GC
1 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale 4:33:31  
2 Jacopo Guarnieri (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:04  
3 Fabio Sabatini (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:06  
4 Maciej Bodnar (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:07  
5 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Katusha Team 0:00:10  
6 Elia Favilli (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia    
7 Marcel Sieberg (Ger) Lotto Belisol Team    
8 Baptiste Planckaert (Bel) Landbouwkrediet-Euphony    
9 Tom Van Asbroeck (Bel) Topsport Vlaanderen - Mercator    
10 Yauheni Hutarovich (Blr) FDJ-Big Mat

3.27.2012

Dauphiné 2012 route

"Dauphiné unveiled." Uci says "Perfect rehearsal for the #TourDeFrance, with a long TT on stage4 and Grand Colombier's climb on stage 5"
Probably we will see here Andy Schleck.
All stages:
http://www.letour.fr/2012/CDD/COURSE/fr/le_parcours.html













































3.26.2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

I had no time to celebrate... but my friends made me feel we are close in spite of distance. Thanks to all them! 
I have been especially happy to get a message by Maciej Bodnar :) I hope to see him in front often and soon! 
I spent the morning working in school and the afternoon at my son's training: a sunny windy day! a good one. And now, after a good chat with a special friend, I can say good night. 
I'm older dudes... wiser...not sure!

Albasini wins Volta a Catalunya:Happy to pay back team mates by finishing off the job

I didn't watch the race so was curious to read how it went. I find really nice by Albasini to considere his victory the result of a team work: he got the leader jersey by a stage victory but for to keep it he needed the help and sacrifice of each one. It has been an atypical race, many big names retired, the weather conditions were sometimes extreme. Albasini and his team resisted: bravo!
GreenEdge press release
" (...) The final stage was a short, nervous day between Badalona and Barcelona that included three category three climbs and a category one climb. The early break of nine riders never gained more than two minutes on the field, and the last rider from the break was reabsorbed around 30 kilometers from the finish on the slopes of the penultimate climb.

"There was really no moment today when we were under terrible pressure," said Neil Stephens. "Those moments came earlier in the week. Today, we observed the different objectives of the other teams. When Garmin made their interests known, we let them ride on the front and took a secondary role. We knew all we needed to do was get Michael to the final climb. He started the day with a 1:30 lead. Even if he had gotten into a bit of a trouble on the last climb, which he never did, it would have been unlikely for him to lose that much time."

Albasini not only stayed with the lead group on the final climb, he also managed to stay with the leaders on the technical descent. Julien Simon (Saur-Sojasun) took his second stage win ahead of Francesco Gavazzi (Astana) and Damiano Cunego (Lampre-ISD). Albasini finished on the same time as the stage winner to retain both the leader's jersey and his 1:30 advantage over Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi). Jurgen Van den Broeck (Lotto-Belisol) rounded out the overall podium two seconds further down.

"I had Daryl [Impey] with me on the final climb," explained Albasini. "He has been by my side throughout the entire week. Each of my teammates did everything we asked them to do. They rode an incredible race, and I'm happy to pay them back by finishing off the job with the win."

3.25.2012

Reset - and daily races

Sometimes you have to. I spent the day in the country house and was very busy with rural works. I had not been there since ages and noticed at the first sight something weird in our hedge: a part of it was 'short', the other one was... well... completely cut. The last time it was almost the opposite because my family decided to have the hedge cut by the gardener but my cousin stoped him in the midle of the work saying she didn't agree. She changed her mind it seems and asked him... to cut her part completely! The point is the hedge needs to be well cut now and then if not it gets weak and dies. My cousin thinks a short hedge is ugly but had to face it. As a result our hedge looks weird, even weirder than before, when our part was short and nacked and her part was hight and wild. I know: usually an hedge is ONE hedge and you have it cut all at the same level. We are a very democratic family or better an anarchic messy family where each one does what he or she wants. Nervetheless the gardener knows the hedge MUST be cut and if you don't do that at the right time you have to 'reset'.
In life it's the same. Sometimes a situation goes out your control and the only thing you can do is to reset, to stop and to make a new start. Often it looks as ugly as a nacked hedge but give it a little time and it will sprout again. That need patience. But how nice those light green leaves are! the wil cover all the branches very soon and you will be forced to admit it's more beautiful than before. I am in this age of my life: I messed up ok but now it's over and the new situation is definitely better. I'm enjoying it. Morever I'm enjoying the fact I have the power to control it. No more wild hedges here, be sure. 
My uncle died two years ago and now I - with my brother - am the owner of this place: a large villa with garden and wood. Step by step I'm making it confortable again after years of neglect. After a long morning of work and a good lunch I turned the tv on and watched Gent-Wevelgem in total peace. Meanwhile my son and my ex were destrying a piece of my childhood: a small wooden house builded by my uncle when I was two years old. I used to play in it since when I was ten or so. Inside there were my childish drawing on the walls and I got moved when my son came bringing a board with an heart and two letters I and E: I for Ilaria, E for Enrico, my first love! He's married now and has got two little daughters. That small house was more than 30 years old and in very bad conditions: it made no sense to keep it longer. Sad in one way, exciting in another one because... life goes on, you are no more a child and... your future is a present, you don't have to wait anymore.
Peter Sagan is one of those riders whose career starts very early and you often judge too strictly. He lost Gent-Wevelgem today, he lost it at the sprint after a long day in the right position and no mistakes. Taylor Phinney is also a greatly talented guy but luckier because he is allowed to mature without that pressure. He was in the race but we didn't see him. That's ok. He's learning his lessons. About Sagan you can say what Hegel used to say about Schelling: he's doing his apprenticeship in public. That's harder.
Yesterday stage of the Volta a Catalunya was all and just in Sanchez's move, today race amost all in Cancellara's attack: there was a brocken break, two men in front (Lundt and Izaguirre) and a few dropped. The Berna locomotive attacked on the last 'muer' - Sagan on his wheel - reached the small group and led it powerfully disintegrating the duo advantage. But the most important thing was that Cavendish couldn't follow, couldn't even stay with the chassing group of Boonen. Dropped, cut away from the fight for the final sprint, left behinde by his team that didn't stop Knees and Boasson Hagen to help him, the Manxman lost another important chance to show the rainbow jersey on a finish line. 
Cancellara's move was decisive but not victorious. His group caught the break but was caught as well. Bennati was amongh the strongest riders in the peloton but also amongh the most unlucky ones: prepared Cancellara's attack, acted as a stoper, came back to the front with Boonen and all the sprint contender - Cav excluded - but got a flat in the true last kms! Tony Gallopin gave him his wheel, he managed to reach again the front group already launched toward the line and was 6th anyway: chapeau! Cancellara 13th: how generous! how strong! I'm looking forward to Flanders and Roubaix!
Tom Boonen already reset and after two anonymous - nacked - years is blooming again, more beautiful and stronger than ever. I guess he found a balance in his private life and a new confidence in his job. Merckx said: "He isn't the same Boonen anymore" meaning "He isn't GOOD anymore". He was wrong: the cut hedge just needed its time. I would be glad to say the same about Matti Breschel: on the podium here, in front very often this year and in spite his team doesn't look very supportive. Keep on!
Oscar Freire...well... you can't really say he ever stopped! and probably he has never got the need to reset anything: perfect control of the race, - almost - always where he has to be, maybe - sometimes! - he doesn't win... but he almost always could! A resetting sit should be a good idea for Sky instead: they left Cavendish behinde playing the card of Boasson Hagen who was with knees in the first group but the finish wasn't good for him and in fact he was 5th. Not enought to justify the dismissing of Cav. Because in that finish Cav was the best card you could have and with an help by Knees and Boasson Hagen he could have come back.
Talking about 'reset' you can't avoid to name Filippo Pozzato: he was always in front today and once again this year got a very good result - 9th. He's determined and serious: I'm persuaded he can do very well in the next races and even win. His team also is surprisingly strong. Talking about teams: Sky and GreenEdge tryed to control the race but failed:  Goss 12th,  Boasson Hagen 5th, Cavendish dropped. Not bad results in general but those teams worked to achieve a victory here. GreenEdge at least got it in Volta a Catalunya by Albasini: bravo!
Talking about victories: where is BMC? not in the top 20 of Gent-Wevelgem. Cadel Evans won the GC (and a stage) in Criterium International thought. - BDW another race to reset after Volta a Catalunya for RSNT (where was Frank Schleck? 30th at 4.07) Monfort 6th doesn't look enought to me. - Gilbert is still inconsistent, we saw Ballan but not at the sprint and Van Avermeat... crashed just before the line. RESET!
Gent-Wevelgem
Results
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 5:32:44
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Liquigas-Cannondale
3 Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team
4 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team
5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Nor) Sky Procycling
6 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Radioshack-Nissan
7 Marco Marcato (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
8 Steve Chainel (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat
9 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia
10 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team
11 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) Garmin-Cervelo
12 Matthew Harley Goss (Aus) GreenEdge Cycling Team
13 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Radioshack-Nissan
14 Christian Knees (Ger) Sky Procycling 0:00:03
15 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:00:04
16 Daniel Oss (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale
17 Anders Lund (Den) Team Saxo Bank
18 Maarten Wynants (Bel) Rabobank Cycling Team 0:00:06
19 Vladimir Isaichev (Rus) Katusha Team
20 Oscar Gatto (Ita) Farnese Vini - Selle Italia 0:00:08
Volta a Catalunya
Stage
1 Julien Simon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 2:47:02
2 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Pro Team Astana
3 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD
4 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
5 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team Astana
6 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team
7 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team
8 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
9 Maciej Paterski (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale
10 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team
Final GC
1 Michael Albasini (Swi) GreenEdge Cycling Team 24:15:45
2 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:01:30
3 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:01:32
4 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Barracuda
5 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling
6 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD
7 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team Astana
8 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team
9 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma - QuickStep
10 Sergio Pardilla Belllón (Spa) Movistar Team
Criterium International
1 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team 7:03:43  
2 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat 0:00:08  
3 Michael Rogers (Aus) Sky Procycling    
4 Lars Petter Nordhaug (Nor) Sky Procycling 0:00:09  
5 Rinaldo Nocentini (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale    
6 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan 0:00:23  
7 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel - Euskadi 0:00:38  
8 Thomas Lövkvist (Swe) Sky Procycling 0:00:42  
9 Hubert Dupont (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:47  
10 Christophe Riblon (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:11  
11 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:19  
12 Maxime Bouet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:01:21  
13 Christophe Le Mevel (Fra) Garmin-Cervelo 0:01:28  
14 Julien El Fares (Fra) Team Type 1 - Sanofi    
15 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar 0:01:29  









































3.24.2012

My Spa - and more

No no I'm not talking about those places where you go to relax and to get a wax. I was thinking about the Spa stage in TdF 2010, do you remember? I guess you do.  Yesterday I was in a hurry but now have got the time to tell you my last adventure. WARNING: skip it if you are a sensitive male reader, because it involves female stuff.
So on thursday I got my period. Nothing strange in that but I have to say it's very intense, add it to my anemy and you'll see it's a bit a drag, if not a disaster.. Imagine to wake up at 6, to ride your bike to the rail station, to get two trains runing for the connecting one... while bleeding. Women do that - and much more - normally. Female riders even race. That's an interesting subject bdw because you wonder how they manage to. However female athletes often have a very little period: there is a natural selection it seems. But friends told me about poor girls washing their sadle at the end of a race...
I'm not an athlete but yesterday morning waking up I understood I was going to wash my sadle at the end of the day. It isn't just that you are weak because of the bleeding: you feel bad, sometimes you have headache or stomachache or pain in your back. The idea to stay at home came to my mind, I must admit, but I had to prepare a student for an English test, that was our last day before it: I must go. "I went to Calpe having my period" I thought "Empoli can't be harder".
I got on my bike, arrived to the rail station and found out my first train was leaving! I can't explain that. It was supposed to start at 8.01 but it was leaving at 7.57. I had to run, and quickly to get on it. In Florence central station there was my second train, ready to start in few minutes... by the other side of the building. I had to run again. Jumped on the train crowded with tourists heading to Pisa I immediately saw there was something wrong: the light was still off, the doors all open... after ten minutes I said: "We have a delay!". The nice Englishman siting in front of me nodded but couldn't reply: a loud Italian voice informed us the train was brocken and not going to start at all. We had to get off and to look for another one.
I was half an hour late at that point: if I pass my badge at 9.30 am the school makes me work one hour more SO I really thought: "Ok! I go back home and take an off day telling I'm sick. WTF I DON'T want to work one hour more beacuse that fucking train has brocken! not my fault!" I was about to cry. Then I remember that Spa stage... All looked lost... but no: you can't give up now. Lets go. I had no Tour de France to win, just a student to help but that's my job. Moreover I liked the challenge: lets see if I can get there in time. If I'm late I don't pass my badge, go directly to my class and wait. If they call me from the office I tell I just forget. But if I can be there in time, I will be proud of myself. 
There was a train to Livorno: it started at 8.22 am. Fortunately it stoped only in few town so I reached Empoli at 8.52. Normally it isn't enought but yesterday I wasn't going to school: I was racing my race, challenging the limit. Normally I don't care if I am 2 minutes late and don't give a shit for the school boss, but yesterday I was all focused on my result. I passed my badge exactly at 9.00 am. Hell yeah! I felt as if I made a record. 
But I had to go to the toilet and had no time. I spent one hour with my student, then thanks god there was a break. No time to eat but to avoid a flood. At the end of the morning I was exhausted, lost the quick train of 12.04 am (to go to the toilet!) and had to wait for the 12.21, so arrived to my final station about 2 pm. I felt pretty bad unlocking my bike: "I walk home" I thought. But by bike it takes just five minutes... I got on... and when I got off I had to wash my sadle CVD 
Meanwhile my dad phoned me twice: my son's school time ends at 12.30 on Friday and that day there was a birthday party in the park, my dad picked him up but I was supposed to arrive after work. NO WAY! I had a tea, slept two hours and then watched in bed 3E. My son was very happy to go playing with a mate. 
BDW
My favourites are doing well: Uran second in Volta a Catalunya, Diego Ulissi won again in Coppi e Bartali and is 3th in the final GC. Criterium International started today and RSNT has 4 men in top 15 sofar. Volta a Catalunya stage 6 is on the way: a traffic accident forced it to stop for about 40 minutes... watch it here: http://www.tv3.cat/3alacarta/#/directes/esport3 thx Cyclingfan :)
Volta a Catalunya
Stage 5
1 Julien Simon (Fra) Saur - Sojasun 4:58:27
2 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling

3 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale

4 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

5 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma - QuickStep
GC
1 Michael Albasini (Swi) GreenEdge Cycling Team 17:23:51
2 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol Team 0:01:32
3 Daniel Martin (Irl) Garmin-Barracuda

4 Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

5 Rigoberto Uran Uran (Col) Sky Procycling

6 Damiano Cunego (Ita) Lampre - ISD

7 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Barracuda

8 Sergio Pardilla Belllón (Spa) Movistar Team

9 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) Pro Team Astana

10 Dario Cataldo (Ita) Omega Pharma - QuickStep

11 Matteo Carrara (Ita) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team

12 Denis Menchov (Rus) Katusha Team

13 Sylvester Szmyd (Pol) Liquigas-Cannondale

14 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Rabobank Cycling Team

15 Peter Stetina (USA) Garmin-Barracuda
CA Sorensen keeps the mountain jersey.
Coppi e Bartali
1 Jan Barta (Cze) Team Netapp

2 Bartosz Huzarski (Pol) Team NetApp 0:00:13
3 Diego Ulissi (Ita) Lampre - ISD 0:00:21
4 Stefano Garzelli (Ita) Acqua & Sapone 0:00:26
5 Francesco Reda (Ita) Acqua e Sapone 0:00:29
6 Paul Voss (Ger) Endura Racing 0:00:30
7 Moreno Moser (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale 0:00:34
8 Josè Serpa (Col) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela 0:00:39
9 Josè Rujano (Ven) Androni Giocattoli-Venezuela) 0:00:47
10 Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Acqua & Sapone 0:00:51
Criterium International
Stage 1
1 Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller 2:03:48
2 Danilo Wyss (Swi) BMC Racing Team

3 Clément Koretzky (Fra) La Pomme-Marseille

4 Simon Geschke (Ger) Project 1t4i

5 Nicolas Bazin (Fra) Auber 93

6 Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller

7 Giovanni Bernaudeau (Fra) Team Europcar

8 Romain Hardy (Fra) Bretagne - Schuller

9 Jens Voigt (Ger) Radioshack-Nissan

10 Linus Gerdemann (Ger) Radioshack-Nissan

11 Maxime Monfort (Bel) Radioshack-Nissan

12 Jeffry Romero (Col) Colombia-Colodeportes

13 Brent Bookwalter (USA) BMC Racing Team

14 Frank Schleck (Lux) Radioshack-Nissan

15 Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team

3.23.2012

E3 Harelbeke: in the open field fight


Green and gray. You can hide yourself on these flat narrow roads, on these cobbled ramps, in these open fields. E3 is like to say via Aurelia, lungolago Roma, Avenue des Champs-Élysées: the name of a legendary street. A cycling legend – because 'of cycling' and because 'pedaling' – won here today after the open fight of all against all, the messy splits and chases, the many and wild attacks, the audacious break lasting a breath. Or a dream. The nightmare of bunch crashes. And mechanics and flats.
Tom Boonen back King of Belgium. Philippe Gilbert retired and never in the race. Cancellara hit by Barredo while changing a wheel: unlucky twice and still so strong to regain the peloton and the last desperate break. Chavanel and Murajev shaking the hands but only and just when caught. Oscar Gatto stoped by a flat so close to the incredible dream. In fact we didn't really believe... but you never know! Millar and four others to the hospital, more or less injuried: colored jersey spread in the green of the fields beside the gray of the insidious serpentine road. Devolder, Sagan, Sep Vanmarcke, Pozzato, Tony Gallopin, Van Avermaet.... you can't name them all but they all played a card, some of them even two (like Devolder) and lost. But you never fail when you try, you can't regret.
In Belgian races you must show your face. The anonymous peloton that uses to ride compact and covered till 20 or even 5 km to go has here no place: 50 km to go Boonen placed his first punch. Oscar Gatto was in the first break and just a flat stoped him: we didn't believe... but still that's a fact. You must catch the moment, the second, your chance when it comes. Cancellara looked suffering in the last km and didn't really sprint: the worst pain isn't in the body but deep in your soul.
BDW
RSNT tweeted: "To the person who stole Fabian's wheel after Oude Kwaremont while three people were on the ground: best of luck with it! Or bring it back.." OMG!!
Results
1 Tom Boonen (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quickstep 4:51:59  
2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Katusha Team    
3 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Sky Procycling    
4 Leonardo Fabio Duque (Col) Cofidis, Le Credit En Ligne    
5 Sep Vanmarcke (Bel) Garmin - Barracuda    
6 John Degenkolb (Ger) Project 1t4i    
7 Matthieu Ladagnous (Fra) FDJ-Big Mat    
8 Alexandre Pichot (Fra) Team Europcar    
9 Alessandro Ballan (Ita) BMC Racing Team    
10 Sébastien Turgot (Fra) Team Europcar    
11 Matti Breschel (Den) Rabobank Cycling Team