4.30.2013

A pic from Luxembourg

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Festival Luxembourgeois du cyclisme féminin Elsy Jacobs (5/26-28): Frank Schleck went to have a look. More beautiful pics here: https://www.facebook.com/PicturesByEdmond
About the race... Marianne Vos won.  
http://www.cyclingnews.com/races/festival-luxembourgeois-du-cyclisme-fminin-elsy-jacobs-2013
Are you wondering who is Elsy Jacobs?
"(4 March 1933 – 28 February 1998) was a Luxembourgian road bicycle racer. She became the first ever women's Road World Champion when she won the inaugural race on 30 August 1958. Later the same year she broke the women's hour record on 9 November, riding 41,347 km on the Vigorelli velodrome in Milan; the record stood for 14 years."  source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elsy_Jacobs
pic from here http://velorooms.com/races/festival-luxembourgeois-du-cyclisme-feminin-elsy-jacobs-26th-28th-of-april-2013/

4.29.2013

Ciack si Giro!


The set is ready, lets introduce the main characters in the show:

Ag2r La Mondiale: Pozzovivo went abroad looking for bigger chances and so far his best result is a 5th place in Giro del Trentino Stage 5 (Sillian-Vetriolo Terme).In my opinion he's one of the best pure climbers of his generation but he lost the train of fame some years ago. His team mate Betancur instead is a blast: 2 and 4 in stages at the last Vuelta al Pais Vasco, 3rd in Fleche Wallonne, 4th in the Lièege, very good in Romandie. His time is now and his team doesn't come to Italy as a tourists gang.


Androni Giocattoli - Venezuela: it always came to the Giro as a serious contenders group, for stages at least and not only. When you read its leaders name you get a little disappointed because ok, Pellizotti and Sella are not exactly young guns nor the best face of a clean cycling. Pellizzotti's story is complicated and I'll say nothing. Emanuele Sella I like, you know, and I think his way back to racing has been exemplary: a bann for doping, an full collaboration, hard work in a small team, good results again and a contract with Androni. Honestly I'm glad to see him in Giro. 5 in Roma Maxima, 9 in Coppi&Bartali, he's doing worse then last years... Is he saving his top shape for the big goal?


Astana Pro Team: Vincenzo Nibali  doesn't need introduction. He went to Astana to be leader in a big tour and as an Italian he's probably pleased to lead in the Giro in spite the Tour suits better his qualities. By the other side it's easier this year to get a top result in Italy against Wiggins then in the Tour against Froome in my opinion. Jakob Fugslang isn't going to race for the victory and given that he's a wise guy he will be happy with a top ten. Not so Nibali. He needs to win. It will be hard, I don't see it and still better to try here then there. It will depends also on his team and so far it looks good. The Shark looks also quite good: he won Tirreno and Trentino against a very qualified field and collected many others nice results 
(cfr for ex. 
http://www.cqranking.com/men/asp/gen/rider_palm.asp?riderid=1994&year=2013&all=0&current=0 ). Definitely that is a main Giro contender. He could find a valid help in Fabio Aru: it worked well in Trentino.

Bardiani Valvole - Csf Inox: That's one of my favourite team. Sacha Modolo had a very unlucky season so far and should be hungry of beautiful sprints. There are many interesting young guys in the Giro's roster but I like to remark Sonny Colbrelli, who instead is doing very very VERY well this year. "You are becoming too much BRAVO" I told him. 2nd in Limburg has been is best result but not the only one. He's an eclectic rider as I see it so he has got many possibilities to show something in 3 weeks stage race.



Blanco Pro Cycling Team: Gesink is still again the leader and that's fair but his results so far are not exciting. The same for Kruijswijk but he's younger and we started writing his name - often wrong - after a well done Giro d'Italia. Maybe the air of bella Italia will motivate him to something more. Ok, I'm joking a bit. I understand it isn't easy to perform when you are not sure about the future of your team and that's rather peculiar when your team's motto is 'ride the future'. I'm looking forward to see Wilko Kelderman at his first big tour after a splendid Romandie: he could collect another White Jersey... Blanco brings a strong team on paper, lets test it on the road!

Bmc Racing Team: Now that's interesting: Cadel Evans is one of the big unespected flop of this season. He has been sick so it's maybe 'normal' but we see other 'sick' riders comingback very quickly to a decent level. It depends on the sickness. I'm interested and worried about all those obscure 'virus' cyclists seems so exposed to. I'm not being ironic eh. I can't help but think it's a consequence of the deep medicalization in sport. I'm not talking about doping and I'm not even sure about what I say: it's just a feeling. When people take too many treatments because they can't get normally sick and rest, their immun system gets often weaker. Anyway I don't consider Evans a factor in the next Giro. Taylor Phinney maybe. His season has been a little weird so far: very strong in Qatar and Oman his Classics campaign didn't go as expected. He's still young and impulsive, a leader role could be destabilizing: lets see what he's able to do with more freedom and less pressure.

Cannondale Pro Cycling: Definitely that isn't the old good Liquigas. Basso leader is unrealist. Instead Elia Viviani can fix a balance he doesn't like for sure. His season has been not a disaster so far, at the opposite he got some very good results, but he knows what he's worth of and I bet he isn't happy. So I'll watch him at the sprint more than Basso in the mountain.


Colombia: In the mountain I'll watch better Atapuma and Duarte. Not sure what they can do but they are gonna try.
Euskaltel Euskadi: A little like Blanco, this team needs persuading results. Samuel Sanchez and Egoi Martinez are not small names in cycling. Sanchez especially: 5 in Porto Sant'Elpidio hellish stage of Tirreno, 2nd in Vasco stage 5 isn't bad. I see them more for stages than for the GC. Stage victories - and break-aways - are also very good in sponsor-searching. Good luck!


FDJ: it's for stages and sprints: Nacer Bouhanni and Sandy Casar can make the show. But on a daily basis only.


Garmin Sharp: Mhm! the previous edition's winner Ryder Hesjedal doesn't seem to me likely to repeat the exploit. I could be wrong. He did nothing special so far but finished 8th in Lièege after a solo almost successful attack. There are some other interesting guys in this team though and I guess they will find a way to make things interesting too. Peter Stetina for exemple. Hard to say more at the moment.


Katusha: They should be there. It was a shame that the previous 2nd and Red Jersey Rodriguez couldn't defend his titles. But to add an extra team post factum doesn't look the best solution. I already gave my opinion on that. Purito' results so far are amazing:
http://www.cqranking.com/men/asp/gen/rider_palm.asp?riderid=119&year=2013&all=0&current=0
Could he win this Giro? Too many TT kms somebody wrote. Anyway Rodriguez will not start: he decided for the Tour. Experienced Italian Paolini is so Katusha's best card: 1st in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, 5 in Milano San Remo, 8 in E3 Prijs Vlaanderen - Harelbeke, his spring has been impressive.

Lampre – Merida: Bo? Scarponi has never lacked of results. But honestly he isn't a names I like to read in a start list. Involved in doping troubles, in a complicated, mysterious rapport with his team - he wasn't in the team official pictures - already 'old and glorious' enough to get a well deserved rest... I can't see why he's still there. #OMGCycling.... and Italian Cycling especially! Good to see here Adriano Malori.

Lotto Belisol: Lars Bak and Adam Hansen are guarantee of thrilling break-aways and amusing tweets so I'm glad they come. Seriously: I have no idea what this team can do. Tourists? I'm curious to see what they say about their goals in the Giro.

Movistar Team: I could tell the same for this team here but I'm sure about one thing: Alex Dowsett is going to do a good ITT. Judging by the roster, they target the Tour.


Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team: Here it's different: Marc Cavendish is one of the boss of the race. He targets all: sprints and points jersey. He lost the jersey for few seconds last year, I'm sure he wants it back. He looked very happy in his new team at the begining of the season, then something went wrong. In particular he accused his team mates to not ride for him, that means ONLY for him, preserving his 'train' till the finish even buring other options. It tourned out that if the 'other options' are Belgian that's a problem. I'm sorry for Cav, really. He's one of the best sprinters in the world, the best one probably and must struggle to get his place in a team. Sad story by Sky in the last Tour de France, sad story here, with a big difference: here the team manager said he's happy when his riders talk loud about problems because it's the only way to fix them. Agree. What about the GC? hard to tell without the definitive start list.


Orica Greenedge: So far Goss' season has been not so bad, but in the end disappointing. He won far less than before. Far less than expected. In fact he onkkkkly won a stage in Tirreno. Sprinters battles will be cool in the Giro. Dutch Weening should be the GC man: 2nd in  Tour de Langkawi, 6th in Vasco, 8th in the Amstel... Definitely he's doing well but three weeks are long...

Radioshack Leopard: like Blanco and Euskaltel, this team must find a sponsor, soon. With 5 victories, 8 2nd places and 7 3rd you can't tell it isn't doing well. That is the feeling instead. Fabian Cancellara excluded, only Bob Jungels managed to win and in a small race (GP Nobili). Roulston's national champion title is nice but not like a Classic or a Vasco or Tirreno's stage. The fact is this team has got some very good riders but they don't get the expected results. Why? The staff is very good too. Where is the problem? I don't know. Giro team leader should be Kiserlovski, 14th in the last Tour de Romandie. Machado is another name to consider. Can they target the top 5? hardly. Can they win a mountain stage? why not? And Giacomo Nizzolo can deliver at the sprint.I hope so.

Sky Procycling: There we go. We are all wondering about Wiggins. He doesn't look as brilliant as last year (as Froome) but he can count on a solid team. Cataldo, Henao, Siutsou, Uran... they would be all leaders in anothet team. I bet they will be all in the final top 20. I bet also that Cataldo, Uran and/or Henao will try and probably win a stage. Bad luck and natural disaster excluded, Team Sky is very likely to win the best team classification. I'm not sure about the final GC.


Team Argos – Shimano: Degenkolb. That's all. The sprinters table is very crowded at the Giro but he deserved a spot. Others for - hopeless - break-aways.


Team Saxo – Tinkoff: Boaro was 2nd in Criterium International ITT: he can repeat. And that's all. Majka is a good rider but honestly this year he did nothing at all.

Vacansoleil - Dcm Pro Cycling Team: Marco Marcato is a guarantee of attacking racing and given that this team doesn't bring a strong squad break-aways is all they can do. Sometimes it works. Slightly embarrasing when you risk to become the only Dutch WorldTour. To be honest: Vacansoleil has got some good results in 2013 (1 victory, 6 2nd places, 11 3rd) and Westra went often close to do bingo. Only, Westra, De Gendt, Markus are not in the Giro.


Vini Fantini - Selle Italia: Matteo Rabottini has been one of last Giro's heros. His 16th place in Tirreno final GC is a good sign. Oscar Gatto remains one of the most successful Italian riders: he won Dwars door Vlaanderen, 8th in Laigueglia, 5 in a stage of De Panne, 15 in the Ronde, 3rd few days ago in GP Industria e Artigianato. Bad luck prevented him to win more. Bravo and brave, he can do a great Giro again. 

So... who is going to win the Giro? main conterders seem to be Wiggins and Nibali. Hesjedal said he's better than last year, Gesink is now or never. My pick is the outsider Betancur. Lets see how far he can go: good climber, good cronoman, supported by a team that demonstrated to be good. 
Ciack si Giro: ACTION! 

4.28.2013

Cycling so far... Turkey, Romandie and more

[READ IT ALL EH!] 
Presidential Tour of Turkey
Lot of crashes. Lots of sprints but two sprinters mostly: Kittel and Greipel. A local hero (Sayar). Some interesting guys: Coledan, Berhane, Arndt, Hofland, Colbrelli. Some ex-interesting guys: Seeldraeyers, C.Meryers, Pozzato, Guardini. BTW: some of them I like some others less but I expected more. A team: Cofidis. I must tell chapeau! Look the names in these lists: fortunately cycling isn't just Europe anymore. But where is Qhubeka? not in top 20 and that's bad.
Sonny Colbrelli
Stage 1
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 3:08:37
2 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
3 Yuriy Metlushenko (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor
Stage 2
1 Aidis Kruopis (Ltu) Orica-GreenEdge 3:23:54
2 Marco Coledan (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
3 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
Stage 3
1 Natnael Berhane (Eri) Team Europcar 4:16:06
2 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team 0:00:06
3 Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Sekerspor
Stage 4
1 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol 3:38:47
2 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
3 Moreno Hofland (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
4 Filippo Pozzato (Ita) Lampre-Merida
Stage 5
1 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol 4:41:59
2 Matteo Trentin (Ita) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
3 Nikias Arndt (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano
Stage 6
1 Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Sekerspor 4:40:09
2 Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:18
3 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
Stage 7
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 2:40:04
2 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
3 Maximiliano Ariel Richeze (Arg) Lampre-Merida
4 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
5 Sonny Colbrelli (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox
Stage 8
1 Marcel Kittel (Ger) Team Argos-Shimano 2:43:45
2 Andrea Guardini (Ita) Astana Pro Team
3 Andrew Fenn (GBr) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
Final GC
1 Mustafa Sayar (Tur) Torku Sekerspor 29:13:13
2 Natnael Berhane (Eri) Team Europcar 0:00:41
3 Yoann Bagot (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:00:44
4 Maxime Mederel (Fra) Sojasun 0:00:57
5 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:01:00
6 Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica-GreenEdge 0:01:02
7 Darwin Atapuma Hurtado (Col) Colombia 0:01:08
8 Florian Guillou (Fra) Bretagne-Seche Environnement 0:01:09
9 Danail Andonov Petrov (Bul) Caja Rural 0:01:13
10 Rory Sutherland (Aus) Team Saxo-Tinkoff 0:01:15
11 Kevin Seeldraeyers (Bel) Astana Pro Team 0:01:35
12 José Joao Pimenta Costa Mendes (Por) Team NetApp-Endura 0:01:36
13 Serge Pauwels (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:01:40
14 Brice Feillu (Fra) Sojasun 0:02:01
15 Marc De Maar (AHo) UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling Team 0:02:07
16 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Vini Fantini-Selle Italia 0:02:34
17 Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Pro Team 0:02:38
18 Warren Barguil (Fra) Team Argos-Shimano 0:02:39
19 Angelo Pagani (Ita) Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox 0:04:04
20 David De La Fuente Rasilla (Spa) Torku Sekerspor 0:04:22
Points
1 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
Mountain
1 Sergiy Grechyn (Ukr) Torku Sekerspor
Sprints
1 Mikhail Ignatyev (Rus) Katusha
Team
1 Cofidis, Solutions Crédits
Tour de Romandie
Sky: no surprise. A good surprise: RSLT. They won nothing but still did a good Romandie, and a week before the Giro that's nice. The Pink Race could be a better target than the Tour de France this year. This year Tour de France is loudly targeted by Chris Froom, one leader of the dominating team of this race. One man show in sprints: Gianni Meersman. One man show in ITT: Tony Martin. Interesting guys: Talansky, Pinot, Moser, Navardauskas, Faria Da Costa.  Very interesting guys: Wilco Kelderman and Carlos Alberto Betancur. Note they also did good in the prologue: huge talents both of them! Kelderman said "I’m very happy with this result. I really had super legs the whole week and I look forward to the Giro which will be my first Grand Tour. The altitude training camp was really beneficial for me and the team. I lost some weight and gained power uphill. It really felt right in the climbs and could stay with the best when Sky upped the tempo. This week has given me a lot of confidence and I want to do a good job in Italy for Gesink who will be the leader".
Robert Gesink

Stage 4 was the 'queen stage': read the names in the top 20. Spilak won. I wait for all the others in the next weeks and months. What about Van Den Broeck and Pierre Rolland? are they growing slowly to bloom in July?
Prologue
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:13:15.59
2 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:06.26
3 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard 0:00:13.02
4 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:00:15.29
5 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:00:16.23
6 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 0:00:16.48
7 Stef Clement (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:00:16.69
8 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:16.91
9 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:00:17.00
10 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:00:17.51
11 Moreno Moser (Ita) Cannondale Pro Cycling 0:00:17.59
12 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:00:18.47
Stage 1
1 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 4:29:09
2 Giacomo Nizzolo (Ita) RadioShack Leopard
3 Roberto Ferrari (Ita) Lampre-Merida
Stage 2
1 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Sharp 4:51:49
2 Enrico Gasparotto (Ita) Astana Pro Team
3 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
Stage 3
1 Gianni Meersman (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 4:19:03
2 Francesco Gavazzi (Ita) Astana Pro Team
3 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica-GreenEdge
Stage 4
1 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha 5:10:00
2 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling
3 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:01:03
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
6 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale
7 Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling
8 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale
9 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard
10 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
11 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol
12 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ
13 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp
Stage 5 ITT
1 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team 0:21:07.67
2 Adriano Malori (Ita) Lampre-Merida 0:00:15.35
3 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 0:00:33.85
4 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:00:35.82
5 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha
Final classification
1 Christopher Froome (GBr) Sky Procycling 19:24:51
2 Simon Spilak (Slo) Katusha 0:00:54
3 Rui Alberto Faria Da Costa (Por) Movistar Team 0:01:49
4 Thomas Danielson (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:01:54
5 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team 0:02:03
6 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:02:14
7 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto Belisol 0:02:16
8 Richie Porte (Aus) Sky Procycling 0:02:31
9 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:32
10 Marcel Wyss (Swi) IAM Cycling 0:02:41
11 Tony Martin (Ger) Omega Pharma-Quick-Step Cycling Team
12 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ 0:02:43
13 Carlos Alberto Betancur Gomez (Col) Ag2R La Mondiale 0:02:51
14 Robert Kiserlovski (Cro) RadioShack Leopard 0:02:54
15 Lieuwe Westra (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team 0:03:05
16 Andrew Talansky (USA) Garmin-Sharp 0:03:07
17 Tiago Machado (Por) RadioShack Leopard 0:03:33
18 Igor Anton Hernandez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi 0:03:35
19 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:04:07
20 Jose Rodolfo Serpa Perez (Col) Lampre-Merida 0:04:09
Points
Mountains
1 Marcus Burghardt (Ger) BMC Racing Team
Sprints
1 Matthias Brandle (Aut) IAM Cycling
Youth
1 Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Blanco Pro Cycling Team
Team  
1 Sky Procycling 58:20:44
2 Radioshack Leopard 0:04:23
3 Movistar Team 0:05:19
Others teams were already racing in Italy  in this last pre-Giro week-end: GP Industria e Artigianato and Giro di Toscana offered the last shape refinement. Mauro Santambrogio won in Larciano, Mattia Gavazzi won in Arezzo, where Taylor Phinney was 3rd (2nd Flaminia's Rovny). "I closed a bit of a gap to a guy who went early" BMC's American rider said "with about 300 meters to go. I came around him with about 100 meters to go, but unfortunately, I didn't quite have enough gas to hold off Gavazzi and Rovny. It's a really nice feeling to be back at the front of a race like that, though, especially since it was full gas all day, up and down." Last year Phinney spent a week in pink... lets see!
...............
File:Appennino2.jpg
Il gigante dell'Appennino

My son and I went walking instead: we were supposed to do a trekking with some others but they cancealed it last minute dued to the rain. It didn't rain actually: we had few drops at the time the group was schedulated to leave and they decided to stay at home. We didn't give up instead: we walked from Campo di Marte (where the next cycling Worlds will finish) to Villa Demidoff, on the hills. 
From Villa Demidoff: Fiesole
It's 12 km more or less, uphill. About the Villa and his favolous park, read here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Villa_Demidoff  We walked up and down, ate our stuff in front of the Appennino fountain and then Liveri persuaded me to take an original path... Ok: we didn't get lost. But we ended in a part of the park far away from everything, entrance included. We faced a closed monumental gate, then crossed a grass and finally excaped through a hole in the enclosure. We started at 10 am, it was 3.30 pm. We were very tired but happy and came back to the city hitch-hiking. We had to wait a bit, then finally two friendly musician girls gave us a lift. The last act of the day was a well deserved visit to Stella Alpina ice-cream shop. 
Our way out!

4.27.2013

La vie en rose?

Hello, I'm not dead :) I just took a break, and then a flu. I wasn't feeling great in the last few days and didn't feel like to write or even to watch a screan. In fact I have seen just some Greipel sprinting in Turkey and some Froome dominating in Romandie. I couldn't tell more about those races. 
After Ardennes my righteous idea was to focus on my philosophy: you have probably got from my twitter that I'm studying Sartre at the moment. I finished reading "L'etre et le neant" and now I'm reading it again writing down all the interesting stuff I found. I call it 'schedatura'. It's somehow exciting to reduce in 10/20 pages a 700 pages book. And it's also a good way to store things in your memory: writing requires attenction. Finally you are forced to find a meaning behinde beautiful words... or to exclude them from the summary in spite of their beauty. Philosphy isn't literature, baby.
But my plann has been deranged by a combinated attack of normal cold and hay fever. In fact we have now in Italy spring and fall at once! in few days we'll have also the Giro d'Italia. I'll cover it in spite my rider isn't there. I'm going to go to Napoli and Ischia, then I'll welcome it in Firenze and will say bye in Brescia. The rest I'll watch in tv. "When you are not in a race I am not really interested" I told Andy Schleck in Camaiore. I mean: I like to watch the race but am not eager to be there in person waiting in the rain or boiling in the sun. 
As far as Andy: he's at home enjoying finally a bit of relax. Just a bit because he still needs to train a lot and because Tour of California is close. I asked him some questions some days ago and he's going to answer soon. He's back on twitter too but don't expect him to tweet that much. Fortunately he has got a life! 
It isn't always a 'vie en rose'. For nobody. A thought crossed my mind while I was sick in bed just listening distractly to a race that made no sense to me: joy is just in instants, not something that lasts. We can just collect fragments of joy, so we should go and look for them instead of pretend to keep a longlasting so called 'happyness'. It's all about to enjoy our no-joyful, average, decent periods meanwhile. Personally I try to spend them in doing something useful, something that after makes me say: ok, that wasn't a super cool day but I am some steps forward now. Joy doesn't depend on you, satisfation does. When you did all you could, when you did that few you were able to, when you achieve that small results you had targeted... you shouldn't be sad. And don't let anybody tell you how small or big your goal is. You know where you stand. Paraolympic athletes teach us so much!
But obviously pink is also the Giro's winner jersey... I'm slowly getting in the mood. So far:
1. Di Luca: I am not angry with him or with Fantini. I'm angry with Benetton that decide to give money because an old ex doper races! C'mon! there is something better to support in cycling!
2. Kathusa: if there is a limit in the number of teams in a race I suppose it's for a reason. The reason is: too many people racing, too much danger. So why in the hell you add a team now? No, I see no reason. I don't agree. 
3. Wiggins: please STOP that SIR thing!!!! let me understand at least: why must it be used in Sky's press releases and tweets? who does want it? Wiggo? the Queen? your sponsor? WHO? I find it so absolutely ridicolous! especially in a tweet! you waste 3 words to say nothing! I can't imagine three weeks of that... OMG OMG OMG
That's all! did you miss me?

4.22.2013

In short: Andy Schleck's interview by CyclingWeekly


It's here: 
http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/news/latest/537979/andy-schleck-struggling-against-strong-headwind-in-2013-season.html#tmfu3QBsuq6Lzmrs.99
To be exact, that's what he said in short meet with the press before Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Nothing new here but I like the part about the new joy of training: in the past he wasn't so enthusiast about it ;)
1. Liège: "This year, I won't be the one who shapes the race on La Redoute."
2. Training: "I had a good winter. The training camp in Spain ran smoothly, but it's only in the peloton do you feel what you're missing. And that was quite a bit.. I never wanted to stop. I enjoy training now, more than before. Before it was just a necessity to be good. Now, I'm excited to get up and do a heavy training ride.
3. Critics:  "I am shocked how mean people can be at times. Some people write things just to cause to harm. I know that I have many critics, but I feel that I've done a lot for my team, for my country and for cycling."

4.21.2013

Liège: Dan Martin!

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Great day today in Liège-Bastogne-Liège. Thrilling open race, attacks by attacks and a winner winning at the true last meters of the race. It has been a long way to Ans for the peloton. Look here all the hills it had to climb:
Km 70 : Côte de la Roche-en-Ardenne (2,8 km, 6,2%)
Km 116.5 : Côte de Saint-Roch (1 km, 11 %)
Km 160 : Côte de Wanne (2 km, 7,3 %)
Km 166.5 : Côte de Stockeu (1 km, 12,2 %)
Km 172.5 : Côte de la Haute-Levée (3,6 km, 5,7 %)
Km 185 : Côte du Rosier (4,4 km, 5,9 %)
Km 197.5 : Côte du Maquisard (2,5 km, 5 %)
Km 208 : Mont-Theux (2,7km, 5,9 %)
Km 223 : Côte de la Redoute (2 km, 8.8 %)
Km 244.5 : Côte de Colonster (2,4 km, 6 %)
Km 256 : Côte de Saint-Nicolas (1,2km, 8,6 %)

The weather was cloudy and windy but not rainy. The crowd on the road was huge. At the start Andy Schleck had said: "C’est ma course préférée de l’année. Même à l’entraînement pour les reconnaissances, j’y prends du plaisir. Je sais que je ne suis pas à mon meilleur niveau, mais je vais tout de même me faire plaisir. Le parcours a légèrement changé, nous verrons peut-être une course différente, mais j’espère que la côte de la Roche aux Faucons reviendra l’année prochaine" ["It's my favourite race in the year. I enjoy also the recon training. I know I am not at my best but I'm going to enjoy it anyway. The route changed a little, we will see if that will make a different race but I hope  côte de la Roche aux Faucons will be back next year."]
After 14 km, the first  break went away: De Clercq (Bel-LTB), Jérôme (Fra-EUC), Fumeaux (Sui-IAM), Lang (Sui-IAM), Veucheulen (Bel-VCD) Armee (Bel-TSV) got quickly 50’’ on the peloton. Their maximum advantage was 10', then the peloton speeds up pulled by Katusha, Astana and Sky. Later also Movistar started colaborating in the chase and the gap decreased.
88 km to go Blanco's rider Slagter set the first attack and the peloton splitted. They got all together soon. Team Saxo-Tinkoff was pulling now, RSLT Monfort was at the front and looked brilliant, not so Ben King instead: always at the back, almost dropped, definitely it wasn't his day.
73km to go the break's gap was down to 3' 18". Excaped Armee got dropped to pee and forever. Poor De Clercq got serious troubles with a back wheel: changed it twice (Mavic and team car) but it didn't work yet so had to change bike and got dropped again. But he didn't give up: chased and managed to come back to the break. Respect! moreover because the break was over soon: 51 km to go the gap was dramticly dropping: 1'27''. In the peloton they were taking things seriously now. All RSLT - Ben King excluded, Andy Schleck included - was in front. A very good day for my rider, a very good race and a good sign.
On La Redoute Sky attacked by Losada.  Costa (MOV) and Fuglsang (AST) followed. Frank (BMC), Losada (KAT), Cunego (LAM) and Bardet (ALM) bridged soon. RSLT Monfort was in the chasing group
Things got absolutely messy. A front group of 8 riders gained a few meters, they were: Bardet, Cunego, Fédrigo, Frank, Fuglsang, Lopez Garcia, Losada and Rui Costa. 35 km to go they had 12". Caught, they attacked again, without Frank and with Ten Dam. The new break-away spitted immediately: Cunego, Losada and Bardet dropped the company. The race was very fast, nervous and risky.
20 km to go Andy Schleck was at the back of the peloton but not the last one, still pedaling well and talking by radio with the team car. Monfort's chances were over so he got finally dropped 10 km to go. He finished 41 at 1'20''.
Embedded image permalinkIn front the race was exploding: many riders attacked on the new climb, the Colonster, but Hesjedal was the one who managed to go away solo. It was 15 km to go, he had gained 20'': to win was hard but possible. In the chassing group there were: Uran, Contador, Anton, Caruso and Rui Costa. Hesjedal got caught on the Cote St Nicholas. Betancur attacked, a small group was chasing: Martin, Hesjedal, Rodriguez, Scarponi and Valverde.
At the last km Rodriguez dashed away, like a arrow. But Dan Martin immediately followed, joined, passed, sprinted: won. Amazing! a well deserved victory, a splendid achievement after so many efforts by a rider who worked hard. Congrats!! 

UPDATE:
First interview with Dan Martin: http://www.letour.fr/2013/LBL/LIVE/us/100/journal_etape.html
Embedded image permalink "Can you talk to us about the tactic set up by the team?
The idea was to get someone in front and that’s what Ryder did and I just stayed behind with the others. I couldn’t believe how easy it was in Saint-Nicolas. I was totally in control and followed any attack that went. With Ryder in front I was in the perfect position. We eventually caught him at the top of the climb and he rode flat out for me. It was a fantastic team effort from all the team. Every single of our riders rode their hearts out today. Me and Ryder were already in the Top 10 last year so it really is a good race for us.

Winning after Sean Kelly must mean a lot?
Actually somebody texted me last night that the first year that Sean Kelly won Catalunya, he won Liège weeks later. That was back in 1984. That was a bit of an omen and I’ve been thinking about it all week. After finishing fourth of the Fleche Wallonne, I thought that maybe I could win. All these little things were adding up. I was in a complete state of zen all day. Just so calm.

What has changed in the last few years that has made you a winner of Liège-Bastogne-Liège?
I think it’s just maturing physically and the confidence as well. I’ve definitely made a big step this winter. Maybe the Tour last year brought me a lot. I found a massive difference in my body this past year. I’ve grown up basically. I think that it’s also an age thing. And for these races, the more mature guys do well. There’s also the confidence of my team as well. That belief has given me that extra edge.

How did you react when you crossed the finish line?
I was shocked. Complete shock. I couldn’t believe it. I race on instinct. I don’t think about what’s happening during the race. I just try and win. Actually finding myself in front of the finish line of Liège-Bastogne-Liège with my arms in the air, it’s incredible…"


UPDATE
Andy said: “This race suits me very well but the whole day was full of stress.  I never saw such a big group at the bottom of Redoute.  There was a crash there.  I wasn’t in it but had to brake and then start from zero.  There was panic with the crash and Max ended up with a broken derailleur.  The team gave their all today and I’m happy about how I felt, too.  I’m now feeling progress in my condition and it’s a good sign.  I’ve worked very hard these past few months and now I am feeling the results.  It’s good for my mind, too.  Next for me is California.”

RESULTS
Source  http://www.procyclingstats.com/race/1169111-Li%C3%A8ge---Bastogne---Li%C3%A8ge-2013-Overview
1 MARTIN Daniel Garmin - Sharp100275 6:38:07
2 RODRIGUEZ OLIVER Joaquim Katusha Team80200 0:03
3 VALVERDE BELMONTE Alejandro Movistar Team70150 0:09
4 BETANCUR GOMEZ Carlos Alberto AG2R La Mondiale60120 ,,
5 SCARPONI Michele Lampre - Merida50100 ,,
6 GASPAROTTO Enrico Astana Pro Team4090 0:18
7 GILBERT Philippe BMC Racing Team3080 ,,
8 HESJEDAL Ryder Garmin - Sharp2070 ,,
9 FARIA DA COSTA Rui Alberto Movistar Team1060 ,,
10 GERRANS Simon Orica GreenEDGE450 ,,
11 VAUGRENARD Benoit Equipe Cycliste FDJ
46 ,,
12 ANTON HERNANDEZ Igor Euskaltel - Euskadi
42 ,,
13 BARDET Romain AG2R La Mondiale
38 ,,
14 NOCENTINI Rinaldo AG2R La Mondiale
34 ,,
15 NORDHAUG Lars Petter Blanco Pro Cycling Team
30 ,,
16 HENAO MONTOYA Sergio Luis Sky Procycling
28 ,,
17 SøRENSEN Nicki Team Saxo-Tinkoff
26 0:21
18 VANENDERT Jelle Lotto Belisol Team
24 0:26
19 GESCHKE Simon Team Argos - Shimano
22 0:56
20 ULISSI Diego Lampre - Merida
20 ,,
21 IGLINSKIY Maxim Astana Pro Team
19 ,,
22 DENIFL Stefan IAM Cycling
18 1:00
23 NIBALI Vincenzo Astana Pro Team
17 ,,
24 ROLLAND Pierre Team Europcar
16 ,,
25 DE MARCHI Alessandro Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
15 1:03
26 TROFIMOV Yuri Katusha Team
14 ,,
27 PINEAU Jérome Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
13 1:06
28 LEUKEMANS Bjorn Vacansoleil - DCM
12 ,,
29 GALLOPIN Tony RadioShack - Leopard
11 ,,
30 CUNEGO Damiano Lampre - Merida
10 ,,
31 GADRET John AG2R La Mondiale
9 ,,
32 FUGLSANG Jakob Astana Pro Team
8 ,,
33 WEENING Pieter Orica GreenEDGE
7 ,,
34 SLAGTER Tom-Jelte Blanco Pro Cycling Team
6 ,,
35 FEDRIGO Pierrick Equipe Cycliste FDJ
5 ,,
36 FROOME Christopher Sky Procycling
5 1:14
37 SANCHEZ GONZALEZ Samuel Euskaltel - Euskadi
5 ,,
38 RATTO Daniele Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
5 ,,
39 SORENSEN Chris Anker Team Saxo-Tinkoff
5 ,,
40 VICHOT Arthur Equipe Cycliste FDJ
5 1:18
41 SCHLECK Andy RadioShack - Leopard
5 1:20
42 STETINA Peter Garmin - Sharp
5 ,,
43 ZUBELDIA AGIRRE Haimar RadioShack - Leopard
5 1:24
44 LAGUTIN Sergey Vacansoleil - DCM
5 ,,
45 JEANNESSON Arnold Equipe Cycliste FDJ
5 1:25
46 ARASHIRO Yukiya Team Europcar
5 1:30
47 WEGMANN Fabian Garmin - Sharp
5 1:34
48 VALLS FERRI Rafael Vacansoleil - DCM
5 ,,
49 TEN DAM Laurens Blanco Pro Cycling Team
5 ,,
50 QUINTANA ROJAS Nairo Alexander Movistar Team
5 ,,
51 ALBASINI Michael Orica GreenEDGE
5 1:40
52 MORENO FERNANDéZ Daniel Katusha Team
5 1:49
53 URAN Rigoberto Sky Procycling
5 ,,
54 VISCONTI Giovanni Movistar Team
5 2:12
55 MARTENS Paul Blanco Pro Cycling Team
5 2:15
56 SERRY Pieter Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
5 ,,
57 CONTADOR VELASCO Alberto Team Saxo-Tinkoff
5 ,,
58 CLARKE Simon Orica GreenEDGE
5 ,,
59 CARUSO Damiano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
5 2:21
60 CHEREL Mikael AG2R La Mondiale
5 2:28
61 ROCHE Nicolas Team Saxo-Tinkoff
5 4:40
62 GRIVKO Andriy Astana Pro Team
5 ,,
63 VAN AVERMAET Greg BMC Racing Team
5 ,,
64 WYSS Marcel IAM Cycling
5 ,,
65 VANTOMME Maxime Crelan-Euphony
5 4:51
66 LOPEZ GARCIA David Sky Procycling
5 4:53
67 LOSADA ALGUACIL Alberto Katusha Team
5 ,,
68 MORI Manuele Lampre - Merida
5 5:16
69 BUSCHE Matthew RadioShack - Leopard
5 ,,
70 BURGHARDT Marcus BMC Racing Team
5 ,,
71 LE MEVEL Christophe Cofidis Solutions Crédits
5 ,,
72 ASTARLOZA Mikel Euskaltel - Euskadi
5 ,,
73 MARTINEZ DE ESTEBAN Egoi Euskaltel - Euskadi
5 ,,
74 GAUTIER Cyril Team Europcar
5 ,,
75 KOLOBNEV Alexandr Katusha Team
5 ,,
76 MOINARD Amaël BMC Racing Team
5 ,,
77 MOLLEMA Bauke Blanco Pro Cycling Team
5 ,,
78 TANKINK Bram Blanco Pro Cycling Team
5 ,,
79 VICIOSO ARCOS Ángel Katusha Team
5 5:26
80 CARUSO Giampaolo Katusha Team
5 ,,
81 MONFORT Maxime RadioShack - Leopard
5 5:33
82 HERMANS Ben RadioShack - Leopard
5 ,,
83 KREDER Michel Garmin - Sharp
5 7:51
84 GAVAZZI Francesco Astana Pro Team
5 7:57
85 KADRI Blel AG2R La Mondiale
5 8:09
86 NERZ Dominik BMC Racing Team
5 8:20
87 IZAGIRRE INSAUSTI Ion Euskaltel - Euskadi
5 ,,
88 HAAS Nathan Garmin - Sharp
5 ,,
89 SULZBERGER Wesley Orica GreenEDGE
5 ,,
90 IZAGIRRE INSAUSTI Gorka Euskaltel - Euskadi
5 ,,
91 VERONA QUINTANILLA Carlos Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
5 ,,
92 KWIATKOWSKI Michal Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
5 ,,
93 DELFOSSE Sebastien Crelan-Euphony
5 ,,
94 BRANDLE Matthias IAM Cycling
5 8:29
95 VANENDERT Dennis Lotto Belisol Team
5 ,,
96 REZA Kevin Team Europcar
5 ,,
97 DE GREEF Francis Lotto Belisol Team
5 ,,
98 SIUTSOU Kanstantsin Sky Procycling
5 ,,
99 VERMOTE Julien Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
5 ,,
100 HOLLENSTEIN Reto IAM Cycling
5 ,,
101 VORGANOV Eduard Katusha Team
5 ,,
102 CHRISTENSEN Mads Team Saxo-Tinkoff
5 ,,
103 NAVARRO GARCIA Daniel Cofidis Solutions Crédits
5 ,,
104 CUSIN Remi IAM Cycling
5 ,,
105 MEIER Christian Orica GreenEDGE
5 ,,
106 CASAR Sandy Equipe Cycliste FDJ
5 ,,
107 DEKKER Thomas Garmin - Sharp
5 ,,
108 CHARTEAU Anthony Team Europcar
5 ,,
109 KROON Karsten Team Saxo-Tinkoff
5 ,,
110 BOOKWALTER Brent BMC Racing Team
5 ,,
111 ZAUGG Oliver Team Saxo-Tinkoff
5 ,,
112 MEYER Travis Orica GreenEDGE
5 ,,
113 SOUPE Geoffrey Equipe Cycliste FDJ
5 ,,
114 MARCATO Marco Vacansoleil - DCM
5 ,,
115 SICARD Romain Euskaltel - Euskadi
5 ,,
116 VANDBORG Brian Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
5 ,,
117 MATE MARDONES Luis Angel Cofidis Solutions Crédits
5 ,,
118 COPPEL Jérome Cofidis Solutions Crédits
5 ,,
119 VOGONDY Nicolas Accent.jobs – Wanty
5 ,,
120 MONTAGUTI Matteo AG2R La Mondiale
5 ,,
121 DUMOULIN Tom Team Argos - Shimano
5 ,,
122 FRANK Mathias BMC Racing Team
5 ,,
123 TAARAMäE Rein Cofidis Solutions Crédits
5 9:20
124 MOSER Moreno Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
5 9:35
125 KREUZIGER Roman Team Saxo-Tinkoff
5 9:54
126 DE CLERCQ Bart Lotto Belisol Team
5 11:38
127 JACOBS Pieter Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
5 ,,
128 MATTHEWS Michael Orica GreenEDGE
5 12:52
129 RUIJGH Rob Vacansoleil - DCM
5 ,,
130 LANG Pirmin IAM Cycling
5 13:37
131 TANNER David Blanco Pro Cycling Team
5 14:39
132 DE GENDT Thomas Vacansoleil - DCM
5 ,,
133 VANDEWALLE Kristof Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
5 ,,
134 ZINGLE Romain Cofidis Solutions Crédits
5 ,,
135 VANDEWALLE Jurgen Lotto Belisol Team
5 ,,
136 STORTONI Simone Lampre - Merida
5 ,,
137 SALERNO Cristiano Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
5 16:08
138 KING Benjamin RadioShack - Leopard
5 ,,
139 BILLE Gaetan Lotto Belisol Team
5 ,,
140 VALENTIN Tristan Cofidis Solutions Crédits
5 ,,
141 CAMMAERTS Edwig Cofidis Solutions Crédits
5 ,,
142 KOCH Michel Cannondale Pro Cycling Team
5 ,,
143 DIDIER Laurent RadioShack - Leopard
5 ,,
144 DE WEERT Kevin Omega Pharma - Quick-Step
5 ,,
145 HUPOND Thierry Team Argos - Shimano
5 ,,
146 VEUCHELEN Frederik Vacansoleil - DCM
5 ,,
147 VAN HECKE Preben Topsport Vlaanderen – Baloise
5 ,,
148 DEVILLERS Gilles Crelan-Euphony
5 16:43