Walk with me
Every now and again I get a cycling revelation that makes a world of difference, boosting my confidence on the bike and demanding respect for those who choose to give it full welly on the pro-peloton. This past fortnight is such a moment. I learn four amazing facts: firstly, there’s no shame in walking. At the much coveted Tirreno-Adriatico, an Italian stage race from coast-to-coast, the wisdom of planning a route that resembles more like a skyscraper assault by Alain Robert than a cycle-climb, raises a few eyebrows. Yet, in the process compels the very best of GC contenders, as well as calling for further heroics from the dutiful Super-Domestiques of the day.
Amazing Fact 1: There’s no shame in walking
How on earth do you get up here? View from 1hr.32.50 of this footage of stage 6: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xIw0sXSmRmg&feature=share&list=PL2FFA32771D3230CC
Man of the moment, Peter Sagan describes his winning plan and reveals to all that keeping it simple, wins every time – “…I rode in the saddle all the time and, in the end, I got away with Vincenzo (Nibali) and stayed away to the finish line.” Shots onVelonews.com makes for some compelling observations of the day.
How did you do that?!
Rhett Allain attempts to answer the question that’s on everyone’s lips, including sprint champ Mark Cavendish, who tweets: “What’s the steepest gradient you could possibly ride on a road bike?” See if Rhett gets it right on his site: ‘Dot Physics’
Don’t leave me standing
A week on from the Tirreno-Adriatico, is the stirring Milan-Sanremo. An Italian one-day spectacle that takes front-and-centre early in the Classics calendar. This prestigious race challenges our riders to a mammoth 258KM, which periodically basks in the Italian sunshine. Just not today.
So how difficult is it to handle a bicycle in the sleet and snow? Well, having expertly navigated through the first bend, this Team-Sky rider isn’t so successful the next time round, looking at his bike like it’s the very first time. It goes to show that we don’t have to be hard on ourselves when cornering around Tottenham Court Road.
Amazing Fact 2: Take a moment to get it right first time.
Make Tea, Not War
Amazing Fact 3: “There’s no such thing as wrong weather, just wrong kit!”
These are the resounding words, which I’m pretty sure are borrowed from elsewhere, of my PE teacher. Wisdom I wish I heeded the day we attempted a ride to Bournemouth earlier this month. So as Artic conditions descend on northern Italy, the ingenuity of improvised dress to conquer the elements kicks off much speculation. This revealing inside-the-peloton video from Orica GreenEdge demonstrates how such correct kit, and a bidon of hot tea, can make all the difference. From 3.58mins in – Neil Stepehens (DS), Simon Gerrans – 2012 winner and Team Manager, and Shayne Bannan share their thoughts on Roma cuisine, Football and how to shake it like a penguin!
For All Seasons
Much attention was drawn to Castelli’s Gabba jersey. Selected by many pros, even above their own sponsored kit. It is attributed to giving Sanremo survivors the edge this day. In this video, David Millar gives us the low-down on this Gabba “badass”:
What really took front page is our Amazing Fact 4. Despite the gradient, the weather conditions, or the fancy kit, an African Pro-Team wins! Granted, the podium is led by German born, Gerald Ciolek, of MTN-Qhubeka. All the same, I’m willing to say it’s only a matter of before we witness further African success.
Amazing Fact 4: Capture your Imagination
MTN-Qhubeka promotes social awareness, with 9 home-grown African riders, 6 Europrean pros to add to the experience, and aiming to be on a Grand Tour by 2015. Looks like they’re well on their way to making it possible.
Next is Gent-Weveglem on Sunday 24 March. Acclaimed as being a totally unpredictable race, it could prove to be a nice tune-up for those entering the Roubaix just two weeks away. The forecast for Roubaix this April 2013 suggests temperatures of 11ºC. And if you didn’t already know what you’re getting yourselves into, here’s a little reminder: