sabato 22 novembre 2014

Cyclocross: Van Aert wins in Koksijde

Embedded image permalink
Pic by @MrDangleDangles
I didn't watch it - and Lars van der Haar was sick so didn't start - but here you have the results. The young Belgian Van Aert confirmed that this is his year.

1 Wout Van Aert (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Ct 1:02:34  
2 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:00:41  
3 Mathieu Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp - Powerplus 0:00:53  
4 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet - Fidea 0:00:55  
5 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:00:57  
6 Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Ct 0:00:58  
7 Corne Van Kessel (Ned) Telenet - Fidea 0:01:05  
8 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) Bkcp - Powerplus 0:01:08  
9 Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Ct 0:01:11  
10 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet - Fidea 0:01:15  
11 Laurens Sweeck (Bel) Corendon - Kwadro 0:01:24  
12 Julien Taramarcaz (Swi) Corendon - Kwadro 0:01:37  
13 Toon Aerts (Bel) Telenet - Fidea 0:01:58  
14 Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet - Fidea 0:02:08  
15 Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink 0:02:09  
16 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
17 Jeremy Powers (USA) Rapha-Focus 0:02:22  
18 Michael Vanthourenhout (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:02:46 
19 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Corendon - Kwadro 0:02:49  
20 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:02:50  
21 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet - Fidea 0:03:12  
22 David Van Der Poel (Ned) Bkcp - Powerplus 0:03:52  
23 Jakub Skala (Cze) 0:03:55  
24 Ian Field (GBr) 0:03:56  
25 Michael Boros (Cze)  
26 Sascha Weber (Ger) Veranclassic - Doltcini 0:04:15  
27 Francis Mourey (Fra) Fdj.Fr 0:04:19  
28 Fabien Canal (Fra) Look - Beaumes De Venise 0:04:20  
29 Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa) 0:04:21  
30 Twan (Deleted) Van Den Brand (Ned) Cyclingteam Jo Piels 0:04:31  
31 Radomir Simunek (Cze) Corendon - Kwadro 0:04:37  
32 Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon - Kwadro  
33 Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team 0:05:06  
34 Marcel Wildhaber (Swi) Scott-Odlo Mtb Racing Team 0:05:07  
35 Mariusz Gil (Pol) Corendon - Kwadro 0:05:31  
36 Eddy Van Ijzendoorn (Ned) 0:06:00  
37 Simon Zahner (Swi) 0:06:07  
38 Jonathan Page (USA) 0:06:30  
39 Arnaud Grand (Swi) -2Laps  
40 Josep Betalu (Spa)  
41 Vladimir Kyzivat (Cze)  
42 Yu Takenouchi (Jpn) Veranclassic - Doltcini  
43 Tomas Paprstka (Cze) Remerx-Merida Team Kolin  
44 Lubomir Petrus (Cze) Bkcp - Powerplus  
45 Severin Saegesser (Swi)  
46 Kenneth Hansen (Den)  
47 Felix Drumm (Ger) -3Laps  
48 Lukas Winterberg (Swi)  
49 Clément Lhotellerie (Fra)  
50 Cameron Jette (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing  
51 Ole Quast (Ger) -4Laps  
52 Vaclav Metlicka (Svk)  
53 Aaron Schooler (Can)  
54 Jeremy Durrin (USA) Optum P/B Kelly Benefit Strategies -5Laps  
55 Gusty Bausch (Lux)  
56 Angus Edmond (NZl)  
57 Mark Mcconnell (Can) -6Laps  
DNF Enroci Franzoi (Ita) Marchiol Emisfero

mercoledì 19 novembre 2014

Three Days In Rome: 1. Rome has fallen...

Vittoriano and Foro from the Colosseo
"Rome has fallen, ye see it lying
Heaped in undistinguished ruin:
Nature is alone undying."
(PB Schelley)
And that is still true. 
Overwhelming, oppressive. Rome throws you tons of history at each single step. Rome is too much. Amazement is the feeling, almost unbearable. Rome is a complete mess, a mix of ages and styles, of decline and sublime, of neglected beauty and beautiful neglet.
I have been here many times and visited the most of it. Now I'm back with my son for a full immersion in history and art. We want to waste no time and to draw its core in a long sudden sip.
Lots of traffic in Roma!
Rome's ruins are still there since Schelly's time, with its churches, squares and fountains. Nature a little less, undying but no more lord of deserted places. Lord is the traffic, noisy, cahotic, ubiquitous. And the tourists' unstoppable stream. We too walk, holding a map, from Stazione Termini to the Colosseum, our first aim. The weather is wonderful, the line is short in this late afternoon, so we get in and wander, wondering how it could be still up.
Also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, the Colosseum is elliptical, built of concrete and stone, reddish in the approaching sunset, large. The largest amphitheatre in the world. 
It could hold 80,000 spectators and was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles. There was a tent to cover the seats from the sea and sand on the ground to absorb the blood of beasts and humans. The cruel show was very well organised.
The construction of the Colosseum began under the emperor Vespasian in 70 AD, and was completed in 80 AD under Titus. Further modifications were made during the reign of Domitian (81–96). These three emperors are known as the Flavian dynasty, and that's why the amphitheatre was named 'Flavius'.
Crowded and screaming in the late ancient age, it became deserted in the early Middle Ages, when Rome itself was reduced to a small town, unpopulated, unhealty. Exotical plants grew up from seeds arrived with exotical beasts and vegetation covered it all. Silence came. For centuries.
Parts of the Colosseum were later reused for housing, workshops, religious or military aims. Stones were robbed to buid the gloriuos palaces of the modern Rome. Time, earthquakes and wars made their dirty job. Day after day. But look: it's still up!
I find hard to imagine this place at the time of its glory, because the 'fan' attitude for me is remote and I don't apreciate violent shows. Panem and circenses was - and is - the motto of every dictature.
Case Romane al Celio
Instead I find easy, almost natural to watch it with the eye of those first 'tourists', the 'beat generation' of the late XVIII and early XIX century who came to Italy and Greece looking for beauty and freedom like in the Seventies they used to go to India: Shelley, Byron, earlier Goethe. Keats.
I find easy to share their amazement and their regret for the huge lost of the Classics. It didn't disapear, it's there but in big ruins, in the heart of the modern city as to remind a time when a different path was still possible... but we took the other way. I can see this stones hiden by the grass and sheeps grazing in the middle, looked after by a lazy shepherd under an unusual blue sky. For the British expecially the contrast should have been striking with their industrial smoke poisoned land. 
Chiesa di S.Andrea e S.Gregorio al Celio

"Or go to Rome" Shelley wrote "which is the sepulchre,
       Oh, not of him [Keats], but of our joy: 'tis nought
       That ages, empires and religions there
       Lie buried in the ravage they have wrought;
       For such as he can lend—they borrow not
       Glory from those who made the world their prey;
       And he is gather'd to the kings of thought
       Who wag'd contention with their time's decay,
And of the past are all that cannot pass away.

       Go thou to Rome—at once the Paradise,
       The grave, the city, and the wilderness;
       And where its wrecks like shatter'd mountains rise,
       And flowering weeds, and fragrant copses dress
       The bones of Desolation's nakedness
       Pass, till the spirit of the spot shall lead
       Thy footsteps to a slope of green access
       Where, like an infant's smile, over the dead

A light of laughing flowers along the grass is spread..."
Bocca della Verità

I can't say I like the Colosseum but I definitely loved its light and the infinite perspectives it offers to the photographer's camera. 
I definitely loved the Case Romane del Celio. , a secret gate to the lost world that only surfaces in the ruins above. "The sequence of decorated rooms and the maze of stratified structures cut through by the foundations of the church [Santi Giovanni e Paolo]  reveal aspects of Roman daily life with an interesting blend of cultural themes." you can read on the official site "This monument originated in a variety of building types including an insula or apartment block for artisans, and a wealthy domus, which was subsequently converted into an early Christian church."
Fire eater in S.Maria in Trastevere
Look at these faces: they are so realistic and living! no idealisation, but men and women in the flesh, watching you from two millenniums ago. Such is stupor that speechless you are left, and wondering how it could be. It's even hard to describe the incredible view of the many different buildings at different levels underground: imagine to be in the midle of an ancient Rome's street, here the wall of an high insula, there the wall of a more elegant domus, a step and you get in a room rich of decorations, the rest of a mosaic still on place. All that underground. That's probably one of the most touching things I have ever seen. Especially touching because it doesn't look like a museum and you are almost alone, in the poor light, in the deep silence.
It's all dark when we get out and walk to via di San Gregorio, the Palatinum warapped in shadow, deserted like a deads land. The traffic is even louder instead, sinister like a snake, one hundred yellow eyes, strangling the decrepit city. An huge hole in the middle: the Circo Massimo. A nothing, a space. Once it was a big stadium for bigas' races, now it's a grassy depression with no evident use. We measure it by dreamy steps, people pass us jogging.
By the Tevere at night
So now we are by the river, in piazza Bocca della Verità, so named by a weird monument: a mask of stone placed in the portico of Santa Maria in Cosmedin. The legend tells that if you put a hand in its mouth and lie it bits you. We put the hand in... but don't dare to lie! 
It's a very touristic thing and there is a very long line, but the church is beautiful: built in the Middle Ages on the site of a Roman public office it holds a splendid floor and its columns are all different, probably coming from Roman temples or basilicas.
Just in front, on a patch of grass surounded by cahotic roads, there are two small pretty temples perfectly preserved, Tempio di Ercole and Tempio di Portuno. The last one is round and one of my favourite ancient monuments.
By the other side of the Tevere there is Trastevere, once a popular area, now famous for its night life. Our BnB is there and from the terrace on the roof we can see all Rome like in a post card. Our guest is super nice - check her place here 
S.Pietro from our BnB terrace on the roof - and suggests us a tasty typical restaurant - - where we eat a delicious dinner before to enjoy the night in the crowded street of Trastevere.

martedì 18 novembre 2014

Richie Porte: In a Different Frame of Mind

Richie Porte:
“Probably the only good thing about having a bad year is that it does make you hungrier. It was a rough season. It started well and I was where I needed to be in January and February, but I got sick a few times which meant I didn’t had the most straightforward year. In October I came off a month of antibiotics and I feel much, much better.
I’m coming into this period seven kilos lighter than I was at this time last year. I’m definitely ready to go and ready to really step it up. I’d love to have a big year.
I was in Europe in October and got into a good routine. I’ve been doing a lot of gym work and a lot of swimming and walking. The weather was great in Monaco so I loved being out on the bike. It was all quite inspiring.
This off-season I finished earlier, so I’ve had to start again earlier. I’ve been rolling home via the Col de la Madone, which is probably the most famous climb where I’m based. I really enjoy doing that and during the season Froomey and I often train together and go over La Madone.
Now I’m back in Tasmania. It’s something I’d really been looking forward to. The government has just spent a lot of money on mountain bike trails which is also great in the off-season. I’m healthy and it’s good to be fit going into a big block of winter training.
Together with the team we’ve done some great work on the time trial bike and I feel much more comfortable now. I feel really happy with where we’re at. Little things like that will all help. I’ve got a great new girlfriend and it’s nice to build up to a new year in a different frame of mind.
Obviously the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that the Tour is hard enough as it is without throwing in some sickness. It was a disaster when Chris went home but the form I had going into the Tour was quite good.
I got through the rough stuff - which was basically the first 12 stages - sitting second on GC. That was the dream as it's always been my ambition to finish on the podium in the Tour, but then it turned into a nightmare. Obviously I think about it as a missed opportunity, but you’ve got to get on with it.
We had two years of massive success. It’s almost like we needed to have this year. But we’ve also had a lot of bad luck – with Geraint (Thomas) at Paris-Nice, Sergio (Henao’s) crash, myself, Yogi (Ian Stannard) and Froomey. It hasn’t been a straightforward year. I guess it’s hard to measure luck, but we’ve had our fair share of bad. It just makes everyone doubly determined to have a great season next year.

lunedì 17 novembre 2014

Jay McCarthy: "Cycling is a Team Effort" (and more!)

22-year old, Australian, one Grand Tour done, interesting guy.

Jay McCarthy : 
“I’ve had a solid season in the manner that I’ve developed steadily, I rode my first Giro d’Italia and I got some more World Tour experience and power. I’m getting closer to finding myself as a rider. 
Right now, I see myself moving in the direction of becoming a rider for the medium mountain or hilly stages, where you try your luck and play the tactical game carefully. 
I like working for the team captains even if it completely ruins my own chances in the race. Cycling is a team effort, and I learn a lot from riding with my captains. It feels as a sort of victory, when you let go of the front after having done your very best.
It’s so important to get the coaching as a young rider. It’s hard work throughout the year, but I enjoy being on this team. And even though I’ve only been off my bike for two weeks, I really can’t wait to get back on it – especially when the entire team is so determined to perform in 2015."

Cyclocross: Muddy meh (in Gavere)

Superprestige cyclocross race of Asper - Gavere 2014I was in a rainy Rome so didn't see it. I saw a tweet by Lars van der Haar: 
"Ai ai ai! I missed my start! Such a shame as I felt so good! Came from very far. Last lap stone in pedal, so Nys left me. 5th today in Gavere" and it didn't make me happy. I felt pretty MEH :/ First of all because I missed the first MUDDY cyclocross of the season. Then because Lars looks a little unlucky so far - but even stronger than last year in my opinion. Finally because - you know - I find Klaas Vantornout extremely sexy and a victory by a muddy Klaas is always some show! 

Anyway, I must stay at Giant's press release: 

"After unusually missing his start, Lars had to fight back from behind to make up the places and get himself back into contention, but after a late problem which saw him unable to clip in due to the stones on the course he dropped back to end up taking fifth, still a very respectable result and one that shows he can compete well whatever the course throws at him. 
One aspect of his training that he worked hard on together with the trainers on the team coming into the season was his power and this was beneficial in the tough sticky, muddy conditions today. His consistency in the series will soon pay off and the overall is still very much to play for.
Lars now sits just three points behind Sven Nys (Crelan-AA Drink) in the Superprestige standings, in third place overall after four of eight rounds." 

By the way: nice to see that Kevin Pauwels is back to his best form after a less brilliant season...

Klaas Vantornout:
"This is a fantastic win. I'm not winning a lot of races and I was still missing out on a big classic win. This one comes just behind the Belgian championships I won last year. The crowds continue to grow. It's an amazing feeling to ride through that wall of sound."

Sven Nys:
"I didn't want to make the mistake to start too fast. It was a tactical decision. It was not the intention to lose a lot of time when my chain came off. I stood still for 15 seconds. That's what I lacked in the end. I'm pleased to be leading the series now. It's better to lead than to chase."

Mathieu Van der Poel 
"I hoped to finish in the top five, and it's a sixth place. The course took its toll. I struggled to click in my pedals because of the small rocks," 

1 Klaas Vantornout (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games  
2 Kevin Pauwels (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games  
3 Sven Nys (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink  
4 Tom Meeusen (Bel) Telenet-Fidea  
5 Lars van der Haar (Ned) Giant-Shimano  
6 Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) BKCP Powerplus  
7 Philipp Walsleben (Ger) BKCP Powerplus  
8 Bart Wellens (Bel) Telenet-Fidea  
9 Sven Vanthourenhout (Bel) Crelan-AA Drink  
10 Bart Aernouts (Bel) Corendon-KwadrO  
11 David van der Poel (Ned) BKCP Powerplus  
12 Corné van Kessel (Ned) Telenet-Fidea  
13 Rob Peeters (Bel) Vastgoedservice-Golden Palace  
14 Tim Merlier (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games  
15 Gianni Vermeersch (Bel) Sunweb-Napoleon Games  
16 Joeri Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team  
17 Thijs Van Amerongen (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team  
18 Patrick Gaudy (Bel) Veranclassic-Doltcini Cycling Team  
19 Jim Aernouts (Bel) Sunweb - Napoleon Games Cycling Team  
20 Eddy Van IJzendoorn (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team  
21 Niels Wubben (Ned) Telenet Fidea Cycling Team  
22 Ian Field (GBr) Hargroves Cycles  
23 Twan Van Den Brand (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team  
24 Jens Adams (Bel) Vastgoedservice - Golden Palace Cycling Team  
25 Patrick Van Leeuwen (Ned) Orange Babies Cycling Team  
26 Kenneth Van Compernolle (Bel) CCN - Metalac Cycling team  
27 Gert-Jan Bosman (Ned) Parkhotel Valkenburg Continentaal Team  
28 Javier Ruiz De Larrinaga Ibanez (Spa)  
29 Lubomir Petrus (Cze) BKCP - Powerplus Cycling Team  
30 Marcel Meisen (Ger) Corendon - KwadrO Cycling Team  
31 Asier Arregui Dominguez (Spa)  
32 Kevin Van Hoovels (Bel)  
33 Yu Takenouchi (Jpn)  
34 Asier Urdaibai Erauzkin (Spa)  
35 Josu Arregi Dominguez (Spa)

mercoledì 12 novembre 2014

In Short: "Life is about making decision" - an Interview with Vincenzo Nibali

Vincenzo with his daughter Emma
Vincenzo Nibali is one of my oldest favourites, I met him first in Mastromarco after his first pro victory, in Tour de San Luis, and he has never disappointed me: serious, kind, a nice guy and a good person. 
There is an interview here:

In Short:
1. 30 isn't old: "No. I feel like a normal person who reaches an important birthday in their life. I don't feel old as a person or as a rider. I've still got a lot of desire to race, I feel as motivated and determined as I did when I was 20.
2. How TdF winning feels like: "It's difficult to experience and really feel the emotions of a Grand Tour when you're still riding and racing it. You enjoy it by celebrating victory and it’s a special moment but you're so concentrated on what you're doing, that you can't take it all in. Now I've had a chance to reflect on things I've seen photos and videos of the race. There were some really special moments that still make me emotional and make the hairs on my arms stand up. The stage on the pave was incredible for example but there were so many others. The whole picture is starting to come together in my mind. The pain and all the hard work that was needed to get there are fading away and the memories are becoming more and more enjoyable. [...]
For me it was amazing to win the Tour. It wasn't a problem or something unenjoyable at all. In fact, I was very determined and focused on winning, so it came pretty easily from a psychological point of view."
3. Still the same person: "There's no reason why I should change. I'm trying and I'm determined to live my life as I always have done. I haven't changed. Of course if I want to treat myself, I'll do it. But I'm still the same person I was before I won the Tour and the same person I was before I became a successful rider. [...] All the attention means my life and my winter is busier than usual but it happened after I won the Giro d'Italia too, so I'm used to it."
4. Life is about making decision: "I've already decided. I know what I want to do and I know what I don't want to do. Of course, together with the team, I've got to say yes to something and no to other things. I understand that. Life is about making decisions and accepting the consequences of your decisions. I've got an idea of the race programme I want to follow but whatever happens, if I get to do what I want or not, it won't create problems for me.
5. No Giro: "I honestly don't think I'll do the Giro d'Italia. I said I'd do the Giro if I have to, but if I ride it, I want to ride it to win it. At Astana we've also got Fabio Aru, who is more suited to the Giro d'Italia than the Tour de France. And so if I ride the Giro, I'd overshadow him. [...] Of course I want to return to the Giro and want to try to win it again because I'm Italian and love the Giro."
6. Who decides: "Vinokurov has a say but so do the people above him, the sponsors in Kazakhstan. [...] Cycling isn't like it used to be, where it was the riders who called the shots and decided things. Those days are over. It's the same for everyone who is an employee of a company, who is paid for a specific role in a team or company. The sponsors want the big riders in the big races and want us to try to win them."
7. No rivalry with Fabio Aru: "No. He can always ask me for advice when he wants. He might not ask but the truth is that we've never really raced together this year but I've never really had any serious problems with him."
8. Confronting the routes: "The routes are a factor. There's a 60km time trial at the Giro d'Italia. I think it's a crazy decision but I suppose it depends if it's a difficult time trial. If it's tough like the one in last year's Giro, then it suits me. But if it's flat and fast like in the 2012 Tour de France, then a time trial specialist could gain three minutes and that's enough time to win a Grand Tour these days. I like the route of the Tour de France because its similar to this year's route but with even less time trialling. I couldn't have asked for much more and the route was perhaps the final factor on deciding my goals for 2015 and again targeting the Tour de France."

martedì 11 novembre 2014

Cyclocross: Sven Nys Hands Down in Jaarmarktcross

Sven Nys:
"I love very technical races but I was surprised to be alone so early. I got a big lead but it's easy to lose it making a mistake. I had a good day."


2.Van Aert,
Embedded image permalink10.J.Aernouts.