mercoledì 23 luglio 2014

Tour de France 17: "I Want It All!"...and other mottos

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Rafal Majka: "I Want It All!"

Rafal Majka should pick it as his motto. Polka Dots Jersey and a second stage victory are the rich prey. In front of Purito, atop the Pla d’Adet. 
"I must thank Nicolas Roche" he said "He worked all day and gave it all for me. I couldn't have done it without him." And it's true. Once again the pride of a team that had lost his leader in such a traumatic way. 
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Vasil Kiryenka: "I Always Do My Best!"
Once again Vasil Kiryenka solo in front for Team Sky. He got caught but they had to pull hard. "I Always Do My Best" could make for him. He would have deserved the Red Number in my opinion but I understand why it went to Romain Bardet: his motto should be "I Don't Give Up!". Yesterday he had lost his White and his podium to Pinot and today he launched a fearless attack in the last descent. It didn't work but chapeau le mec!
Thibaut Pinot didn't take any risk but wisely chased on the last climb. It worked. Also dued to the special guest on his wheel - and out: Vincenzo Nibali. "I Want It All" suits him as well: he easily dropped Valverde - who was supposed to attack - and went with Perraud to catch all the rest of the previous break-away. The race leader once again was on the awarding podium twice: to wear his Yellow Jersey and as 3rd in the stage. 2nd was another strong guy from Sicily: Giovanni Visconti. His motto: "I Believe In Myself".
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A dangerous move by Majka...
A special mention goes to the Top Ten Fighters: Baucke Mollema, Frank Schleck, Leo Konig, Pierre Rolland... and a coming back Richie Porte.
But bravo Alessandro De Marchi: sickness didn't give him any rest in the rest day but today he was back up there.

RAFAL MAJKA:
"I'm just so happy about this result and these results that we have accomplished in the last couple of days and today, me teammates really worked hard for me and especially Nico (Roche) was digging hard to set me up on the final climb. I wasn't so sure about how managing the stage at first but Bjarne told me to go for the stage and if we take the stage, we will have the jersey and here we are,"
RESULTS
STAGE
1 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 3:35:29
2 Giovanni Visconti (Ita) Movistar Team 0:00:29
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:46
4 Jean-Christophe Peraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00
5 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale 0:00:49
6 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:52
7 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:12
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling Team 0:00
9 Nicolas Roche (Irl) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:01:25
10 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:35
GC
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 76:41:28
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:05:26
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:06:00
4 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:08
5 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:07:34
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:10:19
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:11:59
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:12:16
9 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:12:40
10 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:13:15
11 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing 0:14:26
12 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol 0:16:08
13 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:18:03
14 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:28:00
15 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:31:00
16 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
17 Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:32:14
18 Christopher Horner (USA) Lampre - Merida 0:34:48
19 Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team Sky 0:36:09
20 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:36:41
POINTS JERSEY
Peter Sagan
POLKA
Rafal Majka
WHITE

Thibaut Pinot
TEAM
AG2R
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Romain Bardet: "I Don't Give Up!"
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Vincenzo Nibali: "I Want It All!" (too)
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Top Ten Fighter Frank Schleck
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Alejandro Valverde cracks
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Nicolas Roche worked hard all day

martedì 22 luglio 2014

Tour de France 16: Team Pride

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The start of the break-away
The long last climb, open jerseys on sweating chests, crowd, noise, colours. Vasil Kiryenka pulling a small peloton, doing the selection, setting a smashing pace that doesn't allow anybody to attack. "And when Kiryenka steps aside..." I say. "What if he doesn't?!" It wasn't the Tour, it was one of the many races where the terrific rider was doing his terrific job for Team Sky. No expression on his face, just a deep concentration. The pride to contribute to the team effort and hopefully to the team success. That's the purest essence of cycling. Then he steps aside and the team leader attacks. The race is over when he crosses the line, no matter his time. Celebrating by an imperceptible smile when the news comes on the radio.
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Rogers wins
Today Vasil Kiryenka was pulling for himself. Team Sky had lost Chris Froome in a crash and Richie Porte was far behind, struggling with a sickness since the Aremberg's stage. The team that had won the two  previous Tours was suddenly nothing: a Team built for the overall, with no sprinters and no break-away specialists, all committed to protect and support the gc leader and big favourite. Now they must invent something different. Strong riders they are but not really used to take their chances. 
Team pride. They fight for perfection not just a good result. So now Vasil Kiryenka is pulling hard a small group ahead the race, almost 10' from the Yellow Jersey, on a last long steep climb in the Pyrenes. This break-away is going to make it so one of them will grab the stage victory. Europcar has got two riders: Voeckler and Gauthier. They are dangerous not just because fast at the sprint but moreover because their changes of rythm don't suit the Sky man. He doesn't panic – can you imagine Kiryenka losing control? - he gets slightly dropped but doesn't force his pace. In front there are Serpa and Rogers. The big Australian is talking to Voeckler, almost arguing. "Wait a bit! Damn you have Gauthier behind and Kiryenka can give us a good help till the finish!" Voeckler keeps attacking, the group goes on nervously till the top of the climb, in the crowd. 
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Pinot in White
Michael Rogers is a TT World Chmapion. He's not afraid to go solo when the road is flat. He's strong built but good also on climbing, he won on the Zoncolan in the last Giro. He knows the taste of personal glory, but here he came to help Alberto Contador. The last image we have of the Spaniard riding in the mist is Rogers' hand on his shoulder: "Courage, it'll be fine". Tour over. Team's hope vanished. Victory violently ripped away. Team Tinkoff had took no time to think about: the day after there was already Roche on the attack, then – successfully – Majka, now Rogers. Team pride: show what the team is worth of. 
"It's not just me. We have got options" Richie Porte had said in the last rest day. Thomas and Nieve, now Eisel and Kiryenka. The front group is back together in the fast descent. No way to be caught only the win matters. Gauthier attacks first but it's Rogers to go. Solo. Till the finish line. Kiryenka is not a sprinter but still he sprints to get at least a 3rd behind Voeckler. A podium spot for Team Sky in such a disastrous Tour.
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A press car in the race! crazy!
Today the big fight was in the peloton, Pinot dueling against Bardet – and his ghosts – to grab the White and the first French podium since ages. The big fight was Valverde against Nibali, going to gain and getting dropped. And Majka turning Polka for just one point on Purito Rodriguez... 
I know. But Vasil Kiryenka is one of my favourite riders in the peloton. 

RESULTS
STAGE
1 Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo 6:07:10  
2 Thomas Voeckler (Fra) Team Europcar 0:00:09  
3 Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Team Sky  
4 José Serpa (Col) Lampre - Merida  
5 Cyril Gautier (Fra) Team Europcar  
6 Greg Van Avermaet (Bel) BMC Racing Team 0:00:13  
7 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:00:36  
8 Matteo Montaguti (Ita) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:50  
9 Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Garmin - Sharp 0:02:11  
10 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol  
11 Jan Bakelants (Bel) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:03:33  
12 Florian Vachon (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:03:45  
13 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:04:47  
14 Kévin Reza (Fra) Team Europcar  
15 Bernhard Eisel (Aut) Team Sky 0:08:14  
16 Jérémy Roy (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:08:32  
17 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr  
18 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team  
19 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale  
20 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team  

21 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura
GC
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 73:05:19  
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:37  
3 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:05:06  
4 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:08  
5 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:40  
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:09:25  
7 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:09:32  
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:11:12  
9 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:11:28  
10 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:11:33  
11 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing 0:12:38  
12 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:13:09  
13 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol 0:14:02  
14 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:17:37  
15 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:23:06  
16 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:23:54  
17 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:24:08  
18 Steven Kruijswijk (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:26:06  
19 Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:26:48  

20 Christopher Horner (USA) Lampre - Merida 0:29:54
POINTS
Sagan
POLKA
Majka
WHITE
Pinot
TEAM
1 AG2R La Mondiale 219:28:01  
2 Belkin Pro Cycling 0:26:21  

3 Team Sky 0:39:19

lunedì 21 luglio 2014

Tour de France: In Short - Richie Porte said...


1. HARD:  “It’s been a hard Tour. One moment you’re second on GC and the next you find yourself out of the top 10. I’ll take things as they come now. I’m still struggling, but with the Pyrenees coming up, hopefully I can recover and try and bounce back."

2. ILL at the WRONG TIME:  “I had great form coming into the race and I think I showed on the Plache des Belles Filles I was up there with the strongest guys. I can beat myself up as much as I want, but there’s some things you can’t control and it was about the worst time possible for me to get ill, just before the Alps."
3. BASIC GOAL:  “My main goal now is making it to Paris. I’d like to go up the road somewhere and try for a stage win, but these last three days have been among the worst I’ve experienced on a bike, so that’s going to make it very difficult on the hard days to come."
4. SKY HAS OPTIONS: “It won’t just be left up to me though, we do have other options. Geraint Thomas and Mikel Nieve are both in great form and I’m sure they could try for a stage win somewhere as well.”
5. NEXT TIME: “Ever Tour is as unpredictable as the next one so I’m sure there’ll be other opportunities in the future for me to come in in good form and ride for the general classification. Every Tour’s different and we’ll just have to see what happens. It’s all experience at the end of the day.”
6. NIBALI: “Vincenzo’s a class bike rider. He’s won the Giro and the Vuelta and has been around a long time. He’s shown he’s been head and shoulders above everyone who’s left in the race and he’s got a good, strong team around him. He’s doing a great job.”

domenica 20 luglio 2014

Tour de France 15: The Doorstep

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Bauer and Elmiger
Back to flat and fast, back to the rain but hot. Back to the sprint but sprinters must earn it. Back to the break-away: Elmiger and Bauer, Bauer and Elmiger. Working so well together you can think they are mates. Instead they are going to catch the second, dashing in face each other. Not now, not for long. In the rain the peloton is prudent, in the wind there is the risk of splits, so cuddle the gap, the safe advantage. Don't think of the moment it will be suddenly over. 
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Rain on the race
A doorstep: Elmiger and Bauer are still pedaling in the hope, the peloton is preparing the sprint but all can still happen. Don't think. Vincenzo Nibali is pedaling in Yellow, one day more. But the doorstep is narrow, one step and you pass it in the wrong direction. Be focused, be ready. Riders react to the violent cross wind. They knew about it, it was expected and in Nimes is raining. Be focused, be ready. A long line on the bridge and the peloton splits. See the doorstep, smell the risk. Vincenzo Nibali is a small yellow points jumping ahead, catching the first echelon with an incredible move. Solo. 
Echelons: Nibali jumps ahead
So far the break is away and they are two. The city is close, the peloton still far. The hope sill big be the right side of the doorstep. So head down on the handlebar and regular changes: don't think. They are nervous behind: the gap decrease but slowly. The peloton and the break are now in the same frame: few seconds, it can be enough. On the doorstep between glory and defeat. One more step, just one. Don't think, don't wait, don't start too early the bloody sprint, don't start it too late. They come!
Elmiger get caught first, as he had been the first one to attack this morning. But Bauer resists and sprints to 10. In tears after the finish, beyond the doorstep but by the wrong side. Alexander Kristoff is by the right side again.
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RESULTS
STAGE
1 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 4:56:43
2 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
3 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
4 André Greipel (Ger) Lotto Belisol
5 Mark Renshaw (Aus) Omega Pharma - Quick-Step Cycling Team
6 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
7 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin Sharp
8 Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement
9 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge
10 Jack Bauer (NZl) Garmin Sharp
GC
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 66:49:37
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:37
3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:50
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:05:06
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:05:49
6 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:08
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:08:33
8 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:09:32
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:10:01
10 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:10:48

Tour de France 14: Combactivity


Colours are a code. See that young man riding in Yellow: second yesterday in the Alpes but second to nobody in the Tour overall, and not for seconds because this time it's matter of minutes. Look that Green, so hard to wear. His owner used to fly but this time it's heavy, the wearing of the green, it's like a mark precluding any other joy, the colour of envie. A pure colour is White: it's giving all outside, showing all, keeping nothing. Rather cool because reflective. Red Dots are a sickness: get it and you get sick of it, lose it and you feel even more sick. You want it and you want it back. Contagious. 
But Red is the combactivity colour. The half full glass. The mark of generous unlucky moves. The mark of De Machi in this Tour. And don't forget his nick name is Il Rosso di Buja, that's The Red of Buja, by his red hair and the village where he lives. So Red is right for him and he's a Red Number Rider. Angry at first, then furious and finally proud: because you must be a big bastard to be allowed to break-away in the Tour, and to break-away almost every day - unless you are Jens Voigt - you must be brave and smart. 
"Now he's happy the bastard!" Bjarne Riis' said of Rafal Majka. Team Tinkoff-Saxo should get a collective Red Number o Red Helmets like the Yellow Helmets of the Best Team. Riis's should compete for a TM Red Number too: no fear, no stop. In 2010 he lost the Tour and half of his team, he built it again around Alberto Contador who was in big troubles, he too in need to be re-built, he lost his team completely when he had to sell it to Oleg Tinkoff but didn't give up his role and started in the Tour with the race's absolute favourite. When Alberto Contador crashed out Riis' said "We don't have any plann B" and that's true regarding the overall. But the day after there was already Nicolas Roche on the attack and a Red Number ready for his back. "We wanted to show from the start that we didn't give up". Combactivity.
Majka wasn't supposed to ride in the Tour because he was the team leader in the Giro. He even complained. In the first days he was at the back but Contador's crash created him a natural new captain. The bastard blasted in one of the hardest stages of the race, to win in Risoul.
But yesterday, in such a Tour de France, dominated by Vincenzo Nibali with such a big easyness, with such a big confidence, many were the combactives up the many climbs toward the finish. Franck Schleck: 7th. He did his maths. He said "I'm ready and I feel good", it was true. Mikel Nieve and Geraint Thomas: traumatized Team Sky plann C, all day in front riding their blood out. Simon Yates, the youngest in the break-away and in the peloton, afraid of nothing. And also Richie Porte: fighting against a chest infection since the Aremberg's stage...
I could go on. 


RESULTS
STAGE

1 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 5:08:27  
2 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 0:00:24  
3 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:00:26  
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:50
5 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:00:54
7 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:01:01
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:01:07
9 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:01:20
10 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:01:24
11 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
12 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar
13 Jon Izaguirre Insausti (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:18
14 Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:02:34
15 John Gadret (Fra) Movistar Team 0:02:37
16 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:02:40
17 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:44
18 Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:03:09
19 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha
20 Nicolas Edet (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits 0:03:20
21 Simon Yates (GBr) Orica Greenedge 0:03:25
GC
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 61:52:54
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:04:37
3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:50
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:05:06
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:05:49
6 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:08
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:08:33
8 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:09:32
9 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:10:01
10 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:10:48
11 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol 0:11:02
12 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing 0:11:10
13 Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida 0:12:57
14 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:14:37
15 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:16:03
16 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:19:12
17 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:19:24
18 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:20:18
19 Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:21:00
20 Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team Sky 0:21:04
POINTS JERSEY
Peter Sagan
POLKA
1 Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Team Katusha 88 pts
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 88
3 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 86
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 49
5 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 40
6 Alessandro De Marchi (Ita) Cannondale 38
WHITE
1 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 61:57:44
2 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:16
3 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:14:34
TEAM
1 Ag2R La Mondiale 185:56:38
2 Belkin Pro Cycling 0:12:42
3 Team Sky 0:38:16

venerdì 18 luglio 2014

Tour de France 13: Underdog

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Richie Porte gets dropped
He wasn't supposed to be riding the Tour and for sure not in the lead of Team Sky. As well as Chris Froome, he had had a troubled season: retired from Tirreno-Adriatico, didn't start in the Giro d'Italia. In the Tour de France he started as Chris Froome last men. Then the team leader's crash and Richie Porte as Plann B. 
This morning he was 2nd in the General Classification and said: "Bring on the mountains! I'm looking forward!" He had responded very well to the unespected call and I think that the Plann B was planned. Prudent in the rain, well supported on the pavé by a great Geraint Thomas, Richie Porte didn't look confortable in the first hot day uphill: slightly dropped, he had come back at the finish without panicing. 
He was already the underdog. Vincenzo Nibali is too strong... Hard to support him, hard to get excited in spite he's a good, nice, friendly guy. Hard to support Alejandro Valverde, still dragging a shameful past. Too far the rest: Bauke Mollema, Frank Schleck... Even Romain Bardet couldn't really do. But Richie Porte was ok. A real fighter for the final victory, a brave trying to change Team Sky's disaster in a personal and collective fortune. 
He doesn't look different from the young rider I met years ago when he was still riding for Bjarne Riis' Team Saxo Bank. He used to like a good chat and a good joke. As Ambicious but more consistent than Jakob Fuglsang, he was at that time a good friend of Andy Schleck. Of course he has grown up since that, as a man and as rider. He has grown up at Team Sky, in a different discipline, in a different concept of the group. Aware of his qualities but also realist about his possibilities, Richie Porte had accepted his role but never given up on his goals. 
On the first Alpin stage of this Tour the heat was hiting hard. Since the start. Merciless. Riders were fainting on their bikes, tarmac was melting and the road was climbing. The group was climbing too, at a crazy speed. No break-away could really stick. De Marchi was the last one left, collecting points for the Polka Jersey in a stage where the most of them were atop and trying to win a stage that was the obvious target of the gc riders. Red Number for him but once again the empty hands.
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Vincenzo Nibali goes solo
Vincenzo Nibali attacked only to respond. Valverde was expected to try and so did. The difference was stunning. "Today it was hot" Nibali said "like it uses to be in Messina. But without the sea wind." Another shark attack. Another victory, this time in Yellow Jersey: "It's beautiful to win in Yellow, isn't it?". Oh yes, it is. Not a smile this time on his face. All were suffering behind, his team included: Westra dropped, Scarponi dropped, Fuglsand crashed - on Van Den Broeck's bottle - and Kangert just able to give the last painful push. French riders showed again nice things today. Bardet and Pinot especially. Frank Schleck was good, Bauke Mollema gained a place in GC. Nobody could even keep the wheel of the race leader and Richie Porte just disapeared. Paced by Nieve and Thomas he crossed the line almost 9' after the first. 
Embedded image permalinkThinking of what? seeing what, or anything on his way? probably no. Then you read what he said and he's still there, ready to bite... the underdog: "We'll see what happens tomorrow". He didn't give up on his big chance in spite today Paris looks very far, or maybe too close.
Richie Porte:
“I don’t think I dealt with the heat very well. It’s one of those things. It’s a massive shame but we’ll see what happens tomorrow. I feel more for my team-mates who have been brilliant for me every day. If it happens to me it can happen to other guys too. We’ll just keep on pushing.”
Dave Brailsford:
"It was a difficult day but we’ll keep on fighting. We’ve had some terrific performances in the last couple of years at the Tour de France. We’d have liked to see that happen again but every now and again in sport you get dealt a tough blow. Today is one of those for us but we’ll come back and keep on racing to the end in Paris."

RESULTS
STAGE

1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 5:12:29
2 Rafal Majka (Pol) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:00:10
3 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:00:11
4 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:00:50
5 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:00:53
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:01:23
7 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
8 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:01:36
9 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:02:09
10 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing
11 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing
12 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
13 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
14 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:03:01
15 Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida
16 Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo 0:03:07
17 Christopher Horner (USA) Lampre - Merida 0:03:11
18 Ben Gastauer (Lux) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:02
19 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:04:12
20 Brice Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement 0:05:55
21 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha
GC
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 56:44:03
2 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:03:37
3 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:04:24
4 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:04:40
5 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:05:19
6 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:06:06
7 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:06:17
8 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol 0:06:27
9 Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida 0:08:35
10 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:08:36
11 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:08:51
12 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:09:18
13 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:09:48
14 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing 0:10:10
15 Christopher Horner (USA) Lampre - Merida 0:10:44
16 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:11:11
17 Frank Schleck (Lux) Trek Factory Racing 0:14:00
18 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:14:05
19 Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team Sky 0:14:51
20 Yury Trofimov (Rus) Team Katusha 0:16:27
POINTS JERSEY
Peter Sagan
POLKA
Vincenzo Nibali
WHITE
Romain Bardet
TEAM
AG2R

giovedì 17 luglio 2014

Tour de France 12: Nacked

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In front of all. All right. It's part of the game. Gambling on two wheels, stoicly affording what the day brings on. Riders wear just a jersey on their heart. Feelings exposure is on the conctract. Talking when you'd like to be quiet, waiting when you'd like to hurry up unless you are rude or a snub - remeber Cadel Evans' "Don't step on my dog' or Bradley Wiggins' no show. Vincenzo Nibali is apreciated because available. After hours on the saddle. Unless you lack of respect for the media. Maybe riders should be respected a little more.
Embedded image permalinkPeter Sagan is disappointed. Not angry. So sorry that you forget he's wearing the Green Jersey - and he seems to forget it himself. A worried Wolverine showed nacked in all his disappointment. This time he saved energies for the final sprint but it didn't work: Kristoff crossed first the line beating his chest like Tarzan. A nacked pride.
Moreover nacked and trashed the still entertaining pain of crashed riders. David De la Cruz was showing the world his NetApp-Endura jersey when he fell. He had probably a broken collarbone and it's no doubt painful crashing out the Tour from a promising break-away. Andrew Talansky didn't start this morning. But his painful finishing has been a big spot for Garmin (team and sponsor).
Embedded image permalinkCycling should emancipate itself from this war rhetoric of sufference and heroism. Or shame and scandal when a doper gets caught. It's fortunately a sport not a gladiators' show. It's fortunately a sport moving ahead from the doping age. Doping is not normal now and top athletes are not doping. Unfortunately it's still a sport where athletes are asked to damage their health and to risk their life as if that was normal. It is not.
Don't clap a rider who finishes when he should stop, don't show the pain of a rider who fell and got injuried. Don't put in fron of all those nacked bodies and those nacked souls. Of course we get excited but it's a feeling to be not prised.


RESULTS
STAGE

1 Alexander Kristoff (Nor) Team Katusha 4:32:11
2 Peter Sagan (Svk) Cannondale
3 Arnaud Demare (Fra) FDJ.fr
4 Michael Albasini (Swi) Orica Greenedge
5 Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin - Sharp
6 Daniele Bennati (Ita) Tinkoff-Saxo
7 Bryan Coquard (Fra) Team Europcar
8 Daniel Oss (Ita) BMC Racing Team
9 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale
10 José Joaquin Rojas Gil (Spa) Movistar Team
11 Romain Feillu (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement
12 Armindo Fonseca (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement
13 John Degenkolb (Ger) Team Giant-Shimano
14 Jurgen Roelandts (Bel) Lotto-Belisol
15 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling
16 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step
17 Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling
18 Cyril Lemoine (Fra) Cofidis, Solutions Credits
19 Anthony Delaplace (Fra) Bretagne - Seche Environnement
20 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
GC
1 Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Astana Pro Team 51:31:34
2 Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky 0:02:23
3 Alejandro Valverde Belmonte (Spa) Movistar Team 0:02:47
4 Romain Bardet (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:01
5 Thibaut Pinot (Fra) FDJ.fr 0:03:47
6 Tejay Van Garderen (USA) BMC Racing Team 0:03:56
7 Jean-Christophe Péraud (Fra) AG2R La Mondiale 0:03:57
8 Bauke Mollema (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:04:08
9 Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Lotto-Belisol 0:04:18
10 Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Astana Pro Team 0:04:31
11 Michal Kwiatkowski (Pol) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 0:04:39
12 Geraint Thomas (GBr) Team Sky 0:05:17
13 Rui Alberto Costa (Por) Lampre - Merida 0:05:34
14 Mikel Nieve Iturralde (Spa) Team Sky 0:06:03
15 Pierre Rolland (Fra) Team Europcar 0:06:47
16 Christopher Horner (USA) Lampre - Merida 0:07:33
17 Laurens Ten Dam (Ned) Belkin Pro Cycling 0:07:42
18 Haimar Zubeldia Agirre (Spa) Trek Factory Racing 0:08:01
19 Leopold Konig (Cze) Team Netapp-Endura 0:08:25
20 Tony Gallopin (Fra) Lotto-Belisol 0:08:57