Sunday, 22 March 2009

Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow, and wow.

Sometimes, just sometimes, you can forget all the crap that surrounds our sport, you can forget doping, crap officials and over egged media hype. Sometimes something happens that makes you marvel at the pure wonder that can so often be bike racing.

Yesterday was just such a day. Milan - SanRemo came and has now not just passed, but passed into history as one of the greatest days of one of the greatest classics.
A sprint finish, that's all it was, a simple sprint finish, but what a sprint finish. A' sprint royal' as they say over there.

A peloton big enough to make it a real sprint finish arrived at SanRemo, Boonan, Gavazzi, Dean, Pozzato, Petacchi, Big Thor and Haussler can all shift a bit. But I guess on the day, non of then could shift like the mighty Cav. Cav had in his own words 'come to learn', he didn't talk up a victory, but he didn't deny it either, I don't think Cav would, sorry, could, ever do that.

The final K was hit at speed and with 500m Haussler shot of the front and opened up 50 meters. Cav a little boxed in and close to the barriers had to wait for a second or two before making his move, it was a little late, but when he made his move, it was a move of the Gods. Cav didn't so much light the afterburners as take them to one side and beat the living crap out of them. As Haussler got closer to the line he started to lose speed and as he hit 50m to go a look under his arm confirmed that it was nightmare time, the Manx missile was there and he was about to throw his bike for the final sprint.

It took several minutes for the jury to make it's mind up, the feed was indecisive and the commentators on Dutch, Belgian, French and Italian web feeds couldn't make their minds up, but soon enough the caption confirmed that Haussler had gone too early and that Cav was too fast.

Cav burst into tears and was hugged by none other then the man himself. Mario Cipollini looked almost as happy as Cav, but on a day like that who couldn't be happy, except may be Haussler and the man he was supposed to lead out, 3rd place 'Big Thor'.

The toughest race is the one for team leadership.

So, imagine for a minute that your name is AC (that's Alberto Contador not AC from Operation Puerto) and last year you were undisputed leader of your team, winning two GT's and being the worlds number one rider. Then along comes some old bloke and suddenly your world is turned upside down. Of course the fact that this old bloke happens to be called Lance is not something that's gonna make you too happy. Still, you're out to prove you're still number one in the team, and so at your first opportunity, Paris-Nice, you set out to prove your dominance. Sadly it all goes tits up, you forget to eat, you forget to attack, you forget to follow wheels, you forget to tell your team mates to ride for you. In essence you forget to lead the team.

Still never mind, you have a 2nd chance, Vuelta a Castilla y Leon is next on the cards. AC is going to ride, Levi is going to ride and the old bloke is going to ride. Oh dear, I think young AC is going to be a little upset come the end of the race. Lance seem to be enjoying himself and lets be honest, that's not a good sign for his opponents, but it's an even worse sign for his team mates.

It will be interesting to see how the race affects AC, he'll be under a lot of stress not just from other teams, but from his team mates. And race stress can make you forget to eat, forget to race, forget to attack. We'll see, it should be an interesting race. I can almost wait.


1 comment:

Mediafluff said...

What a great summary of an awesome race. Shame this amazing achievement has been practically ignored by the UK press.