Monday, April 13, 2015

The Broom Wagon up after the week of racing

Deger goes hard for his second monument of the season.
The Last German Guy to win Roubaix

Pais Vasco
Those separatists love their cycling

Image result for vuelta pais vasco 2015
It's called a txapela
JRod was impressive all week, with 2 stage wins.  But it was his second place finish in the final TT that secured his overall victory and made GoGo eat crow.

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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Forza's Fury

Chapeau to Alexander Kristoff, insert nickname here, for winning the 2015 edition of the Ronde. He was clearly the best and strongest rider in Flanders. Terpstra could not drop the big Norwegian on the Kwaremont and even followed the wheels of Kristoff on the Paterberg. The two entered Oudenarde together and the Terpinator knew he had no chance in the sprint. The victors and spoils going to the man from Stavanger.

The Ronde was spoiled for me as I had Easter activities in the morning. This is the problem when 2 holy weeks collide. Religion/Family vs. Cycling. Oh well. I tried to watch the race via youtube in the afternoon, but in my search a spoiler ruined the day, thanks Bein sports. I ended up watching the finale, highlights, and now the final 60km which included the decisive move of the day. I certainly respect the strength of the Norwegian and commend him on his brilliant win. Maybe it was the spoiler, maybe its my disdain for Wiskota Dynamic, but I thought this years edition was good, not great, and not epic. Chapeau to Kristoff and the Commish. Good for you. To quote INRNG “a good race with a worthy winner”.

Pais Vasco or the Tour of the Basque Country started Monday. This race is generally a good one. The Basque country is super hilly and the leader gets to wear a really cool hat. This years edition should be a battle between Kwiatkowski and Quintana( update: and Purito of course). This should be an excellent duel as the parcours don't seem to benefit Quintana with a super long and steep climb rather a series of sharp, short climbs. Michael Mathews should win anything that ends in a sprint. Also look for Gorka Izagirre, a Wiskota favorite, also known as the Lammergeier, to win a stage in his home region.

Paris Roubaix
The Hell of the North is the greatest one day race in the world. Flanders seems to get the nod these days but the 27 sectors totalling almost 53 km of cobblestones make Roubaix the baddest race of the season. Once known as the Queen of the Classics, or la Pascale for the Easter race, this years edition should be wide open due to the absence of Fabian Cancellara and Tommeke Boonen. So who are the favorites to raise the cobble at the end of the day.

Stybar- My pick to win
Terpstra- Tactixx-Misstep, former winner
Kristoff- Epic classics campaign
Wiggins- His best chance to take victory on the cobbles before becoming a track legend
Geraint Thomas- Doobie Doobie Doo, beware of the Penguin

Vanmarcke- MIA
Degenkolb- tiniest moustache
Sagan- last time he’s on this list without results
Van Avermaet- Get it right Greg, we’re all cheering for you.
Boom- here comes the.. ready or not
Johan Van Summeren- the camel is a former winner
Arnaud Demare- can the Frenchman save team Forza’s season? No

I predict a wide open race will produce lots of attacks from the start. 6 men will enter Roubaix together and the strongest rider (Stybar) will ride away into the velodrome.

Group ride on Saturday. I am looking forward to taking a flyer early in the ride only to be caught 10 km from the end, finishing in the Taco Gruppetto, 30 minutes down on the Volpe/Pac de loupes group. I feel like I have a chance if I just wheel suck and don't drink too much pre ride. But lets be honest, I look much better in spandex when I have been drinking.

Also looking forward to french pressed coffee, ham and cheese croissants and frites on Sunday morning. I’ll bring the enthusiasm.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Broom Wagon up after the week of racing. 

Crushing the Paterberg
Kristoff wins big in Flanders with an impressive performance.  After winning the Dwars stage race earlier in the week, the "sprinter" showed that he is the strongest rider in the world by dominating the Ronde.
As Kristoff is my rider, I'll defer to Forza or the comments section when it comes to breaking down the race.

Up Next: Scheldeprijs

Reminder: Team ride on Saturday afternoon
                  Paris-Roubaix brunch @The Schmidt Haus Sunday morning

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Spokes Man

...discussion points from the Commish.

Captain on the Road
Missed by a nose

As the dust begins to settle from Milan-Sanremo I can begin to look back at what actually happened in the race.  Degenkolb showed impressive power and race tactics, but there was another rider with whom I was most impressed. As I think about this years race as well as lasts I am compelled to say that the best ride of the day was by none other than Luca Paolini.
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Not the Captain
We know what a protected rider is and his lieutenant's role seems pretty easily defined.  In addition, each team brings several domestiques, be it climbers, strongmen or just some guy who's good at carrying water.  But we also often hear that a certain rider is designated as the "captain on the road".  What exactly is this?  Some say its just a bullshit title given to make a domestique feel better.  Others say these are the guys that really control the race.
El Capitan
There have been a lot of good "captains" over the years.  Big George Hincapie is the first to come to mind.  A man who seldom won himself, but was always on the winning team.  So why was he good? (Remember the motto of  this blog: the only thing lamer than doping talk is tech talk)  The ability to read a race, position and protect his rider and probably most important, the ability to control the speed of the peloton.  The Spokes Man's question  of the day:  who's the best road captain out there today? Who do you want calling the shots?
Pulling on the Poggio

Luca, with his sagely beard, embodied the role of "captain on the road" last Sunday.  As his team leader Kristoff began to suffer at the back on the Cipressa Paolini took action.  First to the front of the peloton to slow the pace a bit.  Then he gathered his teamates as they dropped back to help pace Kristoff to the top.  As they entered the last climb of the day who was there to set the pace?  Luca.  Fast enough to deter attacks, slow enough to drag Krsitoff up.  Job well done.  Oh wait, there's more.  After guiding his man down the tricky decent he pulls wide around the final turn placing his man right at the front of the peloton.  How did he navigate this terrain so well as others (Gilbert) crash and others (Sagan) follow single file? A little digging shows us that Luca has a few podium finishes here himself.  He knows the route, knows his leader and knows himself.  Some say he dropped him off a little early, but that is Kristoff's style.  Also, his man almost won being able to hold off all but one for the last 300 meters.  It's a shame that Paolini wasn't rewarded with a team victory.  Its a shame that his amazing performance as a road captain becomes a mere footnote.  Had Kristoff won I have no doubt people would be talking about how Paolini had done the same thing last year.  Instead, Luca will have to fight for  few more victories of his own in order to be recognized.  Road captains may be respected, but only race winners are glorified.


The Broom Wagon up after the weekend's races.

Degs the Legs
My hair is so caffeinated!
Yeah, we all saw it.  Team Wiskota Dynamic went 1,2 at Milan-San Remo, but hey I'm not really expecting any kudos.  With impressive rides by both Degenkolb and Kristoff, Wiskota Dynamic hits his first goals of the season making those early round picks count in the Monuments.  The score sheet has plenty of room for others as Mathews, Sagan, Cancellera and more secured solid placings.  

Best scone ever?
Great race and a great host made for a successful Wiskota team event last Sunday.  Thanks Kalberers, hope to do it again soon. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Broom Wagon up after the week's events 
From the Sun to the Seas

Image result for Tirreno adriatico Nairo
Best of the best?
Nitro Katana proved to be the strongest in Italy as our much anticipated battle between the "fantastic four" fizzled out before it really got going.  The snowy mountain top finish made for good watching, but when it came down to it Nairo was the best of those who were trying.  Best of the best?  Perhaps, but we'll need to see a little more.  Is Bauke Bartokomis the early season revelation?  

Image result for Porte Paris nice podium
Best of the rest?
Nice $700 cap, goofball
Skynet dialed up the power train launching Richie Porte to victory on the decisive stage in Paris-Nice.  We got some pretty fun action on the penultimate stage run into Nice with rain, breakaways, crashes and of course disappointing Americans.  In the end, Porte and Thomas put in an impressive effort to keep their positions only topped by Porte's impressive victory in the final mountain TT.  Best of the rest? Perhaps, but some other stage racers would be well served to take note.  Choose your program carefully and win while you can.  Porte will have an impressive race victory under his belt before he implodes at the Giro, while Talansky and TVG will have saved their efforts for another top 20 moral victory at the Tour.  
Image result for paris nice 2015 porte crash
I want to see more of this
Image result for paris nice 2015 porte crash
And less of this
Up next:  La Primavera, La Classicissima, the first Monument: Milan-San Remo!!!