Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Chapeau!

...Gregario Forza's weekly "tip of the hat"




Chapeau to Simon Gerrans for winning two stages and taking his 4th Tour Down Under. 2 years ago he won the Ochre jersey and turned it into his best spring and season of his career. Forza!


Chapeau to Richie Porte. He is the King of Willunga Hill. He continues to dominate the most decisive climb of TdUnder but has yet to find a way to win it all. Best Climber Down Under.


Chapeau to Caleb Ewan. The “Pocket Rocket” already has 8 wins this year and it is not even February. He took the People's Choice Classic and 2 stages at TdUnder. I can’t wait to see what he can do at the Giro. Impressive pickup for STP Greenline!


Chapeau to Sergio Henao. El Venao takes the prize as the best rider from the Northern Hemisphere (barely) competing Down Under. Oh, he also got 3rd overall and the Mountains Jersey.


Chapeau to Mike Woods. The Canadian lit up stages last year in Utah and Colorado and now he proved very well in his first World Tour race. Not a Wiskota rider but I am interested to see if he becomes a real threat at races like Fleche and Amstel.


Chapeau to the Tour Down Under. This race is perfect to open the world Tour. It looks hot (can one get Vitamin D from a TV?) and the finishes are always fun and interesting to watch. This race is fan friendly, TV friendly, and rider friendly- if you're an Aussie.


Chapeau to Australian podium girls. Because cycling is chauvinistic and they are all smokeshows!

Chapeau to the Quintana Brothers. Dayer wins!!! but his brother takes the credit. Dayer took the overall at San Luis and Nitro took 3rd. A Quintana sandwich with mystery meat- Eduardo Sepulveda, finishing up the podium. Nairo was the best of the favorites and Dayer got his biggest win of his career. Maybe Dayer is the key to Quintana beating Froome in July.



The Broom Wagon

...cleaning up after the week in racing.

Gerrans win TDU
Gerro with some fit sheilas
Gregario Forza comes out swinging with a victory in Adalaide.  

Turns out Ewan is fast

STP and Bob the Neo Pro had strong showings as well.  It was an all Aussie affair and Richie Porte has shown once again that he is a force to be reckoned with...when no one else very good is there...and when it's only one week...and when everything goes his way...and when he's got a strong team...and when his muesli is just right...and when...

Caleb Ewan was not afraid to get in on this Aussie party and for the time being he is "the fastest man on the planet" - Phil Liggett.  And Phil is not one for hyperbole


Image result for gerrans tour down under kangaroo
Remember when they gave Jensie a baby roo?
Don't forget the Tour de San Luis.  Everything counts now!

The fastest Quintana
Wiskota!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Chapeau

...Gregario Forza's weekly "tip of the Hat"

Draft Day Recap:
A closer look

Volpe- Team Volpe will win any brawl. Volpe has strong riders in Kwiatkowski, Cancellara, Degenkolb and G. Thomas. This is a well rounded team in the classics and should do very well in the one week stage races. It seems that Volpe’s only weakness may be in the grand tours but that is what transfers are for.

MVP- The Penguin- Dooby dooby doo- Geraint Thomas, classics star and rising GC star = points.
Reach- Kwiatkowski- Can the QuietOne be as valuable on Sky? I don't think so...
Best Value- Tony Gallopin- I expect big things from the Frenchman in the Ardennes.

BMC p/b ANF- Bob’s Manufactured Cycling p/b America Needs Farmers is a neo-pro team that is bringing it in their first year. Probably the best top 3 in the league with Froome, Sagan and Porte. This team will be relying heavily on Sagan for the classics but a few top end finishes could be enough to catapult this well-rounded team on to the podium. TdF superstar, Chris Froome-dog, will make hay in July which will make co-sponsor, ANF, very happy.

MVP- Get yourself a Froome Dog
Reach- TVG, BMC likes himself some BMC, TVG will need to increase his harvest at le Tour.
Value- Landa, Wellens,and Zacharin were all taken at great places in the draft but Alaphilippe could bag a classics victory in the Ardennes, not bad for a 10th round pick.

STP p/b GreenLine- This team won’t lose many sprints with the likes of Kittel, Cavendish and Ewan. STP also boasts one of the strongest classics squads with Mathews, Boonen as well as the quickly ascending Tiesj Benoot. Add in Tony Martin, riding the classics, as well as Pozzovivo, Costa and Rolland in stage races- this team is a few transfers away from digging it’s way out of the cellar and on to the podium. What was that article you read?

MVP- Costa (the guy scores points)
Reach- Cavendish, I hope a new team can put the fuel back in the missile.
Value- Tiesj Benoot- 2nd at the Tour of Belgium, 4th at Paris Tours, 6th at Dwars, and 5th at the Ronde!!! Looks like a classics superstar in training.


Gregario Forza p/b Edgar- The Classics squad, Sep VanMarcke ( age 27, too strong last year, bad luck), Vandenbergh (31, 4th at Omloop and G-W in 2015), Stybar (30, 1st at Strade, 2nd at Roubaix), Terpstra (31, 2nd at Flanders, Omloop and G-W and 1st at Wallonie and Qatar in 2015) and add in Taylor Phinney (young USA hopeful for the classics) and this is clearly the strongest cobbles squad in the league. Forza will need Gerrans to return to top form in the Ardennes and for Gilbert to continue to show his mastery of the punchy climbs. Nibali is the early favorite for the Giro and Quintana will finally get a grand tour win (most likely at the Vuelta).

MVP- NIbali, I think the Italian in poised for his best year of his career- La Doyenne?
Reach- Amador, who? Gregario Forza doesn’t know.
Value- Phinney, this is the year! USA, USA, USA, USA!!!



Team Wiskota Dynamic p/b Town Hall Lanes- The 4 time champion once again is boasting a very strong team. Built on stalwarts, Purito Rodriguez and Alexander Kristoff, this team will not be short of wins and points. Also, add in classics studs- GVA and Debusschere, and this team will be tough (in the spring). Wiskota Dynamic will rely heavily on Uran in the grand tours and will need big seasons for Ulissi and Izaguirre. The champions will score early but will need to make transfers to win again. Not a lot of depth on this squad despite having more early draft picks than any other team.

MVP- Purito Rodriguez
Reach- Betancourt- not on anyone's radar and I wasn't taking him. (however, cheering for him)
Value- Izagirre, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog, looks to build on a strong 2015.

PdL/STRAVA- If Wiskota Dynamic wants stage racers he should ask the Wolfpack because this team is stacked when it comes to 1 week races. He is also flushed with talent in the grand tours. Contador, Pinot, Majka, and Mollema will score big in GT’s and Bardet, Spilak, Yates, Fuglsang, and Hesjedal only bolster Wolfsrudel’s dominance in stage races. He will need someone to score big in Ardennes week as he has only one cobbler to go in the spring classics. I predict Pacte de Loupes p/b Strada to be in last place going into the 1st transfer but to finish on the podium. Did I mention he has Valverde? Adios Taco!!!

MVP- Bella Verde- Valverde
Reach- Greipel- Best Sprinter last July but can the Vanilla Gorilla bag a classics victory?
Value- Mollema-  Consistent- pert near a guarantee top 10 at Le Tour.

Friday, January 15, 2016

On the Rivet

...a look at who's riding fast this week
Crikey!
Critter crossing
The world tour gets under way down under as the first big points of the season are up for grabs. The teams are set and bikes are tuned lets hit the road.  No shortage of Wiskota riders at the Tour Down Under, some are even calling this the race's strongest startlist ever.  Let's check it out, Wiskota!

They should climb this
They have managed to make this race kind of fun with the inclusion of punchy climbs, the exclusion of a TT and some tough roads before the sprint finishes.  One of my favorite stages is back again this year.  The long drag up to the finish line in Stirling has made for some good racing.  Will the climbers go fast enough to drop all sprinters like in 2014?  Will a few fast men make it up the hill with enough juice left for the sprint, like last year? Or could this be the launching pad for the overall winner like in 2013?  Another cool stage is stage 3 with the corckscrew climb coming in the last 10 k of the race.  Ripp it up this just long enough climb, descend to the end and out sprint the hand full of riders who could follow.  At least that's what Geraint Thomas did in 2013.   

Epic Massive?
So, some twists and turns, mostly group finishes, how do we determine the winner of this thing?  Willunga! This is the closest thing they've got to a mountain here so lets climb it twice.  The winner here is almost always the overall winner.  The climbers will give it there best here.   

How to watch
6 bucks at Franklin Nicollet Liquors
Oh, the memories


The race is on Universal HD this year (not Universal Sports) and Willunga is Saturday.  With a little tape delay I'll turn that into some prime time action.  This race is actually right in the middle of the best wine region in Australia, so yeah, go ahead and pop a bottle from the Barossa valley.  Of course, they know a thing or two about beer in Australia, mostly drinking it.  I spose a Foster's Oil Can  could be festive.  As for food, a little Vegemite never killed anyone, but I'll stick to Outback.  A blooming onion with extra didgeridoo sauce please. 

Predictions

Image result for sydney opera house
Obligatory Opera House Photo


Who are the favorites here?  There are a couple of ways to look at it.  Plenty of fast finishes with time bonuses.  Will one sprinter dominate?  None of the top guys are here so look to the like's of Nizzolo, Wippert, Lobato maybe even Ewan to take a stage or two.  Climby fast finishes like Stirling and Corkscrew could give a punchier rider a chance for overall, look to Gerrans (who has done it 3 times already), Ullisi, G, Bennet. maybe even Arredondo.  Willunga remains for the real climbers, Porte, Dennis, Henao, Pozzo, maybe even Hesjedal.  Tons of dark horses as its early in the season and the race has a kind of open format.  Look to Fernadez, Ladies Love cool Sanch, Machado, and Meyer for GC and Reinen, Boom and dare I say TyTy Farrar in the sprints.  Super sneaky pick: Moreno Moser on Corkscrew.

How it could happen: Its summer down under and most Aussies are busy throwing another shrimp on the barbie, but instead Rory "King of Chillcoot" Sutherland has been climbing Corkscrew and Willunga everyday.  We'll drop him on Willunga they say, but he's not going so easily.  Those bonus seconds pay off and Movistar takes a surprise win. 

How it might happen:  Its summer down under and the billabong has nearly dried up, but that won't stop Diego Ullisi from waltzing matilda right up corkscrew hill.  We'll drop him on Willunga they say, but he took bonus seconds in Stirling as well, and after the dust settles Ullisi holds on by the slimmest of margins giving Dynamic an early season lead.  

How it will happen:  Its summer down under and the blokes are looking for sheelas to have a root, but team BMC is ready to go off like a frog in a sock.  We'll drop them on Willunga they say, and the likes of Henao and Pozzovivo are like a shag on a rock.  Porte and Dennis look fit as a Mallee bull while Geraint looks like he's going to chunder.  BMC goes 1,2, they're stoked and Bob the neo-pro slams some neck oil.  Translation  

WISKOTA!





Thursday, January 14, 2016

Chapeau

...Gregario Forza's weekly  "tip of the hat".

2016 Draft Day Recap

Volpe- Strong Riders, Grand Tour?
Bob's Manufactured Cycles p/b ANF- Strong top end, Go as BMC goes, Sagan will need to conquer the classics
STP-Greenline- Will not lose a sprint, Well rounded classics squad, Grand Tour  questions?
Forza- Built for the cobbles, relying on  2 wiley veterans in the Ardennes. Will Aru and Quintana be able to knock off Froome?
Sams Club- Well rounded and Strong team, Lack Grand Tour top end, hasn't been a problem in the past.
Le Pacte de Lupes p/b STRAVA- Strongest stage race team, Could be in a hole coming out of the Spring Classics.




From the Commish

2016 Wiskota Draft Results


Volpe-
Kwiatkowski
Cancellara
Degenkolb
G. Thomas
D. Martin
D. Moreno
Henao
Gallopin
Yates (Adam)
Chaves
Gesink
Lopez
Bob’s Manufactured Cycles p/b ANF
Froome
Sagan
Porte
TVG
T. Dumoulin
R. Dennis
Landa
Wellens
Zacharin
Alaphilippe
De Clercq
Nieve
STP Greenline-
Costa
Kittel
Cavendish
T. Martin
Mathews
Boonen
Pozzovivo
Boom
Rolland
Haig
Benoot
Ewan
TEAM Gregario Forza p/b Marginal Gains
Nibbles
Quintana
Aru
Sep VanMarcke
Stybar
Gilbert
Gerrans
Terpstra
Amador
Jurgen VanDenBroek
Stijn Vandenbergh
Taylor Phinney
Team Wiskota Dynamic p/b Sams Club
J-Rizzy
Kristoff
Uran
GVA
Wilco
Ulissi
Izaguirre
Betancur
Lobato
Stannard
Debusschere
Arredondo


Pacte de Loupes/STRAVA
Contador
Valverde
Pinot
Greipel
Majka
Bardet
Spilak
Mollema
Fuglsang
S. Yates
Roelandts
Hesjedal

Round 1

  1. Pat- Kwiatkowski
  2. McNutt- Froome
  3. Eric- Costa
  4. Greg- Nibala
  5. Luke- J-Rod
  6. Steven- Contador

Round 2

  1. Steven- Valverde
  2. Luke- Kristoff
  3. Greg- Quintana
  4. Eric- Kittel
  5. McNutt- Sagan
  6. Pat- Cancellara

Round 3

  1. Pat- Degenkolb
  2. McNutt- Porte
  3. Eric- Cavendish
  4. Greg (luke)-Uran
  5. Luke- Greg Van Avermaet
  6. Steven- Pinot

Round 4

  1. Steven- Greipel
  2. Luke- Wilco
  3. Greg- Aru
  4. Eric- Tony Martin
  5. McNutt- TVG
  6. Pat- Geraint Thomas

Round 5

  1. Pat- Danny Martin
  2. McNutt- Tom Dumoulin
  3. Eric- Michael Mathews
  4. Greg- Sep VanMarcke
  5. Luke- Ulissi
  6. Steven- Majka


Round 6

  1. Steven- Bardet
  1. Luke- Jon Izaguirre
  2. Greg- Stybar
  3. Eric- Boonen
  4. McNutt- Rohan Dennis
  5. Pat- Daniel Moreno

Round 7

  1. Pat- Henao
  2. McNutt- Landa
  1. Eric- Pozzovivo
  1. Greg- Gilbert
  2. Luke- Betancourt
  3. Steven- Spilak

Round 8

  1. Steven-Mollema
  2. Luke- Lobato
  3. Greg- Terpstra
  4. Eric- Boom
  5. McNutt-Tim Wellons
  6. Pat- Gallopin

Round 9

  1. Pat- Adam Yates
  2. McNutt- Ilnur Zakarin
  3. Eric- Rolland
  4. Greg- Gerrans
  5. Luke- Stannard
  6. Steven- Fuglsang

Round 10

  1. Steven- Simon Yates
  2. Luke- Jens Debusschere
  3. Greg (Luke)- Julian Arredondo
  4. Eric- Jack Haig
  5. McNutt- Alaphilippe
  6. Pat-  Chaves


Round 11

  1. Pat- Gesink
  2. McNutt- Bart De Clercq
  3. Eric- Benoot
  4. Greg- Amador
  5. Steven- Roelandts

Round 12

  1. Steven- Hesjedal
  2. Greg- JVDB
  3. Eric- Caleb Ewan
  4. McNutt-Nieve
  5. Pat- Angel Lopez

Greg- Stijn Vandenbergh
Greg- Taylor Phinney