Archives for posts with tag: Alessandro De Marchi

My cheeky review of the 2014 Tour de France is still playing catchup – thank the maker (and ASO) for the second rest day. The second stage in the French Alpes was just as riveting as the first stage and there was much redemption dished out.

A Breakaway with Stones

A huge group of riders jumped into the breakaway from the peloton, and even more wanted to crack it. There were 17 in total and they included the Big ‘G’ (Geraint Thomas – The Empire), The Terminator (Peter Sagan – Cannondale) and his teammate lizard friend AGAIN(!) The Chameleon (Alessandro Di Marchi), Nico (Roche – Tinkoff Saxo) and his teammate Rafal Majka AGAIN(!), Jose Serpa (Lampre-Merida), and a certain Purito (Joaquim Rodríguez – Katusha).

The Terminator chased Green.

Purito chased Spots.

tdf2014_Etape_14-profil

Both were rewarded, firstly for Sagan at the intermediate sprint before the 1st category climb up the Col du Lautaret. Purito got the points up that climb as the breakaway started to break apart.

Behind the breakaway group the peloton was wilting down to a few small groups, for the non-climbers it was hang on and haul butt to the finish.  The hard men in contention for the GC hammered on in the chase.

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The breakaway, down to 10, then assaulted Col d’Izoard – the highest point of the race. Purito was gifted the points by the rider who finished second yesterday, Majka.

Let’s Try and Crack It!

The move of the day was definitely from the young French gun Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) and his partner in chocolate Jean-Christoph Peraud. They bombed it down the 30km descent off the back of the Col d’Izoard. I was watching on my couch at whatever ungodly hour it was and I was salivating at the fun that those guys were having. Can you imagine a 30km descent? I have to get to France to ride the Alpes, preferably in July. Not only did the chocolate soldiers bomb it down, they put the fear of god in the rest of the peloton. But the Shark in Yellow (Vincenzo Nibali – Astana) along with his teammates would not be fooled…

No doubt Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) was crapping it given his dislike of descending at speed. But Pinot with the assistance of his teammates was able to catch back up.

As they hit the final climb into Rissoul it was on for young and old, a small breakaway only a little distance ahead with the GC hunters in a rampaging pack behind them.

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Try and Try Again!

Two of the riders from the breakaway, The Chameleon and Serpa, decided it was time to distance the group and go for it. Bravo to the Chameleon, but more importantly how cool are the sideburns that Jose Serpa was sporting? Awesome facial hair. The Polish man who missed out on yesterday’s stage, Majka, jumped out in pursuit. Serpa’s facial hair started weighing him down, and he cracked. Majka caught him while gunning for The Chameleon. Purito tried for the last spotty points, but cracked as well.

Majka finally took the lead and a despondent Chameleon just couldn’t keep up. Majka went off for glory!

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The chasing group of the GC hunters had all the contenders foxing each other until the Shark decided that it was time for Majka to be reeled in again. Peraud, chocolate soldier #2, was the only one who could match his efforts (not bad for a 37 year old).

This time Majka would not be denied. He crossed the line to take his first ever win in the pro-peloton. What a way to do it! Awesome stuff.

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The Shark would put some more time into his rivals, but at least the Gen Y bunch had a crack. As for the Green Bullet (Valverde – Movistar) he cracked and would proceed to blame a mechanical incident. Tut, tut, tut…

The Cement Ladder – The Grey Jersey

Watching the toughest sportsmen in the world, I have decided to start a “cement” ranking that reflects truly great feats of endurance and the overcoming of pain (basically a bit of HTFU and a demonstration of adherence to Rule #5). Former winners include Jens Voigt (multiple times) and Johnny Hoogerland. Maybe ASO could make a special jersey, grey, for this category.

Big points again for the final day in the Alpes, and tough riding for all. But there were some clear points winners.

5pts – The Chameleon, at it again but falling agonisingly short.

5pts – Majka, who cracked his maiden win in emphatic style – so tired that he couldn’t even zip up his jersey for a bit of showtime for his sponsors.

4pts – Bardet, for trying to explode the race open on the descent

4pts – Peraurd, for keeping up with the Shark when nobody else could

3pts – Purito, for going after the spots even though it is clear that he is not back to full health

2pts – Serpa, for challenging for the best sideburns in the peloton.

-1pt – Balaverde (AGAIN), for blaming everything else other than himself for his struggles. As the TanMan quite aptly said, “this is what riding clean looks like!”

 

The current table is:

14pts – Panzerwagen (Martin)

13pts – Chameleon (Di Marchi)

9pts – Majka

8pts – Fuglsang

7pts – The Shark (Nibali), and The Jensie (Voigt)

6pts – Purito (Rodríguez), Bardet, and Voeckler

5pts – Pit Bull (DNF)Kadri, Cheng, Lemoine, Boom, Kadri, and Barta

4pts – Peraud, Clarke, Gallopin, Chava (Chavanel), Bideau, and König

3pts – Van Garderen, Pinot, Bakelants, Gautier, Langeveld, Dumoulin,  Spartacus (Cancellara – DNF), and Clentador (DNF)

2pts – Serpa, Flowerman (Kwiatkowski), Huzarski, and Elmiger

1pt – de la Cruz (DNF), Edet, Mate, The Hornet (Horner), Froome-dog (DNF)

-2pts – Balaverde

 

For a more serious look at the first stage of racing check out.

Cycling News – Stage 14 Report

SBS Cycling Central – Stage 14 wrapup

VeloVoices – Tour Stage 14

N.B. the photos of the racing have been sourced from LeTour.fr and Cyclingnews.com and the copyright obviously remains with the copyright holder.

My cheeky review of the 2014 Tour de France is running a bit overdue – well it is tough watching a race for 3 weeks between 10pm and 2am in the morning. But I did not miss a beat on this very decisive first stage in the high mountains of the French Alpes. And I am writing this in anticipation of the coming Stage 15 after two absolutely gruelling days in the high mountains. So this is a catchup, to ensure that no points are missed in the hunt for the Grey Jersey.

The Chameleon Strikes Again

The first of the two mountain stages saw the riders head into the Alpes from Saint-Étienne where they first climbed a little Category 1 mountain (only 1,154m in altitude – only), drop into Grenoble for a coffee, and then climb up the not so famous ‘Beyond Category’ mountain of Chamrousse (only 1,730m in altitude – only). While a reasonably large group of riders tried to breakaway, it was none other than the Chameleon – Alessandro De Marchi (Cannondale) who decided to crack it and leave the rest behind. Oh, I forgot to mention that Purito (Joaquim Rodríguez – Katusha) chased more spotty points and got them – he wants to be in spots by the time the race finishes. He was doing a bang up job of trying to stick it to all the contenders for Yellow, and for an age he only had one other chaser – Jan Bakelants (who shot to fame last year winning gloriously on Stage 2 and holding onto the Yellow for the two stages after). This time the Chameleon did not have an armoured car breathing down his neck (that would be Tony Martin), and he would keep Bakelants at bay as the gap would just not be closed.

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During the Chameleon’s sojourn, a nasty misplaced water bottle (it was dropped and was full) took out the Shark’s (Vincenzo Nibali – Astana) key lieutenant Jakob Fuglsang. Fuglsang hit the ground hard, and I am sure the peloton could feel the ground shake. It was nasty and unfortunate, and also meant that the Shark would be climbing alone. In the end the brutal final climb into Chamrousse brought demise to the unlikely break made by the Chameleon.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-france/stage-13/photos/314714

BTW – the Chameleon did not use this camouflage pattern on this stage.

A Shark, Two French Youths, a Cagey Spaniard and a wiry American

The top 9 riders in the race all reached the Chameleon as a bunch. The race was on fire – literally! It was so hot on the climb up that riders (good riders) were tumbling out like bowling pins. An unlikely Eastern European pair in King Leo (Leopold König – NetApp-Endura) and Rafal Majka (Tinkoff-Saxo) decided enough was enough and went for glory. They both took off like mountain goats bounding up the Alpes.

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Meanwhile back in the lead group, the game was being whittled down. The next great Aussie hope of pro-cycling, Tassie Devil – Richie Porte (the Empire??? Huh???), blew a head gasket and had to drop. This was a shame to see as he went from second to somewhere in the forgettable teens. While Porte tumbled down the ladder, the Shark in Yellow devoured his rivals… again! He took off after König and Majka with a ferocious attack in the final kilometres. Young French gun Thibaut Pinot went out to reel the Shark in, and he was joined by Balaverde – Green Bullet in English (Alejandro Valverde – Movistar). Pinot was the only one doing the work, and I am not sure about the gamesmanship of the Green Bullet where he was asked by Pinot to do a turn at the front. Balaverde was cagey, saying he was tired – then attacked… Pinot caught him and when it came to the end Balaverde attacked again…

Behind them the other young French Gun Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) partnered up with the wiry American Tejay Van Garderen to keep themselves in contention. This race though was all about a Sicilian Shark in Yellow. He dispatched the unlucky Majka and König who would be both wondering what might have been. In the hunt for Yellow the Shark increased his lead. The cagey Green Bullet moved into second, and French hopes are bubbling with their two young guns in prime position to displace Balaverde.

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The Cement Ladder – The Grey Jersey

Watching the toughest sportsmen in the world, I have decided to start a “cement” ranking that reflects truly great feats of endurance and the overcoming of pain (basically a bit of HTFU and a demonstration of adherence to Rule #5). Former winners include Jens Voigt (multiple times) and Johnny Hoogerland. Maybe ASO could make a special jersey, grey, for this category.

Big points earned in the sweltering heat of the French Summer.

5pts – The Chameleon – he has been working hard for the Terminator and this was the second big break of his Tour. He has a certain Panzerwagen in his sights.

4pts – König and Majka, for having the stones to try and put one over the big guns.

4pts – Fuglsang, for getting back on his steed and dressing himself up like a mummy to finish the stage and fight another day.

3pts – Bakelants for trying to close the gap.

3pts – Pinot for not throwing in the towel to The Shark, and earning respect.

2pts – Bardet and Van Garderen, for teaming up and limiting the losses.

-1pt – Unheard of but true to Balaverde for the dodgy gamesmanship with Pinot.

N.B. I can’t give points to The Shark, even though he kicked everyone’s butt in style. He has Yellow, and we all know that Yellow should not be mixed with Grey.

 

The current table is:

14pts – Panzerwagen (Martin)

8pts – Chameleon (Di Marchi), Fuglsang

7pts – The Shark (Nibali), and The Jensie (Voigt)

6pts – Voeckler

5pts – Pit Bull (DNF)Kadri, Cheng, Lemoine, Boom, Kadri, and Barta

4pts – Clarke, Gallopin, Chava (Chavanel), Bideau, König, and Majka

3pts – Van Garderen, Pinot, Bakelants, Gautier, Langeveld, Purito (Rodríguez), Dumoulin,  Spartacus (Cancellara – DNF), and Clentador (DNF)

2pts –  Bardet, Flowerman (Kwiatkowski), Huzarski, and Elmiger

1pt – de la Cruz (DNF) Edet, Mate, The Hornet (Horner), Froome-dog (DNF)

-1pt – Balaverde

 

For a more serious look at the first stage of racing check out.

Cycling News – Stage 13 Report

SBS Cycling Central – Stage 13 wrapup

VeloVoices – Tour Stage 13

N.B. the photos of the racing have been sourced from Cyclingnews.com and the copyright obviously remains with the copyright holder.

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