92nd Giro d'Italia - Stage Two:
il Giro report card.
The second stage of this year's Giro gave the guys with the fast twitch fibres
their first opportunity to show us what they are working with. The result
surprised some but really should not have...
By Tim Lee
so there are a couple of big time sprinters missing from this Giro for various
reasons but a quick glance at the official start list still elicits several
names of some seriously fast riders. However you could be forgiven for thinking
there was only one sprinter in the race given the mass hysteria and distortion,
compliments of the mainstream media. This notion was quashed today though, with
the 'ex-fastest guy in the world' beating the supposed 'current fastest guy in
the world'. With the exception of a climb best likened to a speed hump towards
the end of the stage (OK, so it was tackled 3 times) it was pancake flat stage
tailor made for the breathtaking sight of a huge bunch gallop. The home country
may have got the win but it was a super day for the English speaking contingent
who are starting to look quite the threat to the Euros. Lets see who scored
well, who scored poorly and who didn't score at all.
A- Outstanding achievement worthy of all superlatives known to the human race
B- On the fringe of greatness but pipped at the post
C- Good performance but not enough to warrant the Moet et Chandon
D- Plenty of scope to improve but all is not lost, yet
E- Bottom of the barrel and in search of light in a very long tunnel
Ale-Jet continued his winning ways in the Giro, here he wins Giro Toscana.
A- Alessandro “I'm not dead yet” Petacchi
(LPR) had to sit out the giro last year for for a highly contentious doping
violation and it hurt him. The winner of 23 stages in previous editions of the
Giro, Petacchi had a point to prove on two accounts; 1, that he could still be a
contender in Grand Tour sprints and 2, to prove that Cavendish was beatable.
His sprint today was long, fast, very well timed and executed to perfection
catch to a napping Cav off guard. Beating Cav is a rarity at present but beating
him by the margin Alejet did today has been virtually unheard of. Hats off to
Petacchi, who can these days be regarded as one of the elder statesmen of
sprinting, for showing the world he still has the fire in his belly and speed in
his legs to pull off beautiful stage victories. As always for home-grown teams,
a huge weight has been lifted off their shoulders by winning so early in the
B- Ben “Quick and..” Swift (Katusha) is a
22 year old Brit that is another example of the burgeoning pool of talent coming
off the Great British production line. Already a successful endurance rider on
the track, Swift narrowly missed out on a medal at the U23 road race world
champs last year. Relatively unknown at this level of the sport, Swift produced
a phenomenal final burst to capture 3rd place today behind two off the biggest
names in the sport and ahead of guys with much more experience. Look out for
this aptly named guy, because he has a lot of speed in his legs and will only
get faster in the coming years.
C- Mark “Pretty in pink” Cavendish
(Columbia - Highroad) forgot to read the script. The one where he blasts to an
easy stage win, resplendent in the Maglia Rosa and the Columbia PR man goes into
overdrive. Turns out Cav is actually human and does sometimes lose which is
quite reassuring to us folks that expect him to win at the drop of a hat. 2nd
place in the opening road stage is nothing to sniff about, especially when you
are in the race leaders jersey but even the Manxman himself admitted he got the
sprint slightly wrong and was taken by surprise with Petacchi's long range
acceleration. Given his amazing level of passion and pent up determination, I
would go out and put the house mortgage, car, retirement pension and children's
university funds all on a Cavendish win tomorrow...
D- Levi “Baldy” Leipheimer (Astana) and
Ivan “Pretender” Basso (Liquigas) both came
in 13 seconds adrift today. Not huge losses but none the less ones that should
not have occurred. They got caught too far back in the bunch when a crash split
the field with 7 km to go. Interestingly Pellizotti and Armstrong finished in
the same time as the winner while their designated team captains were trying
desperately to limit the damage behind. Anyway, it is not a catastrophe but a
friendly reminder that being attentive is imperative in these early stages when
the going gets a little crazy.
E- Robbie “Mad dog” Hunter (Barloworld)
rolled over the line in a lowly 189th position today. The 07 tour stage winner
is expected to shine in these sorts of stages but clearly he was not aware which
end of the field he as meant to be at. The South African is all quality so
here's hoping he is able to show us all tomorrow how much speed he has in those
legs of his.
Honourable mentions- Awarded to the riders
that constitute the top of the milk when the cream has already been skimmed.
OIE: Obligatory Italian Escape
- Giving patriotism a purpose for those homegrown riders doing their
bit to get their face on the telly.
il Giro burlone idiota -
otherwise known as the 'tool' award. This goes to the rider that either makes a
decision or completes an act that any cognitively sound person would regard as
wrong, dangerous, shameful or just plain stupid.
Philippe “Why me?” Gilbert (Silence – Lotto)
must wonder why every time he gets in a break and has a sniff of victory he
turns around to see Filippo Pozzato there on his wheel. These two have a bit of
a delicate history and it is fair assume they do not have each other's numbers
on speed dial. Today Gilbert had a dig with 7km to go in his trademark fashion.
It was destined to fail under the impetus of the Columbia and LPR train forming
behind but it is great to see attacking riders like Gilbert prepared to shake
things up because otherwise these flat stages can be in danger of being a bit of
a yawn. Other riders should take notice!
There is always one. The rider that has to be in the first break of the race.
For Leonardo “Who needs breakaway companions” Scarselli
(ISD) the trouble was that he was the break. He escaped early in he
stage and spent 100 kms out the front on his own doing a very good impression of
a carrot dangling in front of the field. With Cav in Pink there was no way known
today was going to be anything but a mad dash to the line so when Columbia and
LPR got on the front, Scarselli's time on the Telly was limited. Still, it is
good to see a rider willing to take the chance and make the race just that bit
more interesting. He obviously spent all his bikkies out on the road though,
because after being caught he eventually finished over 10 minutes down on
Il Giro burlone idiota
This does not really have a deserving winner today but as we do not like to see
awards go to waste, it will be given to the person responsible for telling
Cavendish to wear those horrendous matching pink shorts to go with the Maglia
Rosa. Obviously it has been done many times before but that does not mean it is
in good taste. It isn't Cav's fault and thankfully the ensemble did not extend
to the helmet, glasses and bike. No more fashion faux pars please!
- Discuss the sport with fans from around the
world on the Daily Peloton
Forums & Chat Room.
- Sponsor the daily peloton - advertise your product - contact
- Would you like to try your had at writing about the sport? contact us.
- Link your site or blog to