May 29, 2008
So goes the understatement of the Giro. Today Jens Voigt broke away from his breakaway companions in the final 36 kilometers to take the 18th stage of the 2008 Giro. Jens now adds a Giro victory to his bulging palamares.
In stunning contrast to upstart Ricardo Ricco, Jens described the breakaway this way.
“When I went in the escape, I said ‘Wow, I am in a good group.’ I tried not to lose morale with such a group.”
Trying rival Jens Voight in understatement his breakaway companion Italian Champion and former maglia rosa wearer Giovanni Visconti;
“We all know Voigt well; when he gets going you can’t stop him. He deserves it.”
May 28, 2008
I have not filed reports from the square because, quite frankly, there has been nothing to report. The CAS remains in conclave and with the exception of the occasional pizza delivery guy, there is not much action. A few of us hard core Landis watchers keep the vigil while the locals sneak away to watch the Giro.
Rest assured that Endless Cycle reporters are on the scene ready to bring you the decision in the final chapter of this drama.
May 19, 2008
With one week down, I have to reaffirm the Giro as the world’s best stage race. From course design to day in and day out combativeness, the Giro is a must see. With that said, I am watching this year’s race with a little pit in my stomach. It only takes two words to describe the source. Riccardo Riccò.
If you are a regular reader, you know that most of my life lessons come from my father. Since I cite his wisdom so much, I’ll have to assign him a nickname (importance of this later). I will call him PatronJim. One of the lessons I think of more than any other is understanding the difference between confidence and cockiness.
I could not stand the young cocky Lance Armstrong. I don’t think I was alone in this assumption. Then a mature, post-cancer Lance exuded supreme confidence that for the most part, stayed on this side on the cocky line. That Lance was someone I could watch race and enjoy his victories.
I have to say that Mr. Riccò is way over on the other side of the confidence/cocky line. Little things give it away. Confident people don’t give themselves nicknames. Self-nicknamed “The Cobra” is closer to self-named “The Hoff” than he is to The Boss. The other thing is to disparage other riders. When Lance gave Jan “The Look” he explained he was checking the whole peloton for signs of fatigue. While we knew better, the confident Armstrong did not need to expand. When Riccò looks back, he says ” Before I attack, I look into the eyes of the other riders to hypnotize them with fear. Like a Cobra.”
Having talent to back it up does not excuse someone from cocky behavior. It just makes it hard to appreciate what a talent he is. It also makes it hard to watch a race where Riccò stands a real good chance of winning.
Part of me is watching the race for the grand spectacle it presents race fans. The other part is hoping Riccò’s words end up biting him in the ass. Like a Cobra.
May 14, 2008
In the past, I’ve mentioned a friend of mine, Wade. I’ve only known him for a few years but Wade is the type of person that you instantly take a liking to. His genuineness and zest for life have people meeting for the first time saying “I like him. I don’t really know why, but I do.” Now, for at least myself, I know.
Over the time, I’ve known Wade, we always end up talking about cycling. During that time, he never mentioned his personal cycling heratige. That was until he wrote me in response to my book review of Major Taylor. The rest of this post is in Wade’s own words. Reprinted with permission.
This caught my eye especially because of the era that the book discusses. I was always interested in the bicycle-craze in America at the turn of the 20th century. This craze no doubt spilled down through the years & across our shores to ignite a similar craze on the island of Jamaica which sprouted my father into his short championship career in professional cycling there. There was also influence there from the UK since Jamaica was under British rule at the time. My dad quickly rose to the top and was island champion in road & flat track for three years around 1939.
I always wished I could have seen him compete in person. Unfortunately that was long before blogs & Youtube. So as a frequent visitor to the library I immediately put in a request to order the book for their collection. I also put a request in to the library in the next town over. Aside from my personal interest, perhaps one day a young person will discover this book on the shelf & peak an interest & desire to take up competitive cycling. Both libraries thanked me. 10 days later the books came in & I’m first to borrow it!
I loved those trips way back when. Brings a smile to my face right now!
My dad figured out competitive cycling on his own just using common sense. He owned 2 matching bikes. Things in Jamaica were 5- 10 years behind the times so dad had his “custom” racing clothes tailored by a local seamstress and had a welder (who he had sworn to secrecy) fill his training road bike with lead in the tubes to add weight. He would train everyday with that heavy machine. Out on the road he would follow behind his “coach” ( a family friend who owned a Triumph motorcycle) usually on back country roads to avoid detection from the competition. The day before a race he rested. Race day he would ride his lighter race bike to glory. He said he always “felt so fit” on race day that nobody could catch him. Nobody ever did. This was his secret to winning. He was champ for 3 years. After he married & moved to the USA.
Many years later when I was a kid we would take vacations to Jamaica together. My dad & I would occasionally take a drive through the countryside. Inevitably he would spot some old timers passing the time hanging out on the roadside in some small village or town. Dad would pull up, park & start a friendly conversation. He would then ask if they knew who he was or if they recognize him. There was always silence, followed by a blank stare then finally big smiles, laughter, & usually a : ” Hey Mon! You com’back home to J.A.? Ya mon! Me win plenty money on your papa mon!!!” Everyone was betting good money on the races just like horse racing. The old timers were always so excited once they found out who he was & that I was his young son. They always rushed to tell me stories about my dad & their winnings.
Owen Robert Bodden / Montego Bay, Jamaica 1939.
May 13, 2008
Remember the ’80’s? Collars turned up, preppy was in? Men wearing pink? Well history is repeating itself at the Giro.
You can’t tell me that the sight of Team Slipstream at the front of the peloton for two days did not give you a smile. Last year, we talked about the Men in Black. Now we are talking about the Men in Argyle.
With Christian Vande Velde wearing pink, just seemed natural to the whole ensamble. If we can only get Izod to sponsor the team then all will be complete
May 10, 2008
One of my favorite bloggers is Tim Jackson – aka Masiguy. Well as they say, Tim is in a spot of bother.
On Tuesday night, April 29th, Tim crashed at a race in San Diego. He suffered significant injuries including almost severing his thumb. He has been released from the hospital and is recovering at home. Please drop by his blog and wish him well. He is one of the good guys.
May 10, 2008
To everything – turn, turn, turn
There is a season – turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven – The Byrds Turn! Turn! Turn! (to Everything There Is a Season)
We all mark seasons in different ways. Weather forecasters use the sun to mark the seasons. Here in the US, people use holidays such as Memorial Day to mark Summer’s arrival. My wife uses berries. I use pavé.
Strawberries mark spring for my wife. When they arrive, we know Spring has sprung. Wonderful sweet strawberries can be had for a fraction of the normal cost. It is marked by a sense urgency since the season is so short.
I know the feeling. When April comes around, we enter the “real” spring season. Prior to April, we have cyclo tourism. Races are designed to stretch the legs and provide visual splendor to bring both the riders and the fans out of the winter doldrums. Majorca, San Remo, Nice, California serve as a perfect appetizer to the the Spring. We know cycling is here when the hard men of the pavé come out in Belgium and northern France.
But, like the aforementioned strawberries, the season is over in the blink of an eye. Cycling packs a whole season into one glorious month. Then as quickly as it comes, it vanishes. Like the blossoms on a cherry tree.
Spring makes way for summer. Starting today in Palermo, stage racing begins its season with the Giro. No morning for the loss of Spring, I have to herald in Summer.