Monday, 24 April 2017
This article is the natural continuation of the previous one and we have to thank Valverde for this.
Valverde and Scarponi, two riders representing the good old cycling but still victorious in the modern one.
Just a great Champion could have done this: He won the oldest of the Classics and dedicated the victory to his friend dramatically passed away the day before.
What can I add to this fantastic and emotional victory? Nothing.
Valverde is dominating the season, he has won almost every race he took part.
He is definitely the most all-round rider of the Peloton, a genius of tactics, a rider that honors the cycling season from February to October.
Such a great rider, a true friend of Michele, could not have honored his friend in a better way.
Saturday, 22 April 2017
You have no words when this kind of tragedies happen.
Nevertheless, I decided to write this article to pay a tribute to one of the most representative riders of the cycling world, Michele Scarponi.
I am very sad also because yesterday, answering to the last Tweet of Michele, I told him to bring to his children two pink jerseys too and He liked my comment.
This made me feel even closer to him, because this was Michele, a rider incredibly close to people and fans.
He has never been arrogant or conceited, he was always ready to joke with someone and this made him the rider of the people.
The career of Michele is out of the question, he has been one of the best riders of the last 20 years, but what makes the difference is that he will be remembered for his fantastic personality and this is the hardest trophy to conquer.
Remembering Michele, I just want to imagine that the Eagle of Filottrano will fly over the Peloton protecting the riders.
Sunday, 16 April 2017
The final kilometre of the Amstel Gold Race 2017 has been something amazing, something more than just cycling.
The two characters of this amazing show have been Kwiatkowski and Gilbert, the riders that showed the best shape in 2017 classics campaign.
They arrived in the Ardennes with prestigious and spectacular victories conquered this year in the previous classics. Today, they found themselves in this emotional final kilometre where just one of them, in the end, would have won.
The final has been absolutely unpredictable: Kwiatkowski, apparently stronger than Gilbert in a sprint, showed Gilbert respect, refusing to take the lead in the final kilometre.
This has been a mistake, the last kilometre became a psychological and tactical battle, but more that a matter of strategy, the final duel turned out to be a mental toughness question.
Kwiatkowski used the same strategy that in March had given him his great Milano - Sanremo victory but, this time, he wasn't fighting with Sagan and Alaphilippe, two young and bumptious riders.
His opponent, today, was a clever "old" champion, Philippe Gilbert, one of the most experienced riders in the Peloton.
Kwiatkowski has been beaten by an opponent better than him at his own game.
The attack of Kwiatkowski was provoked by the patient and the courage of Gilbert, waiting 'til the end, confident that his young antagonist would not have resisted longer without attacking.
The last kilometre of the Amstel Gold Race 2017 should be projected in any kind of school, because it is a life lesson.
Has Kwiatkowski learned the lesson? We will discover it soon.
Tuesday, 11 April 2017
It is always hard to put emotions into words, it is impossible to describe what's the feeling of being in the Vélodrome for the arrival of such a unique race.
"L'enfer du Nord", "la dure des dures", etc. So many nicknames for a race are the symptom of the uniqueness of this crazy race.
Sunday I arrived when the Vélodrome was still empty. It seemed asleep, collecting energies for the hard day ahead of it.
It is important to consider that in Roubaix a brand new modern velodrome has been built, so that the old Vélodrome is not used anymore and it is abandoned during the rest of the year.
The Vélodrome comes back to life just one day a year and it is one of the most emotional event you can attend in your life.
Hour after hour the old Vélodrome de Roubaix starts to fill up, slowly coming back to life after a year of lethargy.
When the race arrives at the Arenberg forest, the Vélodrome is the beating heart of the city of Roubaix and of the cycling world; when the first rider drops in, the Vélodrome has to face its annual heart attack, the last 600 meters are a breathless epilogue of its day of the year. It is something inexplicable, you find yourself in a sort of cycling-centred parallel universe.
Once crowned the winner of the year, the Vélodrome, after having warmly embraced the last rider of the race, slowly goes back to its annual hibernation, preparing himself for its next resurgence.
The Vélodrome this year decided it was time to give Van Avermaet his first Monument but, while you are reading this fleeting Impression, it is already thinking about the new emperor to crown. Who will be? Continue...
Monday, 3 April 2017
I want to start the article on such an epic race with two quotes:
The first is of the World Champion, Peter Sagan, that, when asked if the trio would have caught Gilbert, replied: "I think so. Given how I was riding and I had strong companions, so yes, I think I could have got back up to him, but destiny didn't want it".
The second is of the Winner of the race, Philippe Gilbert: “It all started on the Muur. I was riding on Tom Boonen’s wheel and it went on from there,” Gilbert said. “We had three riders in the group and we decided to push on.”
These two quotes explain better than 100 words how epic has been the 101° ronde.
The genius of Tom Boonen invented an incredible race and the class of Gilbert drew it.
In the final, when a super strong trio made by Sagan, Van Avermaet and Naesen could have ruined such a wonderful masterpiece, destiny decided that it was time to pay back the Belgian champion for the amazing start of the season and for his bravery.
This has been the 101° Ronde Van Vlaanderen and we will talk about and remember this race for a long long time.
Sunday, 2 April 2017
Congratulations Greg, you made it!!
Vav Avermaet has been the natural winner of this special classification for the month of March.
He has been the author of an incredible winning series, started in February and continued in March, winning: Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, E3 Harelbeke and Gent - Wevelgem.
Will he confirm his shape in the upcoming classics?
Is he the new king of the cobbles?
So far he has been the undisputed leading actor of the Flemish classics and the victory of this special classification proves it but the best is yet to come...