Amgen Tour of California review (aka The Peter Sagan Show)

I think we can safely say that this year’s Amgen Tour of California – often a showcase for American riders (or at least American teams!) was stolen by a Slovakian on an Italian team. He might not have won the overall but I suspect Peter Sagan’s performance will be the one remembered when people think back to this in a year’s time. He started as he meant to finish with the first four stage wins of the eight-stage race and the final stage sprint in LA.

Four in a row

Peter Sagan owns California sprints (image courtesy of Tour of California)

Peter Sagan’s first stage win was not a given, considering that he had a puncture inside the 8km mark, when the speed was starting to really ratchet up, and his wheel change was not the speediest. Continue reading

Giro d’Italia stage 15: Richly deserved victory for young Rabottini

Stage 15 – Busto Arsizio to Lecco/Pian dei Resinelli, 169km

24-year old Matteo Rabottini (Farnese Vini-Selle Italia) lit up today’s stage in his mud-spattered dayglo kit as he took his maiden Giro win atop Pian dei Resinelli. He’d ridden on his own  – having dropped initial fellow escapee Guillaume Bonnafond (AG2R La Mondiale) on the first climb – for most of the cold, wet and foggy stage. To maintain his hard-fought advantage over the chasing group, he’d indulged in some harum-scarum descending on the penultimate climb, slid off on a treacherous curve, remounted and soldiered on. More importantly, he delighted the home crowd and every single television viewer when he dug deep into his surely extinguished reserves to find the grit, determination and strength of mind to beat off Joaquim Rodriguez‘s (Katusha) last-minute challenge in the final few hundred metres to the summit.

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Cycling families: The Amador brothers

Andrey Amador wins stage 14 Giro d'Italia 2012 (image courtesy of Movistar)

Andrey Amador wins stage 14 Giro d’Italia 2012 (image courtesy of Movistar)

25-year old Andrey Amador Bipkazacova, yesterday’s stage winner in the Giro d’Italia and the first Costa Rican to win a stage in a Grand Tour, has an older brother who also cycles – although Ivan, who’s five year’s older than Andrey, has only raced as an amateur in his native Costa Rica.

The two have an interesting heritage. Their paternal grandmother is Spanish while their mother is a Russian immigrant who arrived in the country after meeting and marrying their Costa Rican father. Continue reading