Never a dull moment in the Vuelta! First we had a stage 1 TTT that was neutralised before it even started, then we had a stage 2 GC DQ, then we had Sagan breaking that Second Curse! Which was more astonishing? It sure is spicy over there!
Over the concrete and through the sand
The Vuelta has had some strange stages – remember that aircraft carrier thing? the riding from boat to shore on a plexiglass platform? – but this TTT was one of the strangest. A very narrow parcours with seven different surfaces, including what looked like plastic. It was odd and it was neutralised before it even started so no time would be carried over to stage 2.
But luckily, Juan Antonio Flecha was back on our screens and ready for anything.
Some teams rode like they’d stopped at one of the beach bars in the middle of the parcours (Europcar, I’m looking at you), some teams really gave it their all. We saw Niki Terpstra giving a dressing down to his Etixx teammates because they weren’t working hard enough at the finish. Ah Niki, now you know how Tom feels when you ride together in the Classics.
There was a point where it looked like GreenEdge & Ham might be the hot dish of the day, but it was not to be. Simon Gerrans gave us food for thought and we were all agog at his wisdom.
Peter Sagan‘s Second Curse was still going strong. But at least he could joke about it.
He tried valiantly to break the curse by just refusing to believe that his team didn’t come in first but it’s nigh on impossible to be inconspicuous in that fluoro kit, especially in the black light tent.
Seems everyone is a ‘rock star’ these days except rock stars. Some people who work in advertising have that as their job title (I’m not kidding!) when they are clearly no such thing. Now apparently cyclists are rock stars. Um. No.
Meh, whatevs, on the podium.
Infamy, infamy! They’ve all got it in for me!
That seems to be what His Nibs was thinking before, during and after he grabbed onto the car door and hung on as his DS floored it to get him back towards the peloton after being held up in a big crash.
I think the first surprising thing about this was that they thought no one would notice – or care! Not the guys left coughing the car exhaust, not the helicopter that was following them (was it a stealth heli?), not someone somewhere with eyes in their head.
The jury saw the footage, called a huddle and decided that they’d disqualify both Nibblets and the DS in the car. Astana pleaded for a 10-minute penalty instead. Jury huddled again, then came back with a No. That was the second surprise for a lot of us.
However, there were some who thought the DQ was way too harsh.
‘But everyone else is doing it!’
Indeed, Astana also said ‘But everyone does it!’
I do find this reaction quite strange.
This did however make the Astana leadership battle a bit tighter with just two.
A smile as bright as the sun
Esteban Chaves must be special if he can outshine Juan Antonio!
I so love the jaunty hand on the hip – super casual, super cute.
But spare a thought for David Tanner, who suffered a hip injury in the crash and Paolo Tiralongo, who looked like he’d got 10 rounds with a beast. (I’m not going to show the pictures of his injuries without the bandages – just too gruesome.)
780 days later …
Sagan got over the line first.
I have no idea what this is about but it looks made to be in Tweets of the Week.
The Year of the Gorilla – and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy!
Lord Hoy, the DJ with the mightiest thighs
This is a nice touch.
This just made me snort with laughter. Sounds so profound somehow: ‘You can’t “live” Dennis. Unless you are Dennis.” Say it with a knowing look.
I do love these anime illustrations. The illustration of Knees? “Look into my eyes … you will hang onto a team car … I repeat, you will hang onto a team car …”
Zdenek and his mini-Stybar.
“Riding through the Streets of Thunder” – if that isn’t a verse out of a Bruce Springsteen song, it damn well should be.
The last word