It was Tirreno-Nice-Adriatico-Paris week and it was eventful to say the least. We had snowball fights, pee-soaked bibs, irregular sprinting, a Welsh dragon chasing Baby Blackbird into Nice, trident wielding, Nibali baiting – and the virtual equivalent of a Trump rally on Twitter because of stage cancellations. Is it any wonder I came down with a migraine?
Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down
It didn’t take Nacer Bouhanni long to demonstrate why watching him in a sprint stage always makes me nervous. There was a conflict of interest between Nacer and Michael Matthews at Paris-Nice and how they didn’t spill all over the pavement is beyond me. In the end, Nacer crossed the line first but the race jury decided he moved off his line so Bling took the stage.
There was another sprint stage – one that Bouhanni won and was not relegated. So it is possible …
But does Bouhanni care? Does he hell …
But at least he gave RichMitch and Holly a reason to PhotoShop so not a bad thing …
Baby it’s cold outside
It was a snowy stage at Paris-Nice, reminiscent of MSR a few years ago and the Giro at least once every year. It got so bad that they actually stopped the race – or should that be ‘controlled sliding’ – and the guys had some time on their hands as they waited for team cars to pick them up.
Sure is pretty, isn’t it? I miss snow. Although I would never cycle in it.
It wasn’t the first time a Paris-Nice peloton took on winter as the picture below shows. Or perhaps it’s all those who went into meltdown because of the stage cancellation racing down a snowy, icy descent to show those pros how it’s done.
Takin’ the piss
What you have to do when it’s cold and you don’t want to, um, expose yourself to the elements for a comfort break. (I must give a shout-out to Chuck Pena (@gofastchuck), who DMed me Kittel’s tweet – Chuck is such a romantic!)
The Corniche cliffhanger
Everyone predicted that the final stage of Paris-Nice would be an easy day for the race leader, Geraint Thomas – Sky would control the peloton, no one would try anything audacious, he would roll in and take the bouquet. They seemed to forget that Alberto Contador was in the peloton and we all know by now, if there’s half a chance, he races until the bitter end. It was touch and go – and Contador’s roll of the dice was short by 4 (seconds). But it’s a stage that we won’t forget any time soon.
Baby Blackbird’s flight into Nice certainly gave G one hell of a scare, but credit where credit is due, G rode a fantastic descent. Had a lot of heart in that ride…
…and a little Gallopin too. So what do you think Tony’s Sky nickname is going to be next year? Gallo? Tony G? G&T?
This shows just how dominate Sky have been in this race.
And speaking of Richie Porte, this made me laugh.
Just a shot of the peloton rolling out …
Thar be trident wielders, ma …
It started out with a TTT won by BMC – Taylor Phinney on a podium again, yeeeeeeha! And the best hair in the peloton, Daniel Oss, in the first leader’s jersey. Hell Yeah!
One of our favourites, Zdenek Stybar, then took the jersey off Oss.
Another one of our favourites, Steve Cummings, did a Steve Cummings and surprised everyone to nonchalantly take a stage win! Looks like he’s picking up where he left off last year. That’s good news for us!
And his teammate Natnael Berhane took third!
The final countdown
Oh, it was another stage race that came right down to the wire. But first, there was an ITT. And guess who was on fire?
Fabs received a Spartacus helmet from a fan – he looked delighted!
So delighted, he monstered the ITT and won the stage.
But it was GVA who took the whole damn thing, beating Sagan in the GC by one second. One. And hell’s bells, Greg can wield a trident! Good thing we kept him on our fantasy cobbles team! He’s looking super confident now! (But then, how could you *not* look confident with a giant trident in your hand?)
Who knew that something as beautiful as snowfall could cause such consternation – and play a part in a lawsuit threat. There were none of those schenanigans when I grew up in Michigan where snow was a cause for celebration – no school! But I digress. Vincenzo Nibali hates snow – and threatened (or mused) about skipping the Giro because of the danger of more cancelled stages. That got people hot under the collar. Especially one.
Nibblets did not like that attitude and has called in the lawyers. And what would those lawyers do, I wonder? What law has Matt broken? The ‘don’t call Nibali names’ law?
Still miss Michele… I like the crossed swords emoji (or are they light sabres?)
Maybe Nibs should have followed Sagan‘s example: Bored on a snow day? Shave something!
Not often you get mayors who show their sense of humour …
Best news of the week, hands down. Glad to see Kris Boeckmans back in the peloton!
Michael Valgren hears all and is unafraid.
Getting those race snacks organised.
Never need an excuse to feature the lovely Manuel Quinziato. In a great portrait by Karen Edwards to boot!
I wonder if Pippo cut those sleeves off himself. Or if they were ripped off by groupies.
I’m sure some riders would like Kristoff to have to sprint with a buggy attached to his bike.
I can’t be bothered to detail the spat, but I did find Cillian’s tweet very funny.
Lois is really gunning for giving Fabs a haircut.
I LOVE this photograph. Absolutely LOVE it!
Bedhead Bardet is skewing Strava!
The last word