There was a lot of racing last week but, actually, if you missed Sunday’s stages in Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice, you missed the most astonishing, heartbreaking, just batshit crazy day of cycling. It was glorious! We have all the reactions …
We start with Primoz Roglic‘s #ShitDayofUnluck on the final stage of Paris-Nice. Crashing hard with 50km to go, he continued riding as hard as he could in torn shorts and bloody haunches … and kept riding … crashed again … and kept riding, even when he knew he’d lost the overall and in fact plummeted out of the top 10.
And his class
Just as he went over to congratulate Tadej Pogacar after losing the Tour de France on the penultimate day, Roglic went over to congratulate Max Schachmann on winning his second consecutive Paris-Nice.
Was the race on? Or was it karma?
Of course, Roglic’s ‘mare of a day came after he took Saturday’s stage, blowing past Gino Mader in the last few metres, after Mader had been riding solo and was in touching distance of his first big stage win. There were a lot of tweets castigating Roglic for doing this – surely ‘Mader deserved the win’? ‘How dare Rog!’ ‘We hate him, we hate him!’ But Mader had the perfect response.
While it was sad that Mader didn’t get his win, think about it for a second. After Roglic lost the Tour de France, do you not think that he went through every single stage of that Tour to see where he missed an opportunity to take seconds when he had the chance? He’s learned the hard way that every second does count.
But then, after Roglic’s crashes 1 and 2 on Sunday’s final stage, the peloton went full gas, disregarding the unwritten rule of not attacking the yellow jersey if he crashes or has a mechanical. There were some who relished this as a sign that the peloton was punishing him. There were also some who thought it was #unclass from Bora and Astana, who were driving the pace.
Meanwhile, over in Italy …
It was a Tirreno-Adriatico stage with pouring rain and shivering riders. It was just like Belgium! (which of course is a compliment!!!)
Luke felt for the staffers outside in the rain, holding out those musettes.
I’ll be honest. When MvdP went away with 60km to go and got a decent gap, my heart sank and I thought it was just going to be another solo ride for the win with little opposition. And, you know, those kinds of wins aren’t the most exciting to watch for hours. But then, but THEN, Pogs decides to challenge him for supremacy. And it proved to be one of the most spectacular finishes ever.
It took every ounce of strength and all the willpower to keep going, but he did and MvdP took an unbelievably tense (and gorgeous) victory. While I’m fairly neutral about him – I neither love nor actively dislike him – there is no doubt in my mind that he is an incredible rider and we’re lucky he’s in the peloton. Riders like him sharpen the skills of everyone around them.
Pogs also took more time between himself and Wout Van Aert for the GC lead. It’ll come down to the time trial but at the moment Pogs is in the catbird seat. (Obviously this was written before Tuesday’s stage!)
What a day of racing
It was tense and intense … and mind-blowing all round.
A few lighter moments for your enjoyment!