Sunday, 6 May 2012

Weekend Round-Up: Cavendish, The Pink Jersey Curse, Goodbye Nibali...


So we are two days into the Giro d'Italia and so far it hasn't really been a remarkable spectacle of television, but it was to be expected. A prologue followed by a couple of flat stages rarely wets the appetite, unless maybe you are the Eneco Tour race organiser. There are some strange going's on when it comes to the Pink Jersey though...

The Giro

The top order of Saturdays prologue read as expected like a who's who of short time trials. Welshman Geraint Thomas narrowly missed out on the pink jersey thanks to an extremely quick ride from American powerhouse Taylor Phinney and lets not forget, it's only his second year as a Pro and to wear the pink jersey at the tender age of 21 is quite an achievement. Thomas though may be happy to have finished second as it has become apparent that the pink jersey is cursed. Last years winner Michele Scarponi wore the pink going into the prologue and out of all the main contenders for the Giro, I had him down to be just about the best Time Trialist of the bunch ahead of the likes of (especially) Frank 'what's this weired flat bar elbow rest thing?' Schleck and Ivan Basso, yet unbelievably the Italian finished over a minute slower than the fastest time, landing himself 135th, seven seconds down on Frank Schleck and over 25 seconds down on Basso and Roman Kreuziger. Not the best of starts then for a defending champion...

The curse of the pink jersey continued into today's stage, where 8km from the finish, current leader Taylor Phinney appeared to have dropped his chain, finding himself slipping quite away out of the back of the Peloton. He spent the next 4km fighting back to the bunch and chasing down the 30 second gap with a little help from his teammates Alessandro Ballan and Danilo Wyss and made it just in time to keep hold of his pink jersey for another night.

Mark Cavendish opened his 2012 Grand Tour account today taking the points jersey in the sprint finish ahead of his old team mate Matthew Goss - a battle we are all expecting to feature heavily in this years race - thanks to a remarkable lead out from Geraint Thomas. Tyler Farrar (Garmin Barracuda) missed out on a podium place yet again after some hard work from his Garmin team coming into the finish. Amusingly Farrar spent much of the last 4km nudging and pushing his way around the front to get himself in a decent position until one of the Team Sky riders had finally had enough and practically shoulder barged him across the road...Can Farrar keep pretending to compete with the likes of Mark Cavendish at Grand Tour level?

In Other News

I didn't think I would live to see the day that Vincenzo Nibali rode a bicycle without the green, white and blue of a Liquigas-Cannondale jersey (it just seems so wrong) but that day will come next year as it appears Nibali has turned down an offer of 1.8million Euro's to ride for them next year - I say turned down, actually he has just refused to acknowledge the offer or make any form of reply. Team Boss Roberto Amadio said
“Our offer was made, we gave the boy time to properly evaluate our proposal, but we have not received any response. For us the matter is closed.” The in from Italian will still head up the Liquigas team in this years Tour de France. Hmmm. Awkward...

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