Sunday, 12 August 2012

Weekend Round-up: Boom Takes Eneco, Chaves On The Rise, Transfer Latest

With the Olympics drawing to it's natural conclusion this evening we can once again focus on the cycling. If you thought you would be lost for something to watch on the box, don't despair - La Vuelta is coming. In the meantime here's all the latest from this weekend in cycling...

Boom Victorious In Eneco Tour
Today's final stage of the Eneco Tour looked set to be a two way fight between Lars Boom (Rabobank) and Sylvain Chavanel (OPQS) for the general classification. Both are fantastic classics riders and todays final stage resembled the Tour of Flanders with it's cobbled roads and the inclusion of the extrememly difficult cobbled climb Muur van Geraardsbergen, which, much to the upset of fans, riders and pundits alike was removed from the revised route of the Tour of Flanders. Never mind though, as he it was in all it's gory and it made for some brutal riding but stunning viewing, counteracting the previous 6 stages which make the Eneco, well, not the most interesting of races. Alessandro Ballan (BMC) rode away on the final climb of the day to take the stage win but was closely followed by Boom who got the jump on Chavanel to take the overall race victory. Alberto Contador looked strong on the cobbled climbs and finished the day in 8th which bodes well for his forthcoming Vuelta a Espana campaign...

Johan Chaves Climbs The Ranks
The Colombia-Coldeportes team has my attention for three reasons. Though only riding in Pro-Continental rank this team has 1) The nicest jersey in cycling, 2) The Motto 'Inspired By Climbing and 3) Johan Chaves. Colombian riders, surrounded by some of the longest and steepest gradient climbs in the world, are renowned for being the last bastion of 'pure-climbers' and with a team now riding at pro-continental, the Colombian riders not riding for WorldTour teams are getting a good showing in Europe. None more so than Coldeportes rider Johan Chaves, who at the age of 22 is already a Tour de l'Avenir (Tour Of The Future) winner. This year saw him take victory on stage 5 of the Vuelta a Burgos and, yesterday, saw him beat none other than Danilo Di Luca and Dominic Pozzovivo into submission to take victory in Italian one-day race GP Città di Camaiore. As expected, the young Colombian made the diference on the climb of Monte Pitoro holding on to beat Italian Champion Franco Pellizotti to the line. Keep your eye on Johan Chaves, he's going to go global, in fact, keep your eye on all of the Colombians - the cycling scene in Colombia at the minute is a very exciting thing, just look here for more! It's a shame then, that they didn't secure entry into any of the Grand Tours this year, especially the Vuelta a Espana where summit finishes and hours of climbing are order of the day...

Transfers: Ins and Outs
I've already done a whole post dedicated to transfers here but there's so much going on I knew i would be creating a whole host of transfer related posts. Here's the latest movers and shakers:
  • Lars Petter Nordhaug (Sky) to Rabobank
  • Dominik Nerz (Liquigas-Cannondale) to BMC
  • Daniel Oss (Liquigas-Cannondale) to BMC
  • Eros Capecchi (Liquigas-Cannondale) to Movistar
  • Sylwester Szmyd (Liquigas-Cannondale) to Movistar
I see a correlation forming here: Mass exodus at Liquigas, add to the above the fact that one of their strongest GC riders is joining Astana in the shape of Vincenzo Nibali and things suddenly look a little fragile for one of the best, dominant teams in the WorldTour. I can only imagine there will be some BIG name's joining Liquigas, though with Peter Sagan currently at the helm, they could probably get away with just a one man team...

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