Here’s today’s Monday Musette!
1. While flying to the Tour of California on Friday, I had a chance to catch-up on the latest in cycling print journalism. I’ve only recently started reading ROAD magazine, lured by glossy cover shots and a solid mix of domestic and European racing coverage. The June issue includes Jered Gruber's terrific interview with Saxo Bank’s Jens Voigt. Read it for two reasons: Voigt’s description of how he’s been so successful in the Criterium International and his re-telling of a stage in the 2006 Giro when he “let” Quick Step’s Juan Manuel Garate take the win on a day when Voigt was obviously the stronger of the two. Great reading!
And while you’re at it, check out Peter Easton’s essay on Liège-Bastogne-Liège, a piece from which came this fabulous quote:
“If the Tour of Flanders is in your heart and Paris-Roubaix is in your head, then Liège-Bastogne-Liège is a race that is clearly in your legs”
I couldn’t sum up these three monuments better myself.
2. Moving to Italy and the Giro d’Italia, I’ve been thoroughly enjoying La Gazzetta dello Sport’s iPhone App. Download it for free to enjoy live video streams of each day’s action. We’ve been enjoying each stage over breakfast here in California. When will other race organizations get on this bandwagon?
3. Speaking of the Giro, it was an exciting weekend of racing. Saturday’s strade bianche had a bigger impact than expected, mainly due to the rain that turned the limestone roads into slick, muddy pathways. Sunday’s finish on the Monte Terminillo extended the damage for some favorites, especially Carlos Sastre, who lost even more time on today’s flat stage from Frostinone to Cava De’ Tirreni.
While much racing remains, I see a two-horse race developing between BMC’s Cadel Evans and Liquigas’ Vincenzo Nibali. Evans is no surprise as we expected him to perform well in his return to Italy’s Grand Tour. Nibali however, was a last-minute edition following Franco Pellizotti’s irregular medical passport values. Nibali’s biggest obstacle might just be his teammate, Ivan Basso—but not for the reasons you might expect. Nibali is far and away the team’s best chance for victory; if Liquigas asks him to sacrifice his own chances for Basso, it can say “ci vediamo” to its chances for a maglia rosa two weeks from now.
4. From Italy to California and a race of an entirely different flavor. Chasing Legends is the new documentary from the men who brought us A Ride With George Hincapie. The film chronicles Columbia-HTC’s 2009 Tour de France, offering never-before-seen footage of the team from behind the scenes. I was fortunate to have attended the premier Saturday night in Sacramento, an event hosted by Phil and Paul and attended by HTC-Columbia’s Tour of California roster. Great footage, an inspiring soundtrack, and of course, terrific interviews, make this another film worth adding to your collection. I do have a few minor criticisms—like Mark Cavendish being identified as “Columbia-HTC Rider – Sprint Prodigy”—but they do little to detract from what is ultimately an incredible viewing experience. Watch for it soon!
5. As for the racing itself, yesterday’s Stage 1 went pretty much to plan for HTC-Columbia, as Mark Cavendish romped to a stage win in Sacramento. With 2 crashes inside the final 3 kilometers, the day was not without some drama. Tom Boonen, George Hincapie, and Fabian Cancellara hit the deck, with Boonen taking the brunt of it after Liquigas Peter Sagan took-out his front wheel after the final corner.
It’s rainy and cool today, hardly the type of weather the organizers expected when they moved the race from February to May. With 4 categorized hills on tap for the riders, look for a small group top duke it out in Santa Rosa. My pick? Sagan.
For more from the ToC, feel free to follow @backseatds on Twitter—the guy’s a close friend of mine. And he’s trying his best to make his wife and family proud by earning a living at this.
6. Finally, two bits from Bill Strickland. While I guess I’m not really an impartial advocate anymore, I loved this piece from Bill’s Sitting In blog over at Bicycling. If you’ve ever a.) yelled at someone new; or b.) been yelled at by someone more experienced you’ll appreciate this essay. I’m interested what side of the debate you’re on.
7. Strickland brought this to my attention as well. Smoked Out is Richard Sach’s attempt at exposing small frame builders to a wider audience, giving them a chance to share their philosophies with the rest us. Check it out—you might learn something about the world that exists beyond carbon fiber.
So that’s it for this weeks’ Monday Musette. It’s a bit late for some of you, but we’re on West Coast time this week.
Thanks for reading and as always, share your comments, insights, and questions below.