I've been following the steady rise of the talented climber, Michael 'Rusty' Woods since turning Pro with Cannondale. The Canadian was slated to debut at the Giro d'ltalia but that'll have to wait another year, he's sidelined with a broken hand from a crash in Liege. Here's hopping he recovers quickly and returns back to the peloton soon. I agree with the above tweet... #bummer.
Vincenzo Nibali, the 2013 winner, is back to win but he'll have a battle between his old teammate, Mikel Landa and Alejandro Valverde. These three may have the strongest teams on paper but watch for Ryder Hesjedal (2012 winner), Rigoberto Uran (2013-2nd, 2014-2nd), Esteban Chaves, Steven Kruijswijk (2015-7th) & Rafal Majka (2014-6th) to contend for the Maglia Rosa.
There's going to be some exciting racing upcoming.
Canadians in the 99th Giro d'ltalia: Ryder Hesjedal (Trek-Segafredo), Svein Tuft (Orica GreenEDGE), Hugo Houle (AG2R La Mondiale).
- 3,463 km, 21 stages, May 6 - May 29.
- 3 TT - 61kms including 1 mountain TT. Stage 1. ITT Alpeldoorn, Netherlands.
- 6 stages 200km+
- 7 mountain stages including 5 summit finishes.
The 1964 Giro d'ltalia poster is striking.
1964 was doubly good for Maitre Jacques.
Jacques Anquetil (Monsieur Chrono) won his first Giro in 1960 and returned in 1964 to win again thus achieving the rare Giro/Tour double with the legend, Fausto Coppi.
On the topic of legends...
One of my all-time favorite sports cars is the fabulous Jaguar D-Type XKSS (produced 1957) - with Steve McQueen at the helm...
Before my Sunday FRFuggitivi ride, I had the chance to watch the shortened route of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Snow was the deciding factor and produced an unexpected but deserved winner... Wout Poels. As always, the entertaining Backstage Pass was on hand to record an epic day to the final Spring Classic of the season...
Heavy favorite, Valverde and teammates riding up the final 'new' climb.
If the weather gods make their appearance Sunday's Liege-Bastogne-Liege could be called, Neige-Bastogne-Neige. But whether the weather steps in or someone can dethrone heavy favorite Alejandro Valverde is all in the air. If it was up to me, I want it to snow (aka. 1980 edition won by Hinault, frozen fingers and all) and yes an upset winner would be a nice change. But, tempting fate it may just snow and spoil it for many riders. Can a 36 year snow drought come to an end? I love to watch foul weather alter the cycling equilibrium universe. Of course, not so extreme that the Extreme Weather Protocol steps in and cancels it.
La Doyenne is the oldest one-day classic, first raced in 1982. First edition 124 years ago this year is the 102nd edition of this Belgian Monument. 253km route with 10 categorized climbs. The final climb is the newly added Cote de Saint-Nicolas (6km avg. 10.5%) with cobbles replaces the Cote de Stockeau. This great race was made for the mountain specialists that's why I'm by passing the powerful and crafty Valverde and going for the two prong attacking style (reminiscent from Flèche Wallonne but with a better outcome) from Etixx for a 1-2 punch Monument victory...
Freddy Maertens leading Did Thurau up the Muy du Huy, 1977
No, snow is not in the forecast for tomorrow's La Flèche Wallonne as the 1977 edition was. In fact, the forecast is for sun, high 14C. Perfect conditions for the riders to tackle the infamous, steep and star of this classic, The Mur de Huy. It's this iconic climb that truly flashes the character to La Flèche Wallonne. The riders will climb it three times with the finale up this monster to the finish at the top. This is where the race will be won or lost.
My choice goes to the strong Etixx-Quick Step 'twins': Julian Alaphilippe and Dan Martin... I can't pick both to win, I'll side with the ever hungry, Dan Martin.