There’s nothing like a good echelon… and this is nothing like a good echelon

Gent-Wevelgem was absolute carnage. I don’t think I’ve seen such exciting weather-related mayhem since someone ended up under a truck at Paris-Nice and Stijn Devolder got hit by a flying wheelie bin at Kuurne-Bruxelles-Kuurne.

Geraint Thomas managed to pick himself up out of a drainage ditch to take third place, whilst Etixx Quick Step played their usual tactical masterstroke by letting Luca Paolini ride away to take the win.

Wind-assisted.

And here’s the Kiserlovski under the truck Ooh La La classic wet-weather Paris-Nice action…

It would be a shame if the extreme weather protocol meant an end to the unpredictable madness of early season bike races.

Paris Nice: Col D’Eze

i spent most of yesterday afternoon trying to avoid spoilers, but failed spectacularly because i accessed the limitless power of the internet. anyway, if you haven’t seen it yet, Wiggins won with an awe-inspiring display of uphill time trialling, if that doesn’t sound too euphemistic. the interesting thing is that it’s a hill climb of sorts. they really should have more uphill time trials on the continent; they had one on alpe d’huez a few years back. it’s a world of short TT extensions, confusion over what to ride, and a weight limit of 6.8kg on the bikes. it’s hard to even imagine what’s going through the riders’ minds in the video below. the crowd is oppressive and overwhelming. armstrong has his cap on backwards like a true hillclimber. his speed is unreal.

On the Col D’Eze Wiggins was turning over the gear remorselessly. it’s a really astounding sight. He’s the first British winner since Tommy Simpson in 1967 and is staking a claim to being one of the greatest riders this island has ever produced.

When i first started getting into cycling i remember watching the tour and trying to see how Max Sciandri was doing, a half-italian, half british rider, or whether Robert Millar still had the legs (his powers were on the wane).  this year we’ve got one of the world’s pre-eminent stage racers, the world champion and a stack of gifted riders across several teams. it’s hard to believe just how much british cycling has changed, but if you want a point of comparison i recommend ‘wide eyed and legless’, by Jeff Connor. It describes the problems faced by the ANC Halfords team in the 1987 tour. it’s a fantastic book.

 

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