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gerry12ie

2013 and all that...

And so one of the least memorable cycling years has slipped behind us leaving only a few highlights worth discussing.  The road season was badly affected by Europe’s long winter right up to the start of June, and the inclement weather continued to leave its mark right to end of the season with rain featuring at Lombardia and the Worlds.  The week long races were generally all earmarked early as Sky sure things and only provided a bit of excitement when it didn’t go quite to the Brailsford plan, the Monuments didn’t deliver anything too thrilling, the weather spoiled the Giro, Froome had an easy win at Le Tour, and then there was Horner.  So not really an awful lot to get excited about, and in the end the season just fizzled out with a damp, soggy whimper.  

For me, the only road races that got me anywhere the near the edge of the seat were these:

Tirreno Adriatico Stage 6 – Peter Sagan

It seemed like only a few did their homework for the triple ascent of Muro di Sant'Elpidio at 27%, and Sky didn’t even seem to check the weather forecast.  Froome went out in summer gear for a day in pissing rain and lost a minute and the race, half the field were DNF, Cancellara had a proper moan, Sagan won the stage and Nibali won the race.  

Paris-Roubaix – Fabian Cancellara

Generally not my favourite race but was probably the most tense of the Monuments.  Memorable for seeing Cancellara dig deeper than he has ever had to before.

Eneco Tour Stages 6 & 7


Bit of a cheat here picking two days of racing, but the pickings are slim.  Besides, what’s not to like about four sprint stages, a nice little TT and then a mini RVV and LBL back-to-back to finish with?  Dumoulin and Stybar duked it out for the last two days with Stybie following up on his good classics form to take the overall.  

Tour de France Stage 9 – Dan Martin


A bit like Contador last year on the stage to Fuente De, this was a throwback of a race.  Eurosport obliged with coverage from 11 a.m. although there may not have been too many takers for the early start given that Froome had effectively won the race the day before with a performance that broke the Clinic.  However, it was some surprise indeed to see the MJ totally isolated with less than 100k raced but it was all down to the Garmin plan of racing your bollocks off and see what happens.  From the gun Millar and Bauer went on a two-up for 25k, and from there Garmin didn’t let up.  Dan eventually took the sprint from Fuglsang for a thoroughly deserved win with full credit for attacking racing.  Porte lost a huge chunk of time, Kiryienka missed the cut, but the real winner on the day was Froome who just wouldn’t bend.

And that really was that for the year.  J Rod finished the year as a deserving No. 1 in spite of being shafted by Valverde.  Nys finally got a second World’s at Louisville, and even though I know nothing about track a certain young lady with links to this parish showed maturity and talent beyond her years to win two World Championships.

Let’s hope 2014 brings us some better road racing…
Bartali

Come on Gerry .... the weather was bad, but Nibali climbing out of the snow at Bardonecchia had all the suspense of Roche coming out of the fog at La Plagne all those years ago ... and Tre Cime di lavaredo was glorious!!
gerry12ie

I deliberately left out Nibali so you could join in... Wink
SlowRower

I know it wasn't racing as such, but Wiggo's bike throw sticks in the memory.
Boogerd_Fan

Classics (with the increased attrition caused by the severe conditions) lived up to my expectations in 2013, despite Sagan narrowly missing out on the monuments.. season did peter out a bit afterwards though… Giro & Tour were 1-horse races… the Vuelta was interesting, but farcical pantomime based on what we can expect to eventually find out about the winner.
JohnD

Not too much springs to mind not mentioned - Taylor Phinney trying to make the cut in T-A, and Tony Martin's TT practice on the stage in the Vuelta - only time the kids joined me in shouting at the TV for the last km!
HuwB

Yes, not a vintage year.
The most race cancellations/alterations I can remember.
The mucky Tirreno day, climbing wall after wall
and Dan Martin's solo stage win, which also got him the
overall in Catalunya.
gerry12ie

JohnD wrote:
Not too much springs to mind not mentioned - Taylor Phinney trying to make the cut in T-A, and Tony Martin's TT practice on the stage in the Vuelta - only time the kids joined me in shouting at the TV for the last km!


Good call on Martin's TT rehearsal, John.  Definitely a highlight, and maybe the more so because he was pipped on the line.
Bartali

gerry12ie wrote:
I deliberately left out Nibali so you could join in... Wink
Smile Smile

I'm interested in some of the comments about the Giro being a one horse race - thats not how I remember us discussing it at the time.  I distinctly remember some suggestion that Astana wasn't strong enough to support Nibs for two weeks etc ... though that have been Beasley teasing me Smile
gerry12ie

Bartali wrote:
gerry12ie wrote:
I deliberately left out Nibali so you could join in... Wink
Smile Smile

I'm interested in some of the comments about the Giro being a one horse race - thats not how I remember us discussing it at the time.  I distinctly remember some suggestion that Astana wasn't strong enough to support Nibs for two weeks etc ... though that have been Beasley teasing me Smile


I think Astana were on their game in the Giro, and Nibali was close to being unstoppable.  It might have been a bit tighter at the top had Sky let Uran off the leash a bit earlier, but Nibali delivered a win as convincing as Froome's TDF.

The Vuelta was a different story though, and Astana simply didn't back Nibali like they should have.  They let Horner clock up seconds and seconds and by the time they realised he was a serious contender it was too late.  Tiralongo and Fuglsang (?) were poor on the Angrilu and should have formed a stable bridge when Nibs attacked, although I think it would have required domestiques of the calibre of Van Helsing, Blade and Buffy to stop Horner at that stage.  Still, old vampire killer Scarponi will sort all that out this year... Wink
Bartali

Smile Smile

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