The Giro d’Italia has been great to watch – beautiful Italian scenery, exciting, unpredictable racing – and as stage races go a lot of drama and excitement. If the Tour de France could replicate that intensity, we could be in for a treat. Hopefully, if the main contenders stay safe in the crazy first week, there will be many more people to seriously challenge for the lead.
Contador / Nibali / Froome / Quintana – sounds an absorbing competition.
One of the abiding images of the Giro was watching Alberto Contador dance up the Mortirolo climb picking off the straggling peleton like he was a pro coming across a Sunday afternoon club run. It was a really great stage. Similarly, it was just as good to see Contador suffer on the last stage. – Expect the unexpected with this Giro.
I’m a great fan of the Corinthian endeavour – amateur ideals of sport and all that. But, the thing with professional cycling is that it is often the badly timed crash / puncture that really lights up the race. If the main protagonists stopped racing every-time someone came a cropper, it would become more like a charity ride, than a race. I guess you have to take the rough with the smooth. The sportsmanship in pro-cycling that really matters is riding 100% clean.
Still, the ever-unpopular UCI rule makers should revisit those rules about fining riders who swap equipment from different teams. I think it’s good if rival team mates want to offer a spare wheel out of friendship or sportsmanship. It’s always good to have rules that outsiders to the sport understand. Unless you have spent many late nights reading the UCI rulebook you will probably struggle to understand the two minute penalty give Porte and Simon Clarke (BBC link) for nothing more than a wheel swap.
The one shadow over the Giro is why they have to always commemorate Marco Pantani as the great hero of cycling. To me, he never will be. The abiding memory of Pantani is (apart from his ridiculous Heamocrit levels) was leading the peleton protests (photo) against ‘proper drug enforcement at the 1998 Tour de France (the Tour of the Festina scandal)’. Pantani was a tragic life, a cautionary tale, a man who perhaps deserves sympathy, but, I struggle to feign admiration for any drug users – be they Pantani, Armstrong or Ullrich.
Finishing on a more positive note – another highlight of the Giro was seeing a new generation come through, like David Formolo’s successful win from a break. That was really good. Hope to see him keep progressing for next few years.