Phil Gil. photo@Fotoreporter Sirotti

Viva Il Giro

by / / 40 posts

The Giro ended on Sunday in Milano. Three weeks of Italian immersion have been completely worthwhile. I knew May was going to go this way but a DVR that dutifully records hours of racing every day…I’m only human.

Italian TV does a fantastic job covering each stage. The Giro becomes a travel log of the country as seen either from a helicopter (I’m assuming Gianni Bugno is the pilot) or a motorcycle, either of which I would happily travel in or on. While the racers are riding in the peloton, none of them are enjoying the countryside like we are. Italian TV even strolls around each start and finish town for us. The riders are too shelled to do that. They are either in a bus or a hotel when not racing.

The moto drivers who pilot the TV camera people and the camera people themselves deserve medals. Following Phil Gil as he bombed the top of the final descent of Stage 18 was too exciting. For me, it was the most fearsome minute of the whole race. The lead moto ahead of Gilbert was too far ahead to be seen so Gilbert was going into each corner not knowing the exit. He raged into blind corners on the edge of disaster. And behind him was a guy on a motorcycle whose passenger was probably standing up with a heavy camera on his shoulder. It was out of this world. Unfortunately there are no video clips of that segment of the descent, except on the full Stage 18 coverage. These moto guys are studs. This is hazard duty. You hear the motorcycle tires chattering as they attempt to follow cyclists into descending corners. Moto drivers must have a hard time unwinding after each day’s work.

While the helicopters and motorcycles show me all the possible hilltop towns I need to visit, they can also show me a little more than I need to know. I can cross the Moritolo off my life list, seen it, don’t need to do it; thanks moto men.

 

 

// Reverence

  1. Was an epic Giro @Gianni with a tidy 35 VSP points as a bonus! Almost makes up for my Delgado for LBL.




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  2. Whenever I answer the question “How fast can you go on that thing?” there is always this shocked look when I give them the number… and I’m not even close to pro-level descent speeds.




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  3. I’m watching the full coverage off Eurosport, but not watching it live- so I haven’t made it to the finish. Who gave an announcing job to Juan Antonio Flecha in english? I don’t know if it sounds like he has head trauma in his native language, but his delivery and pacing hurts my brain.




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  4. I pray that someday American television will get their heads out of their arseholes and begin to cover the Giro. I would even be happy for a two hour long show once each week that highlights the stages from that week of racing. I do not understand how such an important stage race is basically ignored here by our media. But I get it – no money to be made after paying the rights to broadcast it.




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  5. That decent of Gilbert’s was a big highlight for me too. Here’s another of his I quite enjoyed. A favourite is this footage of Cancellara filtering through traffic at speed with style. It never fails to make me want to turn the screen off and go directly for a ride.




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  6. Lucky here in Aus that we get SBS to take the coverage and offer up some fine commentary over the Italian broadcast.

    Makes for a good night bouncing questions and answers off twitter with Matt Keenan and Dave Mackenzie

    Oh, and Phil Gil, he da man !




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  7. They never made a movie about The Prophet in the Vuelta.




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  8. @Sparty

    get thyself a VPN, pretend to be an Australian & and then stream it via SBS

    http://cyclingtips.com.au/2014/12/how-to-watch-a-bike-race/




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  9. @Sparty

    I pray that someday American television will get their heads out of their arseholes and begin to cover the Giro. I would even be happy for a two hour long show once each week that highlights the stages from that week of racing. I do not understand how such an important stage race is basically ignored here by our media. But I get it – no money to be made after paying the rights to broadcast it.

    beIN Sports, my friend. I had a never-ending supply of racing to watch while feeding my 2month old future Velominati in the middle of the night.




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  10. @justindcady

    @Sparty

    I pray that someday American television will get their heads out of their arseholes and begin to cover the Giro. I would even be happy for a two hour long show once each week that highlights the stages from that week of racing. I do not understand how such an important stage race is basically ignored here by our media. But I get it – no money to be made after paying the rights to broadcast it.

    beIN Sports, my friend. I had a never-ending supply of racing to watch while feeding my 2month old future Velominati in the middle of the night.

    Yeah baby, BeIN shows up on Time Warner out here, basic cable and they really brought it. Some stages in their entirety and always at least 2 hours. Dan Lloyd of GCN and some other talkative English fuck do the commentary. I’d prefer Magnus but much better than Phil Ligget. And one has to own some sort of DVR or your health will be ruined, sitting in a chair for at least two hours a day, not withstanding, of course.




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  11. @stooge

    That decent of Gilbert’s was a big highlight for me too. Here’s another of his I quite enjoyed. A favourite is this footage of Cancellara filtering through traffic at speed with style. It never fails to make me want to turn the screen off and go directly for a ride.

    If one needed another reason to see why Pros come from another planet, that descent was it. True, both Schlecks would have been off the road and in the woods but not Phil. Awesome.




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  12. Interesting re-watching that stage & seeing Phast Phil’s bike setup, it seems like he actually has a little rise on his stem instead of the -17 degree things we see among the peloton these days…




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  13. Eurosport here in Serbia covers just about every cycling event going on and then replays them all twice a day. Only down side is the commentary in Serbian, but Phil Gil’s descent would have been awesome in any language. Love Eurosport! They even cover field hockey and give me a once a week fix of aussie rules.




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  14. @Mikael Liddy

    Interesting re-watching that stage & seeing Phast Phil’s bike setup, it seems like he actually has a little rise on his stem instead of the -17 degree things we see among the peloton these days…

    I did notice that quite a few competitors were riding slacker/more upright geometry in several stages during this year’s Giro. More than I’ve noticed in the past (maybe I was just paying more attention than usual, given I’m considering going that route myself). No bad thing in my book. If you’re gonna be with in the peloton for most of the day, and you’re not a sprinter, then you probably don’t need a super aggressive setup and could benefit in the long run.




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  15. @stooge

    That decent of Gilbert’s was a big highlight for me too. Here’s another of his I quite enjoyed. A favourite is this footage of Cancellara filtering through traffic at speed with style. It never fails to make me want to turn the screen off and go directly for a ride.

    That footage of Cancellara is astonishing. It looks so slow and graceful but you know he’s absolutely flying. The way he shifts the bike around through the corners is joyful.




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  16. @tedder

    I’m watching the full coverage off Eurosport, but not watching it live- so I haven’t made it to the finish. Who gave an announcing job to Juan Antonio Flecha in english? I don’t know if it sounds like he has head trauma in his native language, but his delivery and pacing hurts my brain.

    Yeah it’s not the most fluid reporting. And poor Greg Leman is dyslexic so together they stumble quite a bit.




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  17. @RobSandy

    @stooge

    That decent of Gilbert’s was a big highlight for me too. Here’s another of his I quite enjoyed. A favourite is this footage of Cancellara filtering through traffic at speed with style. It never fails to make me want to turn the screen off and go directly for a ride.

    That footage of Cancellara is astonishing. It looks so slow and graceful but you know he’s absolutely flying. The way he shifts the bike around through the corners is joyful.

    Spartacus is just flawless on that descent. He MUST have done a bit of recon before yes?




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  18. I watched the Giro only on Rai Sport.




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  19. @Gianni

    @justindcady

    @Sparty

    I pray that someday American television will get their heads out of their arseholes and begin to cover the Giro. I would even be happy for a two hour long show once each week that highlights the stages from that week of racing. I do not understand how such an important stage race is basically ignored here by our media. But I get it – no money to be made after paying the rights to broadcast it.

    beIN Sports, my friend. I had a never-ending supply of racing to watch while feeding my 2month old future Velominati in the middle of the night.

    Dan Lloyd of GCN and some other talkative English fuck do the commentary.

    Carlton Kirby. He seems like a lovely fellow but he didn’t seem to be watching the same race as me.




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  20. @rfreese888

    @tedder

    I’m watching the full coverage off Eurosport, but not watching it live- so I haven’t made it to the finish. Who gave an announcing job to Juan Antonio Flecha in english? I don’t know if it sounds like he has head trauma in his native language, but his delivery and pacing hurts my brain.

    Yeah it’s not the most fluid reporting. And poor Greg Leman is dyslexic so together they stumble quite a bit.

    Leman is great on Eurosport. He’s honest, and massively enthusiastic. He was better during the Tour De France coverage last year on Eurosport, with the main highlight being an interview he did with Laurens ten Dam. Greg was just as star struck as ten Dam, and the two of them talking about how ten Dam had Lemans book on cycling tips was a joy to watch.




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  21. Gianni, can you give advise on how to make it to the Tour now that the spring classics and Giro are done? I flated 1/3 way through the Sunday a.m. suffer fest so I was left with too much energy after the finish in Milan and could not nap away my depression…

    It’s a sickness, how does a normal person do it?




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  22. Great piece! I always feel that the tourism boards of Italy, France anbd Spain should be sponsors of the race – three weeks of wonderful coverage of some of the most scenic parts of each country. Who can’t watch a grand tour on TV without crying out “I want to go there!”?

    The last couple of stages I watched on the RAI feed. Much more entertaining listening to the Italian commentators than the English speaking ones. After listening to Phil and Paul doing the Tour of California, I can’t listen to them anymore. Their crush on Sagan is embarrassing.




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  23. @tedder

    I’m watching the full coverage off Eurosport, but not watching it live- so I haven’t made it to the finish. Who gave an announcing job to Juan Antonio Flecha in english? I don’t know if it sounds like he has head trauma in his native language, but his delivery and pacing hurts my brain.

    Lighten up! He’s clearly a happy fella AND just fixated on that SpanFro of his!!




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  24. @wiscot

    Great piece! I always feel that the tourism boards of Italy, France anbd Spain should be sponsors of the race – three weeks of wonderful coverage of some of the most scenic parts of each country. Who can’t watch a grand tour on TV without crying out “I want to go there!”?

    The last couple of stages I watched on the RAI feed. Much more entertaining listening to the Italian commentators than the English speaking ones. After listening to Phil and Paul doing the Tour of California, I can’t listen to them anymore. Their crush on Sagan is embarrassing.

    I haven’t been able to listen to those two for years. I just want to hear the race, I don’t need all the cheerleading. I imagine the Sporza guys are just calling the race, though I don’t speak Flemish so I don’t know. I love the “oooooohhhlalalalalala” out of the one dude. And then, they kick it to Renat!

    I went to northern Italy to play soccer when I was 12. Sadly, I was not yet a Follower. And sadly, I was too young to really appreciate the beauty of the country, though I had a blast.




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  25. Nice work, Gianni! I’m sure you heard or read it but PhilGil said of that stage win that he took some chances in the corners, but that is what you need to do to win.

    Jeez, possible a high-speed crash like at Milan Sanremo. Just part of winning big. Pretty crazy job requirement!




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  26. @Ron

    @wiscot

    Great piece! I always feel that the tourism boards of Italy, France anbd Spain should be sponsors of the race – three weeks of wonderful coverage of some of the most scenic parts of each country. Who can’t watch a grand tour on TV without crying out “I want to go there!”?

    The last couple of stages I watched on the RAI feed. Much more entertaining listening to the Italian commentators than the English speaking ones. After listening to Phil and Paul doing the Tour of California, I can’t listen to them anymore. Their crush on Sagan is embarrassing.

    I haven’t been able to listen to those two for years. I just want to hear the race, I don’t need all the cheerleading. I imagine the Sporza guys are just calling the race, though I don’t speak Flemish so I don’t know. I love the “oooooohhhlalalalalala” out of the one dude. And then, they kick it to Renat!

    I went to northern Italy to play soccer when I was 12. Sadly, I was not yet a Follower. And sadly, I was too young to really appreciate the beauty of the country, though I had a blast.

    Agreed. That’s the beauty of Steephill.tv – you can take your pick – English, Italian, French, Dutch. Pick your feed according to the country the race is in. Just avoid Sherwen and Liggett. At the T of C they were clearly told to mention as many sponsors as they could as often as they could. I understand the races need sponsors, but their commentary was just cringe-worthy.




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  27. @Gianni

    @justindcady

    @Sparty

    I pray that someday American television will get their heads out of their arseholes and begin to cover the Giro. I would even be happy for a two hour long show once each week that highlights the stages from that week of racing. I do not understand how such an important stage race is basically ignored here by our media. But I get it – no money to be made after paying the rights to broadcast it.

    beIN Sports, my friend. I had a never-ending supply of racing to watch while feeding my 2month old future Velominati in the middle of the night.

    Yeah baby, BeIN shows up on Time Warner out here, basic cable and they really brought it. Some stages in their entirety and always at least 2 hours. Dan Lloyd of GCN and some other talkative English fuck do the commentary. I’d prefer Magnus but much better than Phil Ligget. And one has to own some sort of DVR or your health will be ruined, sitting in a chair for at least two hours a day, not withstanding, of course.

    Agreed about BeIN. And not just the Giro – they have great race coverage throughout the year. The only downside is that it isn’t broadcast in HD, at least not on Comcast in Colorado. I hope that they upgrade to HD at some point.




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  28. And don’t forget that most magical week of the year, when the Tour of California and the Giro are run concurrently. It’s a wealth of riches. By the end of that week, I’ve pretty much exhausted my domestic credits with my wife.




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  29. @Peter

    Agreed about BeIN. And not just the Giro – they have great race coverage throughout the year. The only downside is that it isn’t broadcast in HD, at least not on Comcast in Colorado. I hope that they upgrade to HD at some point.

    I have a feeling that it’s the world feed being the limiting factor. On days I wouldn’t record (non-mtn stages), the highlight reels from the same feed online don’t look any better…even when clicking “HD” on the embedded video. beIN used the same feed as Eurosport.




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  30. @DeKerr

    Whenever I answer the question “How fast can you go on that thing?” there is always this shocked look when I give them the number… and I’m not even close to pro-level descent speeds.

    Funny, I always answer this question with, “As fast you can make it go.”




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  31. @Rob

    Gianni, can you give advise on how to make it to the Tour now that the spring classics and Giro are done? I flated 1/3 way through the Sunday a.m. suffer fest so I was left with too much energy after the finish in Milan and could not nap away my depression…

    It’s a sickness, how does a normal person do it?

    There is always the Criterium de Dauphine and Tour de Suisse. Last years C d D was pretty great. But yeah, I’m equally relieved and sorry when the Giro or Tour are over. I know it’s wrong to watch a flat stage that will end up in a sprint but I just can’t stop. There is always some drama.

    @Ron

    @wiscot

    Great piece! I always feel that the tourism boards of Italy, France anbd Spain should be sponsors of the race – three weeks of wonderful coverage of some of the most scenic parts of each country. Who can’t watch a grand tour on TV without crying out “I want to go there!”?

    The last couple of stages I watched on the RAI feed. Much more entertaining listening to the Italian commentators than the English speaking ones. After listening to Phil and Paul doing the Tour of California, I can’t listen to them anymore. Their crush on Sagan is embarrassing.

    I haven’t been able to listen to those two for years. I just want to hear the race, I don’t need all the cheerleading. I imagine the Sporza guys are just calling the race, though I don’t speak Flemish so I don’t know. I love the “oooooohhhlalalalalala” out of the one dude. And then, they kick it to Renat!

    I went to northern Italy to play soccer when I was 12. Sadly, I was not yet a Follower. And sadly, I was too young to really appreciate the beauty of the country, though I had a blast.

    Love the Belgians too. Especially the “oooooohhhlalalalalala” guy. No need for a translation with him.




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  32. @VeloJello

    @rfreese888

    @tedder

    I’m watching the full coverage off Eurosport, but not watching it live- so I haven’t made it to the finish. Who gave an announcing job to Juan Antonio Flecha in english? I don’t know if it sounds like he has head trauma in his native language, but his delivery and pacing hurts my brain.

    Yeah it’s not the most fluid reporting. And poor Greg Leman is dyslexic so together they stumble quite a bit.

    Leman is great on Eurosport. He’s honest, and massively enthusiastic. He was better during the Tour De France coverage last year on Eurosport, with the main highlight being an interview he did with Laurens ten Dam. Greg was just as star struck as ten Dam, and the two of them talking about how ten Dam had Lemans book on cycling tips was a joy to watch.

    Don’t get me wrong I could watch Leman all day. His ‘Complete Book of Cycling’ is a pillar of my collection, and growing up watching the Tour in the 80’s he was God.

    They need someone beside Flecha to really set him off properly though. Would love to see him and Sean Kelly have a chat with Kirby doing the honours.




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  33. @justindcady

    I watched beIN TV in San Antonio on Time Warner. I’m pretty sure it was HD and it was absolutely brilliant. I literally filled up the DVR to 99% with 4.5 hour stages. Almost made me want a new 60″ flat screen.

    Now I’m sitting on Contador’s ride up Montirolo in Stage 16, Gilbert’s descent and win on Stage 18, and Aru’s wins on Stages 19 and 20. About 15-hours of recordings and I don’t want to delete them.

    Kirby and Lloyd aren’t too bad, knowledgeable with the right amount of enthusiasm. Phil and Paul may be tiresome, but I’ve really had enough of Gogulski and Schlanger on NBC Universal Sports. Not sure why, Gogluski knows his stuff. But…




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  34. And the biggest problem with Phil and Paul at the Tour of California: they are always pushing Cadillacs and Lexuses. They’re just tempting the masses to break #25. Which also means they might be in violation of #2 as well!

    The only way around that is a C-60 with Super Record EPS, and that just isn’t happening for most folks. (And if it is, you’re probably working too much and not cycling enough, even in funny money California!)




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  35. @Minnesota Expat

    @justindcady

    I watched beIN TV in San Antonio on Time Warner. I’m pretty sure it was HD and it was absolutely brilliant. I literally filled up the DVR to 99% with 4.5 hour stages. Almost made me want a new 60″ flat screen.

    Now I’m sitting on Contador’s ride up Montirolo in Stage 16, Gilbert’s descent and win on Stage 18, and Aru’s wins on Stages 19 and 20. About 15-hours of recordings and I don’t want to delete them.

    Kirby and Lloyd aren’t too bad, knowledgeable with the right amount of enthusiasm. Phil and Paul may be tiresome, but I’ve really had enough of Gogulski and Schlanger on NBC Universal Sports. Not sure why, Gogluski knows his stuff. But…

    The issue I have with the NBC Universal guys is that they are so super exited all the time! No subtlety at all.




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  36. Is there anything better than being at work, looking forward to the end of the day, thinking you have to help with things around the house…and having the VMH tell you yer off the hook and can do some road cycling?

    Goddamn, my evening just got a lot more aVVesome!




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  37. @Ron

    Is there anything better than being at work, looking forward to the end of the day, thinking you have to help with things around the house…and having the VMH tell you yer off the hook and can do some road cycling?

    Goddamn, my evening just got a lot more aVVesome!

    Being at the end of the day and being out on the bike?

    Tomorrow I need to take #1 over to the LBS for a couple of tweaks for which I do not have the tools. So ride over to the LBS 25 Km, VMW will drive over with #2 in the car and then ride back home via a small detour of 80 Km. Pretty good use of a bit of TOIL by my reckoning.




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  38. @Teocalli

    @Ron

    Is there anything better than being at work, looking forward to the end of the day, thinking you have to help with things around the house…and having the VMH tell you yer off the hook and can do some road cycling?

    Goddamn, my evening just got a lot more aVVesome!

    Being at the end of the day and being out on the bike?

    Tomorrow I need to take #1 over to the LBS for a couple of tweaks for which I do not have the tools. So ride over to the LBS 25 Km, VMW will drive over with #2 in the car and then ride back home via a small detour of 80 Km. Pretty good use of a bit of TOIL by my reckoning.

    Being out on the bike is part of the day. And then getting out on the bike (again) at the end of the day.




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  39. While Gilbert’s decent on stage 18 was one of the highlights for me in terms of excitement, Astana’s performance on stage 20 was a low point in terms of racing but still very exciting. I actually woke my sleeping wife with an loud but involuntary “You idiot!” in a fashion Ren Hoek would be proud of.

    Astana were clearly the strongest team overall in this year’s Giro. They set a cracking pace from the get go and kept it up. Maybe there thinking there was something like “Bert’s gonna be there not matter what, so lets put some time into those other fellas early on and keep it”. I don’t know, but whatever their thinking, the high pace made for some very interesting racing, even where on paper a given stage looked to be largely uninteresting. Landa looked good whenever the gradient increased and seemed to be the stronger than Aru there. Nearing the final in stage 15, Contador was more interested with having a chat with Aru than following Landa, and Landa went on to take it. Divide and conquer.

    Great stuff. But then Astana’s big chance comes on the penultimate stage. What the fuck were they thinking? Around 15km out Landa had nearly a minute on Aru’s group, and sits up and complains to Zakarin for not pulling turns. This continued for what seemed ages. Meanwhile Aru is not doing a share back in his group, who in turn had pulled some good time on Contador. What? Zakarin had done a huge amount of work by that stage. I don’t understand Landa not getting on with the business. Why was Aru going at it? If Landa wasn’t gonna work, why didn’t he drop back as soon as he knew Aru’s group had pulled away from Contador and set pace? Finally Landa is caught up, Aru ends up pulling away and powering home. Oh, so he did have a lot left in the tank? That makes it even worse. He is greated to a heroes welcome at the finish as if he’d won the Giro. They might actually have been in the pink had they played it just a little differently.

    Usually it is clear why there was a failure in a certain stage, even if it is just a plausible story. But I don’t even have a plausible story for this one. They just fucked up. Or maybe I”m missing something? Nah, they fucked up royally. It was incredibly exciting though, and so very enjoyable from that perspective. Landa was killer. Don’t think anyone envisaged him taking 3rd in the General Classification and a close 2nd in the Druggy Classification. Both he and Aru are gonna be making headlines for a long time to come I suspect.

    Did you hear about the Commissaries checking Contador’s bike for a motor following stage 18? Maybe what Landa was thinking when he was sitting up and talking to Zakarin was “hey man, my motor battery is about to run out. Aru is gonna switch his on any second and with the uphill finish he’s gonna catch us, so let’s pull now and you can have the stage”.




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  40. @stooge

    Ignore the typo’s – I’m pre caffeine




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