Despite feeling like there is still an eternity of winter to go, the PROs are already off and running. They really don’t seem to have much of an off-season anymore, it really doesn’t feel that long ago that I was sitting on the edge of my sofa screaming at Dan Martin in the finale of the Lombardia. The Tour Down Under has given us a great entrée to the season, with despite some riders commenting that they were “hardly touching the pedals“, the racing appeared pretty fierce on today’s Stage 5. It has also been the first opportunity to see some of the new team kits, bikes, rider swaps, and the return of some fallen hero’s.
I really don’t mind the Kartusha kit. I usually hate red kits but thus one actually does the sponsor proud by managing to stand out in a peleton of various shades of blue, black and white. I really wish Green Edge had done something closer to the national kit that Gerran’s is riding in, he really looks pretty classy. It is not to late yet, you haven’t left the country yet and most of Europe don’t believe the season has started. The LOTTO sponsor must be as happy as a sponsor could be as you can’t really see beyond their name on the team shorts.
Valverde is back, and despite being out for two years, seems to be riding with ease, and took a great win today beating Gerran’s in the sprint. That is pretty impressive even if a lot of riders claim to be not “riding”. Griepel looks fast, lean and mean (well he always looks mean) and seems to have power to spare. With a whole bunch of sprinters now split up and riding against each other I can’t wait to see the first pure sprinters finish, with Cav, Goss, Renshaw, Greipel, Hayman, and Pettachi, going head-to-head. Heinrich Haussler looks to be fit, healthy and looking happy to be back on the bike (despite taking a big bump in the pre TDU crits). Without doubt one of my favorite riders who is coming off a stinker of a season last year I hope to show well in the classics. Oscar Freire, well there is life in the old dog yet, a new team and a pretty new bike seem to have given him an few extra watts and hope of a run in probably his last classics campaign.
Specialized have dialed back the paint on the team frames and delivered pretty sweet looking Venge’s and SL4s. Trek has gone backwards and managed to deliver a completely expected frame compared to the classic Leopard track design from last year. There is no mistake that this is a Canyon, one of my favorite frames may be a tad over-decaled. It is nice to see Bianchi and the Celeste back in the peleton, and I can only imagine that with a team like Vaconsoiel on board they are going to get a lot of airtime.
I can’t wait to Milan San Remo!
Categories: The Other Stuff