Visualizzazione dei post da giugno 29, 2017

How Stephen Roche finished in the pink in the Giro d’Italia
Stephen Roche recalls the 1987 rivalry with Roberto Visentini that almost tore his team apart
Wed, May 7, 2014, 10:00 by Shane Stokes, The Irish Times
It is said that time heals everything, but Roberto Visentini might question that sentiment. Twenty seven years ago Ireland’s Stephen Roche went head to head with him in the Giro d’Italia, wresting the race leader’s jersey from his then team-mate and incurring the wrath of Visentini, their Carrera team and the Italian fans.
Roche was spat at, punched and endured days of abuse from the roadside spectators but battled on and took the final win. As for Visentini, he crashed out of the race on the final weekend, his wrist fractured and his morale destroyed. Roche thought things had settled somewhat in the years since, but the Italian never forgot. It appears he didn’t forgive either.
“Two years ago Carrera had a 25th anniversary …

Stage 18) Briançon-Izoard - THURSDAY 20 JULY / 179.5KM

Stage 18 - THURSDAY 20 JULY / 179.5KM Briançon-Izoard
The final mountain stage of the race, with the hardest summit finish of the entire 2017 Tour
The 2017 Tour goes above 2,000m four times in the whole race, and it does it all in the space of two days. If yesterday was bad, then today could be worse as the finish line is right up in the dead air at 2,360m above sea level. The route describes the shape of a horseshoe and the first section should be of little consequence to the peloton, however weary it is at this stage, because it travels south with more down than up along the Durance valley road. The route makes an excursion along the eastern shore of the Lac de Serre-Ponçon and the cat-three Côte des Demoiselles Coiffées before picking up the River Urbaye and heading upstream. It’s a very gradual climb up the valley road through Barcelonette and Jausiers – the sort of terrain where big groups get away – before turning off left at Saint-Paul-sur-Urbaye for a rare return to the Col du Va…

Stage 17) La Mure - Serre Chevalier - WEDNESDAY 19 JULY / 183KM

A huge Alpine stage, with four very tough climbs, culminating in the high point of the race: the Col du Galibier
Here we go: the Alps. The first stage of the final mountain range gets going in La Mure, a modest town south of Grenoble whose claim to fame is being the penultimate stop on the Route Napoléon. The stage heads east, further into the Isère département before turning north for the cat-two Col d’Ornon. The Ornon is the gateway to the classic Alpine terrain of the Tour. To the northwest is the magnificent Belledonne Massif, with its hydroelectric dams. To the east: the peaks and ski complexes of Alpe d’Huez on the Grandes Rousses massif. The Alpe isn’t on the agenda, though this stage does visit two behemoths. The first is the Col de la Croix de Fer, via the western ascent which it shares, for the most part, with the Col du Glandon. Despite a couple of downhill sections offering some reprieve, it’s a hard climb, and at 24km it’s long. Its gra…

Stage 9) Nantua-Chambéry - SUNDAY JULY 9 / 181.5KM

Tour de France 2017 - Stage 9 Nantua-Chambéry - SUNDAY JULY 9 / 181.5 km
An absolutely brutal day, with just one fewer HC-ranked climbs – three – than the rest of the Tour put together
When the 2017 Tour route was unveiled, the main criticism was that the big summit finishes had been missed. The Col d’Izoard apart, there was no Alpe d’Huez and no Ventoux. But the route planners may be on to something here. In recent years, the strongest teams have suffocated the race on the big summit finishes. These stages have become tactically unexciting. However, some of the best racing now is happening when there’s a climb at the start, even if the riders hate it. The start of this stage is a wonderful chance for a team willing to risk unpopularity to blow up the race – there’s a cat-two climb straight out of Nantua, no descent, then a third cat climb, and again, no descent for another five km. Be ready for the sight at the start of 190 or so riders on rollers, warming up for the fast start.
This …