White Jersey is the next Porte of call

Danielson

I read an article recently on the excellent BackPageFootball.com on how pressure from fans and media can become overwhelming  for a young athlete and can eventually ruin their career. Sebastian Deisler was a German footballer who was pegged as ‘the next Franz Beckenbauer’. He had to live and play with the tag of being the saviour of German football from a very young age. Despite this pressure and a string of injuries he made it from Borussia Monchengladbach via Hertha Berlin all the way to Bayern Munich. However, at Bayern the injuries persisted and he never quite lived up to his promise. He was earmarked to lead Germany to World Cup glory on home soil in 2006 but he missed the tournament, again through injury. He struggled to cope with the immense pressure exerted on him and was eventually diagnosed with depression. He retired from football completely in 2007 saying:

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From Landis back to Lance

Lance Armstrong Books

Usually when it comes to writing a blog post on Irish Peloton I know what I’m going to write before I sit down and write it. I’ll have thought of a topic a couple of days beforehand, mulled it over during the commute into town or while out on a spin or while simply daydreaming at my desk, then I’ll write it relatively quickly. All that’s left to do then is to trawl through the cycling news archives and the cycling quotient site to verify a few stats and facts. But in general I’ll usually have a post fully mentally prepared so I can just spew it out when the time comes. I’m just back from a three hour spin over the Sally Gap and I still have no idea how to tackle the monster that is the Floyd Landis scandal.

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What’s gone wrong with the I-talians?

We’re just about half way through the 2010 Giro d’Italia and there has still been no Italian stage winner. Liquigas, a team consisting of six Italian riders did win the team time trial but there has yet to be an individual Italian stage winner (or ‘I-talian’ as Sean Kelly would have us say). So we are left to wonder why is it, that on their home turf, the race that most Italians base their whole season on, that none of them can win a stage? Perhaps, if we take a look at recent results elsewhere whe shouldn’t be all too surprised that the natives are struggling to find success in this year’s Giro.

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Giro – All Mountains, no Time Trials

After 6 interesting stages so far, the Giro d’Italia hits the mountains this weekend with the first summit finish of this year’s race on the Terminillo to come on Sunday. Historically, the Italian Grand Tour has always had more focus on climbing than its French equivalent. While time trialling is usually a necessary skill to win the Tour de France, it is much less of a prerequisite when it comes to conquering the Giro.

Last year, Denis Menchov laid the foundations for his Giro victory by taking the Pink jersey with a time trial win on Stage 12 . This was the first occasion for many years that the overall winner of the Giro also won an individual time trial during the race. Overall winners in recent years have mostly been out and out climbers with relatively poor time trialling ability such as Ivan Basso, Gilberto Simoni, Stefano Garzelli and Danilo Di Luca. To find the last rider before Menchov to bag a time trial victory on the way to overall glory we must go back 15 years to 1995 when Tony Rominger won all three individual tests against the clock. Contrast this with the Tour de France where 38 of the last 50 editions were won by a rider who was victorious in an individual time trial along the way.

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Racing 101 – Stay Upright

The first weekend of the Giro taught us that to win a bike race, you need to stay on your bike. This requires excellent bike handling skill combined with bucket loads of luck. Unfortunately for some, lady luck abandoned them on the roads of the Netherlands with many riders losing up to 8 minutes on Stage 3 last Monday. All it takes is a misplaced barrier, an awkward roundabout or a wide road bottle-necked into a narrower one for a rider’s Grand Tour aspirations to be wiped out. The events at the Giro this week makes the achievments of recent Tour masters Lance Armstrong and Miguel Indurain all the more impressive. These riders managed to win multiple Tours de France in a row without ever succumbing to the pitfalls of a crash. The only time I recall either rider ever ‘crashing’ during their Tour reigns was when Armstrong snagged his handlebars on a fan’s musette bag in the 2003 Tour and went over, but for good measure, the Texan romped home afterward to win the stage anyway.

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A Rainbow descends over Italy

The first Grand Tour of the season gets under way on Saturday afternoon. The Giro d’Italia starts with a prologue time trial around the streets of Amsterdam. The Australian Cadel Evans has been pegged as the favourite by every bookmaker out there. I admit that I’ve written about Cadel Evans a lot this season, but he is the World Champion after all, and it is very refreshing to see the rainbow jersey in the shake up for the G.C. in major stage races. Evans raced the Giro once before back in 2002 when he wore the pink jersey but exploded in the mountains and lost the lead to eventual winner Paolo Savoldelli. This year, Evans is back and is going for the win.

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