Cycling fans around the globe were treated to a thrilling weekend of racing from the ascent of the Zoncolan at Giro d’Italia to the muddy slopes of the XCO track in Albstadt!
The weather, tactics, mechanicals and comebacks were some of the big talking points as the world’s best battled it out in their respective disciplines.
Stage 14 of the Giro, saw the peloton face off against the mighty Zoncolan. The Zoncolan is one of the most challenging climbs in Europe and it certainly delivered one hell of a showdown at this year’s Giro. Chris Froome hit back at the doubters with a dominant performance, one which would not have been possible without a stellar ride from his team and in particular Wout Poels! The Dutchman put in a massive turn on the front at the start of the climb, tearing the field apart and providing a springboard for Chris to go on and win the stage .
Simon Yates, who is wearing the Maglia Rosa, ended stage 14 in 2nd place reinforcing his dominant position in the overall standings as well asextending his lead over his closest rivals on the GC. For more details on how stage 14 unfolded, check out this piece from cycling tips.
The individual time trial is not one of Yates’ strengths and thus stage 15 was always going to be a key stage for the Britain as he attempted to put more of a time buffer between himself and the rest of the GC favourites.
The 101st edition of the Giro sure is proving to be one of the most exciting Grand Tours in recent times!
A quick look at the weekends action from a muddy and slippery Albstadt. It was great to have XCO action back online after a long break from the 1st round of 2018 in Stellenbosch at the beginning of March. In the build-up to the weekends racing, Julien Absalon a true legend of the sport announced his retirement. Taking much of the cycling world by surprise as we realised that we had seen the last of the great battles between Absalon and Nino!
The weekend’s racing in Albstadt delivered! A phenomenal performance from Yolande Neff in the elite women’s race saw her dominate the field (winning by over 2 minutes) with a quality display of bike handling in less than ideal muddy conditions.
The elite men’s race was billed to be a cracker as the reigning World Champ, Nino Schurter, had a shocking start to the weekend with a mechanical in the short track event on Friday which is now used to determine the riders position on the start grid for main XCO race on the Sunday. Needless to say Nino was racing with a point to prove and showed his intent from the gun.
Nino delivered a faultless race and the mechanicals stayed away, allowing him to return to winning ways and to claim his first World Cup victory for 2018. Stephane Tempier took 2nd, while a tight battle for 3rd ( Mathieu Van der Poel) and 4th (Maxime Marotte) provided a great spectator spectacle!
We cannot wait to see what Nove Mesto has to offer in a week’s time and look forward to the return of the Czech express after he suffered a mechanical on the weekend and had to withdraw.
Till next time, enjoy riding your bicycle and remember to keep the rubber side down!