Stage 6 – 2013 Giro d’Italia
Distance: 169km, Mola di Bari – Margherita di Savoia
1. On that day in 2011, Wouter Weylandt lost his life on a high speed descent at the Giro. The organizers have now retired Wouter’s race number 108 permanently from the race. It’s a great gesture from RCS sport and as a fan I respect them for the decision. Cycling is the only sport where athletes, race authorities and fans manage to sustain a close bond. Any of these entities can act in a manner which can influence the sport directly – cue the EGM called by Irish Cycling due to the concerted efforts of Irish cycling fans especially Cillian Kelly of the Irishpeloton fame.
2. The stage was pancake flat and was not to be missed by Mark Cavendish to prove yet again that he’s the fastest man on a bike. It’s remarkable that Cavendish wins the flat stages in grand tours with the surety of a setting sun. At every flat stage, Cavendish is always the favorite rider and he hardly fails to deliver. He’s the best sprinter I’ve seen in the business and has exceptional ability to handle pressure. On every flat stage, he’s challenged by the up and coming riders who are no slouch by any means but Cav beats them almost nonchalantly. Omega Pharma-Quick Step team has to be commended for their almost perfect leadout but Cav still had Viviani and Goss to beat. It will take a couple of more years before anyone can challenge Cavendish for the title of world’s fastest sprinter.
Stage 7 – 2013 Giro d’Italia
Distance: 177km, San Salvo – Pescara
1. This stage had the parcours like the teeth of a hacksaw.
A stage with some part of the same route was included at Tirreno-Adriatico this year where Chris Froome lost time on his general classification rivals. It was the case of deja vu for Team Sky as their leader at the Giro, Bradley Wiggins also lost crucial minute and 24 seconds to Vincenzo Nibali and Ryder Hesjedal. In the final 20 kilometres, the inclement weather closed in on the peloton. Sir Wiggo has not looked terribly comfortable whenever the weather has gone bad during the race. Yet again he was forced to call upon his descending skills on the wet surface but was caught wanting. He slipped, got bruised and trundled at the finish line some good time behind his general classification rivals.
2. If there was drama on this stage, the hero was certainly Adam Hansen. The peloton’s very own system administrator went up in the breakaway and managed to make it stick till the end, that too solo. Hansen is an affable guy who is loved by his teammates and fans alike. We can’t forget the shenanigans he pulled off at his team’s pre-season training camp. But it’s also clear that he has been putting in solid efforts on his bike. The Australian dropped ex-doper Emanuelle Sella on the steep climbs around Pescara on a wet and soaking finale to take his first grand tour win. Hansen finished all three grand tours last year and he wants to repeat the feat this year again. Will it make him the first rider to finish six grand tours in two years?