Ride the Puddles

UCI World Championship: Geelong, Melbourne, Australia, 2010

Posted by bikezilla on October 3, 2010

Out with the old (Cadel Evans, 33).

In with the nearly as old (Thor Hushovd is 32).

Ok, neither of them is really old, but they’re both riding the border between being in their cycling prime and the shadowland of decline.

But, you couldn’t have picked that up watching Cadel this year.

Regardless of age, Cadel was a perfect champion.

The new, hybrid Thor Hushovd, better at the climbs and the overall, not really any longer a sprinter, seemed utterly forgotten as he won. The commentators weren’t mentioning him and the camera man didn’t even change the angle or zoom as Thor came up the left (his left) side of the “sprint”.

He was skirting along the edge of the camera’s field of view and was a bike length past the finish before the surprised announcers even noticed that someone had won and figured out that it was Thor.

The announcement seemed almost a question, to me, as if they were thinking, “No way!”

If he can ace this Worlds course, he’s gonna be one hell of a Classics rider next year. Beware, Fabian Cancellara.

And Thor did it with only two teammates, which meant his own ride had to be that much closer to perfect.

— The thing about amazing breaks is that they almost always seem to crumble as quickly as they develop.

When Belgian Phillipe Glibert jumped, he put some quick distance between himself and guys like Cadel. He did it going up hill and made it look easy, even with a headwind.

We’d spent the race watching guys soft pedal (or no pedal) the downhills, but Gilbert hammered the descent and according to PEZ he topped 100 Km/h (62.5 mph). On a bike? All I can say to that is, “Holy fookin’ shiite”.

Coming up on 2km to go I was thinking, “Damn, Phillipe is now in a TT to the finish.”, but damned near as fast as I thought it the guys chasing him swallowed him whole and that was it for dear Phillipe.

Cadel chased Gilbert harder than anyone and he paid for it. He simply vanished over that final 2 km.

There’s a lot of gambling in cycling. After seeing that Hushovd still looked fresh and knowing that his own chances in a bunch sprint were poor, Gilbert bet that jumping on the penultimate (2nd to last) climb rather than the last, he could both distance the peloton and survive the brutal headwind. He understood that this was a bet he could only win or lose grandly.

Unfortunately (since he was my guy in the race), the effort cost him too much, leaving him with nothing when his hand was played out.

— Gilbert and teammate Bjorn Luekemans both expressed dissatisfaction with Filippo Pozato’s refusal to help.

Was Pozzato being a tool? or was he riding so close to his limits that he didn’t have anything to contribute and sucking wheels was just the best he could do?

I’m gonna go with “tool”.

— Chiara Passerini is still the coolest cycling wife / girlfriend ever.

— Mark Cavendish, in typical Cav fashion, figured out that he had no chance of taking the Rainbow (World Champion’s) Jersey part way through the race and quit.

Cadel Evans is the anti-Cav, and the kind of rider that Cavendish can never hope to be.

Unless Cav knows he’s got the upper hand, he’s a gutless wank.


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