WorldTour Wrap: pink blouses, fat sprinters and the return of Busgate - Road Cycling UK

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WorldTour Wrap: pink blouses, fat sprinters and the return of Busgate

Another Grand Tour, another story of a team bus getting stuck...

The big story in cycling this week (and indeed this month) is the start of the Giro d’Italia. It is, after all, very hard not to get excited about 194 very skinny men chasing another very skinny man in a pink blouse around a mid-sized European country.

On paper, day one was a clear victory for the sprinters – a rare opportunity for one of the fast men to win and wear the iconic leader’s jersey of a Grand Tour.

Unfortunately, Lukas Potzlsberger’s copy of the script must’ve got lost in the post because the young Austrian took a flyer under the flamme rouge and managed to hold out for his first Grand Tour stage win.

Day two was a more unpredictable affair on paper, so of course it ended in the bunch sprint we’d assumed we’d see the day prior. Greipel the Gorilla and his train of Lotto-Soudal lieutenants did more than enough to grab a victory. And the maglia rosa.

Lukas Postlberger foils the sprinters (pic – RCS Sport)

The Giro’s last day in Sardinia saw the sprinters mugged off again, this time by the epic crosswinds buffeting the coast outside of Cagliari. As the peloton turned to head parallel to the shoreline, 50kph gusts blew the bunch into bits.

Quick Step being the wonderfully Belgian bunch of sadists that they are, immediately forced an echelon off the front, opening up a 20-second gap as the bunch floundered behind. Efforts from Geraint Thomas and Andre Greipel to catch onto the group were in vain. From there it seemed certain that Fernando Gaviria (with a handful of teammates in the move) would have too much firepower for the rest of them. The Colombian hit the jets and left Giacomo Nizzolo, Rudy Zelig and Nathan Haas in his dust.

Erm, aren’t you supposed to drink that? pic – Sirotti

No doubt overjoyed by his first win and first time in a GC leaders jersey, Gaviria got champagne everywhere, the mucky pup.

Andre Greipel was understandably disappointed to lose the maglia, but at least he enjoyed having it while it lasted.

Busgate 3: this time it’s busonal

Hey, remember that time the Orica-GreenEDGE bus got stick under the finish line of the opening stage of the 100th Tour de France, and they almost had to shorten the stage to avoid it, causing untold chaos and lots of crashes in the process?

And what about the time the IAM Cycling (RIP) tried to pull a three-pointer and got stuck sideways on a high mountain road?

Who hands out these team bus driver licenses? (pic: Sirotti)

And remember how both times a bunch of unimaginative journalists called those incidents ‘busgate’?

Of course you do.

Well guess what! Busgate is back baby, and with a vengeance.

This time it was the turn of Trek-Segafredo to have their bus get trapped, in this case as a result of a tortuously tight turn on a Sardinian side road. The coach was eventually freed, after a great deal of huffing and puffing and no small amount of embarrassment.

Still, these things happen at Grand Tours… and that’s why we love them.

Fat-usha Alpecin

Consider the plight of the humble multiple-classic-winning sprinter.

It is a tough life being fast, you sacrifice so much to bring home victories for yourself and for your team. You risk life and limb in every bunch sprint, battling for position and constantly in fear of a Bouhanni bodycheck, or worse, a neck nibble from Mark Renshaw.

Alexander Kristoff’s six stage wins this season haven’t been enough to avoid criticism about his weight (pic – Sirotti)

You train and fight and sacrifice every day to secure six of your team’s seven wins so far all season.

And what reward do you get? How about your team bosses saying you’re ‘too fat’? ‘cos that’s what happened to poor old Alexander Kristoff…

Last week the Norwegian let slip in a TV interview that his paymasters at Katusha-Alpecin would like him to drop a couple of kilograms and also admitted to being somewhat baffled by this criticism, given his results account for more than 80% of their wins this year.

Honestly, it’s enough to make you stress-eat your way through a jar of Nutella.


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