Maglia Nera Stage 18 and 19

By: Gavin Gould May 31

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Stage 18 Belluno – Rifugio Panarotta 171km

This was a pretty bonkers stage, heavy on the climbing. Some skinny dudes went uphill really fast, it was cool. Trek Factory Racing’s Julián Arredondo got the stage win he’d been hunting for and padded the hell out of his KOM lead by being first to the top of all three climbs.

Our man Jetse in the Maglia Nera rolled in with the grupetto at +31:58.

Stage 19 Bassano del Grappa – Cima Grappa TT 26.8km

Individual time trials are sometimes boring, but this one was actually pretty interesting to watch since it consisted of about 7km of flat and then 20km of steep climb. Some riders opted to just ride their regular bike the whole route, some took a full TT bike for the flat section then got a bike change for the remainder. Europcar’s Pierre Rolland had the combination of his regular road bike with clip-on TT bars. I didn’t actually see this happen, but I’m guessing cyclocross star Francis Mourey did a flying remount… Mourey finished 15th on the stage, very impressive. Jetse Bol came in 141st at +13:43, and now lies almost 5 hours in arrears.

Congrats to Jetse’s Belkin teammate Jos Van Emden who stopped in the middle of the TT to propose to his girlfriend, and she said yes!

 

Maglia Nera Stage 17

By: Gavin Gould May 29

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Stage 17 Sarnonico – Vittorio Veneto 208km

There was a lot of complaining from directors sportif this morning after yesterday’s e-word stage.

Talk of time penalties, neutralization, etc. Not sure how many of the riders felt that way but I guess some of ‘em were of the opinion that the descent of the Stelvio had been neutralized and Quintana/Rolland/Hesjedal attacked on that neutralized descent. Supposedly it had been announced on race radio that motos would hold out red flags and the riders should not pass them. Some riders said they didn’t get that information on their radios, some said they saw no flags…

On to stage 17, which was fairly flat and a good opportunity for a massive break to go. So one did, 20+ riders, but all of them were well down on GC so none of the top 10 riders’ teams felt compelled to chase instead of rest. The break stayed away, and everyone else rolled in fifteen and a half minutes later, unworried.

For Jetse, nothing changed. Just a few more days to ride, but personally I kinda hope he goes on the attack or into a break. In the right situation, it could help Wilco Kelderman who’s currently in 8th but only 55 seconds off the podium.

 

More Than Just a Racer - Lucas Euser

By: Grayson Smith May 28

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This week one of our favorite shoe designers in the peloton, Taylor Phinney, went down in a pretty horrific way. Phinney collided with or was run off the road by a race moto during the USA Cycling Professional Road Championships in Chattanooga, TN. Phinney suffered compound fractures in his lower leg.

Lucas Euser also crashed while descending with Phinney but wasn’t hurt nearly as bad, he mostly suffered a broken bike, but as soon as he checked himself he was at Phinneys side making sure Taylor wasn’t trying to move and calling for help from spectators.

Euser, who isn’t even a teammate but rather a competing rider for UnitedHealthcare stuck around, an incredibly humanistic, dare we say PRO gesture of kindness and responsibility, in order to be at Phinney’s side until medics arrived.

Euser is no stranger to road side disaster, after having been hit by a car during training in 2009 which almost ended his career.

Injuries happen with sports, as do crashes and collisions. You know the saying when you want someone to fuck off “go play in traffic”… Well that’s what we do for fun! So its important we keep our cool and stick together in times of need, in or outside the race barriers. We were incredibly proud of Lucas when we read about how he helped.

With all the talk about the changes and politics with the UCI, cries for unions, the drama of teams folding and finding sponsors, its refreshing and enlightening to see a competitor stop and go to the aid of another fallen racer. It’s the kind of human drama that makes competition so great.

When we’re out on the road and we see someone with their wheel and tire off, we ask “need anything?” but when a rider goes down during a race, the group tends to keep going. Hell, in cyclocross we heckle them and spray our fallen friends with beer. So we wanted to take a moment and shine some light on Lucas Euser with a hearty “chapeau!”

Lucas’ friends and sponsors should be really proud to call him a friend and teammate. All of this in spite how much we hate him for his perfect hair.

That’s not to say we’re not bummed for Phinney. He’s an incredible rider with loads of motivation, talent and most importantly, panache. We wish him a strong and healthy recovery.

And of course, we hope the moto driver is OK too. We like motorcycles and we like race officials and volunteers.

 

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