Monday, October 18, 2010

Race of the Falling Italians

Saturday brought us the final major race of the season, the Giro de Lombardia, known affectionately to most Americans as the Tour of Lombardy. Also known to those 'in the know' as the Race of the Falling Leaves due to the amount of leaves on the roads. To stick it to the peloton one last time, the weather was less than perfect:

It can't be as fun as he makes it look.Of course that didn't seem to stop Grandpa Horner from exhibiting his usual 'smile'. Having recently hit the big 3-O myself and already feeling 'old', I can only assume Horner's smile is hiding the aching of his joints.

After his amazing run last fall and his recent victory at the Tour of Piedmont on Thursday, Philippe Gilbert was clearly this year's favorite. He was marked by Vuelta winner Vincenzo Nibali until Nibali attempted a new, untested descending method:

Insert baseball joke here.From the results I gather that Nibali will not be trying that technique again. Notice the leaves? See what I'm talking about now?

In the end it was Gilbert and diminutive Italian Michele Scarponi, that is until Gilbert got tired of the company and simply rode away from Scarponi:

The speed bump got him.It didn't hurt Gilbert's break that Scarponi missed a shift, but that's racing. At least he didn't throw a chain. At the finish line Gilbert celebrated his back-to-back Lombardy wins alone:

Very impressive.Gilbert's win wasn't the only storyline from the race; world champion Thor Hushovd raced in his rainbow jersey. Despite not planning to race after the world championships, his win there changed his mind so he could 'honor the rainbow jersey':

Nice colorway coordination Thor.I enjoy watching Thor race, but he seems to have fallen into the same trap that has been ensnaring many riders recently, namely color coordinating their gear with their specialty jersey. I hate to tell the big Norwegian this, but wearing rainbow striped Jawbones is doing nothing but honoring the almighty (insert local currency here).

I hope you enjoyed the racing season as much as I did. We saw a lot of things: Landis admitted doping, Lance denied doping, Alberto was caught with and illegal substance in his blood and denied doping, and as expected Fabian won the world TT again. Of course there were other things that happened, but I don't care enough to type them.

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