Who Dat?

Back in the 80s, long before the X-Games existed, Tom Haig traveled the world as an extreme athlete. He visited more than 50 countries as an international high diver, doing multiple somersault tricks from over 90 feet.

That life came crashing down one Sunday morning in 1996. While training on his mountain bike, he smashed into the grill of a truck and became paralyzed from the waist down. But less than a year later he completed a 100-mile ride on a hand-cycle and traveled by himself to Europe and the Middle East.

Since then he has continued to travel the world as a consultant, writer and video producer. He spent six months launching a Tibetan radio station in the Himalayas and shot documentary shorts on disability in Bangladesh, France, Albania, Ghana and most recently Nepal.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Stage 13: Lido di Camaiore to Firenze 176 km

Welcome Home!
(Giro replays and results at www.universalsports.com)

                      Cavenish's third win came right at his doorstep.

After yesterday’s peloton-massacring time trial, the Giro had a routine sprint stage, with a predictable sprint god, Mark Cavendish (Columbia), taking his third stage in five days. The win was especially sweet for the British tornado as Florence is his adopted home. The sprint was perfectly managed by Portland’s Columbia squad as they let the other American-based team, Garmin, do most of the early work trying to spring their rising threat, Tyler Farrar (US). But with 500 meters to go the now familiar white and yellow jerseys of Columbia came to the tip of the pack and sprung Cavendish for the win. The biggest loser was Italian gunner Alessandro Petacchi whose LPR Brakes team did no work for him, saving their gas for their team leader, Danilo Di Luca (ITA) and the three mountain stages to come this weekend.

German Björn Schröder's valiant solo breakaway was thwarted by a charging peloton with only five kilometers left. The race favorites, Denis Menchov (RUS, Rabobank), Levi Leipheimer (US – Astana) and Di Luca rode quietly near the front of the peloton for most of the day and finished anonymously in the pack with no change in their standings.

German Björn Schröder was almost 15 km/hr slower than the peloton when he was finally caught.

The stage is set for what could be the most dramatic Giro finish in history. The three leaders and their teams will be marking each acceleration over the hilly weekend. While Di Luca has a flair for the dramatic break during the climbs, Leipheimer is known for his steady pace that seems to have him not winning stages, but never falling far behind. The wild card is Menchov who appears to be riding as strong as he ever has. In the end it could be more a war of attrition than a strong escape along the route. Odds are we won’t know who keeps the 2009 Maglia Rosa until the last man rides past the Coliseum next Sunday.

(Images are Universal Sports screenshots)

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