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.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Stage 15: Forli to Faenza 161 km.

Where's Carlos?

(Results and replays at www.universalsports.com )

For the second day in a row a domestique left his breakaway and took a mountain stage in the 2009 Giro. But unlike yesterday's calm group ride, today’s peloton was full of attacks that shattered the field.

With 40 kilometers to the finish, Italian Leonardo Bertagnolli (SDA) and Belgian Serge Pauwels (Cervelo) rode off from a 12-man breakaway on the ascent of the 3rd category climb up Monte Casale. The pair stayed away until the descent of the 2nd category Monte Trebbio when Casale appeared to get team orders to wait for his captain, 2008 Tour de France Champ Carlos Sastre (ESP). As Pauwels sat up, Bertagnolli dropped the descent like a runaway train and held on the final 15 km. for the win. Sastre was no where in sight.

The 31-year-old Bertagnolli takes his second and most-impressive grand tour win.

Pauwels was heartbroken after the race and explained the decision on the Cervelo website:

“I was so torn”, explains Serge Pauwels. “I know that my job is to help Carlos, that’s what I signed up for when I started this Giro. So I know that I should drop back to help him immediately when he asks, that’s part of the game. But it was so difficult, because I could see that I had a chance to win this stage, and that would have been so amazing. By delaying the moment where I waited, we look pretty stupid. Lesson learned.”

Meanwhile, back in the peloton, a couple of disgraced Italian superstars tried in tandem to ride themselves back into contention. Normally the peloton is broken up during the climbs, but Ivan Basso’s Liquigas team decided to make a suicide break on the descent of a minor climb blasting the peloton into five groups. On the ascent of the Monte Casale, Basso broke from the leaders and was joined by 2000 Giro winner, Stefano Garzelli (ASA) taking the peak with a 40 second advantage over the GC contenders.

Garzelli was kicked out of the 2002 Giro for doping and Basso is riding his first grand tour after a two-year ban following his involvement in Operation Puerto. Watching the two pull away was like seeing Mark McGuire and Sammy Sosa come back and lead the All-Star Home Run Derby.

But the Giro’s big three, Denis Menchov (RUS-Rabobank), Danilo Di Luca (ITA-LPR Brakes) and Levi Leipheimer (USA-Astana) along with a dozen elite climbers reeled the pair back on the ascent of the Monte Trebbio. Before the group reached the summit, Di Luca stormed ahead of the field and only Menchov could match his tempo. Leipheimer was left in the dust showing his lack of punch on the big climbs. Although Leipheimer regained his rivals on the descent, Menchov and Di Luca now feel they can take him in a mountaintop finish.

Which is exactly the setting tomorrow as the Giro finishes a harrowing week with the 237 km. Queen stage. The riders will tackle four major climbs including the 1100-meter Monte Petrano at the finish. On paper it looked like Leipheimer had the better climbing team, but Lance Armstrong, his ace in the hole, had to be dragged up the final climb today by team mate Yaroslav Popvich (RUS). Leipheimer’s main goal tomorrow will be to not lose the minute and 17 seconds he has in hand over Basso’s Liquigas teammate, Italian Franco Pellizotti.

(Image is Universal Sports screenshot)

No comments:

Post a Comment