Degenkolb invisible, victorious, in Milan San Remo
John Degenkolb of Giant-Hair Regrowth did that San Remo trick.
He wore the invisibility cloak, he stayed out of the wind, he didn’t crash like Gilbert, drop his chain like Cav, didn’t sit at the back like Griepel, didn’t take the early bite like Van Avermaet, didn’t wait too long like Cancellara, didn’t come from too far back on the Via Roma like Peter Sagan.
Where was he? Uhh, you couldn’t see him because he was, you know, not visible, physical form not evident.
He was invisible until the last 50 meters of a race that stretches almost 300 kilometers. Which makes him patient and wise and lucky in about one hundred different ways. Chapeau, invisibility award, first monument of the 2015 season, tears and champagne.
John all choked up blubbering and we hope to hear the inside story from kid American Chad Haga riding his first monument in support of the German sprinter. Did he cry all night? Was he invisible at the dinner table? Did anybody see him at all after the race?
We woke up in Northern California with 100K to go. Pirate video being what it is (insert whatever joke, punchline, cynical, snide remark you want about Pro cycling viewing options) and was already in trouble. Worse that an overweight Vincenzo Nibali.
Working with a ridiculous collage of free streams, we were forced to employ an iPad for video and Mac laptop for sound. Really, how crazy is that? Major pro cycling event, Milan San Remo and I’m juggling devices with a .1K lag between sound and video. Laughably exponential.
Whatev’s as we say here in the Golden Bear state.
We saw Sky take the race by the neck on the Cypress. In fact Sky may have come up with an entirely beautiful tactic for creating gaps in World Tour races. Having four guys leading the peloton on the descent, have the last guy go down, taking out a few riders behind, instant selective chase group.
Geraint Thomas was a freakin’ beast. How many races should this guy have won with a bit of luck, team support, better weather, smarter race program, less need to shepard Wiggins and Froome in nearly everything. He was our man of the match and we were hoping against all odds that he might stay away.
Props also to Van Avermaet who went all-in for the win with a savage acceleration near the top of the Poggio and a white knuckle attempt to open some road on the descent.
We feel cheated that Gilbert crashed because few things intrigue us more than the Van Avermaet-Gilbert dynamic at BMC. Despite the official “make nice” pronouncements, our guess is they still aren’t pals and drinking buddies. Without consulting wiki for the recent results, GVA has been just as successful as Gilbert over the last few years.
Had to laugh when we saw Filippo Pozzatto put himself at the front of the race. Knew how long that would last. The man is all talk and tattoo and not much else. He is a shadow of his former prefabricated Dr Ferrari self.
The big winners were Michael Matthews of Orica Greenedge, the dark horse that delivered and well, can we throw in Luca Paolini? He basically dragged his teammate Michal Kwiatokowski into second place, narrowing missing the repeat.
You gotta love a wild man with a beard who went full aggo all the way up the Poggio. My vote for Best Supporting Actor in a Podium Placing in La Primavera. Luca Paolini you are a genuine badass and we salute you.
Biggest loser? Peter Sagan of Tinkof-Saxo in fourth place. We feel so sorry for the man-child with the monster salary because in the next week or two we’ll see the inevitable and inflammatory tweets and quotes from team owner Oleg Tinkov.
Something to the effect that Sagan is overpaid, Bjarne Riis is a fool, this performance is unacceptable, etc etc, all under the witless guise of somehow motivating Sagan for the cobbled classics. Good luck with that Oleg. In another life, perhaps you’ll gain sensitivity and awareness of others.
Well, it’s a sprinters race and it was dramatic but really, forty riders bombing off the Via Roma with a chance to win? Yes, chaotic, yes, Wild West, maybe genius but the formula just seems a bit off.
Despite the best efforts of Sky and BMC, it was a crazy crowd of wanna-wins in San Remo. With that many charging egos, it was amazing a crash didn’t happen, taking out ten or fifteen riders. John Degenkolb was a more than worthy winner.
We didn’t see him once until it mattered.