Tour of Utah comes of age.
Tour de Geezer?
Had to smile when we saw the photo for the pre-race presser at the Tour of Utah.
There was old man Ivan Basso (36), old man considering retirement Cadel Evans (37), retiring this month Jens Voigt (42) and the ancient Chris Horner (42). Just out of frame, last year’s winner in Utah, Tom Danielson (36) of Garmin-Sharp.
Basso himself might be thinking of hanging up the wheels. There are no results listed on the Basso wikipedia page for 2014 and his best finish in 2013 was 4th Overall Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali.
Have to think that the Italian is winding it down fast. Basso was a frequent abuser of the cycling cliche “good sensations” and really, when was the last time he had any in a bike race?
Makes you wonder which Italian race that Basso will select for his final day on the bike. Rumors are that Australian Cadel Evans might choose the season-opening 2015 Tour Down Under to say goodbye. Meanwhile, it appears that Jens Voigt will do his farewells at the US Pro Cycling Challenge in Colorado later this month.
Perhaps the Jensie would like to bow out before his most enthusiastic supporters and that has always been the American fans. Two-time Giro d’Italia winner Basso is good for fee drinks in any bar in Italy and Voigt never has to worry about his drink tab in the states. Shut Up Legs, Drink Up.
We figure there’s a good chance that Horner won’t pick a race for his retirement party. He will race until they drag him off the bike and the probability is that the next bad crash will signal the end for Horner. Then again, we would have said that about his near-death experience in a dark tunnel near Lake Como, Italy.
And we have Danielson down for his retirement party at his home race — and the home base of his Garmin-Sharp squad — at the US Pro Cycling Challenge. Maybe next year, right?
We don’t know what Cadel Evans has been up to since his underwhelming performance in his big season goal, the Giro d’Italia. It looks like he’s never ridden the high-altitude Tour of Utah but he has finished 7th overall in the thin air in Colorado. That was back in 2011 after he won the Tour de France and he basically put it in cruise control in the Rocky Mountains.
Evans is downplaying his chances but then that’s his conservative nature. Have you ever heard Evans make a bold prognostication? Just not his style to throw out any quotes that might be construed as sassy or humorous or overly confident.
It’s not an easy week in Utah by any stretch of the imagination. There are 753.8 miles/1,213 kilometers and 57,863 feet/17,636.6 meters of elevation gain and pain. Guys like Evans, Basso, Horner and Danielson just warm up the big diesel and go.
We have to put our money on Danielson to repeat. Horner needs to recover from a cold he picked up at Le Grand Shindig and not compromise his Vuelta a Espana defense. Basso is just here for the meet-and-greet with fans and Evans is a wild card.