If Andy Schleck wins a Giro mountain stage like he did in Liege, rocketing past a stunned Gilbert, leaving all the top riders gasping and rubber legged, people will whisper the secret word. And the word is Basso. Andy made it look too easy, like he had wings, super-human, master of the universe. In other words, like Basso in the 2006 Giro when he won the overall by something insane like 11 minutes over his closest competitor. In the case of Basso we later found out why super human is often super juiced. Andy was that scary in Liege Bastogne. I’m sure the Tour de France and UCI took note of his performance. I’d guess Andy the Younger will pee in a lot more cups in the coming months.
That said, wow, Schleck number 2, the backup Schleck if you will, was brilliant. And you had to feel for Philippe Gilbert. Finally, it looked like the under-achieving Silence- Lotto team would finally get a major win. But in the end he couldn’t even nail down third place. If there’s one open job for Director Sportif this year, I’d say it’s Silence- Lotto. This is a team that consistently fails despite having quality rider–so there’s clearly a management problem. Now riders bicker amongst themselves about who’s captain for which race. Gilbert complains about Evans and Evans can’t seem to decide whether he’s on form for a race or not.
Also absent at Liege and really all three Adrennes classics was the little prince, Damiano Cunego. Little Prince, little results. Always a protagonist but not quite there at the final kilometers. At Liege, he had to let Schleck go and that was the end of the race. The good news was Old Man Rebellin, at 37, outsprinting Damiano for third. Chapeau, as the French say.