niedziela, 12 maja 2013

Giro d'Italia 2013: Majka, Niemiec and Gołaś

The first week of the Giro is over, the first rest day is about to start this evening, so I thought it's a good idea to write something. I have to admit - I don't have much time - writing about cycling in Polish and all standard duties make it impossible to find time and write down some notes. 

May started great - I've been to Slovakia, enjoing Carpathian Couriers Race, where I worked as "twitter man" or..eee, whatever - I was doing live race ticker on Twitter,  wrote a couple race reports in English (you can find them here:, made a few interviews and had a really good time. 

Ok, back to Giro.  First of all - it was great to watch Adam Hansen win the stage 7. I've always liked the guy - sense of humor, hard work and skills in many fields. That was absolutely amazing, I really enjoyed it.

I'm also so happy about Dowsett's victory. I've been watching him since he turned pro - yesterday he rode the time trial of his life - beat everyone on a difficult and demanding route, with technical start and steep finish. Winning a stage in your Grand Tour debut must be something breathtaking and hard to describe, it's defenitely a big step in his career. I remember that it was a suprise for me when he announced that Eusebio Unzue will be his manager next year but now it seems that Alex has found his place in the team. There has been a grin on my face when I realized that Alex is going to claim it - a year ago we talked on Twitter and I decided to introduce him to Polish Wikipedia. I wrote an article and today I'm happy that collegues from the project can add such an important win to his palamres.

We have three Polish guys riding this Grand Tour. They are all doing really well, I'll be probably talking to them during the rest day, so I'll have much more to report then.

Przemysław Niemiec (Lampre-Merida) is riding the Grand Tour of his life so far. His main objective is to help Michele Scarponi. They both put a tremendous effort into yesterday's time trial - Scarponi followed the Colombians who were absolutely flying, while Niemiec placed 16th, losing only 2:13. 

You have to remeber that Niemiec is a pure climber, time trialling is not really his thing. He's been working on it this year like the whole team, though. Testing new equipement and working on his position pays off - he's now 9th in the GC. Before the time trial it was not so sure, however. Niemiec said that the DS will decide if he can go full gas or save the energy. Przemek did well - it's a good sign - Lampre has two strong riders who are going to support each other and fight for this. Ah, I don't expect him to do anything today but Niemiec knows Fiesole climb and the region inside out as he's been living there for years.

Michał Gołaś (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) is easy to be spotted in the peleton. Michał wears Polish national champion jersey (which at some point can be confused with Pellizotti's) and is visible even from helicopter camera. 

Gołaś is in a good shape, no doubt about it. He's improved his climbing a little and his main objective in this race is to win a stage. He tried in Matera (11th place) where he avoided the crash and managed to get himself into the first group, alongside with his teammate Matteo Trentin. Guys got a little confused - Gołaś wanted to help Trentin and Trentin wanted to lead-out Gołaś and as a result John Degenkolb claimed the victory. 

Before the time trial Michał declared that he has to lose some time to be later allowed to attack and look for the opportunity to win a stage. Today seems like a good choice but it's hard to predict anything - it's Giro.

Rafał Majka (Team Saxo-Tinkoff) - no problems uphill, slight trouble downhill. Rafał is riding very carefully, not losing time and waiting for the big, sorry, I should say BIG, mountains. He claimed maglia bianca on a rainy stage to Pescara but (as predicted) was not able to defend it in the time trial. 

Majka is the first Polish rider to wear white jersey in the Giro since Joachim Halupczok in 1990 (he took it after the time trial but abandoned a couple days later). Rafał isn't such a good time trialist as Halupczok was but we believe that he's got the power to blow the peleton in the mountains. Maglia bianca and any other possible successes are treated as bonuses - Polish rider focuses on the GC and wants to be as high as possible. Yesterday's time trial was the longest fight agianst the clock in his entire life. "I've never ridden such a long time trial" - Majka admitted before going off the ramp. He lost only 3:27 and is now 17th, 4 minutes down. But the stages he'd like to avoid are now behind him and Rafał is thinking of the 3rd week. 

Tomorrow perhaps something about Giro in general. 

P.S. Bartosz Huzarski (Team NetApp-Endura) starts Tour de California today. He'll be helping Jan Barta and Leo Koenig. His next races are Criterium du Dauphine, Polish national road championships (in his home town) and then - Vuelta a Espana.

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