Stage two of the Giro d’Italia unsurprisingly brought us the first breakaway.
In that breakaway was the rider with most functional, efficient name of them all. No messing about. Two syllables and it’s done and dusted. You rattle it off, and you can get on with your day: Lars Bak.
Such simplicity suits me.
As regular readers of this blog might be aware my brain is a simple affair. I may occasionally look as if I’m deep in thought, but my mind will almost certainly be latched on to some inconsequential detail of whatever bike race happens to be going on at the time.
And today, between Haifa and Tel Aviv, almost every detail was inconsequential.
There were a couple of half-hearted breakaways “chased” down by a sluggish and complacent peloton. There were king of the mountains points for Italian team Bardiani on the single climb of the day. BMC livened things up as Rohan Dennis* was propelled into pink with the time bonus at the second intermediate sprint.
And then, against the concrete backdrop of the Israeli motorway network we had kilometre, after kilometre, after kilometre, after kilom…
I do apologise.
I appear to have nodded off there recalling the tedium of the run-in to Tel Aviv.
I’ve nothing against Guillaume Boivin, who put in a sterling yet so obviously doomed effort that the word doomed doesn’t quite do it justice. But it was dull. And grey. And concrete.
At one point the cameras panned past some roadworks and I found myself scanning the scene for some wet paint, mid-dry, to liven matters up.
Top Italian Sprinter Elia Viviani won’t mind, of course. He was the clear favourite for today’s stage and won it with formidable speed. He gets another win on his record, a few extra Euros in the bank, some champagne on the podium, and perhaps the greatest prize of all for an Italian sprinter in the Giro d’Italia.Embed from Getty Images
When legendary king of the Giro Mario Cipollini starts bad mouthing the quality of sprinting in the race (if he hasn’t already, he will at some point announce to anyone within earshot that he could still beat them all now, today, in this race, at the age of 51) Viviani now gets to answer back.
To actually silence the actual Mario Cipollini is not realistic. With a sprint win in the bag Viviani can at least now rise above it.
As for the Greatest Race In The Most Beautiful Place™ we can only hope today was a blip.
*We can’t ignore the fact that Sean Kelly, on the Eurosport coverage, continues to persist with “Ronan” Dennis, rather than the infinitely more correct “Ro-han”. I am working on the basis that he’s doing this on purpose. A knowing nod to his habit of strangling the odd word every now and again. Either that, or he thinks the BMC man is a fellow Irishman and he’s trolling Dennis’s parents.
(Flag Image: publicdomainpictures.net)