Monday, June 02, 2008

Giro 2008: A certain strangeness about it all

It's was a strange Giro. Beautiful, with punishing mountains and stirring breakaways. Simoni trying, endlessly, to recapture his youth. Ricco attempting again and again to stamp his name on the record books. Sella brilliant, suprising himself as well as us with multiple stages; and  Di Luca's power slowly leaching away like a stain And then there's the overall winner: Contador. His 2nd Grand Tour win and possibly the most remarkable. Let's not forget that he had not trained for the distances involved in a 3-week Grand Tour, nor had he done the mountain repeats that would be "normal" training for the toughest stages. Instead he entered the race with an open mind and his body fresh. It wouldn't work for me, or for anyone I know, but it worked a treat for him. Of course he would have fancied his chances on some of the stages, just because he is at a decent professional level anyway; but to pull off the overall - against competition whose only goal in training has been this race is - indeed - remarkable. His physiology must be "perfect" for this style of race, and for the mountains themselves. Or the other riders are rubbish. I'll leave you to ponder how Contador has been able to achieve what seems to have been impossible for his teammates, Kloden (sick) and Leipheimer (still somewhere out there).  

As Contador said himself: "I never could have imagined it – I was at home when the team called me...," Contador recalled of his entry into the race following Saturday's mountainous stage through the Alps. "The team wanted me to come here and I wasn't convinced that it was the right thing to do. ... Playing in the final to win it all – it's something that was unimaginable a month ago"  

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