Not a big fan of professional or amateur bicycle racing? Too bad. Let me educate you a little bit about yesterday's 294 kilometer Milan San Remo professional road race, the first in a series of European Spring Classics taking place in Europe during the coming weeks. MSR is considered to be a relatively flat course in comparison to the other classics, but it is a very looooong race, where riders log about 200 miles in a non-stop single day event.
This finish line photo by Graham Watson grabbed my attention because we have two sets of arms up! Why is this so? The winner is pictured at the far right- Filippo Pozzato- his win came as a surprise to the favorites, who include Allesandro Petacchi, pictured in center, and Tom Boonen at the left with arms raised (Tom is reigning world road race champion- notice the rainbow stripes?) So what is Tom Boonen so happy about? He finished fourth! The answer is that Tom and Filippo (the winner) are team-mates on the Quick-Step professional team. Is Tom a better sprinter? Of course! Is Pettachi a better sprinter? Without any doubt! But the Quick-Step team used their superior tactics and final kilometer positioning to steal the race. That Tom Boonen (a favorite) is beaming at the end as he watches his team-mate take the victory, speaks volumes about his class and panache. He's claiming victory here together with Pozzato. For the complete coverage of this race, as described by VeloNews European correspondent Andrew Hood, click here. Lots more great pictures to see there, and if learning about the racing tactics which teams employ interests you, I recommend you check it out. Just an FYI: many of the names mentioned in the story are those given to the hill-climbs (roads) which are covered on the MSR course year after year. They're all just as famous as the riders themselves.
***Take note of the average speed over 294 km!!! That's fast enough to make an amateur such as myself soil-himself just thinking about it!
1. Filippo Pozzato (I) Quick Step-Innergetic, 294km in 6:29:40 (45.27kph)
2. Alessandro Petacchi (I) Milram, s.t.
3. Luca Paolini (I), Liquigas, s.t.
4. Tom Boonen (B), Quick Step-Innergetic, s.t.
5. Danilo Napolitano (I), Lampre- Fondital s.t.
6. Oscar Freire (Sp), Rabobank, s.t.
7. Stefano Garzelli (I), Liquigas, s.t.
8. Alessandro Ballan (I), Lampre- Fondital, s.t.
9. Martin Elmiger (Swi), Phonak, s.t.
10. Matteo Carrara (I), Lampre-Fondital, s.t.