Oliver who? I watched Lombardy on Gazzetta TV and when he attacked the commentator shouted ” Fuglsang” so I was not alone in not recognising the Swiss. But what a great move, it should be in the racers’ manual.
Clearly Nibali had lost the plot. When he attacked 55km from the line Gilbert was perfectly positioned to follow but thought better of it. Quite right too. What to say about the attackers on the last climb? I think stupid twats covers it. Sky’s Lovkvist immediately hit the front at a steady pace on a big ring climb. Well obviously he is keeping it together for a team mate, but there was no other Sky rider in the group. When Lovkvist had shagged himself Basso took over at the same fast but steady pace. Just like Lovkvist he didn’t get a gap of a metre. Dan Martin was well positioned but when Zaugg attacked as the road kicked up he couldn’t follow. Nevertheless he was clearly the best of the rest and he must surely win a classic.
James Cracknell and Jerone Walters have abandoned their record attempt just 68 miles from the finish when their task looked hopeless. They had less than four hours to cover the remaining miles if they were to beat the record of Swinden and Withers set in 1966.
Whatever the reason for their failure it wasn’t the amazing Dolan tandem which had every possible aerodynamic aid. This is an ideal opportunity to mention two of my cycling heroes Albert Crimes and John Arnold who set the tandem trike record of fifty two hours in 1954. It would take a book to list the reasons why they should have been days slower than our modern superstars but consider just the drag from two 40 spoke back wheels compared with one super fast disc wheel. Or thick wool jerseys complete with gaping front pockets compared with slick skinsuits. Oh and don’t forget the extra thirty miles on the 1954 route. And finally when our two heroes from the NW of England reached John O Groats on their tandem trike they turned round and headed off in to a stiff wind to knock out another 130 miles to set a 1000 miles record of 62 hours! And all on a diet of dripping butties.