Tirreno-Adriatico: Team Sky run into metaphor problems

Stage 1 – Lido di Camaiore to Lido di Camaiore

Gianni Moscon in bits after the crash

I might not be the first to say it, but the wheels are falling off Team Sky. We saw proof today on live TV.

It had been a theme all day, starting hours before Gianni Moscon’s wheel snapped from under him, with a Cycling Tips interview with Paul Kimmage.

Kimmage, a former professional rider himself until the doping era turned him into an also-ran, could well be right in what he says, but his “innocence through guilt” orthodoxy makes it easier to back the targets of his vitriol, in this case Team Sky. Kimmage’s wish that Sky riders will one day soon write open confessions in national newspapers, felt more like fanaticism than holding cycling to account.

All of which has hung over Team Sky, tainting any achievement they’ve had, since last year. That burden has put the team under strain, including it’s boss Brailsford, it’s staff, it’s riders…. and now the front wheel of Moscon.

The moment Moscon’s wheel explodes

TV footage caught the moment when the wheels fell off Team Sky. Moscon pulled away from the others, his front wheel visibly wobbling before it suddenly shattered, sending rubber and carbon fiber flying across the road, and then Moscon flying across the road.

Moscon said later his three spoke front wheel had been weakened by hitting a hole in the road, which is presumably what Mikal Landa and Diego Rosa said when it was revealed their wheels were also effected. But there were questions to be asked, explanations needed, and none forthcoming. It was all too familiar for Team Sky who on top of all the other issues now had metaphor problems.

The team pressed on while Moscon, his aero-suit featuring slightly more raw flesh than it had before, got to his feet, then back on his bike, pressing on to the finish line. But the team’s GC hopes had effectively ended.

A bad start to the week for Team Sky, but a determination on display to carry on regardless. That might be all they can do for now.

Click here for the full results from Stage 1.

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Doesn’t everyone like watching Kenny Ellisonde?

Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race

I get excited when I see Kenny Ellisonde going uphill. It’s time you admitted this too.

The most recent example was in the Cadel Evens Ocean Race. The final loop of the Escher designer Geelong circuit – all right angles going up and up – climbed into the hills around the Bellarine Peninsula, past the driveways of middle-class Australia, which for one day were daubed in chalk with names of Porte and Evans, which will stay there until it next rains.

Ellisonde shone this day, albeit only for about 600 glorious meters.

Ellisonde burst away and led on the way up, powering forward with the size and grace of a bobble head doll, leaving the field behind and taking two camera bikes with him. It’s the kind of climb we weekend riders pretend we’re doing as we storm up a 30 yard steep bit, not far from home, and before a big lunch. Ellisonde though had a point to prove. Short in stature he might be, but he has pluck, and pluck surely counts for a lot in cycling.

The move came with 13kms to go, but alas it didn’t last long. Despite all the effort Ellisonde was reeled back in by the time he’d reached the summit. In moments like this most riders admit defeat and rejoin the pack, trying to style it out. But Ellisonde had other plans. He decided to ignore them, and lead the descent to the finish as if he hadn’t been caught at all. And so there he remained, at the front holding onto his bike for dear life, because it was moving so fast it seemed ready to go on without him, all the way into Geelong.

Ellisonde wouldn’t make it all the way, but who really cared. A show of class to his new team perhaps, but a demonstration of why Ellisonde is so fun to watch, for certain.

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