Strange Things Happening

Now the Giro d’Italia has come to an end it is only natural to start analyzing those three weeks. Of course the deaths of Wouter Weylandt and Xavier Tondo are the moments that immediately come to mind. No one could predict that the cycling world would lose two inspirational, smiley and positive young riders in such a short period of time. Both riders will be deeply missed. However, besides these tragic events there was another remarkable thing: the Amgen Tour of California. Did anyone else notice the strange things that were happening in the cycling world during this race?

It all started off at the beginning of the AToC on May 15. California.. sun, sea and snow. Snow? Yes, it was looking like winter on the westside of the USA. The snow fall was even so heavy that eventually the whole first stage got cancelled. Most riders didn’t feel like racing in severe weather conditions and who could blame them? The organisation then agreed on starting off a day later. Riders and staff in the mean time posted photos and videos, including Laurens ten Dam sitting by the fireplace stating: “It’s almost like Christmas!”

© Koos Moerenhout / Team Rabobank

In the Giro d’Italia during that same week.. there was a lot of water. The rain came pouring from the sky, so the commentators from Sporza (Belgium) were having some serious trouble. All the commentators are situated in little boxes at the finish line and now the rain was coming through the roof. The people at home then got to hear some very interesting comments… Renaat Schotte to José De Cauwer: “Can you swim José? I forgot my inflatable armbands!” There were also some comparisons to Noah’s Ark, though after the curious statement “We are sinking!” it all got better and they were able to finish their report.

© Photo News /

And what about all the crazy fans? You have enthusiastic fans, too enthusiastic fans and way too enthusiastic fans. In this particular week there seemed to be too many fans of that last category. Want to laugh? Look at images and videos from the Tour of California. In Italy there were also people dressed up in crazy costumes, but in California they seem to have that Hollywood drive and probably were thinking: “Hey, we can do way better than that!” Stefano Garzelli knew exactly what to do with fans that were bothering him during this year’s Giro: he let them feel the strength of his elbow!

© Velonews /

The Giro d’Italia organisation sure had a tough time this year. They probably felt pretty overheated because of all the pressure, just like that motorbike from the RAI! After Wouter Weylandt’s death everyone got more and more concerned with the safety of the riders, so they decided not to climb and more importantly not to descend the dangerous Monte Crostis. However, a lot of volunteers had been working hard to get that mountain ready for the Giro. Those people got angry and decided to protest on another mountain. The Giro organisation then had to decide at the last minute – just before the arrival of the first riders – that also that mountain would be excluded from the race.

Besides that, also the achievements of the ‘older’ riders were standing out in that week. Stefano Garzelli, who is already 37 years old, won the Cima Coppi 2011 in the Giro. Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer, 39 and 37 years old, surpassed all the youngsters at the AToC. At least they were not changing bikes before final climbs like Alberto Contador did in the Giro. Yes, there were some really strange things happening between the 15th and 22nd of May.


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