Son of Scotland Evan Oliphant is in Melbourne racing the Commonwealth Games, and finds time between events to bring us up to date on the action… I got to wave my Scotland flag on Sunday when the Commonwealth Games track programme concluded with the 80 lap scratch, but unfortunately not for our boy Evan; ‘I went almost from the gun but was brought back, just as the group I was in came back another attack went…”
Boonen, Petacchi and Hushovd were at the top of Unibet.com’s list. Friere or even Zabel had a look in. The usual suspects all lined up for the start of the 2006 Milano-SanRemo with the backing of cycling’s pundits and fans. However, nearly 300km is a long way and a lot can happen out on the road...
‘It wasn’t a great atmosphere at the track last night,’ Scottish points race challenger Evan Oliphant explains to me. “Why not?” says I. ‘Well it was deathly quiet except for when an Aussie was riding.’ Given that the local media have been suggesting that Morris Dancing should be included in the Games in order to – ‘Give the Poms a chance!’ it’s not surprising.
There’s no better Saturday ride than the 300km from a still wintery Milan south to the more agreeable San Remo on the Mediterranean coast. Four hours of flat to get warmed up, a gentle climb over the Turchino Pass, and then sun, sea, and salt air enroute to the best tasting seafood risotto you’ll have. If you’re Italian, you know this day is about so much more than just bike racing…
La Primavera, La Classicissima, Milan-San Remo, Milano-Sanremo, whatever you prefer to call the first of the five monuments in cycling - MSR is a big deal, and if you're from Italia, or you're a sprinter, it's next to the Holy Grail. Ever seen a grown man cry? If an Italian wins La Primavera, the odds are very good.
It's one thing to read race reports about what, who, where, and in which edition of La Primavera, but to speak with a racer, who holds the race close to his heart, a racer who came within fortune's nod of victory is another thing entirely. Edmond Hood recently spoke with Max Sciandri about Milano-Sanremo.
The 'Race To The Snow' or 'Sun' whichever you prefer, has seen a continued domination via Tom Boonen in the sprinters' stages and Floyd Landis when it really counts. This year's race has been anything but boring with constant attacking, reshuffling, and even more attacking. With only two days remaining, the 2006 Paris-Nice is Floyd's to lose.
Yes folks, it's time for the “Race to the Snow”, or was that “Race to the Sun”. If you are worried about global warming, a trip to the Paris-Nice will convince you that it might not be so bad … as Boonen is still hot from the desert, and Floyd brought some California ‘heat’ to warm the first 4 days.
The true Italian season rolled out today as Tirreno-Adriatico: The Race of the Two Seas, began deep in the boot's ankle. With sparkling waters, sunny skies, and a thousand 'perfetto' recipes for tomato sauce, this race deserves more attention. Our Italian Bureau offers up this classically PEZ preview...