Friday, October 14, 2011

Samu's chance to shine

Every rider has a love-hate relationship with one particular race; the race they'd love to win more than anything but that keeps eluding them time after time, year after year. For Andy Schleck that's the Tour. For Thor Hushovd it's Paris-Roubaix. For Igor Antón it's the Vuelta. For Samu Sánchez it's got to be the Giro di Lombardia. Having finished on every step of the podium but the top one an astonishing three times, he'll be wondering exactly what it takes to win the most beautiful of the five monuments. He'll have another shot at the 'Race of the Falling Leaves' tomorrow, and here's why Samu just might break his Italian hoodoo this time around:

1) Philippe Gilbert is not at the top of his game: That's obviously good news. No one beats an in-form Gilbert in Lombardia, of that I'm sure. In his own words he's "tired" after a long and successful season. I'm not saying he won't win it - discard him at your peril - but the fact that he's not at his invincible best gives the other contenders (for once) a realistic hope of beating him.

2) Euskaltel's line-up is strong: Euskaltel will be fielding a strong eight-man team to aid Samu in his quest. The presence of solid climbers Antón, Nieve, Landa, Txurruka and Astarloza, along with handy all-rounders J Izagirre and A Pérez, is a plus. In the finale, Samu might for once have a couple of team-mates to help him out.

3) He's reasonably fresh: Despite coming off a long and arduous season, Samu hasn't raced all that much since the Tour - notably no Vuelta - and should have some in reserve for Saturday. He didn't ride in Copenhagen and abandoned early on in Piemonte yesterday, so his legs should be up for it.

4) Route alteration: This year's edition will finish in Lecco and includes the three-kilometre Villa Vergano climb nine kilometres out. The added climb - and perhaps even more the descent off of it - should improve Samu's chances.


Bolsen3 said...

Let's hot it'll happen this year! But I'm afraid he'll have to come alone to the finish, his sprinting ability seems to be getting poorer year by year. He'll have to get rid of Gilbert before the finish for sure...

azanca02 said...

He will have to get rid of Gilbert, Nibali (who I think Samu can outsprint but he is a great decender non the less), and Cunego. He has a good record at this race as well and he does have a good punch at the end of races. Should be great to watch.

Anonymous said...

My biggest fear is that Samu's still not 100% fit after the illness in Bejiin. I think that the only one today who can stop "Gilbert's hat trick" is Greg Van Avermaet... but i'll be happy to be wrong 'cause I LOVE SAMU !!!

Magnus said...

Nice blog man. I'll happily add a link to your page on my blog!

Remo said...

Thank you very much Magnus !!!
I'll follow you since the very start... being myself a true IBAN MAYO HINTXA !!!
All the best Magnus !


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