Paris Nice Stage 4 + 5
I'm doubling up today, as I skived off reporting duty after yesterday's Stage 4 TT - commentating on a TT sucks my life force away, I didn't have anything left to say once it was completed. Schachmann was very impressive. It was a course I'd have loved when I raced, and that is about it really. So on to Stage 5.
It looked hard, and it was held under the ever-growing cloud of Coronavirus, things are taking a turn for the worse as countries lock down, and, although it's relatively insignificant, sporting events are cancelled. Paris Nice is one of the last big sporting events to continue, and nobody really knows if it will even make it to Nice.
There is word on the street that many of the teams are literally racing every day as if it's the last stage, because everything is so up in the air at the moment (literally) that anything could happen.
It was in this state of mind that Ned and I came up with maybe the greatest idea to ever be bestowed upon the world of cycling. It's called the Grandest Tour.
The Giro d'Italia, Tour de France, and Vuelta Espana all rolled into one. That's not all though, within the three weeks (hell, let's make it a month) will be the monuments, not all of them, (that might be taking the piss) but certainly, MSR, Roubaix, and maybe a cheeky Flanders. Whoever wins the race overall, gets all three Grand Tours on their palmares for 2020, and the monuments will stand alone while also being part of the GC classification. We did consider also putting the Olympic RR and TT within the month, which makes sense really, and so yeah, Olympic titles are also up for grabs in the Grandest Tour.
Now that's only part of it, we're considering the possibility that it's a mystery route, that will only be revealed each evening. Although this could be challenging logistically we believe where there's a will there's a way.
So that's what Ned and I have been doing while also commentating, we're the architects responsible with building a brave new future for professional cycling. In the mean time Niccolo Bonifazio won a hectic sprint, the stage was the longest for the week at 227km, a group of four riders dominated affairs, so much so that the peloton was put under significant stress to bring back the last one of them, Jan Tratnik (Bahrain - McLaren), he was caught in the final 100m and actually served as the final lead out for Bonifazio. Schachmann found himself a bit isolated in the final 17km, and was even chasing stuff down himself, he's strong, but his team could be in trouble when the shit properly hits the fan over the weekend.
Big loss for the day was Michael Woods (EF) who crashed out on a descent, EF also lost Tejay Vangarderen this morning as he left back to the US to beat the travel restrictions rapidly taking effect globally. So Sergio Higuita (EF), who is looking like a man up to challenging Schachmann, has lost two key team mates. Not ideal.