flipping_elves: (peloton)
[personal profile] flipping_elves
What can I say about Qatar? 
The peloton faced 145, pan flat kilometers through some of the most featureless scenery I've ever seen, and, if that wasn't enough, they had to battle fearsome cross winds all the way.  No wonder then that this race is used as a training run for the classics strongmen.

After some technical issues with the ipad (honestly I do seriously wonder what is the point of that gadget sometimes ; *shakes fist in general direction of apple*); I eventually watched some live video from Aljazeera sport (thanks to the wonderful Steephilltv for the links).  It was a rather surreal experience because: a) I had to keep missing bits whilst I got ready for work; b) the foreign language commentary (no phil ligget here thank you very much); and c) I wasn't that good at spotting the new kits, and couldn't really see who was who from the faces, as there were few close ups.

When I first started watching there were 14 kms to go and Bernie Eisel was in a group of four riders off the front but only by a few seconds.  Behind them, the peleton had been blasted apart by the crosswinds into 2 or 3 main groups. 'Be still my beating heart' I thought, and willed Bernie to keep going as I reluctantly left the action.  Upon my return at 2 or 3 kms to go, they had been reeled in :(, but there were 3 riders off the front, an IAM, a BMC and a RST (not Fabs though).   The main bunch were only seconds behind and bearing down at that crazy sprint speed they reach, I couldn't see many sprint trains in operation, it just looked the usual chaos. 

What I found really weird with a foreign language commentary was that I had no idea as to when the race actually crossed the finish line.  Obviously I couldn't understand the spoken word, but the lack of auditory signals such as changes in the speed of the dialogue, or intonation of the commentator completely threw me and I sort of missed the finish line *rolls eyes at self*

By the time I had sorted it all out, I was pleased to see that the three breakaway compadres had held on for 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and they had announced a Sky rider for fourth.  Said rider was in a black kit, so not Stannard or Boassen Hagen.  I thought it was probably Geraint Thomas, BUT NO it was Bernie Eisel ;D  The same Bernie who'd been on the front of the peleton for most of the race, managed the crosswinds, made a breakaway group, and got reeled in... what stamina and legs that man has (nuff said).  His sprint for the line had seen him leave Cav in 6th place, don't know if he overtook Cav, or if Cav couldn't get past him.  To completely make my day Matti Breschel came in 7th.

Official results
1st    Brent Bookwalter (BMC)
         His first win for a couple of years, so that was nice.  Also I have a BMC rider in my fantasy team so will score points, so YAAY
2nd   Martin Elmiger (IAM) Swiss rider swiss team, Fabian is happy
3rd    Gregory Rast (RST) Swis rider, Fabian is a very happy
4th    Bernie Eisel (Sky).  Happy dance
5th    Elia Viviani (Can).  I enjoyed that
6th    Mark Cavendish (OPQS).  His sprint train ran out of puff reeling the breakaway back, so I'm sure he'll be back.
7th    Matti Breschel (Saxo T).  Great to see him at the front
Fabian came in 27 seconds behind, having nearly crashed and loosing some time.

So, in their first meeting since the break up, Bernie has outsprinted Cav.  Oh, there is going to be so much mickey taking at the hotel tonight!

The Sky website has a couple of photos from the stage which feature Cav.  One of them has the tag Mark Cavendish could only finish 6th, the other his OPQS team were unable to catch the breakaway riders.  Ouch! 

Things I have learnt from Stage 1
1.    The ipad is useless at live streaming, I will return to Windows
2.    It was not as weird as thought it might be to see Bernie and Cav on different teams.
3.    The Sky kit, with the blue stripe down the back, is the easiest kit to spot in the overhead shots.
4.    Bernie Eisel and Fabian Cancellara are on top form going into the Spring Classics season, which is excellant news. 
5.    Aljazeera sport channel is entertaining, I shall return.
6.    I have not seen any photos of cyclists on or near camels.  This must be rectified.

Tomorrow is the Team Time Trial.. we shall see

In other cycling news:
Ben Swift (Sky) sprinted to 3rd place at the Trofea Palma, and Sir Brad got the prize for being the most aggressive rider :O
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