Wednesday, March 21, 2012

2012 Paris - Nice

The Race to the Sun was held from 4 to 11 March this year.  It’s the second race on the UCI Calendar, but it’s the first race of the European racing season, so it’s truly a harbinger of spring and the new season of watching pro-cycling on live-feeds over the net while “multi-tasking” at work.
I love following this race, because after a long grey winter, it’s nice to know that spring is just around the corner.  The riders usually start in the cold grey weather outside of Paris and end in the sun of the Mediterranean.  It’s also a great preview to the season, because you’ll be able to see what sort of form your favourite racers are in. 
I’m a big fan of Jens Voigt – a 40 year old family man with 6 children, who is an inspiration to all MAMILs (middle-aged men in lycra).  Notwithstanding his “advanced” age in the peleton, he is a force to be reckoned with.  He’s mostly there to help his teammates win, but he’s still strong enough to ride for stage wins.  He was just barely pipped by Luis Sanchez in stage 6 of Paris-Nice.  Needless to say, I was shouting him to the finish line, probably confusing my colleagues as to why I’m shouting “Go old man! Go!”
That stage passed just a few kilometres north of Beaumes-de-Venise, so it was apropos that I lift a glass or two of that region’s wine to celebrate fine riding by one of my heroes. 
2010 Beaumes-de-Venise from the Balmavenitia winery (7 Euro).
Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. 
This is from the Cotes du Rhone, probably my favorite region for reds.
It has a very fruity rasberry nose with a choclate and cherry taste.  The mouth is round, slightly astringent with supple tannins.  It is very drinkable, though it is helped with an hour or so of breathing.
The race was won overall by Bradley Wiggins, who dominated the race, wearing the yellow jersey from stage 2 through the whole race, and even won the final stage - the time trial into Nice.  A formidable ride.  If he doesn't peak too early, he'll be a major contender for the maillot jaune at the Tour de France.
Another reason I like the first races of the season is, because it reminds me that there’s so little time left to try to get into some semblance of shape for going to Belgium the day before the Tour of Flanders - to ride the route that the pros will ride in the first of the Cobbled Classics, which are probably my favourite type of race.  But more on that next time.

No comments:

Post a Comment