Highlights of 2011 – Part IV

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Five moments from 2011. They are a personal choice like any list sometimes you omit more than you include but I’ll explain each moment. They’re presented in no particular order.

This time Stage 3 of the Tour de Suisse. Arguably the fourth biggest stage race in the world, Switzerland is Europe’s mountain nation and full of stunning roads. In this highlight of 2011 you get clever tactics, a master class descending and Peter Sagan showing that a vicious mountain pass like the Grosse Scheidegg (16km, 7.7% average, several sections at 12%) doesn’t worry him.

This time there’s not much to narrate. The video tells the story. Watch as Cunego places his attack near the summit. He crosses the top first with Laurens Ten Dam and Peter Sagan chasing, plus Jakob Fuglsang.

Cunego then descends like a maniac or a supreme expert, take your pick, dropping Ten Dam within no time. The road is narrow but helpful signs warn of dangers. Behind Peter Sagan passes Ten Dam. Cunego arcs through the bends, the camera motorbike struggles to keep up. Watch the video re-run at 8m58 seconds to see how close the Italian is pushing it.

With 3km to go Sagan catches Cunego and the seemed to do a deal, Sagan wins the stage and Cunego takes the overall lead… but the sprint looks pretty competitive all the same and the huge crowds seem to appreciate the moment. This was a major mountain stage and Sagan’s ability here was impressive.

  • Also a thought for Mauricio Soler. The Colombian started this day in yellow and happier times. Later in the race he crashed and suffered major cranial injuries from which I believe he is still recovering today with laborious physical re-eduction work.
Feargal December 14, 2011 at 9:47 am

Tour de Swiss, was missing from our screens for a while, great to see it again this year and last on ES.
Talking of ES, for those of us in Europe we really must say a big thanks to them for the increase in the amount of cycling they have been showing over the last two or three years.

Mike December 14, 2011 at 10:09 am

Awesome footage. Was sad to see Cunego lose the overall in the TT.

On another subject, predictions for moment number 5??

I’m going with the finale of Milano-San Remo. The crash, the chase, the bridging by Scarpa, the attacks leading to the Poggio by Van Avermaet, the fdj boys and O’Grady, the chase over the top with attacks by Gilbert and Nibali, the amazing group of hitters trading attacks in the final ks, and a worthy winner in Goss over a group of the finest classics riders in the world.

TomC December 14, 2011 at 10:16 am

Another great moment! Re-watching that descent reinforces how great it was and what a talent Sagan is. It was a great shame that Cunego couldn’t keep the jersey to the end.

Stephen_M December 14, 2011 at 11:43 am

Sagan just oozes class, there’s not much the guy can’t do is there? I think we’ve seen the best of Cunego though – after Mantova runs its course, I think he’s going to have get his tattoo re-done. No longer ‘I’m doping free’, maybe now, ‘I’m doping at reduced prices’??

Jeff December 14, 2011 at 1:20 pm

I missed this stage. Seeing it like this you really see it was a mountain stage and Sagan did well. Cunego seems a strange guy, a neo pro and he won the Giro right? Now he is lucky to take a couple of wins a year.

Rooie December 14, 2011 at 1:47 pm

The story of the descend is even more telling if you know al little more about the background. In 2010 Ten Dam missed a corner on a rainy descent in the Tour de Suisse and also in the descent of the Tourmalet in the Tour de France, while being in the front-group. He is thus not known for his descending and maybe that was the reason why Cunego and Sagan where able to drop Ten Dam.
Later in the Tour de France, Ten Dam chrashed hard again.

Bartek December 14, 2011 at 1:59 pm

That’s like a bobsleigh ride. Almost made me feel dizzy. These boys are fab!!!

ave December 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Some serious descending! One would think there’s not much to be gained downhill.
Also I heard from an ex racer that a high speed descend in not ideal road/weather conditions (like this one in Suisse)can sap more energy than a fast uphill.

As for the fifth highlight, my pick would be Cobo vs. Froome on the last hill top finish.

TomH December 14, 2011 at 3:49 pm

This topic from last year was quite funny too. Could you make a 2011 version of this, or perhaps a fails of 2011 (all intended humorously).


Darren December 14, 2011 at 9:36 pm

Gr8 stuff!!! Thanx for upload! Reminds me of an interview I read in the summer with Sagan in a cycling magazine, where he puts it very clearly that he is almost addicted to speed!

Oleksiy December 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm

The road there is pretty bad: check out this decent we rode this summer:

GluteCramp December 15, 2011 at 12:22 am

The corner at 7m25s is another great indicator of how hard he was pushing – right to the edge of the added concrete section on the outside of the corner!

rhys December 15, 2011 at 1:19 am

Really enjoyed watching that footage. Amazing roads and scenery, not to mention the riding.

Alan December 15, 2011 at 5:29 am

I loved this descent. I ski and love this stuff. I was so pumped after this one.

Great choice!

Patrick December 15, 2011 at 11:07 pm

Yes, that was horrible what happened to Soler, I wish him continued recovery.

Surely Paris-Nice and the Dauphine have a better claim for the fourth best stage race on the calendar?

Steve Wilson December 16, 2011 at 7:59 am

Sagan is an awesome cyclist and Im sure we will see a lot more of him in the future. He seems to have a very complete package of talent which I really enjoy in a rider.

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