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Vincenzo Nibali previews ‘nervous and difficult’ Tirreno-Adriatico

Early-season stage race offers an unpredictable challenge thanks to habitually tough weather on a difficult parcours

Vincenzo Nibali Previews ‘nervous And Difficult’ Tirreno-Adriatico

Italian rider Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) eyes the winner’s trident at the pre-race press conference. Photo: ANSA/CLAUDIO PERI

Vincenzo Nibali1 thrives in Italy s Tirreno-Adriatico2 stage race because of what he called its unpredictable nature. On Wednesday, along the Tuscan coast in Lido di Camaiore, he will begin his quest for a third title. In 2013, to win his second title, team Astana s Nibali overhauled Sky s Chris Froome3 on the penultimate day to Porto Sant Elpidio. The relentless rain and steep climbs, sometimes up to 27 per cent, in Marche s countryside worked in Nibali s favour. Froome, who said he did not have the legs, lost control.

Just 48 hours earlier, Froome had destroyed the field4 on the Prati di Tivo climb to take the leader s blue jersey. That kind of drastic change in fortunes, Nibali warned today, is what makes Tirreno-Adriatico special.

My experience is that there s not a single stage that makes the difference, but day after day, any stage can be important, Nibali said in a press conference. It s a very nervous and difficult race. The times that I won, it s just been in the last days. Froome, who has been in South Africa training at altitude, will miss Tirreno-Adriatico and race next in Spain s Volta a Catulunya.


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Tirreno-Adriatico opens with a 22.7-kilometre team time trial in Lido di Camaiore on Wednesday. Already on Thursday, Nibali and rivals like Alejandro Valverde5 (Movistar) and Sky s Wout Poels, face an 18 per cent climb three kilometres from the finish line in Pomarance. The queen stage this year climbs 10 kilometres to reach Monte San Vicino at 1,208 metres. Unlike in 2013, the penultimate day through Abruzzo should be calm, before the race ends with a 10.05-kilometre time trial in San Benedetto del Tronto. Nibali has the ability to climb, but also to descend like a missile and manage his bike with grace.

In May 2013 at the Giro d Italia6, when Bradley Wiggins crashed on wet roads7 further south down Italy s east coast from Porto Sant Elpidio, Nibali took control and positioned himself for his first overall title. Those same skills will come in handy this week as bad weather is predicted once again8.

Vincenzo Nibali Previews ‘nervous And Difficult’ Tirreno-Adriatico

Nairo Quintana (Movistar) takes a stage win at last year s Tirreno in brutal conditions. Photo: Graham Watson

He already proved his fitness with an overall win in the Tour of Oman9 last month ahead of Frenchman Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale). That form and local knowledge led Tejay van Garderen10 (BMC Racing) to label Nibali as Tirreno-Adriatico s race favourite.

Tirreno-Adriatico is hard for its weather, and last year we had a day through the snow when Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won]. The time trials are very important, especially the first one tomorrow. I feel good. I ll see day after day how my legs respond, added Nibali.

This won t be easy. The race is nervous as always and the level is high.

Valverde rode well in Strade Bianche, he has good form. Other riders have also had good races recently. Tirreno, though, is an uncertainty until the very end.

References

  1. ^ Vincenzo Nibali (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  2. ^ Tirreno-Adriatico (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  3. ^ Astana s Nibali overhauled Sky s Chris Froome (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  4. ^ Froome had destroyed the field (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  5. ^ Alejandro Valverde (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  6. ^ Giro d Italia (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  7. ^ Bradley Wiggins crashed on wet roads (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  8. ^ once again (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  9. ^ overall win in the Tour of Oman (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  10. ^ Tejay van Garderen (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)
  11. ^ when Nairo Quintana (Movistar) won (www.cyclingweekly.co.uk)

And so I muse… comings and goings… | kaiserswest

He said, Naked I came from my mother s womb, and naked I shall return there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD.’ Job 1:21

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven Ecclesiastes 3:1

I have been musing over many things lately. The Lord s providence in my life, for sure. I see blessings all around me. And I see the empty places, as well. Sometimes we wonder why we end up where we are. I have had some interesting conversations recently with a disparate group of people; some friends, some acquaintances. And I have come to realize that the empty places in our lives are sometimes there for our blessing.

Even if we notice them and they become bothersome or we become sad for the noticing.

And So I Muse… Comings And Goings… | Kaiserswest

I often see people struggling with their things and our things can be literally junk we pay to keep in storage. I had a friend who had a storage unit for all her seasonal decor because she was over-the-top at decorating and had no basement space to store her decorations for every holiday. So she paid for a storage unit, where she kept each season s/Discount Holidays © holiday s decorations. She always had her house perfectly decorated for every holiday, often using a professional to assist her. But I never got over the fact that she spent money on a storage unit to keep all that stuff. I have friends who are constantly cleaning out or organizing. I completely get that. When we left our large home and downsized in California, and then when we left California for Washington, we got rid of a lot of extra furniture, and decor. We simply had no place to put it.

When we finally relocated up to Alaska in a 30-foot U-Haul truck, I downsized in a large way. We live very simply, but I am constantly getting the urge to purge ! Our things, or attachment to them, can weigh us down in so many ways. I love that saying, You can t take it with you and the quote from Job at the beginning of this post sort of brings that out Naked I cam from my mother s womb, and naked I shall return there. Our things are here to assist us, to make life easier, and to bring us joy. Have you ever walked into a museum and been brought to a hushed silence in awe of what you are seeing? Oh, I have. On several occasions. A memorable one was a trip to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles for an exhibit of Icons and Illuminated Manuscripts from Saint Catherine s in the Sinai Desert.

I could not even speak, but just whisper in the presence of some of these original icons, holy artifacts, and manuscripts. That is a case of storing things for a purpose!

And So I Muse… Comings And Goings… | Kaiserswest

The Lord allows us to experience the fruits of creation throughout our lives. Being in the presence of those who are creative, for me, is overwhelming at times. I am not very good at things artistic and am in awe of artists. I have wept at ballets, especially when my very gifted daughter-in-law danced in a production in college. I have wept at plays and operas. Once the Phantom of the Opera began and Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman sang, I started weeping and did not stop until it was over. What an experience to see them in person, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles! So, so blessed.

We are given people and things to make life especially joyful and to bless us in a special way. But there are times for all these things, for all these people, and all these experiences. And there is also time for simple, quiet, and unadorned. For everything there is a season.

And So I Muse… Comings And Goings… | Kaiserswest

I have come to the conclusion that sometimes we hang on to people, and have them in a sort of storage unit just in case. It is not fair to ourselves, nor them. Because of social media, the word, friend, has been highly ridiculously over used. There are, in fact, very few friends in our lives. We have acquaintances by the score through social media sites like Facebook, but how many friends? I mean, real, honest, lay-their-life-down-for-you, friends?

And So I Muse… Comings And Goings… | Kaiserswest

Why do we place such emphasis on Social Media? Is it really necessary in our lives? It has come to replace real-life interaction, in so many cases. I have seen wedding invitations only on Facebook. Birth, graduation, divorce announcements, only on Facebook. Communicating with friends, only on Facebook. So many not commenting at all, just watching everything on Facebook (how creepy is that?).

The ability to be that much removed from someone gives people a lot of leeway in their communicating. Some people revel in the anonymity of Twitter and Facebook and Snap Chat. They are removed from directly interacting with people, allowing them to say some of the most outrageous and hurtful things. And it s one of the profound ways I have seen my Christian friends behave very, very un-Christ-like. How easy it is to cut people down and be cruel, without having to look them in the face and see the hurt you cause them. In addition, the milieu itself is completely artificial. It is not real life. Just like reality TV is not real. (Cannot believe how many people don t get that whole premise). We are playing to our worst selves, by allowing this computer I am using and the screen I see to be the sole way we know one another, or communicate.

And do not even get me started on cell phones, especially smart phones. It s one of the ways we disconnect from people, even in a crowded room. I am guilty of this and is one of the myriad of reasons for my musing, and posting, today.

And So I Muse… Comings And Goings… | Kaiserswest

One of my most-favored places for communicating is a local coffee house. Not Starbucks, because those are more for the computer-using workaholic/college student. No, I mean a real coffee house, or tea shop. I love high tea. (If you ve never gone to a real, British High Tea, try it sometime. It is delicious and wonderful and one of my most treasured memories with my dearly departed Grandma). These days, I love choosing a delicious scone and trying a new brew concoction, and then sitting down with a close friend and gabbing away the hours. I have friends I have moved away from and we have reminisced that those are the times we miss the most coffee around my kitchen table, often with bread baking in the oven (especially when we lived on dairy farms!).

I have realized that people and things are put in our paths for our enlightenment, our joy, our appreciation, by a gracious God, Who loves us. I cannot save everything I have ever owned, and everyone cannot stay my friend. Perhaps we don t share the same activities, the same lives, any longer. It is okay to say goodbye to a friendship, just like that comfy sweater or favorite pair of jeans. Some relationships are formed out of camaraderie and convenience. When either support is removed, the friendship falls apart. And it is okay to lose a relationship that way, most especially if it was based on things like soccer schedules and living next door, or carpooling and church attendance.

When we move on, we take aspects of these people and things with us. We have grown because of them, and hopefully learned from them. We move on.

And So I Muse… Comings And Goings… | Kaiserswest

When I was younger, my grandmother gifted me with her tea cup collection. God bless her. Each cup had a story, and I remember them distinctly. I have been blessed with sons. Sons do not care about tea cups. What am I going to do with these tea cups? I chose to gift them, a couple at a time, to people who mean something to me.

Sharing my Grandmother s tea cups became a way I could leave a part of myself with others who have shared my life. And each tea cup I give away, I write down the story my Grandma told me about that cup. I cannot keep all these cups and saucers. There are so many of them, as in literally dozens of them. Some of them appeal to me and I will probably hold onto them longer, but some are not my particular cup of tea and so I can gift them a bit easier. I am planning on each grand daughter, and daughter-in-law, receiving tea cup sets. Some have cookie plates with them, that are for enjoying high tea. But I am slowly gifting them all away, as I know I cannot take them with me (as in the quote from Job above). The same holds true for friends.

It is okay to give them up, to let them go. Each person, each thing, has a time in our lives. It is difficult sometimes to let people go; we mourn that particular relationship and we miss the person. But it is healthier to allow the relationship to wither on its own, and allow God to work in our lives by allowing new people into it. And I am feeling more and more confident that as I age (and hopefully mature) and my circles tighten and shrink, that it is okay. It is also okay to become quieter. Sometimes keeping silent in the face of harsh words, whether spoken or written, is the better part of valor. (To paraphrase Shakespeare).

Discretion, being that better portion, can be said to be silence in many instances. We can be discrete in how we handle ourselves insofar as friendships, both the making and letting go. As I was perusing my friends on social media, I came to see that the ones I hold especially dear are not a part of the social media frenzy, and it is not how we communicate. Several on there I also communicate with through emails, and shockingly enough, actual conversations. My closest friends will stay my friends whether or not I post my status on Facebook for that day. So as I ease into my 60s, I am seeing that my life can quiet down, can be even more simplified through the purging of social media outlets, as well as too many things in my life. Simplicity is something I think God appreciates. A simple, direct approach to life is actually freeing. Keeping your schedule simple, your appointments simple is also a way to be more in touch with God.

Less time with others is more of an opportunity to spend in quiet contemplation. Do not get me wrong, I will still go to museums, plays, concerts when I can. I will attend school plays and productions for my grandchildren when I can. I will continue to dine with friends, and meet for a cuppa at the local coffee house. I am not locking myself away. But I am being more discrete in more aspects of my life. Sometimes all this stuff out there just gets to be too much.

And So I Muse… Comings And Goings… | Kaiserswest

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