Friday, August 22, 2014

US Pro Challenge Stage 4: Thanking His Fans

When asked if he would be given an honorary lap of the Champs Elysees before riding his final stage of the Tour de France, Jens Voigt replied, "Honor in cycling is not given, it is earned."  Today he was not given a stage victory and he came 750 meters short of earning the victory as well.  Just as he attacked on the Champs Elysees, but did not win the stage.  However, he has won the hearts of cycling fans around the globe, and today reached out, high fiving scores of those along the side of the road as he rolled towards the finishing line behind the peloton.  Once he had been caught, there was no reason to keep racing.  He will need a very long arm indeed to high five all of those who are fans of this senior statesman of cycling.  This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this 4"x6" painting just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  Be warned, this is a first come first served chance to own one of the last paintings done live from Jens Voigt racing.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/US%20Pro%20Challenge%202014/2423516---201508/Painting.html#.U_e-xM_D_IU

US Pro Challenge Stage 4: A Perfect Sprint

Nothing is given in the professional peloton, no prizes for a retiring warrior, just hard fast racing in every stage of every race.  Despite all of his effort and the will of nearly every sportscaster, cyclist, racing fan and German, Jens Voigt (Trek) was caught with just 750 meters left to the finish line by the men that wanted to get their sprinter first across the line.  Cannondale had been doing quite a bit of work at the front of the peloton all day to keep the break away in check and had done a heroic effort to catch Voigt by the final kilometer.  Elia Viviani (Cannondale) seemed too far back to be a factor at the outset of the sprint, but then found the wheel of the Hincapie Sportswear man and waited for the right moment to bounce.  Viviani had raced well in the early season, so it was a pleasure to see his excitement with this victory.  This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this 4"x6" painting, just follow the direct link at the end of this post. 

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/US%20Pro%20Challenge%202014/2423514---201508/Painting.html#.U_e8Qc_D_IU

US Pro Challenge Stage 4: After One Man

The sprinter's teams were not happy to have such a strong man as Jens Voigt (Trek) up the road and set after him at full speed.  Normally the peloton can go considerably faster than a lone rider, just be virtue of those on the front of the peloton being able to take turns in the wind and in the slipstream, while the man out front is pushing against the wind all of the time.  There is a rough formula, that the break needs at least a minute per kilometer to the line if it is going to have a chance of staying away.  The peloton was only a minute and a half behind with five kilometers to go, but it was Jens Voigt who was out front.  Another variation in this race was Trek had broken the tradition and actually put Frank Schleck and Laurent Didier on the front to disrupt the sprinter's trains and the peloton's chase, hoping to give their man the honor he so richly deserves.  Tucked into this group are the race leader, Tejay van Garderen (BMC), second place Rafal Majka (Tinkoff Saxo) the current Sprint jersey on the shoulders of Kiel Reijnen (UHC) and the KOM jersey of Ben Hermans (BMC).  BMC had no interested in catching the German, but many others had hopes of taking out the stage win.  This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this 4"x6" painting, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/US%20Pro%20Challenge%202014/2423506---201508/Painting.html#.U_e5ic_D_IU

US Pro Challenge Stage 4: One for His Fans

Jens Voigt (Trek Factory Racing) went to the sign in board with a variation to his team's jersey.  Written in a lovely script were the words, "Thank you, fans!"  It was a lovely sentiment from a pro of 17 years who knows were the support ultimately comes from.  He may have planned to combine the jersey with the actions he has now set into play.  With the ascent up into the Garden of the Gods, Voigt quickly got a sizable gap on the break away and set off in search of the stage victory that would cap an already brilliant career.  Voigt has said that he wanted to leave racing while he was still competitive and he certainly proved his capabilities in the final lap of the Colorado Springs circuit.  This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this 4"x6" painting, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/US%20Pro%20Challenge%202014/2423500---201508/Painting.html#.U_e12s_D_IU

US Pro Challenge Stage 4: Attacking the Break

Two members of the early break had marked this day on their race books as a day they could make something happen.  Ben Jacques-Magnes (Jamis) felt sure he could take back his King of the Mountains jersey that he surrendered to Tejay van Garderen the day before.  With Tejay racing for Yellow, he was interested in the KOM points or being in the break away.  Jens Voigt (Trek) is racing his last professional race and wanted to go out with a victory.  The day's short climbs, twisty roads and sections of open flat stretch were well suited to a man of Voigt's talents.  The pair attacked their break away companions on the final ascent in the Garden of the Gods that would award KOM points, Jacques-Magnes for the points, and Voigt as a perfect launch pad for an attempt for a solo run to the finish.  The fly to the line was quite similar to his opening stage of the 101st Tour de France.  This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com  To purchase this painting, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  But while you are there, why not take the time to browse all of the art on offer?

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/US%20Pro%20Challenge%202014/2423498---201508/Painting.html#.U_ezkM_D_IU

US Pro Challenge Stage 4: Can I Get a Drink?

Daniel Summerhill (UHC) may have been channeling his inner bar fly as he raised his bottle aloft to let the race referee and his team car know that he wanted another drink.  It is one way to catch a busy bartender's eye, lifting you bottle in the air, a universal sign for I want another, please.  While you will see the same gesture in the ProTour races, here it is more important as the teams are without radios to let their needs be known.  Summerhill and eleven others form the sizable break away on the circuit race around Colorado Springs and the Garden of the Gods.  Some of the other riders included Wesley Sulzberger (Drapac), Ben Jacques-Magnes (Jamis) and the irrepressible Jens Voigt (Trek).  This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from Jack Richeson and Company, www.richesonart.com.  In addition this painting is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com and to get this particular painting, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/US%20Pro%20Challenge%202014/2423468---201508/Painting.html#.U_elEc_D_IU

Thursday, August 21, 2014

US Pro Challenge Stage 3: Taking It All

The pair that came together to the line on Monarch Mountain, had been the protected riders for their respective teams, both hit the front hard and sprinted together for the summit.  However the day and the stage were to go to the celebratory Tejay van Garderen (BMC), he had gotten enough separation to take over the lead in the race and had garnered enough KOM points to take the jersey from Ben Jacques0Magnes (Jamis).  Rafal Majka (Tinkoff Saxo) did not gain any jersey or stage wins to add to his palmares, but he did move himself into second place in the overall with Tejay's teammate, Ben Hermans just a second behind him.  Tom Danielson (Garmin Sharp) lost time but still managed to hold fourth place overall.  This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this painting, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  But while you are at the website, why not take the time to look at all of the cycling art that is on offer.  There is quite a few paintings from the 2014 ProTour season still available.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/US%20Pro%20Challenge%202014/2423144---201508/Painting.html#.U_a5_c_D_IU

US Pro Challenge Stage 3: Sprinting for Stage or Jersey

Once everyone had tried attacking Tejay van Garderen (BMC), he used the last attack to launch his own acceleration under the one kilometer to go banner.  The only rider who could stay with the attacking Coloradan was the Polish climbing phenon, Rafal Majka (Tinkoff Saxo).  The pair had rid themselves of all of the others and sprinter the final meters up the final section of the climb.  They were racing for the stage, and van Garderen would almost surely take over the Yellow Jersey, with double points for the King of the Mountain competition on offer, he could end up holding three jersey; the yellow of race leader, the polka dots of King of the Mountians and the royal blue of best place Coloradan.  This pair also displayed that the form they had shown in the Tour de France had not yet faded away.  This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular painting, just follow the direct link at the end of this post. 

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/US%20Pro%20Challenge%202014/2423134-16-12-201508/Painting/Sports.html#.U_a2Mc_D_IU

US Pro Challenge Stage 3: One After the Other

Every rider aspiring to wear the Yellow Jersey knew that they had to attack the defending champion, Tejay van Garderen (BMC) if they wanted to have a chance to still be in the lead after the uphill time trial to Vail on Saturday.  First it was Mick Rodgers (Tinkoff Saxo), then the Colombian pair, followed by another Tinkoff Saxo man, Bruno Pires.  Finally, Tom Danielson (Garmin Sharp) decided he had to be aggressive to get the better of the man currently in the royal blue jersey of the best place Colorado native, van Garderen.  The BMC leader was fortunate to have such a strong teammate to do the quick chasing in the form of Ben Hermans, not that Tejay was having any problems pulling the attackers back.  This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  For this painting, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/US%20Pro%20Challenge%202014/2423132---201508/Painting.html#.U_a2r8_D_IU

US Pro Challenge Stage 3: Off Go the Colombians

In the last couple of years you can be sure that when the road points up there will be a Colombian rider on the front of the race.  Today these two countrymen from opposing teams seemed to chat at the back of the small, select peloton before jumping out of the back of the group.  David Alexander Jaramilo (Jamis) and Janier Alexis Acevedo (Garmin Sharp) had waited for the steepest section of the course they could fine hoping their hard acceleration and combined attack would be enough to win the day for one of them.  This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this painting, just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  Do hurry though, it is a first come first served kind of a thing. 

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/US%20Pro%20Challenge%202014/2423130---201508/Painting.html#.U_avSM_D_IU