Monday, March 2, 2015

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Got It Right

After the very disappointing results of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for Team Etixx-Quickstep, the entire team worked very hard to make sure that their fast man, Mark Cavendish, would be the first to cross the line in Kuurne.  I'm quite sure the entire team got a very stern talking to over night between the two races.  It does help that the man vying for the win is the "Manx Missile" another one of the former UCI World Road Racing Champions on the team.  Cavendish just got around Alexander Kristoff (Katusha) and managed to hold of Elia Viviani (Team Sky) to get it right for Etixx-Quickstep today.

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.  If you enjoy reading about cycling with this accompanying artwork, be sure to discover my recently publish book on the Tour de France, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France"  It is available worldwide through most online book retailers.  Just google the title to discover where you can get your copy, often without international shipping charges.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%202014/2519554---195767/Painting.html#.VPSsYfnF-xU

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Surprising Them All

Philippe Gilbert (BMC) is the king of last minute solo runs to the line.  He is a former UCI World Road Racing Champion because of a late attack just like the one he launched today with just 5 kilometers left to race.  One has to be a very strong rider to pull this move off.  It requires being able to ride away from the lead out trains of the sprinters' teams, who are riding as fast as possible to prevent just such an attack.  Gilbert made is move sliding past Team Sky's train as they were concentrating on the lead out trains of Etixx-Quickstep and Katusha.

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.  If you enjoy reading about cycling with this accompanying artwork, be sure to discover my recently publish book on the Tour de France, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France"  It is available worldwide through most online book retailers.  Just google the title to discover where you can get your copy, often without international shipping charges.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%202014/2519542---195767/Painting.html#.VPSqNPnF-xU

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Little Help?

The Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne is not a ProTour level race so the organizers, in an attempt to level the playing field, do not allow the teams and riders to use two-way race radios.  Instead the competitors must rely on their instincts, the time keepers chalkboard, and dropping back to their team cars to learn what is taking place in the race.  To inform the race referee that he needs his team car, Sondre Holst Enger (IAM Cycling) raises his arm to call for a little help, be it mechanical problem, a drink, or a tete a tete.  Just ahead of Enger is Matteo Trentin (Etixx-Quickstep) who is starting to work his way back to the front of the peloton after speaking with his team director.

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.  If you enjoy reading about cycling with this accompanying artwork, be sure to discover my recently publish book on the Tour de France, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France"  It is available worldwide through most online book retailers.  Just google the title to discover where you can get your copy, often without international shipping charges.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%202014/2519538---195767/Painting.html#.VPSn_PnF-xU

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Slipping Away

If you are confident that you can beat the sprinters at their own game, the only option is to try and go for a solo (or group) breakaway.  To quote the recently retired Jens Voigt, "Going in the break you may only have a 10% chance of winning the stage, but if you don't, you have a 0% percent chance." With the likes of Mark Cavendish (Etixx-Quickstep) in the peloton, and he made the split, the only choice for Kris Boeckmans (Lotto Soudal) was to go for the long solo to the line.

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.  If you enjoy reading about cycling with this accompanying artwork, be sure to discover my recently publish book on the Tour de France, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France"  It is available worldwide through most online book retailers.  Just google the title to discover where you can get your copy, often without international shipping charges.

Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne: Ramping Up the Pace

Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep) hit the front of the peloton and raise the pace just that much more. Today Boonen shifted from protected rider to "super" domestique.  It may well have been in order to pay back the team for his rather disappointing finish yesterday in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad.  Joining Boonen at the pointy end of the pack were Maarten Tjallingii (Lotto NL Jumbo), Bradley Wiggins (Team Sky) and Phillippe Gilbert (BMC).  With the early break back in the fold, it was time to ramp up the pace to discourage any one else from having a go at the favorites in the peloton.

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from www.richesonart.com.  This painting 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.  If you enjoy reading about cycling with this accompanying artwork, be sure to discover my recently publish book on the Tour de France, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France"  It is available worldwide through most online book retailers.  Just google the title to discover where you can get your copy, often without international shipping charges.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%202014/2519508---195767/Painting.html#.VPSHE_nF-xU

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: How Should We Play This?

Ian Stannard was at a distinct strategic disadvantage, riding three against one as they quartet neared the flame rouge marking the final kilometer of the race.  With Etixx-Quickstep having three separate cards to play, Stannard was going to have to be very attentive to each and every move.  Stannard is receiving final instruction from his Director Sportif, plus some notes on how far being the group of three chasers are.  I decided against the traditional image of arms aloft of the stage victor.  Instead this is the final painting of the race, because whatever was said here, combined Stannard's legs decided who would win the day.  Quite surprisingly, even against the 3 to 1 odds, it was Stannard who claimed victory for the second year in a row.  Even more disappointing for Etixx-Quickstep, Stybar couldn't pull of the best of the rest either.  There was a very realistic chance that the team would take first, second, third and fifth on the stage, instead they mustered, second-fourth as well as seventh.

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.

If you are enjoying reading about cycling this way and the accompanying artwork, be sure to check out my recently published book, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France"
http://www.greigleach.com/gallery/201710/Book+de+Tour/#.VPOW8vnF-xU

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%202014/2519284---195767/Painting.html#.VPO1x_nF-xU

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Riding in the Gutter

With almost 190 kilometers in their legs, along with 10 steep climbs and this the final of eleven sections of pave, the riders were looking everywhere for the smoothest section of road.  While it adds some risk for punctures and collision with spectators, the side of the road (or gutter) is the smoothest section of the cobbles.  Of course, smooth is only a relative term here, it is still bone jarring when ridden at speed on a ultra light racing bicycle.  This trio are the second group on the road, hoping against hope that they will see the leading quartet before the finish line.  Leading the chase is Sep Vanmarcke (Lotto Jumbo NL), followed by a former winner, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC).  Tagged onto the back of the group not helping to chase down his teammates is the current Czech National Champion, Zdenek Stybar (Etixx Quickstep).

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.

If you are enjoying reading about cycling this way and the accompanying artwork, be sure to check out my recently published book, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France"
http://www.greigleach.com/gallery/201710/Book+de+Tour/#.VPOW8vnF-xU

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%202014/2519200---195767/Painting.html#.VPOpk_nF-xU

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Strength in Numbers

Etixx-Quickstep managed to get the perfect numbers in the final break away of the day.  Somehow they got three of their men, Niki Terpstra, Stijn Vandenbergh and Tom Boonen and had only one other rider with them, Ian Stannard (Team Sky).  Both Boonen and Terpstra are very experienced racers of the Classics, however, Stannard is the defending champion of this race.  Etixx-Quickstep had the added luxury of having yet another rider in the three man chasing group.  Stannard did have a slight advantage, with etiquette and expectation allowing him to sit in on the back of the group foregoing any pulls with his nose in the wind.

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.

If you are enjoying reading about cycling this way and the accompanying artwork, be sure to check out my recently published book, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France"
http://www.greigleach.com/gallery/201710/Book+de+Tour/#.VPOW8vnF-xU

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%202014/2519190---195767/Painting.html#.VPOmo_nF-xU

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Having a Go

As the peloton closed in on the break away up the road (they have already brought back 3 of the original 8), it was time for individual riders to see if they could get away from the main group.  Stig Broeckx (Lotto Soudal) felt that he owed it to his countrymen to put in a good showing, particularly given that his team is a Belgium registered team as well.  With three of the big teams, BMC, Etixx Quickstep, and Team Sky (all with former winners in their kits) all looking at each other, biding their time, it was a good move to give it a go.

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.

If you are enjoying reading about cycling this way and the accompanying artwork, be sure to check out my recently published book, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France"
http://www.greigleach.com/gallery/201710/Book+de+Tour/#.VPOW8vnF-xU

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%202014/2519188---195767/Painting.html#.VPOkFfnF-xU

Omloop Het Nieuwsblad: Cobbles of Belgium

The roads of Belgium and Northern France are famous for the bone jarring cobbled sections of narrow roadways that criss-cross the farmlands of the countryside.  These roads have long been the stage for most of the fable Spring Classics of the Professional Cycling season.  Today's opener of the spring calendar in the north of Europe, was first animated by a break away of seven riders (one having punctured early on), included in the group was Michael Reihs (Cult Energy), Louis Verhelst (Cofidis), Albert Timmer (Giant-Alpecin), Alexis Gougeard (AG2R) and Christophe Laborie (Bretagne Seche).  They are storming across the cobble section known as Kaperij, one of 11 sections of pave.  At this point the septet have built up a nearly five minute advantage on the Team Sky lead peloton.

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.

If you are enjoying reading about cycling this way and the accompanying artwork, be sure to check out my recently published book, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France"
http://www.greigleach.com/gallery/201710/Book+de+Tour/#.VPOW8vnF-xU

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%202014/2519124---195767/Painting.html#.VPObpvnF-xU