"Gobsmackingly Brilliant" rides of 2000
I'm embarrassed not to remember the stage but Axel Merckx took a stage of the Giro d'Italia that was breathtaking in its execution. I was fortunate to have seen this on the Outdoor Life Network which offered 2.5 hours of coverage each day of the tour. He made up a large deficit in the final kilometres. A break-away that included a couple of Kelme riders and 3 or 4 others had a large gap. He single-handedly caught them with a sustained drive. On the final decent some kilometres from the finish there was a tight turn and about half of the riders in the break away went down including Merckx. The group split. By the time he got back on the road there was a daunting gap between Merckx and those who remained upright who were working together and flying toward the finish. He caught them just before the finish in spectacular fashion. I was fortunate to see a lot of racing on TV this past year and saw some really good stuff. This was as good as it got.
Axel in I think it was stage 8 of the Giro. That was incredible.
Merckx in the Giro
In a year filled with great rides by great riders, for me, the guts ride of the year was Axel Merckx' win in stage 8 of this year's Giro. No one would have thought the less of him if he had been caught by the bunch after the crash, but he toughed it out. As Phil and Paul noted in the broadcast, it was a real lesson in not giving up.
One of the most memorable performances of the year would have to br Axel Merckx's brilliant stage win at the Giro. Not only did he suffer alone, get caught, and fight his way back to the lead break, he ended the stage with a solo win. This win characterizes the pain, suffering, motivation, determination, and ultimate triumph all cyclists have learned to love.
Axel Merckx, Giro d'Italia, Stage 8: I watched my tape of this stage
over and over. Axel powers through the final kilometers in an incredible
show of determination.
Dropping off the back of the breakaway group not once, but twice, he
finally hooks back up with only 5 km left. Don't forget, this is after
the riders have just gone over the first major climb in the race. The
others in the breakaway pay no attention to Axel, they assume he has
nothing left to give. This is the advantage he needs and grinds away
from the rest. It's a nail-biter finish as Axel hangs on by 6 seconds.
In the post-race emotion he shows, you can really see how much this
race meant to him and his father.
Thanks to Paul Sherwin and Phil Ligget, I think their coverage on this
one really made a great cycling moment.
A tie - just like Florida - between my main man Johan M's massive Paris-Roubaix and Axel M's stage win in the Giro. Since both chads have been punched I guess I'm disqualified!
Merckx, Stage 8, Giro di Italia..
Giro Stage 8: Merckx. Like father, like son, at least on this day.