7-17-2012: Tour de Hades Ride

Welcome race fans to the 11th stage of the Tour de Hades, this is Lil Phigget and Shaul Perwin who will be calling tonights contest. Tonight’s participants include Mark(Van den)Brooke, John(Thiebo)Tietz, Scott (Cavendish) Herzig, Robert (Sky) Ray, Byron(Boasson Hagen)Deford, Drew (Hoogerland) Malany, and Adien (Van Garderen) Reed. It is absolutely brilliant weather on the course with a balmy 85 degree temp and minimal winds out of the west. The race begins near the Chateau GreenMeadow a massive building erected during the late 90s and has withstood the elements and houses some of the best golfers in the Queen city. The riders are out of the starting line and are readying themselves for the team time trial.  They look as though they have been riding together for years and are reminiscent of the US Postal team of years gone by. Past the second set of tracks now and it looks like pure pandemonium has hit the peleton. Sky Ray has attacked the group and is turning the screws and applying pressure like no other. He takes the lead and carries it over the Cote du Marketplace. However this is short lived as the peleton applied a phenomenal chase and brought him back. That was a gutsy move by Ray but the peleton never panicked. Next across the flats to the base of the Cul de Birdseye one of the longest climbs in this year’s tour. First to hit the climb is Herzig who made a brilliant move to pass Tietz and take the lead. Next Brooke attacks and brings Malany, Deford and Reed along on his wheel. Next Herzig kicks again trying to dislodge the group and put time between him and the group.Only lasts for a short time as Tietz and Brooke are able to bridge the gap and hook on to the wheel of Herzig. Looks like Herzig, Teitz and Brooke are in this to win and are in a truly elite group of riders as we near the top on the Cul. Slight downhill now and the racers are hitting speeds of up to 47 kph. First to the lead is Herzig with Brooke and Tietz hot on his wheel. Next Brooke launches a massive attack and is the first across the finishing line with Tietz second and Herzig third. Second leg of the race starts with an enormous downhill that is very technically challenging and Im sure we will see some of the riders taking chances on these corners, Shaul. Looks as though the entire peleton has survived this most treacherous portion of the ride. Look Shaul there goes Tietz in a one man breakaway with one of the most violent accelerations I’ve seen in this year’s tour. He just rocketed past the other riders and is stealing away. Just when you think that the peleton has given up, out flies Herzig with an acceleration of his own and bridges the gap. Now with this two man group they will undoubtedly work together to keep the peleton away. Here we are near the finishing line for leg 2 and the two man break-away is riding neck and neck. You can see in Tietz’ eyes he is on a mission to sweep this stage. First across the line, Tietz, in a photo finish by several centimeters followed by Herzig. The race for third the still on. Van den Brooke and Sky Ray battling it out for third, Ray is right on the wheel of Brooke just waiting for his opportunity to pounce. There he goes with 200 meters to go. Brooke is accelerating to keep up with his move and looks as if he is going to keep the lead and finish in third. On to the last and final leg of tonight’s epic battle, the Cul de Scratchgravel. This portion of the ride ends on a classic up hill finish that punishes the riders with an almost 10% grade. From the beginning, this year’s wearer of the white jersey Aiden Reed took off showing his young and aggressive style of riding. The peleton wont let him go too far before they have to attack and reel him back in though. Down the steeps to the BigRedBarn and Boassan Hagen Deford is pacing the group and looks to be in winning form this year. Brooke has launched an attack wheeling around Deford through the rolling hills that surround the Cul de Scratchgravel. First to the base of the pass is Tietz, followed by Brooke, Ray and Deford. Once again Van den Brooke launches an attack that was just a brilliant move. Ray had better kick again if he is going to keep up. Nearing the top it looks as if Malany, Reed and Tietz have cracked and are unable to keep up with this tremendous pace. Deford, Ray and Brooke are shoulder to shoulder with a little nudging happening between them. You know Phil, the judges are not going to be happy with this move and undoubtedly will review this to see if Brooke cut off Ray at the finishing line. From my review Lil, it appears like Van Den Brooke kept his line and took first, Sky Ray second and Boasson Hagen Deford third. Wow Shaul that was some brilliant riding in this year Tour de Hades. Hope to see you here for the next stage.

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