Sports Round-up

I think Instagram and Facebook limit my photo-sharing/writing space.

This is a far more comfortable way of rounding up an excitement packed weekend.
Today was a tough day for me, as I was a little busy training with my student and helping her do the reconnaissance of her marathon course, which is due to happen in 2 weeks.And we ended up running a lot, through the beautiful swiss countryside. It was 28 degrees and we had no water for the last 1.5 hours of the run. Phew.
Funnily enough, even after all that cold adaptation, I didn't really break into a sweat and felt rather good at the end of the run. Just thirsty.

Anyways, today was a busy day. London Marathon, Liege Bastogne Liege and Monte Carlo Masters Final.

And I'll start with cycling:

Liege Bastogne Liege
: Paris-Roubaix is a flat course with deadly cobbles. Liege Bastogne Liege is the exact opposite, it has no cobbles and no flat roads. Like literally, you don't ride get a moment's respite. It is full of evil climbs maxing out a 22-26% 

The fact that the race goes through Luxemborg, meant there a huge incentive for their national champion, Bob Jungels (QuickStep Floors) to win. QuickStep have already locked up 26 victories this year along with 1 monument and as usual they were the favourites going in. Also among the favourites were Movistar's Alejandro Valverde who has won this race 4 times, Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski, Bahrain-Merida's Vincenzo Nibali, Ag2R La Mondiale's Romain Bardet, who had an impressive 2nd place finish at Strade Bianche earlier this year and Jungels' teammate and Fleché Walogne winner Julian Alaphillipe.

Loïc Vliegen (BMC), Anthony Perez (Cofidis), Mark Christian and Casper Pedersen (Aqua Blue Sport), Florian Vachon (Fortuneo-Samsic), Jérôme Baugnies (Wanty-Groupe Gobert), Paul Ourselin (Direct Énergie), Mathias Van Gompel (Sport Vlaanderen-Baloise) and Antoine Warnier (WB Aqua Protect Veranclassic) formed an early breakaway, breaking the pattern from the last 2 monuments where the peloton was holding onto breakaways like a Venus flytrap. They pushed and grew the gap to 6’10" after 32km of the 258k long day.
PC: Tim De Waale/

Then with a familiar sight on screen, QuickStep began to push the pace along with Team UAE Emirates. I'm still getting used to seeing Dan Martin in this new UAE jersey, as he pushed at the front along with his old friend Alaphillipe.

Not used to seeing Dan Martin in this. PC: Tim De Waele/

The gap was down to 5’30” at the turn-around at Bastogne. With Liège, still 10 climbs away, the lead began to fall as the Peloton began to take charge. At the iconic Côte de Saint-Roch (km 109), the lead came down to 4’30” lead and it was steadily eroded as the fatigue and climbs began to take the toll on the breakaway.

With 85k to go the lead came down below 4 minutes. Pedersen attacked at Côte de Bellevaux but was caught at the very next climb, Côte de la Ferme Libert. 

Listening to Lance Armstrong's podcast has taught me a lot and as usual, with the odometer ticking over 200k meant the riders at the front were simply falling apart. At the iconic Côte de la Redoute at 222.5k, Baugnies, who was one of the 4 remaining at the front, went solo. But he was caught with 25km to go, just ahead of the Côte de la Roche-aux-Faucons.

Jungels, who has shown is all-round abilities with impressive performances at the Tour De France, just completely destroyed the race at this point. He went solo with 20k to go, opening a 30" gap on a group of 20 chasers, including Valverde and 2013 winner, Dan Martin. Jungels continued to consolidate his lead, as it fluctuated between 50" to a minute.
As with all great races, there was an Anti-climax as Martin got a flat and was dropped from the group.
Welcome to the Jungels PC: Tim De Waale/

Jungels was well and truly dominant as he summited Côte de Saint-Nicolas with a lead of 50”.

Tim Wellens and Jelle Vanendert(Lotto Soudal) counterattacked and began to bit into the lead of Jungels. With a 20" cushion and his strengths, barring a major mishap it looked to be Jungels' day. Vanedert was caught by Michael Woods (EF Education First-Drapac) and Romain Bardet (AG2R La Mondiale) with 5.5k to go.

Jungels sealed a comfortable win at the 104th edition of the Liege Bastogne Liege, as he finished with a time of 6:24:44 with a 37 second cushion on the sprinting duo of Michael Woods and Romain Bardet. Woods secured a huge 2nd place for himself as Bardet finished 3rd.
PC: Tim De Waele/

 London Marathon:
PC: Eliud Kipchoge
The age old rivalry of Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele sparked the flames as the runners took their position on the start line. With Tirunesh Dibaba and Mary Keitany in great form, both Men's and Women's world record seemed to be in danger.

But the conditions weren't exactly ideal. It was a hot day, in complete contrast with -1 at Boston Marathon, it was nice, bright and sunny in London.

Kipchoge ran through the 1st half of the marathon in 1:01 as the predictor showed he ticking over the marathon in 2:02:05. I have long awaited Kipchoge to break the marathon WR, but today was not the day. It was hot and energy sapping. Kipchoge faded a little in the second half, running a "modest" 2:04:17 (2:57/km) to take a comfortable win. Tola Shura Kitata of Ethiopia was 2nd with 2:04:49 and in a (happy) surprising 3rd place was the great, Sir Mo Farah with an incredible marathon PB of 2:06:32(3:00/km).
PC: Eliud Kipchoge

5 and 10k world record holder, Bekele was 6th with a time of 2:08:53.

The women's race also saw a lot of upsets as Vivian Cheruiyot finished 1st with 2:18:31. She was Brigid Kosgei was 2nd with 2:20:13 and Tadelech Bekele was 3rd with 2:21:40. Mary Keitany faded to a disappointing 5th with a time of 2:24:27.

Tirunesh Dibaba was seen walking during the race and pulled out after 30k.

19 minutes and 4 seconds behind Kenenisa Bekele was a working man. He run commutes to work on most days, he finds slow running boring and he left triathlon to race marathons. He has gone from strength to strength, and this year with an incredible time of 2:27:56 and a 15th place in some of the toughest conditions for this race was my legendary friend, Richard McDowell.
He's honestly one of my greatest inspirations, and hopefully I can get a blog with him soon.

Monte Carlo Masters: It is the clay-court season, and my idol Rafael Nadal opened his season with an incredible 11th title at Monte Carlo defeating Kei Nishikori in the final with an easy 6-2, 6-3 win.

Nadal looks to be in red-hot form and hopefully he can carry it through the rest of the clay season.

In triathlon, Patrick Lange finished 3rd at Challenge Gran Canaria 70.3 in 4:01:17 behind Spain's Pablo Gonzalez and fellow German, Andi Böcherer.

That about wraps it up.

Wishing you all the best form for your races that you're doing and please send in your love and luck for my student, who runs her 1st marathon at Geneva Marathon in 2 weeks time!

Thank you for reading!


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