Tour de Suisse bike race CORNERING LESSON
Damiano Cunago attacks at the top of the 16.4 km Haute Category Grosse Scheidegg climb in stage 3 of the 2011 Tour De Suisse At the point where Cunego passes Laurens Ten Dam just before the summit, the Devil is there waving his fork as usual, albeit as one commentator remarked , "straight legged and knees failing" as he runs after the race leaders. The devil an omen perhaps as the field race head long down the 10.4 km descent into Grindelwald like men possessed. Check out how critical the lines are on the variable dry to wet corners, testing the limits of grip and concentration on the twisty narrow road.
The master of descending in world cycling, Peter Sagan rips down the mountain at warp speed in treacherous conditions to hunt down Cunego.
The weather in these mountains is severe, at one point on the descent, trees on the side of the road lay flattened from an earlier storm and snow lays on the ground in places. During the winter Swiss roads cop a battering, each year after the winter taking many months to repair. This is evident on sections of the descent especially on the inside of corners where water has carved it's own path leaving jagged edges on apexes. At 4.9 km to go Cunego makes a major correction on a left hander, under brakes moments earlier, watch the rear step out momentarily as he begins to turn the bike, he hooks into the inside of the turn to slice the apex only to find the apexhe'd chosen wasn't there, the bitumen washed away leaving a drop off. Cunego has to stand the bike up and find a new apex. He'd just run wide exactly 1 km earlier under the 6 km banner. Salerno runs wide here also and he'd already hit the deck somewhere further up the mountain, this was one gnarly fast and treacherous descent.
The commentators offer some insights into the background of the motorcycle riders carrying the camera men with skill in treacherous conditions. Spare a thought for the camera men standing on the passenger footpegs, camera focused on the cyclist ahead while the rider scrapes the footpegs around corners on a wet narrow road. A narrow road normally reserved for slow paced farm tractors driven by grumpy farmers invariably named one of the two Swiss farmer names, Sepp or Jakob. These farmers are normally forced to share the road with hikers and tourists. Yet today the Tour de Swiss is speeding by at break neck speed.
During the commentary it's mentioned that a large number of the motorcycle riders are policemen, they also share duties on other tours including the Tour de France. At the 2011 Tour de Suisse their numbers were depleted as there was an overlap with the Critérium du Dauphiné.
At the top of the mountain Cunego looks like he's building a lead and will run away with the stage, he's followed by Laurens Ten Dam, Cristiano Salerno, Jakob Fuglsang and Peter Sagan in that order. Sagan gets to Ten Dam at 9.7kmto go, the break neck speed on this descent is forced by all riders, with Sagan finally reaching Cunego at 2.5 km to go. Sagan sits on Cunego to take the stage at the line. This is on the edge of you seat racing and descending, riders risking all for the stage and tour lead. A pure adrenaline rush, all 10.4 kilometres of it.