Thursday, May 19, 2011

Giro Stage 12: Castelfidardo - Ravenna, 184km

Paging the few remaining sprinters: This is the last flat stage, and as such is seen as likely to be the last stage in which the Giro's sprinters will take the start. To show just how flat, see the stage profile below, from Cycling News.

It will surprise very few cycling fans that Mark Cavendish won today's stage after the high-speed crash in the final 3 kilometers that held up most of the field.

I have a lot of friends who are not sports fans. One of my repeated arguments I use in attempting to get them to attend games, races, etc with me is to talk about a "pay to see player." It is not an original idea at all and is very simple. Certain players, no matter what the sport have such a high degree of mastery that it is worth it to see them play even if you are not a fan. People like Roger Federer, Michael Jordan, and Tiger Woods. In cycling, the sprinters are the glamorous, rock-stars of the peloton. They may not wine the grand tours, but their performances can be simply amazing to watch. My favorite sprinter to watch these days is by far Mark Cavendish. The combination of the amazing HTC leadout "train" especially Mark Renshaw, combined with his talent make his victories rather, well, pretty to watch. The fact that he is often amusing doesn't hurt either. Cavendish along with most of the other remaining sprinters will withdraw from the race today saying that "there’s no sprints and nothing he can do to help the team who would have to look after him." I'll look forward to seeing him again in July.

Stage: Mark Cavendish
Maglia Rosa: Alberto Contador

Region: Emilia Romagna
Wine: Lini 910 Labrusca Rose $18.00

They say: Lambrusco Salamino is blended with the high-acid, high-tannin sub-variety Lambrusco di Sorbara to produce a bracing, palate-cleansing style. The wine is vinified using the Charmat
method and is kept near freezing in pressurized tanks until bottling.  

From Ray Isle, Food & Wine's wine editor: "I recently tasted some artisanal Lambruscos that will make you forget you ever heard the word Riunite. The producer is Lini, and the wines are made by fourth-generation winemaker Alicia Lini, whose family has been producing Lambrusco in Correggio, in Reggio Emilia, since 1910. This isn't zillion-case production plonk, as a lot of Lambrusco is; these are fresh, vibrant sparkling wines, ideal for summer drinking, and not overwhelmingly expensive, either. [The Rosé offers] crisp strawberry aromas, and bright strawberry-cherry fruit, appropriate, since "Cerasa" means cherry in Italian. This is made from the Sorbara grape variety, whose light skin naturally supplies the pale red color."

I say:  Lively and fresh, the really gorgeous cherry color makes it look sweeter than it is. Dare I say: Gulpable? Would be a lovely party wine, accessible enough for my non-wine friends, but appealing enough for the snobs.

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