Monday, April 27, 2015

Liege Bastogne Liege: Joy & Sorrow

Great joy crossed the face of Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) as he raised his arms in a victory salute.  Valverde claimed is third career win in the last of the spring Monuments and in so doing, paid back all of the efforts his team had put into the race. The sorrow and frustration was etched across the face of Julian Alaphilippe (Etixx Quickstep).  The young Frenchman just ran out of road as he sprinted towards the line.  Claiming the final position on the podium was Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) followed by Rui Costa (Lampre Merida) and Romain Bardet (AG2R).  Bardet was able to recover from his earlier attack to still finish in the top five.  Again, the renaissance of French cycling continues with ever more young Frenchmen getting better and better results.

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular painting just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%20/2546766-249-246-195767/Painting/Sports.html#.VT5AmyHBzGc

Liege Bastogne LIege: Riding Away

With less than five kilometers left to race, it was time to ramp up the attacks.  Next to stomp his pedals in anger was Romain Bardet (AG2R).  Never one to let anybody get away, Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) chased the fleeing Frenchman down.  Caruso's efforts brought the remnants of the peloton back together, yet again.  Setting up to what looked to be a hard sprint up the Cote d'Ans to the line.

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular painting just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%20/2546762---195767/Painting.html#.VT488iHBzGc

Liege Bastogne Liege: Playing Their Cards

With moves and counter moves being pulled back into the peloton and multiple riders now with a better chance of pulling off the surprise victory, everyone thought they would play their cards for themselves and for their respective teams.  Romain Kreuziger (Tinkoff Saxo) went on the attack first, but his move was quickly covered by Giampaolo Caruso (Katusha) as the pair climbed the Cote de La Roche-aux-Faucons.  Thousands turned out to watch their heroes climb, to drink beer and munch on the famous Frites.

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular painting just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%20/2546760---195767/Painting.html#.VT46piHBzGc

Liege Bastogne Liege: Down Again

Simon Gerrans (Orica GreenEdge), wearing bib # 1 as the last winner of the race, crashed a second time inside of the last 40 kilometers of the race.  Gerrans had been one of a huge pile up just a few kilometers earlier that ended the race for many of the big name contenders.  While Gerrans did manage to get back on the road from that, this crash was the one that made him hang up his cleats and any hope of repeating his race victory.  Some of the others to end their day included the home town boy, Philippe Gilbert (BMC), Nicolas Roche (Sky) and Dan Martin (Cannondale Garmin).  Poor Martin and Gilbert just can't catch a break, both have had crashes in their last two outings.  Gerrans is being aided by one of the many police officers that help close the roads, control the crowds and protect the riders along the route.

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular painting just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%20/2546758---195767/Painting.html#.VT44jCHBzGc

Liege Bastogne Liege: Life at the Back

Life at the back of the peloton is a mixed back of struggling, mechanicals and other special cycling skills.  Zdenek Stybar (Etixx Quickstep) is racing his arm to call forward his team car for some assistance.  Riders will drop back to the rear of the peloton and signal the race director that they need some help from their team car, of course they have already talked with their Director Sportif via radio to let him know just what the problem is.  Other riders like Mike Terpstra (Roompot) may be struggling to hold the pace of the group, while others like, Stephen Cummings (MTN Qhubeka) and Arnold Jeannesson (FDJ) are answering the call of nature.

When the pace is on, riders will merely get out of the peloton, whip it out, and let the stream flow.  So it is a courtesy to drop to the back, I imagine it isn't much fun to be in the slip stream of a rider who is relieving himself.  When the pace is slow, or in a mutual agreement among the group, riders will actually stop along the side of the road for a "break naturale".  Does that fit into the "too much information" category?

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular painting just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%20/2546756---195767/Painting.html#.VT41-CHBzGc

Liege Bastogne Liege: Through the Ardennes

Astana now has managed to get two of their riders off of the front of the peloton.  Michele Scarponi and Tanel Kangert have been joined by Jhoan Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge), Romain Kreuziger (Tinkoff Saxo) and Julian David Arrendondo (Trek Factory Racing).  The group, surprisingly, was able to build up a minute advantage on the following peloton as they ripped through the valley before the next leg zapping climb on their way to Ans.  The weather forecast had called for rain throughout the day, and while the clouds continued to threaten the peloton, they managed to stay mostly dry.

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular painting just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%20/2546712---195767/Painting.html#.VT4kKCHBzGc

Liege Bastogne Liege: A Little Dig

Astana came to the race with a purpose in mind.  Not that every team doesn't want to win the race, Astana brought a very powerful team ready to work for last year's winner of the Tour de France, Vincenzo Nibali.  One way to take pressure off of the rest of the team is to put at least one man into the breakaway.  That way, the team is not expected to help chase down the break thus allowing the breakaway rider's teammates to hide out of the wind, while other teams do the hard work of chasing down the break.  Once the peloton had almost caught the early morning break, it was Andriy Grivko who jumped out of the Astana led peloton to work for his fellow turquoise clad compatriots.

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular painting just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%20/2546706---195767/Painting.html#.VT4hhiHBzGc

Liege Bastogne Liege: Up the Early Climb

The 101st running of the Liege Bastogne Liege included the requiste early breakaway.  This one was comprised of eight riders (although not are were visible).  They are hitting the second of the ten categorized climbs that faced the peloton as they covered the 253 kilometers of the French speaking section of Belgium.  The organizers of the race cruelly loaded all most all of the climbs in the back end of the race, including eight of the climbs in the last eighty kilometers of the day's racing.  Thousand upon thousand of loyal cycling fans turned out to cheer on their heroes and foes alike with the largest numbers lining the climbs like the Cote Saint-Roch.  Mainus Minaard (Wanty Groupe Gilbert) follows Diego Ulissi (Lampre Merida) and Otto Vergaede (Topsport Vlaaderen) up the short steep climb with the rest of the break blending into the throngs yelling their encouragements (or swigging their beers).

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that was created using Yarka St. Petersburg watercolors and Steve Quiller brushes from www.richesonart.com.  In addition this painting and most of my cycling art is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular painting just follow the direct link at the end of this post.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%20/2546688---195767/Painting.html#.VT3viCHBzGc

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Paris Roubaix: A Joyful Finish

What happened in the bell lap was what everyone of the riders (except Degenkolb) feared, the strongest sprinter took the sprint out of the six men who contested for the line.  So it was the John Degenkolb (Giant Alpecin) threw his arms in a joyful victory salute, moving one step up the podium from 2014.  Zdenek Stybar (Etixx Quickstep) managed to just hold off Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) to grab second place with the Belgium claim the third step of the podium.  Rounding out this group is Martin Elmiger (IAM Cycling), Lars Boom (Astana) and Jens Keukeleire (Orica GreenEdge).  Just finishing this race is a victory, but winning it can make a career.

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular watercolor just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  International shipping is available.

If you are enjoying reading about Paris Roubaix with the accompanying artwork, be sure to search out my recently published, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France".  It can be found through most every online bookseller around the world.  Google the title to discover where you can get a copy and avoid international shipping charges.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%20/2541216---195767/Painting.html#.VSsVZPnF-xU

Paris Roubaix: Swinging in to the Velodrome

Etixx Quickstep made the final turn into the Velodrome in Roubaix with the advantage of numbers, I hesitate that they have been in this position before.  It was Yves Lampaert playing the roll of sacrificial domestique for his teammate, Zdenek Stybar.  Swinging in behind the Etixx Quickstep duo is the Belgium favorite, Greg Van Avermaet (BMC) follow closely by Lars Boom (Astana) and 3 others.  Paris Roubaix always ends on the Velodrome, a smooth steep banked track after the notorious pave, it must feel like a treasure reward of 750 meters.  Under the velodrome are the other reward, showers for victor and vanquished alike.

This is a small original watercolor and ink painting that is available through my artist website at www.greigleach.com.  To purchase this particular watercolor just follow the direct link at the end of this post.  International shipping is available.

If you are enjoying reading about Paris Roubaix with the accompanying artwork, be sure to search out my recently published, "Book de Tour - Art of the 101st Tour de France".  It can be found through most every online bookseller around the world.  Google the title to discover where you can get a copy and avoid international shipping charges.

http://www.greigleach.com/large-view/Spring%20Classics%20/2541180---195767/Painting.html#.VSsNc_nF-xU