Two weeks of the Giro d'Italia are behind us and so Lee Rodgers has a good dig into the background stories from Italy. Porte's demise, shiny legs, controversy and domination from Astana and the lack of rider personalities. All deeply important subjects for the sport of cycling.
At last it's the Giro d'Italia rest day, there were many looking forward to it, not just the riders. This lull in the action gives Lee Rodgers his chance to impart his thoughts on the battle so far from Italy. As usual it's his special brew of opinions.
As the 2015 Giro d'Italia heads into stage 4 later today; Lee Rodgers gives us his lowdown on the race so far. Fast action, caravans, crashes, Pink jerseys and fixie riders, they all get the Lee treatment. We still have nearly three weeks left, but it's been all go so far.
The Giro d’Italia is my favorite GT by some distance. I love the Italianness, the slightly chaotic feel that pervades, the brutal climbs, grueling days and weather that always seems to be quite content to dump a hefty load of misery on the peloton. All satisfying my sadistic undertones.
It's been a busy week for Alejandro Valverde, the Astana team and Lee Rodgers; all for different reasons. Now that the dust (or street detritus) has settled on the roads of the Ardennes, Lee looks back on Flèche and Liège to give us his take on the Valverde 'Domination'.
Matt McNamara has been lucky enough to see the workings of Team Axeon at their recent Californian training camp and get the word on this year's riders from the main man Axel Merckx. The project has brought some big names to the pro peloton in its seven years and there's much more to come.
Sunday's Amstel Gold Race: good race or bad race, it had a deeper meaning for Lee Rodgers. The right man won, Lee hopes, but the main thing is that certain other riders didn't take the honors and add to the list of the greatest betrayal and debasement. A bit harsh? Decide for yourself.
There can only be one subject for today's Lowdown: The Hell that is Paris-Roubaix. Lee has a look at the winning philosophy of race winner John Degenkolb and his do-or-die approach to the cobbled Classic. Sagan and Wiggins also come under the microscope; good and bad, but the beauty of L'enfer du Nord is the winner.
Our man Mark was introduced to the cobbles of Flanders last week by Velo Classic Tours, riding the roads of Wevelgem, Scheldeprijs and De Ronde. To finish him off he tackled the Hell of the North and those murderous tracks to Roubaix, but he still had time for rider watching at the sign-on in Compiégne.
After the craziness of chasing De Ronde, Mark McGhee goes for a ride to find a different craziness... the craziness of Belgium. On his 100 kilometre ride, Mark takes in some of the iconic climbs and cobbles of Flanders, all in preparation for an evening of Belgian food and drink for our voyeur pleasure of course.
This week Lee's has been getting excited by the action on the Belgian cobbles in the Tour of Flanders. His pulse has steadied enough for his Lowdown on all the happenings from Sunday, some good, some not so good, but all seen from Lee's unique insider perspective.
Last Sunday Gent-Wevelgem was a sufferfest of the highest order; wind, rain, crashes and hard riding whittled the peloton down to meager 39 finishers. Lee Rodgers gives us his lowdown on the chaos that turned out to be a great race, the sort of race that inspires you to ride your bike... even in the rain?
Now that 'La classicissima di Primavera' has been fought for 2015, Lee Rodgers gives his thoughts on Milan-Sanremo, which riders were impressive and who's not firing on all cylinders, just yet (Vincenzo). Degenkolb comes out on top in Lee's list for form, control and power - man and machine in perfect harmony.
In 2015 the Milan-San Remo Classic will go back to its traditions to set up a spectacular finale on the classic Via Roma finish line, which has played a key role in the history of this monumental race. So what better time to take a look back at 'The Pez' trip to 'La Primavera'.
With all the action in Tirreno and Nice, Lee is full of the joys of spring and the best races of the cycling season. OK, there is the Vuelta, Lombardy and the Worlds, but the spring is the hot bed of all that is beautiful in the sport. Sagan and Quintana are the stars of the moment, but let's not forget 'El Gurner' - Tommy V!
The Official 2015 Richmond World Championship artist, Greig Leach, recorded last year's Tour de France as the action unfolded. His post-card sized, watercolor and ink drawings are now available in book form worthy of gracing any coffee table. Leslie Reissner, relives the 2015 Tour through the eyes of the artist.
Our literary editor, Leslie Reissner, doesn't just read books, he also rides his bike as much as he can. In honour of the first cobbled Classics last week, Leslie has relived his ride on the Rik van Steenbergen Classic in deepest Belgium. Bring on Flanders and Roubaix!
This week Lee Rodgers runs his eye over the week-end happenings on and off the road. First the action on the 'White Roads' that lead Lee onto the black road of the CIRC report and the dark cloud hanging over the heads of two of Saturday's podium in Siena.
The first two big races in northern Europe were at the week-end and PEZ had our photographer, Jack Chevell, there to take in as much of the cobblestone action as he could. This is how his Belgian trip panned out in the land of beer and bikes.
This week Lee Rodgers runs his eye over the debacle of Saturday's Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The Etixx - Quick-Step team had the upper hand; three riders versus the solo Ian Stannard and what happened... Stannard won. Here is the 'Lowdown' on the in's and the out's, the excuses and where it all went wrong.