Monday, May 16, 2011

Giro d'Italia Rider Profile: Addy Engels...

Alright, I have given up on Blogger getting the original post back, and while this may not be the exact same as that first version, I think I have reconstructed most of the information.

If you are reading this from the United States, you may be asking, Addy Engels? Unless you follow the sport closely, his is not a household name. That in itself may be a good enough reason to profile him on this blog. But there are others as well. First, I don't have to borrow a photo from somewhere else. The one above, I shot at the 2009 Amgen Tour of California. Stage 7 that year finished with four circuits at the Rose Bowl. Engels had worked himself into a ten man break earlier in the race. That break stayed clear to the end crossed the finish line more that two minutes clear of the peloton. Anyway, after crossing the line, Engles pulled up in front of me, accepted a cold drink, and gave me time to snap the photo. 

But there is more. A little known, and kind of surprising fact: Engels has started more Giro d'Italia than any of his fellow countrymen. More than Jan Janssen or Hennie Kuiper. More than Peter Post or Jan Raas, or Erik Breukink, or Frans Maassen. If the above named have not given it away, Engles is Dutch. The Giro includes some of the toughest climbs of any Tour, and while Engels' countrymen have rarely been known as outstanding climbers, there have been notable exceptions, such as Gert-Jan Theunisse and Steven Rooks, two riders who made their fame in the mountains. Engels has more starts that either.

Typical of any of the peloton's workers, those who ride for the greater good of the team, and the teams leader(s), Engels does not have a mile long palmares list, nor one studded with wins. Rather, it is indicative of a rider who has found satisfaction in helping others achieve victory, knowing that the ultimate victory was made possible, in part, through his earlier efforts. As an amateur racer, Addy Engels won the Under-23 National Road Race Championship in 1998, and followed that up with a second place finish in the same race the following year. The big Dutch Rabobank Team signed him up, and his first year as a professional came in 2000. He was with Rabobank until 2003, at which time he raced one year with the Bankgiroloterij Team. In 2005, he signed with Quick Step and has been with that squad ever since. 

The role of a team domestique rarely affords opportunities for personal glory, but in the process of working for various team leaders over the years, Engels has managed some top 10 finishes over the years. These have included:

2nd at the 2000 Continentale Classic
5th on stage 12 of the 2000 Giro d'Italia
10th on stage 17 of the 2002 Giro d'Italia
3rd on stage 4 of the 2003 Vuelta a Espana
6th on stage 16 of the 2005 Giro d'Italia
2nd in the 2005 Hengelo Criterium
2nd on stage 12 of the 2006 Giro d'Italia
3rd in the 2006 Gouden Pijl Emmen
10th on stage 7 of the 2009 Tour of California
5th in the 2009 National Road Race Championship

Though only thirty-three years old Addy Engels is a veteran of the peloton, and through his longevity has acquired invaluable knowledge and experience. Quick Step Director Sportif, Davide Bramati says, "He brings so much experience to the team, which will be even more important this year for us as we're bringing some younger riders to the Giro... He's more motivated than ever and wants to win a stage." While Engels will race this year's Giro in a support role for his team leader (which currently appears to be Dario Cataldo) I will be hoping he does indeed find that stage win.

For a little fun. Not only is Addy Engels an accomplished bike racer, but in his spare time he is a musician, guitarist and singer. Unfortunately my mastery of the Dutch language is just a myth, so I have no idea what he is saying during the interview portions of the video clip below, but he does sing Bruce Springsteen in English. Enjoy.

Oh, I almost forgot, he does have a blog on the Quick Step Team website.

There seems to be a nice interview here; I spent considerable time attempting to translate it, and while I came away with a general idea for some of the paragraphs, it was pretty sketchy, and I am not at all confident enough to post that translation. What I really need is a friendly Dutch reader to see this and help out. Anyone? The job pays in ample satisfaction, and many thanks. The last sentence of the interview, however, was very clear: Engels' pick to win the Giro? Same as mine - Alberto Contador.

Update Giro d'Italia, Stage 10. Addy made television coverage today on the Universal Sports broadcast. Following a painful crash by teammate Kristof Vandewalle, which required medical attention to his chin, Engels, ever the loyal teammate, stuck with the injured rider to the finish. At one point they were shown riding beside each other, Engels holding the saddle of Vandewalle's bike as he attempted to resolve a mechanical problem to his chain or front derailleur. Both riders finished 3:47 down; a textbook example of one rider giving up any aspirations on the stage to help a teammate.

Update Giro d'Italia, Stage 16. Engels put in a good effort during the days' individual time trial. The stage was a mountain time trail to Nevegal, only 12.7 km long, but with a maximum grade of 14%, it had almost all the riders opting for their regular road bikes. I noticed a couple guys had put on aero bars, but that was it. Anyway, Engels was the second best Quick Step finisher, ending the day with the 51st fastest time, two minutes fifty seconds behind Contador's blistering run. Team leader, Dario Cataldo was quickest Quick Step rider, finishing in 28th with a time of 2:04.

One final note: I found a cool little post about what the riders in the Giro do before the start of a stage (and on rest days), and there are a couple photos of Addy Engels relaxing with his wife, and giving/receiving a farewell kiss before heading out to the start. Jump here if you wish to see.

Alright, well one more now. From Addy's blog on the Quick Step team site, check out his touching remembrance of friend, Wouter Weylandt.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...