Italian Alessandro De Marchi claimed victory on the longest stage of this year’s Vuelta on Saturday as his compatriot Fabio Aru retained the leader’s red jersey.
Alessandro De Marchi wins stage 14 of the Vuelta a Espana, victory number 175 for Italy in the race.
— CafeRoubaix (@CafeRoubaix) September 5, 2015
De Marchi was part of a five-man breakaway group that was never in danger of being caught by the peloton and proved the strongest on the climb to the finish of the 215km stage from Vitoria to the ski station of Alto Campoo ahead of another Italian Salvatore Puccio and Spain’s Jose Joaquin Rojas.
Aru finished ninth on the stage to stay 26 seconds ahead of Joaquim Rodriguez with Tom Dumoulin now 49 seconds adrift of the leader in third. De Marchi was also a stage winner at last year’s Vuelta and was the favourite on the final special category climb to a freezing finish line descended in fog.
“It was really difficult today, first just to get in the break and then obviously win the stage. Everything felt great,” De Marchi said. “I just had to wait for a position where I could make my strength show, so I let the others attack but in the end the waiting paid off and I won.”
Behind in the peloton, the general classification favourites stayed together for most of the climb, but Aru finally attacked as he tried to extend his advantage with a 38.7km time trial to come on Wednesday which should suit the likes of Dumoulin.
However, the Italian was reeled in by Nairo Quintana as the Colombian showed his best form in the mountains of the race so far to finish sixth on the stage and cut his deficit overall to three minutes.
Rodriguez finished a second ahead of Aru with Dumoulin 19 seconds back in 15th on the day.
The race continues with another mountain top finish on the 175.8km stage from Comillas to Sostres on Sunday.
Sporting organisations across the UAE have called a halt to activities after the government announced a three-day mourning period for 45 servicemen killed in Yemen on Friday.
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) September 5, 2015
The UAE is currently locked in a state of grief because of the missile strike from Houthi rebels which struck an ammunition depot. Dubai Sports Council, Sharjah Sports Council and the UAE Rugby Federation were among those to cease all domestic action as a sign of respect, while yesterday’s trio of Arabian Gulf Cup matches were postponed indefinitely.
“The Pro League Committee has decided to postpone the second day of the second round of Arabian Gulf Cup matches,” the Arabian Gulf League’s official Twitter account stated. “A new date will be determined at a later time.”
These fixtures included Emirates Club hosting Al Dhafra, Al Wahda travelling to Dibba Al Fujairah and Al Shaab playing 2013/14 champions Al Ahli.
Armed forces are currently engaged as part of the Saudi-led Arab coalition in support of the legitimate Yemeni government. An investigation into what caused the incident is set to be conducted in the coming days.
The UAE senior football team are currently in Jordan as they prepare for Tuesday’s 2018 World Cup qualifier at Palestine. Several members of the squad used Twitter and Instagram to pay respect.
My condolences to all the families of soldiers who lost their lives defending and honoring this country. pic.twitter.com/3cb5XVrk23
— Graffa23 (@Graffa23) September 5, 2015
“Oh nation, we sacrifice our lives for you,” Al Jazira defensive midfielder Khamis Esmail said. “There are no words to do our heroes justice.
“I don’t know whether to be sad for the lives we’ve lost, or happy about our heroes who have filled us with pride. May they rest in peace.” Al Ain superstar Omar Abdulrahman expressed his sadness with a call for “mercy” to be shown to the martyrs.
He said: “In their childhood, they sang loudly, oh nation, we sacrifice our lives for you. And here they are today, they gave their lives and shed their blood for the sake of religion and the nation.
“Oh God, have mercy on our martyrs.”
My condolences to UAE people!
— Zlatko Dalic (@DalicZlatko) September 5, 2015
The upset was not just confined to Emiratis. Al Ain boss Zlatko Dalic was quick to show solidarity.
“My condolences to UAE people,” the Croatian tweeted.
Former captain Grafite spent four successful years with Al Ahli before his winter exit to Qatar’s Al Sadd. He showed his support for “a country which I learned to love and respect”.
“My condolences to all the families of soldiers who lost their lives defending and honoring this country,” the current Santa Cruz man said.
“This is a country which I learned to love and respect. I ask God to comfort your family and friends.” Competitve sport and sports-related events are currently set to restart in the UAE on Tuesday.
You think of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) you think of Saving Private Ryan and Dunkirk and Robin Williams screaming, Good morning Vietnam and The Longest Day. Maybe cops with indigestion getting a bullet in the gut from a drug lord in a takedown or a victim of a violent crime.
Don’t try to replicate the stress of the sport in training, instead prepare for the stress of the sport. – @coachgambetta
— John Grace (@john_r_grace) September 3, 2015
You don’t really associate it with sports and the rah rah atmosphere of ‘healthy’ competition. Seeing as how it took years to move sports injuries from the band aid and liniment stage to the level of a specialised science, the general drag on PTSD in sport is understandable.
And yet, it is probably a major factor in loss of performance and now finally an issue being taken very seriously. One incident, however unfortunate or even bizarre, can drain away years of training and effort and become a goblin on the athlete’s back.
Let’s take the case of Molly Huddle in the recently concluded athletic meet in Beijing. She was a shoo in for the bronze in the 10,000 metres but an early celebration and a slowing down in the last few yards allowed her team-mate Emily Infield to squeeze past.
Will Molly ever get over it? That medal was hers for the asking. Now, after the heartbreaking episode can she ever get her confidence back, especially after the modern day blitz of publicity and the ubiquitous YouTube with its ability to go viral? Wherever she turns, there is a smirk and a flinty finger pointing at her.
Just a few months ago, an Oregon University long distance runner Tanguy Pepiot, began to wave to the crowds as he came into the final straight of the 3000 metres steeplechase about twenty yards ahead of Washington’s Meron Simon. Pepiot was so busy waving victoriously to the crowds that he didn’t see Simon pass him in the last three yards.
Now, Pepiot is in deep depression and cannot get over it. Sure, the video got a lot of laughs, mostly derisive, and very little sympathy. But for this promising runner, it is agony. Without therapy it could be the end of his career.
Like what happens to a professional when he or she scores an own goal. Remember the Women’s World Cup when in the dying seconds England’s Laura Bassett lifted the ball over her own goalkeeper, onto the crossbar and into her own net and gifted the game to Japan.
You muff a crucial catch in cricket, miss a deciding penaltyin soccer, or drop the baton in a relay… anything that is seen as letting the team down or yourself, and it can become a stumbling block that makes frequent visits and wrecks your future. It’s not just the pressure of performing before the world that gets to these titans. It is the fear of failure.
Take Usain Bolt’s 100 metre run last week. It could just as easily have been Justin Gatlin half a step ahead. Would that have erased Bolt’s magical lure forever?
Even losing a title from match point can be hurtful. For every person who gets over it, a dozen allow that defining negative moment to transport them into oblivion.
Experts are now conceding that even in winning there is stress. Getting there is one thing. Staying on top quite another.
Thankfully, the sports world has woken up to the fact that mental disorders are integral to honed competition and, often enough, the affected person does not even know it. But temper tantrums, spikes in conduct, alcoholism, self-isolation, sleeplessness, deep depression, silence, mood swings, these are all symptoms of not just reliving that horrible moment and dealing with the ‘what if’, but also trying to forget it or, at least, get over it.
Studies have narrowed the symptoms down to incessantly reliving the moment of inglorious failure (nobody recalls who came second) responding with high emotion to trigger events like movies and matches on TV and a need for isolation where the sheer presence of others is soul destroying.
Sounds dramatic but for the one going through the stress it is very real. After all what’s the difference… sports is just another war without bullets.