So now that all that nonsense down in the boot is done with, time to recap what went on in the rest the continent. Hometown (or I guess homecountry) hero Tom Boonen rocked the Tour of Belgium, taking two stages and most remarkably of all, coming in second in a 15k ITT to maintain the race lead. No telling what other tricks the 24-year-old classics rider/group sprinter/chrono-man has up his sleeves. Speaking of former winners of the Champs Elysees sprint, creaky old Jan Svorada and Ag2r’s JP Nazon each took a stage at the Bayern Rundfarht, which is perhaps the European road race most in need of a name change. Jens Voigt snared a TT win, and Andreas Kloden finally showed up this season, taking the final stage in a breakaway. But when the smoke cleared, it was Gerolsteiner’s chrono specialist Michael Rich who took the overall, with T-Mobile’s Kazakh menace Alexandre Vinokourov in second.
Despite training somewhere so exotic that he couldn’t mention where it was, Lance Armstrong did manage to get lured out into an interview with Eurosport during the Giro, in which he stated that Jan Ullrich was still the rival he feared most. “He’s the one that wakes me up in the morning,” commented Armstrong. I have no doubt this is true, given the Texan’s relatively poor showing so far this season. I mean, we all know Big Jan’s training habits, and if you’re going to sleep in until he wakes you up, it’s a pretty safe bet you won’t be seeing the south side of midday anytime soon.