And what else is new? It’s the third time for the Aussie, who didn’t actually win in 2003, but was awarded the victory after David Millar admitted to doping before the event in early 2004. Bobby Julich was nowhere to be found, and an aging and busted-up Eki also found himself adrift at the wrong end of the results sheet.
After today’s break, the big races are coming up. Tomorrow is U23 Gents and the Elite Women. Then the elite men on Sunday. And the big thing on everyone’s mind is crashes, crashes, crashes. Tom Boonen, the Belgian contender, called the final corner “irresponsable”, while in Sie7e magazine (a sort-of Spanish version of Maxim), Spanish hope Alexando Valverde went over a few of his least favoite places on the circuit. My favorite – Plaza de Lima, 20 clicks into the 26k lap: “I sure hope the pavement is ready in time…” Though the gaping hole pictured about his caption in the magazine has been sealed, it’s still pretty rough going. I’ll be on hand tomorrow to let you know how things turn out.
Taking a more relaxed approach is the USA’s best hope for an elite men’s medal, Fred Rodriguez, who admits to not having had the best preparation going into the event. No offense to “fast” Freddy, but if he’s even in the top 5, I’ll be amazed. Other than that Giro stage last year, he’s never been anywhere near the front in the sprint of a meaningful bike race without a certain Aussie teammate glued to his wheel. “What about USPRO, you ask?” What about it? American fields (up to this year) have been so weak that hanging in at the top 5 with the international riders was more than enough to secure F-Rod the the Stars and Stripes. USAC needs to get serious about its championship event, and start awarding the jersey to the winner, not just the first American.