Why do you even need the rest of the internet? I mean, yesterday, mere seconds after reading the Paris-Tours live reports I told you why Devolder wouldn’t pull through. Oh, sure, there were lots of theories floating around, but then, up comes the interview with Stijn himself, and over the radio, it’s his DS Dirk Demol telling him not to come through. Why? Because Gilbert would have won the sprint, just like I said. I even pointed out the (likely irrelevant) fact that the two riders were from opposite parts of Belgium. The only thing I really might have blown was Gilbert’s arm gesture: I reported it was one of these, when it might have been one of these, instead. Hopefully, Cycling.TV will replay the race at some point so I can see it, though if OLN (you think I’m linking their page? Get real.) broadcast a sh!tty one-hour, cut-up tape-delay version, they probably own exclusive US rights.
In races that aren’t Paris-Tours, Antonio Murilo Fisher has been on fire, taking most recently the Italian one-day GP Beghelli. Fisher, a Brazilian (with the name “Fisher?”) rides for some rinky-dink contentinental squad; after applying copious amounts of smack to an on form Paolo Bettini, I can’t imagine he’ll be stuck there for long. Apparently, he can climb, too, so keep those eyes peeled at Lombardy next weekend. We got some transfers to report, too: well, more non-transfers than transfers, but anyway – Joseba Beloki and Manuel Beltran have each chosen “Stay Together,” (well, on seperate teams) and have extended their contracts with Liberty Seguros and Discovery Channel, respectively. Ruskie Vlad Gusev, late of CSC, has had a “Change of Heart” and will add to Discovery Channel’s burgeoning Eastern European contingent.
In team news, Giancarlo Ferretti has pulled off yet another sick deal, landing Sony-Ericsson as head sponsor of his new squad through 2011 – wanna bet they get the ProTour slot left open by his old team, Fassa? Though they probably won’t let you bet on it, but I’d say the odds against Unibet.com are now pretty long. Certainly not helping Unibet.com/MrBookmaker are the antics of its star sprinter Stefan Van Dijk. Though the he had a sweet win for the squad at Benelux, the Dutchman with the perhaps suspiciously large forehead (search “forehead”) apparently skipped (scroll down) a dope control in June, and now faces discipline. Add it to the pile, I guess. Strange coincedence, then, that Van Dijk was initially mistaken (just above the “Photoraphy” heading) for teammate Frank Vandenbroucke at Paris-Tours.