You want to know why everyone likes Cyclingnews so much? No, it’s not the fact that their staff is pretty good at writing, or that their webpage is simple and straight forward, or even that they’re constantly making sweet references references to everything from “South Park” (search “profit”) to The Italian Job. No, it’s their brevity and concision. They had two short flashes (one reporting, one analysis), then one feature on reactions (by the way, Johan B is a funny, funny man) from yesterday’s TdF route presentation. God, it’s like they planned it or something instead of just vomiting up articles (here’s another one, by the way) as they came in. Heck, even Pez, sometimes way too eager to prove they really do have people in Europe at events (try searching their page for “Lombardia”) has kept it to one tight report (and one decidedly underdressed Thomas Voeckler) so far.
Outside of the Tour thing, news is a bit slow. That is, perhaps, why no one can seem to agree on who this Tour favors. With more news out there, riders, reporters, analysts and general hacks would give the route a brief whitewash, and move on to more important things. Instead, now everyone needs their own “special” take: Cyclingnews has called it “cautious,” Velonews says “difficult,” Michael Rasmussen says “easy,” Daily Peloton has called it a “climbers'” race, Rudy Pevenage says it will “favour all the main contenders,” and one poster on Usenet called it “an Ullrichfest.” So what do I think? I think it will be a week and a half of suspense and crashing followed by immense boredom (see 2004). Per Tyler Hamilton’s concerns, the cobbles have been swaped for the low hills of Belgium and Germany, and there’s and earlier TT, but still, the 100k of chrono isn’t enough to favor the fat, powerful riders. Whichever skinny jerk (Basso, Valverde, Cunego, etc) is the least beat after 2 weeks of racing will ride away from everyone, just like Armstrong did. Except that now, this “drama” of taking the peloton out behind the woodshed, will once again be “epic,” because for the first time in 7 years, it’ll be some other dude administering the beatdown.
Of course, there’s other news out there, too. O’Grady to CSC has been getting a fair amount of press, and Landis at the Giro has raised a few eyebrows as well. Disco’s Hayden Roulston got in another fight, but the team appears to have his back. And the freaking Magnus Backstedt derny hour record has been getting way too much attention, and I refuse to link to it (until he dumps the derny). The big news for me is here (scroll down): No more ‘cross beer tents. Having recently enjoyed a beer tent, I can safely say that there is almost not risk posed to riders (at least, those riders who are not cutting the course) by having beer on site at ‘cross races. No word on how the Belgians plan to react to this, but I know how someone else would.