“Malediction”? Dang, y’all; give Cyclingnews’ man in France bonus points for sending me to the dictionary in his Stage 2 Paris-Nice report. I knew what it meant, but believed it applied strictly to curses in the form of incantations. I wouldn’t use it as he did, but the judges gave it the thumbs up, and its inclusion certainly added little spice to your typical “early-break-brought-back-Boonen/Petacchi-sprint-victory” report. (You know, like this one from the Tour of Lucca Province, which, for you trivia buffs out there, was Cipo’s last professional victory and the greatest birthday gift I could have received from the chiseled Tuscan.) More bad news for CSC in the early running this season, though, as CVV found the pavement in today’s stage and was forced to withdraw from the event. Initial X-Rays are negative, which is positive, given his history of broken collarbones.
For those who don’t like the cold, the Race of the Two Seas (“Tirreno” and “Adriatico” being the Mediterranian waterways on either side of the Italian boot) gets underway tomorrow. Three-time World Road Champ Oscar Freire is looking to get his groove back after missing essentially half of last year due to injury, while smaller teams like Naturino-Sapore di Mare (scroll down) and Barloworld (just above the “Barloworld” headline) will be praying that someone will at least notice them among the ProTour heavyweights. Barloworld’s ace has already taken a trick this season (because he won from a group of four riders, get it?), while Murilo Fisher’s stellar conclusion to last season may make him a guy to watch for Naturino. But if all this early-season jostling on the roads of Europe just isn’t to your palate, the North American Handmade Bicycle Show has enough nuance and lugged steel to satisfy even the most discriminating Rivendell Reader subscriber.