San Remo Fever: catch it! The final round of previews is up: Velochimp gives the nod to Igor Astarloa as a dark horse pick if the group sprint doesn’t come together. He also suggests that Gazzetta dello Sport‘s recent award to race favorite Tom Boonen may have been a sneaky attempt to wear the Belgian down with pre-race travel; if this photo is any indication, mission accomplished. Some dude named Stephen Farrand notes on Yahoo! Cycling that no Italian rider has pulled off back-to-back wins on the via Roma in over half-a-century, a very strange thing considering the predominantly Italian character of this event. Velonews’ Andrew Hood begins his preview by stating that “the Via Roma finishing straight at Milan-San Remo belongs to the Italians”, which is so obviously inaccurate it makes me want to throw up. Eurosport feels like wasting my time by reporting that Petacchi, not Zabel, will lead team Milram tomorrow, while “Ete” himself says in this interview that he won’t rule out looking for the early break.
So, who’s Cyclocosm‘s pick to win tomorrow? Danilo-freakin’ Hondo, who just had his drug suspension overturned by the Swiss courts. It’s been quite a ride for the lanky, relocated German, whose saga has taken him from tearing it up last spring, to a probably-going-to-get-off case with a respected doping expert behind him, to a one-year suspension, to a two-year suspension, to apparently getting his case dismissed. Pez had a good article on the anti-doping process a few days back, but didn’t really go through the procedure for having your adopted country’s judicial system strike down a doping ban. Perhaps Johan Museeuw and his ten-codefendants might consider a change of nation if their doping trial doesn’t go as planned? And maybe Thomas Dekker, the young Dutchman who recently took his first major win, is keeping an eye on this whole business, as he credits Dr. Cecchini, his new coach, for his T-A win. Dekker’s association with the good doctor is not news, but neither is the air of suspicion that has always surrounded the reclusive Italian trainer and his protegÃ©s (Tyler Hamilton and Bjarne Riis, to name a few).