Archive | March, 2007

Is Something Fishy Here?

30 Mar

Yes, very fast. I am pressed for time. Why is it the less you have to do, the harder it is to find time to do it in? Ah well. Coppi/Bartali Stage 4: Another newbie “breaks the duck”, to borrow Eurosport’s strangely uncomfortable phrase. The stage was shortened due to “harsh” conditions of 8C and rain. Only in Italy, folks.

In Spain, Francisco Ventoso won again. Can’t tell if he’s that good, or the rest of the field (sprinting wise) is that weak. Meanwhile, Alberto Contador wrapped up the GC because he had orders to win. Ordering a rider to win – brilliant! Is that Johan Bruyneel a tactical genius or what?
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Velonews' Boo-boo, Racing News

29 Mar

Sloppy copy editor that I am, I can sympathize with a typo or two. But a dead link on a freakin’ “Site of the Day” page – I mean, wow. Don’t worry, though; since it’s for a good cause, I sent my friends in Boulder an email informing them of the mistake. If I haven’t been permanently relegated to the spam filter, the error will probably be fixed by the time you read it. But, just in case, I’ve memorialized the gaffe for posterity at CiteBite.com.
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Boonen's New Bike a Winner, Other News

28 Mar

I think Tom Boonen likes his new bike. I mean, it could have been Mike Sinyard called him and was all like, “yo, Tom, bro – quit harshin’ on my rides”. But after Boonen’s emphatic victory celebration today at the Dwars door Vlaanderen, in which he pointed repeatedly at the top tube and grinned like an E-popping club rat on a velour couch, I think he really did like the bike. Cycling.TV‘s commentators suggested he was indicating something wrong with his front wheel, but why would anyone celebrate that?
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Races Proliferate, LeBron James Buys Cannondale.

27 Mar

Man, I forgot how busy things got in this here “regular season”; we’ve got some race in Spain, another in Italy, and a third in France, and I don’t care about any of them! (though Pavel Brutt breaking away, in the rain, to take second, then the GC lead, over the course of a split-stage, two days removed from a 260K solo in Milan-friggin’-Sanremo is pretty impressive).
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I'm Wrong, Assorted Weekend Recap

26 Mar

Well, looks like I’m 0-for-2 on the season. In my defense, as Chris points out, Oscar Freire was (in hindsight) an easy pick, and I’m not interested in cycling because it’s easy. If I wanted easy, I’d watch Olympic rifle – the event that doesn’t seem to realize it’s biathlon without the wind, cold, time pressure, elevated heart rate and – oh yeah – 5 to 50k of cross-country skiing.

But I digress. Even with the bunch sprint, MSR was not easy – a hot pace, long-lived breakaway (to the Cipressa!) and rough crashes seemed to keep the lid on attacks. Team CSC rode for O’Grady, elminating any number of breakaway threats, while even a few riders with no one to work for (Kim Kirchen, I’m looking at you) seemed content simply to pull the field back together.
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My MSR Preview

23 Mar

Time for the last round of MSR previews. Eurosport gives the most straightforward look, while Velonews calls the race “shy a few participants” while naming only one absenteee (Basso). Pez describes the chances of every bike racer ever, but neglects to pick a favorite. But enough of my incessant badmouthing. Americans like to blather about how it’s not the critic who counts, and so, with no further adieu, here is my Sanremo preview:
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Weak Coverage, More Previews, The REAL Stories

22 Mar

Jeez, what is up with all the Vino’ press lately? The guy has an interview in L’Equipe and gets coverage like he’d cracked the Zodiac case or something. But sure, it’s newsworthy that TdF contenders have a sparse early season schedule [pause] NOT! It’s about as newsworthy as a story on a TdF contender fine-tuning his time-trial position in a wind tunnel…oh wait. <sarcasm>Well, it’s just good to know I can always count on my friends in Boulder for a worthwhile story.</sarcasm>
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Bad MSR Previews, More Puerto Fun

21 Mar

Hmm, third week in March…I seem to recall there was some sort of big thing in cycling around this time…OMD! – that’s “OMG” en français – it’s the “just over three months to the Tour de France” mark! Better track down and interview a race favorite! Seriously, though, Reuters was probably better off running a TdF story than coming out with an MSR preview as doofy as ProCycling’s. Allow me to highlight an offending paragraph:

“The sprinters have often had it their way in recent years, as long as they have the legs to last nearly 300km. Alessandro Petacchi (Milram) and Oscar Freire (Rabobank) won it in 2005 and 2004, while Tom Boonen (Quick.Step), Robbie McEwen (Predictor-Lotto), Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole) are all solid favourites.”

I wouldn’t say the sprinters have generally “had it their way” on the via Roma – four of the past ten Sanremos have been taken from a break or suicide attack. Furthermore, Petacchi hasn’t been sterling thus far, Hushovd’s looked flat out bad, Boonen’s sick and failed to take even a stage at P-N, and McEwen’s never even approached competitive at Sanremo. That leaves ’04 winner Oscar Freire, who ProCycling’s own April ’07 cover calls “a walking disaster”. Favorites indeed.

Velonews interviews another non-favorite today in Cofidis’ Tyler Farrar (that’s him, second helmet from the right, getting annihilated at KBK). While the win is a longshot, Farrar could definitely prove to be the ace up Nick Nuyens’ sleeve this weekend, which would be pretty cool. Let’s hope, unlike the last American who did well at San Remo, that he doesn’t end up leading out Romans Vainsteins for he next two years.

Podium Cafe has tracked down a few MSR previews that might not suck (haven’t checked – too lazy), and Cycling4All has a provisional start list up. Notably absent are the number one and two rated cyclists in the UCI ProTour standings – it’s like they don’t even care about keeping that white jersey, or something. Anyway, until better previews come up, you can entertain yourself with more Operacion Puerto fun.

Kloden Wraps Up T-A, The Real Season Begins

20 Mar

Stick a fork in the ’07 pre-season, kids – it’s done. Down-again/up-again Andreas Kloden held on to win Tirreno-Adriatico, perhaps reminding Team Astana’s enemies in The Cartel that the Kazakh squad’s talent more than outweighs Rene Haselbacher’s incessant crashes. Anyway, Het Volk, Paris-Nice and T-A are big, important events, but the season begins in earnest this week. I’m serious. Even the Belgians agree with me on this; Nokere Koerse, the first of the Flandrian classics, takes place Wednesday – though the main event is, and has been for the past 100 years, this Saturday in Milan.
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A Bad Weekend, but Good Racing

19 Mar

How all occasions do inform against me! First, snow appears from nowhere and puts the kibosh on the weekend’s racing. Then my internet goes out and robs me of the live action I might have otherwise seen. Oh, and ZeFrank goes off the air, I leave my bike at work, the T breaks down, I get stranded at the freezing cold Harvard Busway for 85 minutes, and pretty much everything else you can imagine going wrong this weekend, does.

Oh, to be young and European instead. Continuing the trend most rightly sounded out by Cyclocosm poster “fish-e”, it seems that a new generation of stars, most younger than I am, is coming to the fore (and I ain’t old). Today’s new face – Lampre’s Matteo Bono (nice U2 reference from Eurosport), who hung on from the break over the peloton-splintering climb Monte Della Laga. Moments later, Andreas Kloden, who’s generally only good once every four years or so, vaulted past compatriot and overnight leader Stefan Schumacher to take the GC driver’s seat.
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