Aug 28 2007
Why does this sound familiar: a well-known classics rider crashes out of a days-old lead on a seemingly innocuous stage of the Benelux Tour? Oh, yeah. Well, at least Nuyens had the good fortune to crash out a bit further from the line than old Gorgeous George; I guess we can “credit” the race organizers for structuring the event so that tomorrow’s final TT will render all previous stages meaningless. You better believe McEwen was peeved he had to do this race – have you ever seen the fiery Aussie rock a less enthusiastic victory salute?
Yeah, so Benelux is dull. But it’s all part of the circle of life – every Tour of Flanders requires a corresponding Benelux. How else would riders have an opportunity when to announce retirements or comebacks? It’s like how the Tulips need week after week of icy late-March rain to know when to sprout, or some other schlocky Nature Channel junk like that.
Having a boring August also streamlines the post-Tour cycling season. Sure, plenty of guys use Benelux to tune, and some might have even had it in their crosshairs for a week or two, but nobody circles it with a big red Sharpie on January 1st. Since July, the peloton’s major goals have been clear – Worlds or Vuelta. Though I guess now there’s this third objective, too. It’s hard to overlook that million-dollar purse, even if that sum just isn’t what it used to be.