So it’s mid January. I had been, throughout my previous half-decade of running this blog, under the impression that this time of year was the “off season”. But apparently this opinion is not shared by a cabal of very old, very white men in Aigle, Switzerland.
Yes, while all reasonable cyclists are just digging out the trainer/building base Jens Factor-style, a few select sprinters—actually, just Andre Gripel so far—are profiting immensely from the UCI ProTour’s attempt to outflank the owners of the biggest bike races on Earth.
I’ve seen 1:45 of Versus’ highlights (they don’t have Stage 2 posted yet), and all I can really say is that final run into the line seemed to have a bit of a hill on it. Andre Griepel, for being a giant sack of hamburger, seemed to shoot up it pretty quickly. Willunga Hill might be too much for him, but if he figures out how to ride cobblestones (he can’t yet, can he?) this could be an exciting spring.
Observations beyond that: Footon-Servetto kits don’t look so awful when the riders are actually moving on the bike; it’s going to be a very red peloton this year and (thanks, Chris!) Lance Armstrong seems to have misplaced his rainbow stripes.