Dog Days

Is this the longest break from cycling on the post-Omloop calendar apart from the weeks before the opening stage of a grand tour? For once I may have timed my vacation properly... Anyway, the action doesn't stop for very long, but the talking about it might, because the Vattenfalls Cyclassic won't publish a goddamn startlist! I guess this is another symptom of the official German disdain for the current state of pro cycling: the Vattenfalls website, which I refuse to link to, spends much more time talking about the cyclosportive event than the elite race. Not for nothing -- the cyclosportive is billed as the "largest race in Europe" -- and don't we all love really large races? Lining up in a mass start event with 10,000 people of all types? Anyway...

Saturday marks the 25th anniversary of Veenendaal-Veenendaal, now known as the Dutch Food Valley Classic. Food Valley apparently is more of an ag collective than a supermarket, which it sounds like. But anyway, the race rolls through Utrecht Province, including a few parks. If you've ever wondered why Superted always seems like he's in a good mood after his rides, watch Saturday and you'll get an idea. I'm told it's rather lovely. The race itself has been won by its share of sprinters, notwithstanding the few hills late in the course, so I am assuming it's headed that way once more. If that's the case, look for defending champ Kenny Van Hummel, headliner Edvald Boasson Hagen, and maybe Michael Van Staeyen of Topsport Vlaanderen, coming off a (rascal-assisted) stage win and a second place in the Denmark Tour.

The headliner of the weekend is Sunday's Hamburg event, and I invite people to talk about it if they can think of anything to say. I had a dream last night that Niki Terpstra won some huge classic race in France (sort of a Plouay-Roubaix, if that makes sense). Combined with his win in the Sparkassen Giro, Terpstra was coming into this weekend on a serious roll, and I had installed him as a favorite for the race. This plays into both my VDS strategy and my previously expressed interest in a larger NL contingent at the worlds, which will help Lars Boom grab the rainbow in Melbourne. But I can think of a few problems with this. First, it was a dream, and not only that but a VDS-accented one, and we all know how my VDS team has killed off 25 cycling careers this year. Secondly, Milram have apparently gotten the message I foolishly disclosed earlier about the Worlds points system (Germany and the Netherlands being neck-and-neck for the final spot), and have shunted Terpstra off to the Food Valley Classic as a way of undermining his form and clearing the way for Milram's German riders to bolster their Worlds standing. Of course, diverting the Dutch Champion off this way to a Dutch race is a very clever cover for their real purposes, and I have to congratulate MIlram on their diabolical strategy. Punks.

Anyway, if you have info about watching the DFVC, please post it here. And whoever sees a Vattenfalls startlist first and posts it here gets a check from me for thirty, no, fifty U.S. dollars! [Checks will not be honored.]

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