Welcome to Team Presentation Week, folks! Or maybe week(s). I know BMC and Cannondale are happening at the end of this week, conveniently before the universe turns to the Cross Worlds. After all, why stage a press event when the press aren't around? Anyway, with the calendar flipping, riders signed by their new teams eons ago can officially admit this fact and don their new kits. So there's that.
- Cannondale comes to Malibu this weekend. Peter Sagan is entering US territory. I repeat, Peter Sagan is entering US territory.
- Speaking of new kits, Garmin Sharp unveiled theirs. If you can name what's changed, I'll give you... my undying respect.
- More evidence riders are people too (and often rather nice ones): Tom Boonen visits Alessandro Ballan in a Spanish hospital. Ballan is still stuck there, saying recently that he is miserable over missing his kids, which further underscores how bad off he was after a training crash. Boonen, his main rival, brightened Ballan's mood a bit, you'd think, or at least they seem cheerful enough.
- Back to the mud... where exactly was it? Because only the typical crappy winter weather in Rome could have saved yesterday's World Cup Cyclocross stopover from being a dull-as-dishwater grassy crit. Personally I think the problem is too deeply ingrained for cross to survive in Italy. When your sense of fashion is that highly refined, I just think it's hard to accept the notion of getting completely covered in slop. Flanders is a lot of great things, but not a fashion hub. [I get this. I live in the Northwest.] So the idea of being so covered in mud that only your eyes are visible... just makes sense.
- There is some logic to the Rome stopover though, at least this year. With the rainbow jersey being decided on a course that isn't exactly a typical Belgian nightmare, perhaps the grassy crit has told us a thing or two about what to expect. The Louisville course is tricky enough and should be fun, much more so than yesterday. But we do now know that noted non-technical power guy Kevin Pauwels is on very good form, and Louisville will be closer to his comfort zone than that of Sven Nys.