Welcome to March-April Madness [Now, With Brackets!]

Patrick Verhoest

What? You thought this was about basketball? Puhleeze. Not to be That Guy, but my alma mater blew its clear shot at a tournament berth by losing to a team nobody knew existed. And since I didn't go to any of the colleges that have a chance of winning, it's not clear to me why I should care.

Especially not now. Seen the PdC World Calendar lately?


[click to embiggen]

Yup. It starts now. Or more accurately, tomorrow. With the completion of Tirreno-Adriatico, there are no longer any obstacles to enjoying the cobbled classics. Well, Milano-Sanremo, but that's more of an aside (albeit a very cool one). Here's the lineup:

  • Tomorrow: Nokere-Koerse
  • Friday: Handzame Classic
  • Wednesday 3/26: Dwars Door Vlaanderen
  • Friday 3/28: E3 Prijs Harelbeke
  • Sunday 3/30: Gent-Wevelgem
  • 4/1-4/3: Driedaagse De Panne
  • 4/6: Ronde Van VlaaaaAAAAAAGH!!!! um, Tour of Flanders
  • 4/9: Scheldeprijs
  • 4/13: Paris-Roubaix


Since you're here instead of wasting your time with basketball, let's reward you for your clear-thinking and generally awesome ways by giving you the one thing college basketball had to offer: a chance to fill out a bracket and compete against your fellow wo/man. Here's how it works.

For each race listed above, predict the podium. Wins are worth 6 points, second 4 points, third 2 points, and getting the name right but the podium place wrong is worth 1. To wit, if you had:

Tour of Flanders

  1. Matti Breschel
  2. Lars Boom
  3. Fabian Cancellara
and the actual results were
  1. Matti Breschel
  2. Tom Boonen
  3. Lars Boom

you would get seven points. Six for Breschel and one for Lars. Got it? Great!

The contest starts now.

When: Submit your bracket in toto before Friday. POINTS WILL BE GIVEN TOMORROW! So you should get at least that portion of your prediction in today. But I think we should keep the submission deadline open until the flag goes up on the Handzame Classic. So really, Thursday night. Plenty of time. If you don't get your Nokere Koerse prediction in, you'll just get a zero for that day, but remain fully eligible for the rest of it. Given the nature of that race, taking a zero is probably just a matter of time anyway.

How: email your bracket to podiumcafebrackets@yahoo.com

We could use someone to keep score, though I can do it if we get desperate. If you're willing, I'll give you the keys to the car, and a word of thanks.

Prizes? Sure, why not? The shwag box is sort of like the loaves and fishes story. It never quite runs out. But prizes aren't life-changing, which means the real reason to do this is to prove yourself better than other people (or not).


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