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Daily... I mean Nightly Feedbag

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Back in town after a long week of meetings. Portland is a great biking city as far as riding in the city limits is concerned. And they race six days a week down there.  But enough about me...

  • Prognosis... Pain! Stuey O'Grady broke five ribs and a collarbone in his mishap with an Italian pothole yesterday. Certainly a shame, given his status as a Man of the Peloton, and especially since it comes on the eve of many of his big goals, especially Milan-San Remo. Not that he had a chance against Boonen, but it would've been interesting to have him in the mix. Time to start targeting green jerseys.
  • The news everywhere is Quick Step, Quick Step, Quick Step. Kind of reminiscent of that scene in Being John Malkovich ...Malkovich, malkovich, malkovich... MALKOVICH!. Does Allan Davis walk around at the end of each stage and see Boonen's face everywhere, in the crowd, on the podium girls, etc?
  • A note about injuries... five ribs and a collarbone? My worst fall, I had a deep bruise and some cuts, and couldn't walk normally for a few days. Knock on wood. Granted I paid to crash out of that race, rather than drawing a salary, but it still boggles the mind what sort of punishment these guys accept.
  • Um, Tyler Hamilton is racing again? Somehow the ban doesn't apply to the Stazio Crit Series.
  • Pez has another entry in its quixotic attempt to interview the entire peloton, this time it's Bobby Julich.
  • It's not Earth-shattering when your own teammate tips you for the Tour, but Axel Merckx's statement that he thinks Floyd is ready is interesting, and perhaps offers us one way of viewing Paris-Nice. Is this the coming out party? Obviously for Landis to win he needs to show a step up from last year when he was solid but not dangerous. These early results either indicate he's getting ahead of himself, or maybe he had a really great offseason. Anyway, here's what Axel told Cycling News:
"Floyd can win the Tour," Axel Merckx told Belgian newspaper HLN. "He's surprising everyone. Never thought that he already would be this good this early," Merckx said. According to his Phonak teammate, Floyd Landis is a very classy rider, a real leader; but he also knows how to build a good atmosphere in the team.

"It's hard to have a serious conversation with him. He constantly has you laughing," Merckx commented. Defending the yellow jersey on Landis' shoulders is the first job for the Phonak team in Paris-Nice, but is it possible that they are also looking at going for the overall win in that three week-tour in July?

"Floyd is really blooming now he's reached thirty. He's got all the qualities [to win the Tour]: he's a strong time-triallist, a decent climber and he's not afraid. You can build your house on him. But let him start with Paris-Nice," Merckx concluded.