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When Crickets Attack

A brief $.02 on the status of Bettini, and what it all means. First, the guy has huge pain in his knee and lower back, something that isn't likely to go away after the first, oh, 293 km. Sprinting is pretty demanding on both of those body parts, so there is no way he wins a sprint finish with anyone of class.

But this actually solves more problems for Quick-Step than it causes.

Let's face it, from the sponsor's P.O.V., Bettini is the preferred winner. I'm sure Quick Step flooring is flying off the shelves of Home Depot-Belgium already, and a Bettini win would ignite whatever joy there may still be among the tifosi for one of their boys, albeit not the most savory character, so the sponsor wins in Italy too. And if I'm the DS, I'd be happy to let Bettini have the appetizer as part of a deal to make sure Boonen gets the main course.

That said, since Bettini is hurting, the only way he can likely win is in a sprint against lessers, i.e. as part of a winning break. So if the Cricket can get in on a good move late in the race, he should go for the win, and if there is no winning break, they have Boonen going for the line.

Another option for QS is to get Boonen in a break instead of Bettini, but that will never be allowed to happen... of the 23 teams, at least 20 of them have people specifically assigned to marking him. The last possibility is a break with neither, and QS will either need Pippo in there or have to chase it down.

Anyway, the point here is that there should be no conflict whatsoever with Bettini and Boonen, even less so now that Bettini is having his leg reattached.