CSC can't do much wrong these days. We who obsess over the sport have noted with interest the style of program Bjarne Riis has been building the last few years: serious, respectful, innovative... smart. Riis himself is the man who ended Miguel Indurain's run at the Tour, so he comes with immense credibility, which has only expanded as he's helped one cyclist after another reach their potential at CSC. All he lacked was a big enough budget to keep his best guys, and now that he's secured the support he needs... well, it just seems like they're taking off.
Sure, they can't really answer when an in-form Alejandro Valverde starts an uphill sprint. But neither could Lance last July...
- Valverde's win at today's Fleche Wallonne should surprise very few people; there's been a lot of talk recently about his form and ability translating into Ardennes success. [See Bettini's odds at Bicirace.] Like the lede in CN's race report says, he can climb like a goat and sprint like a trackie. Look for him to get Boonen-like favorite status prior to Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Other race reports at VeloNews (not from the Professor), as well as BiciRace, and Eurosport for some good post-race quotes.
- Tour de Georgia is on as I type. Today's stage is another promenade to a sprint, and the real hostilities don't start until tomorrow's time trial. Still, if you like a good sprint, well... tune in four days from now for the video. Pez interviews contender Marco Pinotti, and Roadside Steve talks about the weather.
- Cunego and Simoni went 1-2 at today's Giro del Trentino's second stage. Fittingly, BiciRace delivers the blow-by-blow. Cunego's form is becoming very intriguing.
More on the flip...
- In Pez's preview there's a shot of the Discovery boys all lined up at the team presentation. If they had any sense of humor, Discovery would have sent out nine generic humans wearing awkward cutout masks of the actual riders. When I land the DS job, these are the things you can expect.
- BiciRace is a fiore today: they've got an interview with Nuostro Andy, as Hampsten is known in Italia.
- Just curious, but do the people who live between Paris and Roubaix like hearing their home turf referred to as "hell"? To hear the media, you'd think we should expect the local rap producers to start a verbal war with Death Row Records.
- Coming soon: you can't trust anyone over 27...