Lost in all the drug talk today is the fact that we are hours from the dramatic two-stage suffer-fest that lay at the heart of this incredible Giro d'Italia parcours. Granted, the outcome doesn't seem as important as we'd expected, but we've got two incredible days of racing ahead. Also, Tom Boonen got back to business today in the Tour of Belgium, as did Erik Zabel in Bayern I suppose. [/sarcasm>
- Stage 18 Race Reports: CyclingNews, or Pez, or BiciRace, or CyclingRevealed.
- OK, I get it, the Giro is a big deal, but why is nobody covering the Tour of Belgium? Only CyclingNews offers a roundup of Boonen's win. Also, apparently Paride Grillo is the new Haselbacher after ramming a car today (DNF, not sure of his condition). At what point do riders start using their B-bikes when some of these guys are on the start list? Anyway, I hope he's OK. Time trial tomorrow, should be amusing.
- Coverage of the Bayern Rundfahrt is even worse, you have to go to the T-Mobile Site to get a writeup.
- Pez does its usual first-hand course recon, as well as checking in with Dario about yesterday's debacle.
That's about it. Oh, some post-stage quotes:
"I had this stage marked for me. I surely had to give everything, that was a damned hard race. But it was absolutely worthwhile. The finale went perfectly. After both my crashes, I wanted to try again. I simply wanted to show again that I could still do it in the third Giro week. That succeeded for me. And that was important to me. With my first stage win, I fulfilled a dream. That it also worked out with a second stage win is simply unbelievable."
José Iván Gutiérrez (Caisse d'Epargne, 2nd)
"I have to admit that the fastest rider won today. On the second last climb, I was in difficulty, but after that I was able to come back. It is a fact that when you are in a group with four other riders you believe in your chances, and that's why I tried to attack in the finish to surprise my breakaway companions, but they did not let me go and Schumacher was too strong in the sprint."
Marzio Bruseghin (Lampre-Fondital, 3rd)
"I've got no regrets. I gave all that I could, but Schumacher was faster. I'm sorry for my friend that handed out the awards for stage winners: he told me that he had kissed all the awards, hoping that I could win one. I think that he have to wait until next year!"