The Pro Cycling Tour got back underway today, after a whopping three days off, with the 6km Eneco Tour prologue in Holland, won by dashing ladies' man Stef Schumacher of Gerolsteiner.
Prologues are notoriously unhelpful at the big tours, but in a smaller tour, on the eve of a grand tour, they can provide some insight into who's coming here to win. Not surprisingly, homers Rabobank put three in the top 20: Posthuma (3rd), Dekker (10th), and Flecha (20th). Better still -- and probably more motivated -- were Discovery, with Hincapie 2nd, Jason McCartney 11th, and Leif Hoste 14th. It's also intriguing to see the Spring Classics bar out in force: besides Hincapie, Hoste and Flecha, world champion Tom Boonen nabbed an impressive 5th, teammate Nick Nuyens was 8th, and Alessandro Ballan 18th.
Being a 50% Dutch race, expect plenty of focus on T-Dekk, now the only remaining Dekker in the elite ranks, and the country's next great hope. Eurosport kicks off the hsyteria with a brief feature. T-Mob, meanwhile, are featuring another promising young Dutchman: Bas Giling.
The rest of the day's fun on the flip:
- What better way to find out what's happening at Disco than to Ask Johan.
- Speaking of Disco, here's their Vuelta roster: Michael Barry, Manuel Beltran, Janez Brajkovic, Tom Danielson, Stijn Devolder, Vladimir Gusev, Benoit Joachim, Egoi Martinez and Jurgen Van Goolen.
- Apparently two grand tours and one brush with immortality weren't enough for one season for CSC's Carlos Sastre, who's off to win the Vuelta. If he is still on form, he'll be a serious favorite. And that's some old school performance.
- T-Mob held Andreas Kloden back from the D-Tour so he could go and crash himself in the Regio Tour instead. The more things change...
- Quote of the day... Fabian Wegmann on the Klasikoa (from CN): "This race doesn't like me, and I don't like it either." Something about ETA protesters with chains disrupting the Jaizkebel climb...
- Fun piece of the day: Pez tags along in the T-Mob car during a stage of the DanmarkRundt. Get to know T-Mob mech Stefan Ullrich, der Jan's bro.