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Futtersack von Salzburg

Who knew my high school German would actually get so much use because of Cycling? Anyway, some farewell thoughts, and daily links, as we say auf wiedersehen to the World Championships.

Departing thoughts: From BiciRace comes the best information of how the race was won in the DS car. Italian manager Franco Ballerini played his cards masterfully, plain and simple. The biggest danger on the road were breakaways by strongmen like Vinokourov and Cancellara, but these guys were neutralized by superior sprinters Alessandro Ballan and Filippo Pozzato, and were softened up by Davide Rebellin's fliers -- turns out he was racing for Italy, not Argentina. Then the Squadra Azzurri held the pack together for the final sprint, itself a danger and a near disaster if McEwen hadn't been blocked out of the last-km separation. From Ballerini:

"When Nocentini and Tosatto were in the first escape, I thought, what a great story we have begun to write. But I was concerned with continuing with what we had started. With seven laps to go, I said to the boys, 'Make a mess of this race,' and they responded perfectly. When I saw Hushovd tired on the climbs on the last lap, it was clear that we could also battle for the sprint. Was I afraid of losing? Yes, certainly. But if you have true warriors in your squadra then you don't have this fear."

Much, much more on the flip:

First off, the game stories:

  • From the Italian media: Il Prez calls Paolo to congratulate. Also Bettini confirms that the rainbow will be on parade immediately, at both Zurich and Lombardia. No word on Paris-Tours next weekend just yet.
  • If you only click on one link, ever, this one should be the one. Nice to see he's gained a good six inches of height since then.

Zabel: coulda used a team...

"Maybe I did too much in the last few kilometres in order to get to the front. I had to go for all or nothing. It is brutal when when you see the finish line 50 meters ahead of you, see that you are leading and then you lose anyway."

Boonen: Had a team, but it didn't matter...

"At the end I didn't have the legs to succeed myself. When I realised that it wouldn't be me, then better Paolo than someone else. It stays in the team [QuickStep -- I guess they pay the bills (ed.)]...I think that the team worked perfectly for me; you can only speak of a perfect tactic if you have the world champion in your camp. This is not a disappointed man. I think that I rode quite a good World's. The most important thing was that my own result had nothing to do with condition. Actually, the whole championship unfolded until the last seven hundred metres just as I wanted. We tried to keep the pack together. I was good enough to become world champion, but the circumstances dictated otherwise."
  • Basso to be cleared? Dutch media on the scoop.
  • Landis: No dismissal. Not sure if that's anything more than, you don't get off that cheaply.