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Cycle Sport's Opinions Must Be Criticized in the Spirit of Class Struggle

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Update [2007-12-27 17:28:8 by chris]: Whoops! I forgot my CCP-speak pledge below. Also, I'm not too handy with the red-guardisms these days; thanks to wikipedia for the assist.

OK, enough politics... back to the road. Cycle Sport mag is IMHO always an entertaining read, but when it comes to opinion pieces we do not see eye to eye. I've bloviated enough about their doping campaign, but today comes another one I can't let go: their rankings of the best day of 2007.

First, some background: we polled this question in maybe November? And the results were as follows:

  1. Tour of Flanders
  2. Paris-Nice final stage
  3. Tour de France final ITT
  4. Tour of Lombardy
  5. Gerdemann's Tour stage win
  6. Gent-Wevelgem
  7. Vuelta Stage 16 15 (Sam-[in]San[e])
  8. Liege-Bastogne-Liege
  9. Milan-San Remo
  10. Giro Stage 4
Not sure how scientific our polls are, but these ten choices were culled from extensive nominations, and the rankings reflect 85 votes. So presumably there's a grain of truth in there someplace.

Here's Cycle Sport's:

1. Paris-Roubaix; 2. Dauphine; 3. Gent; 4. Paris-Nice; 5. Lombardy; 6. Amstel Gold; 7. DeutschlandTour; 8. Flanders; 9. Paris-Tours; 10. Pais Vasco; 11. TdSuisse; 12. MSR; 13. La Fleche; 14. Tirreno-Adriatico; 15. Eneco Tour; 16. Le Tour; 17. Vuelta; 18. Catalunya; 19. GP Plouay; 20. Liege; 21. Giro... blah blah blah.

I'm OK with Paris-Roubaix, or at least resigned to CS's unshakable anglophilia habit overriding their judgment on at least one article per issue. Anyway, O'Grady is a worthy figure to celebrate even if I'm not interested in doing so. But reasonable minds cannot differ on a few items here.

  • Uncontested races -- I mean you, second-ranked Dauphine and 11th ranked Tour de Suisse! -- cannot outrank the Giro d'Italia. CS tabs the Dauphine because they loved seeing Christophe Moreau win on Mt. Ventoux. Fine, but that was one stage in a race dominated by soon-to-be disgraced Astana riders and other big names limiting their efforts. As for the Suisse Tour, CS loved the route. Excuse me? That was superior to the Giro course? Absurd.
  • Passive races -- I mean you, Amstel Gold -- cannot outrank aggressive ones. CS loved the AGR because of the presence of a "quality lead group": Schumi, Rebellin, DiLuca, Boogerd, Bettini, Valverde, etc. Unfortunately, when Schumacher attacked, all those quality lead riders sat there like fricking statues and watched the race disappear, making for perhaps the worst and most disappointing classics race of the entire year. Read our live thread if you want to relive the horrors. By contrast, Liege-Bastogne-Liege (CS's #20) was marked by aggressive challenges by riders seemingly determined not to sleep through this one. Flanders, rated 8th by CS as "good, not great," was a non-stop slugfest for the last 40km, starting with Cancellara's unbelievable attacks, then the Lampre move, Hoste's massive bridge, and the unfrickingbelievable finale. I'm a little short on time, but I bet if you read the rider comments after these races, they'd surely agree that AGR was the absolute lowlight of April.
  • Eneco Tour: OK, now I think they're trying to piss me off...