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Racing! In Europe!!

Things are going to heat up pretty quickly, it seems. Not only are we under two weeks from the Tour of California, but starting Tuesday, as in tomorrow, you can see or maybe just read about the following riders in action, back in the old country: Baden Cooke, Jimmy Casper, Brad McGee, Patrice Halgand, Andre Greipel, Axel Merckx, Roger Hammond, Nick Nuyens, Nico Eeckhoudt, Christophe Moreau, Pierrick Fedrigo, Xavier Florencio, Johan Vansummeren, and uh... Tyler Hamilton! Yes, it's the GP d'Ouverture La Marseillaise. A lot of the same characters, plus Philippe Gilbert, will be back the next day for Etoile de Besseges. This is getting fun.

Last year Baden Cooke took the 21-up sprint over Gilbert and Anthony Geslin. I guess we should look for another sprint... some pretty good flatlands firepower there. And it wouldn't be right if we didn't mark the occasion with the lyrics of La Marseillaise:

Arise, you children of the fatherland
The day of glory has arrived!
Against us, tyranny
Has raised its bloodied banner
Do you hear in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers?
They are coming into your midst
To devour your sons, your wives!

To arms, citizens!
Form your battalions!
Let us march, let us march!
May impure blood
Soak our fields' furrows!

It actually goes downhill from there. Who said the French aren't war-like?