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Versus Blogging: Paris Nice!

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Hm, long day today, and I'm just now sitting down to watch Paris-Nice, snagged by our trusty DVR some eight hours ago. I should be outside replacing my fender for the week's commuting, but my oldest is having sleep issues, and all I can say is it's a good thing Stacey hid those leftover painkillers from the birth. So it's a grape juice and a tape-delayed prologue for me.

Since most of you already saw the race, I'll do this on the flip.

Why does Versus call this a "special presentation"? Are they asking us to grovel for another round of Cycling, or they'll get back to their normal diet of forestry games?

As if the UCI/ASO saga wasn't excruciating enough, now I have to listen to Bob Roll's take on it.

Patrik Sinkewitz, team leader. Now I have video evidence.

Ah, the American challengers. Even Tyler Farrar gets a mention. And unlike the rest, I'm interested in seeing him in action.

Roman Kreutzinger lays down the fastest time. All we see of him is his "drunken swordsman" technique coming down the ramp.

Whoa! Info-mercial time! How much did Cervelo pay for that little spot? And why does Versus think I need to have a $10k time trial rig waved in my face?

Danielson on the road, rocking violently as he cranks it up. He looks good, but there's a fine line between cranking up the speed and sprawling on the pavement. But he's up, and although I don't recall where he finished today, I still see him as a potential podium for the overall in this race. He seems to be bringing it a little earlier this year.

Tyler Farrar doesn't warrant a single moment on camera, apparently. Commercial time now, and instead of fast-forwarding, I'll use this time to review the day's news. Let's see... the big news out of Murcia is Danilo Napolitano's blistering winter form, as he took yet another sprint win in today's final stage of the Vuelta a Murcia. Some Valverde person won the overall, though obviously nobody cares. Wouter Weylandt, Cycle Sport's top Quick Step prodigy, took the third day of West Flanders, but Jimmy Casper hung on for the overall title. Also, if you want to improve your abs, apparently you can do this for only $19.99.

Back on. Nice sweeping run-in by Danielson, ten seconds down. And HAHAHA... he kicks ass on Christian Vandevelde, $10k Cervelo and all! VS has all day to write their script, do they really have to stick to the CSC-uber-alles version when they have five hours to confirm it didn't happen?

Damn, another break. Apparently the excitement of Fabio Baldato's casual ride called for a time out. CN is totally flogging the Unibet story, but frankly I don't think I can read this stuff anymore. BTW, I love how erectile dysfunction pill-makers have switched the name to the non-threatening "ED".

Sinkewitz gives a non-interview in English, while warming up. Poor guy, he's got enough to think about, and he looks like he's about 18.

Andrew Hood at VN is maybe my favorite beat writer these days. He bagged an interview with Tom Boonen in Paris this weekend, and seems to be filing real race stories from just about everywhere lately. Also, I think I remember interviewing Andy for my college paper in the 80s when he was a 7-Eleven guy... if my shitty memory serves me.

Gotta love the Sylvan Calzati coverage. I think he might have finished in the top half! Paul keeps flogging Boonen as a favorite today. But it's back to ads so we can prepare ourselves to see Zabriskie ride. Even though we've gotten no indication whatsoever this year that Zabriskie is on form yet.

"Denny's works for me because I love my bacon, I love my ham, I love my sausage, and I love my lipitor." OK, that's not what he said, but I see a great partnership opportunity here. Like nightclubs and condoms... you should be able to buy some cholesterol pills in the bathroom for a buck.

Bobby J talking cycling politickxs! Only briefly, but if he's any indication, a lot of guys are really relieved to be here racing today, not reading about the bullshit. Dave Zee hits the ramp in his garish US National Champs' jersey. I've got no problem with our flag, it's more interesting than yet another tricolor, but as a fashion statement... Hey! If that constitutional amendment against flag decescration passed, would Zabriskie be thrown in jail for wearing this? Oh, the ironicalness...

Not to whine, but I'm taking a year off from racing this year (kids, blady blah) and the one difference from last year, other than not feeling like I should be out riding, is how fat watching these guys makes me feel. Maybe I should be watching "Bulldog Fight: St. Petersburg.

Bulldog... World Combat League... Destination X... boxing... is there a form of combat that's not airing on Versus? I keep waiting for an ad for the World Championships of Rock Throwing.

Dave Zee looking smooth, but he's not a technical course rider. I know he didn't win, but couldn't Versus have come out and stated the obvious, that he has no business winning this type of prologue? Add a dozen km or three dozen or five and he's a favorite. I'm not exactly sure how you create a prologue winner, but not by winning hour-long time trials.

Iban Mayo looks chunky! WTF?? Could be worse, he could bang his knee on his bars like Luca Paolini just did. Whoops! Daniele Bennati looking rather good. His presence here makes for some sprint drama against Boonen... and he comes in 7th, surprisingly.

I'm tempted to rewind the Flomax ad just to document all the incredible horrors you could be visited by as mere side effects to taking this medication for enlarged prostate. Wouldn't a person be better off just getting up to use the bathroom a bit more frequently than, say, getting hit with decreased semen, fainting spells, cataracts, and so on?

Levi being diplomatic about Basso's presence now. His PR people seem to have found his cell phone number since the Tour of California. Mayo silences the doubters with a top-hundred performance.

Jakob Storm Piil on the course! Steegmans too. Unfortunately the longest stretch of cobbles is about 10 meters. Gilbert on course now. We proved our point last year with the U-27 Project, where we tracked the sport's fastest men under the age of 27. Might be a bit more discriminating this time... the U-25 Project?

Uh oh, I had been assuming that VS would squeeze their usual superficial job into an hour, but it's a two-hour show. Respect for the Pro Tour opener? Is anyone else thinking what this would be like if we were watching a French national federation race instead? Like, if Bob Roll had to deal with saying the names of 200 obscure French guys?

What exactly is Alberto Contador's role on Disco? Leader for the Vuelta? Unlike Danielson and Leipheimer, there's no urgency for Alberto to win now... but apparently he could. Disco have a little late-70s Yankee mojo working. You can't be sure whether they'll brawl on the team bus, sweep the grand tours, or maybe both?

Those Irish Spring ads have brought my mind to a complete halt.

Peter Weening looks like a greyhound. Maybe it's the body suit, but the guy is built like an arched steel bar. Contador comes in 3rd!

Frank Schleck 56th. How many VDS points are available there? I've got to look on the bright side. Millar on course. so Versus had better switch away.

And so on. See you for Monday's stage!