A variety of goodies in the musette today...
- Starting as we always do on the road, Bradley Wiggins' prologue win was certainly heard across the Channel, as Englishmen of all stripes line up their form for the London kickoff of the Tour de France. In all likelihood, the Tour prologue will heavily feature Wiggins, David Millar (a Scot!), and worse, Yanks like George Hincapie and David Zabriskie. Whether Wiggins' win is portentious or not remains to be seen. Like yesterday, the London Prologue is board flat, save for ten meters' climbing at the entrance to Hyde Park, but this schedule makes it sound like it'll have plenty of turns. Yesterday's race was 2.1km out on the Cours Jean Jaures, and 2.1km right back to the start, with one 180 in between. So you probably won't see Tom Boonen and Nick Nuyens in the top 10 of next month's Tour kickoff unless they can corner with the best of them.
- Back stateside, JJ Haedo took yesterday's final sprint in the Philadelphia Championship, denying Bernhard Eisel the true Triple Crown in the third and final leg of the Commerce Bank series... but Eisel gets credit for the "overall win" running third yesterday. Even though Philly no longer means the US Championship, it's still nice to see the riders climbing the Manayunk wall. I went looking for that once, not knowing my way around town. Probably for the best I never found it. Anyway, VN has a photo gallery well worth a perusal.
- Crappy weather scuttled lots of plans at the Euskal Bizikleta, leaving Constantino Zaballa (Caisse d'Epargne) to kick away from the competition at the finishing Alto de Arrate and steal the day and overall win. Jose Miguel Elias Galindo (Relax-Gam) and Jörg Jaksche (Tinkoff) came home together 30 seconds later, and that's where they stood in the final GC as well. Astana's Gregory Rast won the overall and final stage at the Tour of Luxembourg, while John Gadret (AG2R) nabbed a minor win at the Gippingen GP in Switzerland.
- Early warning system: Clydesdale and the Podium Cafe management team are re-working the points for the upcoming Tour de France Virtual Directeur Sportif competition, set to kick off next Monday (probably). The rules will be the same, but the rider values will be carefully tailored to the Tour (something we didn't do enough of at the Giro), and the point scoring system will be slightly changed to give a bit more love to the stage winners, and a little less to the maillot pois. More info coming.
- Finally, there appear to be lots of newcomers today, thanks to Men's Journal (see below). To those of you, welcome! The Podium Cafe is in a bit of a much-needed coasting stage between the Giro and the Tour, but if you want to know what our grand tour coverage will look like, scroll down through the last few weeks. And if the site's features suddenly turn yellow sometime next week, it's not a malfunction. Oh, and the Virtual Directeur Sportif competition is our totally-free, open to all fantasy game. We run a year-long version as well as separate games for the Giro, the Tour and the Vuelta. Details here and more next week.