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Het Etenszakje*

[*That's the official Dutch. No offense to our Netherlands friends, but if there's a Flemish variation, send it along. This is Vlaamse week, after all. We'll switch to proper Dutch for Amstel Gold, or Queen Beatrix's birthday, or both.]

  • Odds on Italians and Aussies storming the North Countries this year are crashing down. The weather is going to s-u-u-u-c-k on Sunday. Possible snowflakes, though as a Seattleite I can tell you that if the air temp hovers just above freezing, it won't stick. For the riders' sake, hope the rain/sleet holds off til after the Koppenberg, minimum.
  • CN reports that Marcus Burghardt is back on the road, though not fit for de Ronde by any means. Obviously this is good news, but only if you try not to imagine how High Road would look with him out there Sunday along with Hincapie, Klier, an on-form Eisel, and a few other studs. Yikes! They should get one last chance in '09 to wind up this juggernaut before the Hink Era ends.
  • Basque Week starts tomorrow with the GP Big Mig (Miguel Indurain, natch), a mountainous circuit finishing at the Basílica del Puy. Bust out your Spanish skills and read about the Basílica here. The race has been in existence since 1951, thirteen years before Indurain's birth, with credit due to the clairvoyant nuns at the Basílica no doubt. Anyway, the winner isn't usually the biggest name on the startlist, though that has more to do with the startlist having huge names, and with the GP Big Mig making a good warmup for the Pais Vasco tour starting Monday. Speaking of startlists, here's the Pais Vasco one. Game on!
  • I don't link to VN features that much, since nobody here needs to be told they exist, but don't miss the Graham Watson Flanders Foto-Fest. Nice picture: click on each picture to get the next one. One other VN feature: a chat with \o/.
  • Slipstream's Steve Cozza earns our bad break of the month award. Just a day after blogging about De Panne being a bad place for crashes, he was a victim, headed home to mend a collarbone. He's got a maddening description of the event, as well as today's sanguine reflections. Not to get all superstitious, but I would recommend never mentioning crashes in a blog before another race.