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Het Etenszakje/Bolso de Alimento*

[* Is there a more lingually-challenging week for American Cycling fans than Flemish-Basque week? I've settled for Spanish here until someone can tell me what the Basques call "musette bags." In the meantime, I plan to keep saying "txapila," the only Basque word I know, over and over until someone thinks I know what I'm talking about.]

What a week... without further ado:

  • Stijn Devolder may have earned his first Monument win yesterday at the Tour of Flanders, but it doesn't sound like he's making many friends. Boonen sounds pissed off at having to let his teammate win. Update [2008-4-8 0:11:36 by chris]: OK, Boonen is speaking more clearly now. But: Ballan called Devolder a poacher. Not the coronation he was hoping for; stay tuned as more Flemish coverage gets translated. Pez put it best, in real-time:
Is he actually working for Boonen, or on a solo glory ride? His earpiece is very obviously dangling in mid-air, so he isn't listening to any instructions from the team car. This is the Flandrian equivalent of death or glory on the cobbled climbs.
  • More Flanders roundup: CyclingWeekly faces the music regarding its favorites picks... and it isn't pretty... but (a) whose are? and (b) respect for trying.
  • Juan Antonio Flecha became the first Spaniard on the podium of the Ronde. So why does the headline on Sporza's Flecha coverage say "Net als zeggen dat je homoseksueel bent"? Is someone gay? Is this the time to discuss it?
  • Sporza estimates 1.5 million fans lined yesterday's route.
  • Big h/t Monty... for pointing out the headline at Het Nieuwsblad regarding Angel Gomez' horrendous crash: Angel Gomez Gomez maakt doodsmak. Needless to say, "doodsmak" is on the fast-track for the Podium Cafe Cycling Lexicon, but there are a couple initial hurdles: the actual meaning, and Gomez' condition. Perfect phonetics aside, the meaning could be problematic. "Dood" is apparently Dutch/Flemish for "dead," a word whose comedic potential falls somewhere between "hernia" and "cancer." Fortunately, Gomez appears to have escaped with little more than a doubly-broken elbow. So maybe doodsmak is available for our, um, use. But I still ask any of our Dutch (or Flemish) regulars to help with a more detailed translation.

  • Off to Spain now... Ursula provided a full team preview here last week of the Vuelta al País Vasco, where Astana and Contador are already demoralizing the competition. But stories fly by here during such a busy week, so bookmark the Diario Pais Vasco for official info and blanket (Spanish) coverage. Apparently you can learn more about it by reading The Sun Also Rises. IIRC, the lead character Jake had impotency problems, owing to a Selle San Marco saddle. In any event, they have everything at the DPV from pictures to Joseba Beloki's analysis. CN has stage details. Kind of a non-stop horror show, if you can't climb.