Slowly but surely the need for Feedbags is being overcome by the much-appreciated submissions from hither and yon, particularly the Gossip Column. So think of this as more of a weekly catch-all for anything so utterly unimportant that it hasn't been blogged about yet.
Thought of the day: Is Fabian Cancellara the reason there's no prologue? Le Tour don't like reruns, and nothing could be more certain than the likelihood of a week of Cancellara in yellow, if they stuck by the usual prologue and flat stages opening. The clear message of an opening road stage is that they want a lot of guys to have a shot at the first maillot jaune. Don't be shocked if they skip the prologue more than once in the next decade. Of course, a mid-range, flat ITT on day 4 will probably put Tony Spartacus in yellow anyway...
Email of the day: Not all spam is bad. I open a fair amount of it, just because you never know who's emailing the Podium Cafe, or for what reason. [Someone in Ougadougou? Is this about the Tour of Burkina Faso? You think I'm kidding.] So when I got an email from Banesto today, complete with a subject line in Spanish, I opened it without a moment's hesitation. Was Pedro Delgado reaching out to me? Did I win a retro-90s jersey or something? Not exactly: "Banesto pide vuestra colaboracion en actualizacion de claves para evitar el phishing!" Something about spam. Still, I'm saving it.
Fair is Fair: Apparently Shimano is demo'ing its new DuraAce gruppo, hot on the heels of bitter rival Campy and its Super Record rollout. I'm a Campy snob, and anyway I can count on Mr. Van P to explain the ins and outs. But I felt an obligation to acknowledge the new DA, after posting giant pictures of the Record derailleur on the front page.
h/t Drew: Pez also has a review of SRAM RED, which deserves equal ink, for sure.
LPR signees? La Gazzetta says Davide Rebellin is on the verge of "signing with LPR-Ballan for 2009." Rebellin's movement makes sense. What doesn't make sense is the mention of Ballan... is it possible Alessandro Ballan is going over too? Nope, that's just their secondary sponsor, makers of garage doors. Whew!
Il Tricolore: Mention has already been made of the absentees from Sunday's Championships of Italy, but here's la Gazzetta's shortlist of favorites: Riccò, Garzelli, Cunego, Gasparotto and Reb.
Phil and Paul: Get reacquainted with two voices you'll be hearing at home enough to wonder if you need to set a couple more places for dinner. Pez talks with the duo at the Versus press conference (do people attend these things? really?), and the VS site has the annual pre-Tour essay from Phil. He still wants Astana around, and actually admits to being a friend of Pat McQuaid. McQuaid has friends??