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Today's Winners

In no particular order...

1(tie). Love, Life

Yuri Mitlushenko, representing Team Amore e Vita, outsprinted il Sopracciglio di Sicilia, Danilo Napolitano, for the win in the existential backwaters of Finale Emilia. Yes, I am having fun with Italian names today. Anyway, if ever a bike race wasn't news, it's a sprint, in a small March stage race, with no impact on the overall, and no video coverage. Francesco Chicchi, Greg Henderson and Francisco Jose Windy all paid their respects to love and life as it sped past them. Overall leader Damiano Cunego has one more day of ups and downs to sock this race away.

2 (tie). America, Astana

This you already know, but two Americans on the podium in the Vuelta a Castilla y Leon, including the first ever US winner Levi Leipheimer, is a nice little accomplishment. OK, the other podium finisher was not Lance Armstrong but rather Dave Zabriskie, which is just as well for a good number of fans. Arguably Astana going 1-2 is more impressive, but since their main guy lost the ITT to his domestique and their spiritual leader is in a hospital, I think this probably wasn't their favorite race. Alejandro Valverde and Damiano Cunego have been serving each other notice, making for a nice Ardennes season, but I can't think about that now.

3. Drink spiking

Growing up, I always thought that drink spiking only happened in movies, in part because I didn't know anyone who carried around colorless, odorless, flavorless vials of liquid, and in part because it seemed a tad, well, obvious. But that's because I didn't live in the professional cycling world, where every positive doping test raises immediate suspicions of drink-spiking. Now, only David Kopp knows who might have had the motive to slip liquid cocaine into his UCI-approved mineral water, though my money is on that evil laughing guy with the colorful face mask. Or one of his masked henchmen. Anyway, Kopp did the right thing by testing positive and alerting authorities. Pat McQuaid is on the phone to Batman as we speak.

4. You, the fan of professional cycling

Tomorrow: E3 Prijs. Sunday: Brabantse Pijl. Monday: Three days of the bread. Followed by three more days of nervous anticipation. Followed by the greatest day of the year, Cycling or otherwise.