So. Many. Races. And it's only February! I tried to make sense of them in my head, but it's tough, ya know? But, I tried to help you make sense of it.
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Winners and Losers. We've had a lot of fun with these things before, so we thought - why not bring them back? So, on Tuesdays, I'll do this little chit chat thingie and you can read, laugh (hopefully), tell all of us who you thought winners and losers were, and more. Really, this could be a lot of fun!
Road racing fans: The incessant stream of cyclocross posts on the front page is over (for reals, I promise I'm not writing any more til September...) and the racing has kicked off in full force. My youtube home is overflowing with videos of the last 5-10km of races thanks to CanalF10. By the way, you're the best, dude. Anyways, we only have one week of pre-cobbles anxiety to get through, then the season is ON!
Bradley Wiggins: Wiggo the twiggo made a serious deposit into his bank of self confidence over the past week. He helped destroy the field in route to setting his teammate Richie Porte up for victory on the queen stage of the Vuelta ao Algarve. Then he beat Tony Martin in the time trial two days later. Not many people get to beat Tony in TTs, even if it was by less than a second. And! Not only did Wiggins win the TT, he also helped ensure a teammate owes him some payback come July. That's going to make him feel more confident for sure, especially with having to compete with Marky Cavendish for support in le Tour.
Johnathan Tiernan Locke: Who??? Well, we all know the answer to that question thanks to the past week and half of domination by the rider on the continental Endura Racing team. The dude is simply methodical in how he rips people's legs off. Plus, he has a very pleasing bone structure, which is an important part of star quality, no?
Cuddles the Cobble: Now that all of those pesky training races are out of the way, Chris is going to be giving Cuddles a lot of love in the next few months. "It's about time!" says Cuddles, who has reportedly been feeling rather forlorn since last April.
Mark Cavendish: Isn't winning a stage at Qatar enough to show you're on track for the spring? No? Well, if you're the World Champion, evidently it is not. Now we wonder if Griepel is going to wipe the floor with him at Milan-San Remo because Cav might have lost his mojo. Horrors! See, Mark, you should learn to be like Tom Boonen. You should sandbag before Oman starts, saying it's just training. And if you get a result(s), it's just gravy!
Vincenzo Nibali: But... NIbbles won the queen stage of Oman up Green Mountain, you say! But I counter with: He still managed to loose the overall to Peter Velits. How does that happen? I could hazard guesses about time bonuses and the like... but it sucks, period. Don't you agree?
Simon Clarke: Possibly one of the first, inevitable casualties of the shift to electronic shifting. Clark was riding along happily in the final breakaway of the second day of Haut Var when the power source for his Dura Ace shifting system died. First, the insult: Clarke had to ride the final km in his 39x19, spinning madly at about 150rpm on the run into the final climb. The injury part came in the last km - Clarke had to climb the 26% ramps of the last climb without his granny gear. And still managed to finish fifth. Dude can only be wondering what could have been...Really, I don't envy the Green Edge mechanic who was there right now...
If you want to see exactly what happened, we are lucky enough to have video. Yay!