Today in Outrage: Sprinter Gets Help! From Teammates!! On a CLIMB!?!?!
Yes, we've crossed the Rubicon now.
Not a fan of sprinters that get pushed up the last climb by teammates and then win the stage.— Simon Geschke (@simongeschke) February 18, 2016
Well, in the sense that it's a river with bridges that people cross over and over again, repeatedly, every day. Geschke on the face of things is an equal opportunity non-fan, of all sprinters that (sic) get assistance from their teammates on a climb, only to hang on and then do the thing their teammates wanted them to do when assisting said sprinter. Just because he's at the Ruta del Sol and today's stage was won by Nacer Bouhanni of Cofidis, after a climb, doesn't mean Geschke was singling out the French fastman.
Which is good, because Bouhanni apparently is not a man to trifle with. Bouhanni was on record a year ago saying he's planning to turn to boxing when his career on the bike is over. Which makes it all the more ridiculous that Bouhanni does not appear to have a nickname, or not one making the rounds. That's strike one and two for his boxing career. And don't come at me with "Bou-bou" or whatever the usual French nickname generator spits out. He needs something classy. "Bonecrusher" Bouhanni. Or something that rhymes, like The Animal from Epinal.
Anyway, none of that is anywhere near as ridiculous as Geschke suggesting that something went awry today. He doesn't have to like those guys, now that the sprinter he rides for is a guy (John Degenkolb) who can get over some hills, but somehow I doubt that either he or his team have completely clean hands in such tactics, or that we should care if they do. Sprinters have helpers of all variety, so let's not coin the phrase "hand-doping" for guys who get the occasional uphill push.
Giant-Alpecin Out of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
The training crash that devastated the roster of Giant-Alpecin, and left several riders significantly (but huzzah, not irreparably) injured, has caused the team to pull out of the Omloop at the end of next week.
According to this tweet, it's all good:
Sadly we are unable to race @OmloopHNB due to consequences of the training accident. Thanks, Flanders Classics, for understanding & support.— Team Giant-Alpecin (@GiantAlpecin) February 18, 2016
But it leaves a question hanging out there -- can Flanders Classics find another team to take the spot? This startlist has 24 teams signed up, including several teams I wasn't familiar with (Stolting Service Group, Fortuneo -Vital Concept, One Pro Cycling), so perhaps the change has already been made.
UPDATE: Verandas Willems added to the Omloop roster, in place of Giant-Alpecin.
Benoot On the Rise?
Maybe it's the source, but I find this... no. I can't do it. I don't want to cause an FSA DS stampede. Move along.
Huh? OK, fine. It's a report from Sporza that Tiesj Benoot out-climbed Alberto Contador at the Algarve stage today. I am pretty sure the acronym ZOMG! or its Flemish equivalent was invented just for this day. Benoot finished a very respectable ninth on the stage, won by Luis Leon Sanchez atop the Alto da Foia, some 900 meters or so above sea level.
Please, remain calm. It's still only February.
Speaking of Which, How's Your FSA DS Team Coming Along?
Some 270 of you have teams submitted to the FSA Directeur Sportif, comfortably(?) in advance of next week's Friday deadline, while another 600+ are still working on theirs. Thanks to his impressive spring, Edvald Boasson Hagen is currently on 650 of those 600 teams, so if that was your winning strategy, think harder.
But whatever, the only thing that matter is this: If your team is fit, you must hit submit! And by Sat 27 Feb 2016 00:00 CET. This is but the first of many warnings to come. And if you know people who aren't yet playing, definitely clue them in. Join now, or wait for 2017!