In another way exciting finish you’ll never see on OLN, Aussie sprinter Allan Davis of Liberty Seguros lept away from a three man group and soloed 3k to victory on a twisty, rain-slicked finale of Benelux Tour Stage 3. Davis, who is on fine form after a 3rd at HEW Cyclassics last weekend can count the win among his best, and apparently plans to spend the prize money on breast augmentation surgery. The rainy, split-filled day returned the Red Jersey from MVH to prologue winner Rik Verbrugghe, but with tomorrow’s stage being called a “mini-Amstel Gold,” expect a big GC shake-up. Also hot is HEW Winner Pippo Pozzatto, who won today’s Giro del Lazio, filling in for teammate Luca Paolini, who had made the race one of his stated goals, but was unable to finish.
Well, it had to end sometime. At the Tour of Denmark, Ivan Basso contented himself this morning (MDT, that is) with only one trip to the podium (for the leader’s jersey), as thunder-thighed Italian Paride Grillo stormed to victory in a group gallop ahead of Ag2r’s Alexandre Urov and Tomas Vaitkus. This is especially significant as both Ag2r and Grillo’s Panaria team are both possible candidates to fill in Fassa Bortolo’s ProTour vacancy next season. Also looking to make the jump to ProTour status is Portuguese hot-shot Candido Barbosa. The all-arounder with a sick turn of speed, whose name seems to top half the pro results sheets coming out of Portugal won the sprint for Stage 2 of his national tour today.
Some of you may be familiar with the French theory of le deux peletons, in which proud gallic gentlemen chalk their country’s miserable performance in the cycling world to France’s (marginally) stricter drug laws. (i.e.: there are two peletons, a clean French one and a dirty, dirty doped-up international one). Well, two-time Tour winner Laurent Fignon came out in Monday’s L’Equipe to tell all his whiny countrymen to put up or shut up.
“The riders have the wrong concept of their job. They have to learn to train 7-8 hours a day, and learn how to win even less important races in order to reproduce the same performance on a higher level…The level of international cycling is increasing, whereas ours is getting lower and lower. The gap between our cycling and the other’s will continue to grow. If this trend continues, there won’t be French teams on the Tour de France any more.”
It’s strange, man: the guy who wins the 1989 race by 8 seconds, capping the greatest comeback, like, ever, is now embittered and utterly self-delusional (“1991 is the first year a lot of riders started using illegal drugs,” “You can’t rewrite history, but I think I could have won 7 or 8 Tours”), while the guy who collapsed in a pile of tears and pony-tail that fateful Sunday on the Champs-Elysees is perhaps the only Frenchman involved with cycling who has any sort of grasp on reality.