Stefan Van-Dijk, apparently unencumbered by his extraordinarily large forehead, broke the ProTour’s stranglehold on the Benelux Tour today, taking a group sprint ahead of two previous stage winner, Disco’s Max van Heeswijk and Simone Cadamuro of Liquigas. Lotto-Davitamon once again carted Tom Steels’ creeking backside to the line, but the 9-time TdF stage winner faded in the final meters for a second straight day, raising questions once again about whether it’s time for the Belgian to follow his old rival Cipo into retirement.
Sad news for fans of Oscar Friere and detractors of Eddy Merckx today. The Spanish sprinter announced today that lingering problems following his bone cyst surgery this spring will keep him out until at least next season. Friere, who was poised to take a record fourth World Road Race title on what could be kindly described as a sprinter’s course in Madrid this October, refuses to accept that this could be just another iteration of the “curse of the rainbow jersey,” despite the fact that with his season-ending announcement, none of the World Road Race Champions of this millenium are currently racing for ProTour squads.