As I consider myself a man of words, lets begin today’s post with a little vocabulary lesson:
pip (1) |pip| n.; a small, hard seed in a fruit. (2) |pip| vt. to defeat by a tantalizingly small margin, usually at the last possible second, esp. with relation to bike racing. pipping, pipped.
Now, based on that, how would you rate the accuracy of this headline? Look carefully. What’s that you say? The lenses they use are weird? And you can’t tell where the line is? OK, then, here’s another view. Still think that’s getting “pipped”? Anyway, the journos have been salivating over this match-up since Worlds last year, because Boonen took the race Petacchi was supposed to win at a cantor. This overlooks the fact that, due to the extremely aggressive racing at Madrid (which I saw live, you know) only 20 or so riders made the lead group at the finale – and Ale-Jet was not one of them. Though the Classics-style racing at Worlds proved not to be his cup of tea, Petacchi still owned Boonen (and eveyone else) in your typical 150-200k stage race action. So no suprise to me that, despite being a bit off, Peta took this one by a mile. It will be very interesting to see which of the two comes out on top at MSR, however.
So what was the “other” big name pro sprinter up to while his rivals clashed? Busy being humiliated by the team that owes him something like 75% of its victories over the past season. I know there’s no place for good taste at team presentations, but if you were the dude that runs Davitamon, and you were involved in some brutal feud with the dudes over at Quick.Step, and most of your wins came from one guy, would you dare put him in such a clown suit? Boonen gets a 7,000 Euro diamond-studded helmet, and McEwen gets whatever the hell that is that connects his tie to that “Brustor” thing. What was team management thinking? “You know what would make our team look good? If they were dressed up like Sgt. Pepper but on even more acid.” Seriously, though, McEwen is licking his chops in preparation for Het Volk (which can be seen live on Cycling.tv, by the way) and expecting a new baby. You can find out all about the ’06 Davitamon game plan here; Americans are barely mentioned.