Hoste Takes DaPanne, Boonen Cheats Aging Process?

Mar 30 2006

Discovery Channel seems like a normal team, most of the time. Even back in the Lance days, they’d go about their business in a nice, ordinary fashion, getting into breaks, taking pulls, occasionally winning, mostly not, and just, you know, fitting in with the other guys. But every so often, like at the Tour, or the last stage of the ’05 Dauphine they do something utterly ridiculous, just to remind you that they can. Today’s final Day of Pain was like that. In the horrifically windy morning session, they cranked their leader Hoste back to within sight of stage winner Stephen De Jongh and his bus-sized teammates, before going 1-2-3 in the afternoon TT, making such heinously good time in the process that 10 riders dropped off the final GC due to the time cut.

But why am I talking about anything but FLANDERS? Pez has a preview with maps and pretty pictures of the important climbs. BiciRace has a look at the contenders, which, of course, begins with Tom Boonen, who has denied in Monty Python-esq fashion, the claims of his team director that he was ever sick (search “strongly denies”). The World Champ also found some time to talk to VeloNews, though I’m confused how anyone born in 1980 could currently be 24. Maybe that’s what Boonen means when he says “I’m still the same guy I was four or five years ago”. Well, he may not have aged, but he certainly has gotten more expensive, with a 20,000 Euro bike (scroll down) to compliment his 9k diamond helmet. Tom’s sprint rival Alessandro Petacchi also has a new rig, but apparently, it will be riding a supporting role (scroll to “Petacchi For Sure”) come the weekend.

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