Roubaix '06 – The Year of the Loser

Apr 11 2006

Look at this: at first, in response to his DQ at Paris-Roubaix, Davitamon’s Peter VanPetegem said “The decision was fair, and I won’t contest it”. And now? “Davitamon Protests Disqualification”. What a whiner. Apparently, he and everyone else complaining about the Roubaix DQs don’t realize just how deadly the game of “Beat the Train” can be. Yeah, the DQ-ed riders were out in the wide-open, rural, treeless, dead flat expanses of northern France, but still, trains are really big; it’s hard to judge their speed. There’s no way people who make their living negotiating 100kph descents on 22mm tires in hundred-man packs, or timing when to start a sprint for a 5cm-wide line from over 300 meters away, can accurately judge when it’s safe to cross ten feet of tarmac. Pat McQuaid is right to defend the jury’s decision by brandishing that gun in so menacing a fashion.

But in the end, this is just the latest in a long line of stories about losers from this most recent Paris-Roubaix. For some reason, this year’s event was the Race of the Loser. Just look at these headlines: “Boonen philosophical”. “Controversy…goes on” about the disqualification of people who didn’t win. And the tech news, ugh – the tech news has been the worst. Loser parts. Loser bike. Two loser bikes. Loser bike that broke. Loser bike that didn’t even get ridden (note the stem, bar tape and fork). Loser bike stories are largely pointless, because I, like most amateur racers, don’t want to see loser bikes. I want to see winner bikes so I can determine which parts on my bike are making me lose.

What I want to see is Cancellara’s sweet custom Cervelo, the one that the Cycling.TV commentary team wouldn’t shut up about. I want Cancellara to tell me how light, stiff, compliant, and durable it is. I want some CSC wrench to tell me how Cancellara won because he had sweet ceramic bearings on an external bearning bottom bracket (as opposed to the the outdated crap that Boonen, Ballan and VanPet were stuck with). Then, I want to buy one. So far, though, all I know is that the winning bike says “Tony Montana” on it, because Fabian Cancellara (not Tom Boonen, as I previously suggested) is a big Scarface fan. And that doesn’t help me at all, because strutting around and ending all my sentences with “mang” isn’t gonna make me win bike races (although snorting coke just might).

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