My Flanders Preview

Apr 7 2007

Only hours left but it came to me in a cocaine-and-Cadbury-egg induced haze. The race will go off on muddy cobbles but under clear skies with Paoli Bettini in the early break. He’ll get clear and stay away until the Muur when the ghost of Gino Bartali will emerge from the nearby church and force him to stop, enraged that people would hold a race on Easter.

The phantom will craft a new body for himself out of Flandrian mud and Bettini’s broken rib, and begin issuing righteous beatdowns to all intoxicated spectators. This will disturb il Grillo only slightly, since it will be plainly clear to everyone that he would have won the race, and he’d been planning to retire afterwards anyway due to DNA testing.

Bettini’s departure will clear the way for Bert Roesems to make a convincing looking late attack that doesn’t go anywhere, but that does give commentators plenty of time to talk about what a great guy he is, and about how awesome it will be in 30 or so years when Campy finally releases the electric parts group on his rig.

Roesems will eventually be caught by a chase group consisting of Stijn Devolder and Lief Hoste taking tickets on a Quick.Step TTT. Hoste and Devolder will get clear over the top of the Muur, but the Disco man’s bike will inexplicably disintegrate into a series of empty promises from Johann Bruyneel, leaving Hoste to inhale and eventually asphyxiate on a Flandrian flag while laughing at him.

Next, Boonen, Steegmans and VanPetegem will be lined up for a Mapei-style three man crowd salute, until PVP tears off his Quick.Step jersey to reveal a Predictor-Lotto skinsuit and attacks. The resulting thermonuclear detonation of Patrick Lefevere’s head will consume all three riders, as well as a number of support vehicles, which is poetic justice as they’d been giving illicit drafts to Q.S all day long. This will also have dramatic repercussions for Team CSC, who will have no one to replace their broken Zipp 404 wheelsets.

A two-man group of Baden Cooke and Mikhail Ignatiev will then seem to have victory in hand, before an unexpected detour into France leads to the Aussie being arrested by French trade officials, and the young Russian getting distracted and stuck on the Roubaix Velodrome.

Boogard, Zabel, Paolini, Flecha and the entire Bouygues Telecom team will come into the line next. Boogie will jump too early, unwittingly giving Zabel the perfect leadout, but German will celebrate prematurely, and with all the other riders in the group unable to figure out how to cross the line first, the race will still not have a winner.

Finally, a few minuts later, Skil-Shimano’s Marten Den Bakker will haul his 38-year-old backside into the finish and win the race. His lack of a high profile coach, team, training plan, power meter, aero wheels, or even a well-known bike will result in the complete collapse of the cycling industry, forcing us all onto 36 pound Wal-Mart Roadmasters and leaving Bass Fishing to become the new golf (see? OLN was right!).

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