Too Much Flanders, DePanne Wrap, DNA

Apr 6 2007

Why did I skip yesterday? Some might say it was to avoid getting fired at my real job. But other claim that’s not really a concern of mine, and insist instead that I was merely demonstrating that one doesn’t need 18 Tour of Flanders previews a day to have a truly excellent web page.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the Flanders features as much as anyone. The Barry Hoban interview (though he’s wrong – there’s a women’s Flanders, as well), the history lessons, the dissection of each and every cobble – it’s fantastic stuff, really. But how do you think Gert Steegmans’ elderly (and inexplicably English speaking…) old grandmother feels when she goes to see how her grandson did on Cyclingnews, and clicking on the first results link, finds a big old picture of Tommy B, instead of this image of triumph? I bet she doesn’t like it one bit.

And it’s not like DePanne was a case of “well, somebody had to win” – all those friggin’ crashes stem from people battling for position because they want to win. It’s a legit race! Stijn Devolder put down some serious wattage in the TT (8 seconds on David Millar over 11k!), while Alessandro Ballan strapped the monkey solidly to his back (only one rider has ever doubled DePanne and the Ronde) with the GC win, but the big story yesterday was “McEwen’s out of Flanders”? Like he would have won anyway?

But hey – the Ronde is a big deal, so hyping it up shouldn’t be. But floating just below the foamy head of Flanders’ Duvel is this whole business of Ullrich and the DNA. Prosecutors want to bring fraud charges by the end of the year, while Team Ullrich still says the DNA proves nothing. The case itself holds essentially no interest for me, but its repercussions are a bit concerning, especially this:

“The decision does not mean cyclists have to put their DNA in a specialized information bank. They only have to make a binding commitment to do so, said Gerrit Middag, the general manager of the International Professional Cycling Teams.”

Maybe “binding” means something different in Belgium? I dunno. Anyway, the concept of a DNA database is frightening enough; my trust in an already flawed system is not increased by the awkward circumlocutions of single-minded officials.

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