Apr 11 2007
Man, I sure can pick ’em. My call for today’s Gent Wevelgem was Daniele Bennati; DNS. But hey, the guy who did win the race, Marcus Burghardt, has been on my list since Het Volk. It’s nice way to open your pro account – rocking the top-step in a one-day ProTour classic. And T-Mobile – they haven’t had teamwork this good since the 2000 Olympic Road Race. Roger Hammond even managed to get one over on Oscar Freire to complete the magenta 1-2. I only wish I’d been able to see it; I just can’t bring myself to watch races at work (yet), and Eurosport denied (country-specific link) me the short clips I can get away with.
The big story of the day was the crashes, however, as numerous riders found themselves getting mangled on the Kemmelberg descent. Cyclingnews questioned the berg’s inclusion in the event as well, but UCI President Pat McQuaid disagreed, saying “You cannot sanitize a race”. I’m inclined to agree, as it is the actions of individual riders that dictate aspects of pace, and thus safety. Reassuringly, the riders themselves share this opinion – though they sure do whine when the pace is tough going up instead of down.
At any rate, Pat McQuaid’s got more to worry about than a few cobblestones. He’s apparently gearing up for what could only be a lengthy legal battle with his nemeses in The Cartel. I’m not sure on what grounds he’ll sue; can it really be a crime to break a contract to avoid breaking the law? Belgian authorities have made it clear, they won’t let this one slide. As esoteric as this case seems to be now, it might end up setting an important legal precedent for the European Union. And when it involves idiotic state monopolies, you don’t need to ask which side I’d rather see win.