I’ll begin with some big news for Pavé. I’m pleased to announce that ace international cycling photographers Stefano Sirotti and Tim Van Wichelen will be providing images from the 2010 cycling season. Stefano’s contributions will begin shortly as he’s currently covering the Tour Down Under. Tim’s first major date is cyclocross Worlds in 2 weeks—but who knows what goodies he might offer between now and then. All in all, I’m hoping this is just the start of what we’re hoping will be a big year here at Pavé. As always, thanks for your continued reading and commenting—you’re the inspiration for all we do. (Oh boy, I’m starting to sound like Peter Cetera).
As for the rest of the Monday Musette:
1. All signs point to a serious showdown in Tabor, Czech Republic two weeks from now as the majority of the favorites for a cyclocross World Title are rounding themselves into form. Hometown favorite Zdenek Stybar took the World Cup honors in Roubaix yesterday, with Belgians Klaas Vantornout and Sven Nijs in 2nd and 3rd respectively. I'll leave the bulk of the commentary to Erik and his Wednesday Cross Report, but did you notice Erwin Vervecken and Bart Wellens in 4th and 5th place at less than a minute behind Stybar? These are two men not to be discounted in Tabor. Both have won Worlds before (Verwecken 3 times—once in Tabor—and Wellens twice) and both have the savvy and skill required to pull-off what some would consider a slight upset (not me). Furthermore, both have something to prove: Vervecken’s retiring and would love to go out with a bang; Wellens is eager to remind us that he still deserves to be mentioned with the giants of the sport. Working against them? They're Belgian--their biggest challenge might simply be making the team.
2. Last week, VeloNews provided a terrific glimpse behind the scenes at the Garmin-Transitions Service Course in Girona, Spain. It’s tough to imagine the amount of preparation that goes into running a professional cycling team—especially when you’re doing it on two continents. Do you have any idea how much space 22,000 water bottles occupy? Well, now you do.
Garmin’s mechanics face an additional challenge this year, as longtime wheel sponsor Zipp is out and Mavic is in. As a result, several hundred fresh tubulars will need to be glued—if you’re at a race hotel restaurant any time between now and May, Garmin’s mechanics should be easy to spot: they’ll be the ones with the menus sticking to their fingers.
And I wonder what Mavic will give them for the Classics? Raise your hand if you’d love to see an updated version of these Classics!
3. And lest we forget, there’s racing this week! Team Sky’s Greg Henderson took the season’s first blood, winning yesterday’s Cancer Council Helpline Classic. It was an impressive victory for Sky, albeit one that came after only 51km of racing. Things begin in earnest tomorrow, as the “real” racing gets underway in Stage 1 of the Tour Down Under. My pick for the overall win? André Greipel. My dark horse? Chris Sutton.
4. I’ve started writing Pavé’s team-by-team 2010 season preview and pre-season ranking (to be unveiled soon), and while printing rosters from the UCI’s website, I noticed something. Anyone missing? A quick perusal of other rosters revealed more errors, although none as glaring as omitting a former Tour de France champion and one of the sport’s hottest young talents. Next thing you know an 8-year-old boy will show-up on the USA’s No-Fly List! Thank heavens for Cycling Quotient.
5. And finally, are you going to NAHBS? We are; and while I’m not yet sure what the plan will be, I’d love to arrange some sort of Omloop Het Nieuwsblad viewing event. Any ideas?
As always, share your thoughts below.