With so much going on this week, I thought a special edition of the Musette was in order. Here we go:
1. Tyler Farrar won today’s Scheldeprijs, continuing the fine form he’s displayed so far during this year’s Belgian Classics. It’s Farrar’s second win of the season following his victory in Stage 3a of the 3-Days of DePanne. More importantly, it’s the young American’s fifth major top-10 result on Belgian soil this season following his 3rd-place finish in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, 9th-place in Ghent-Wevelgem, and 5th-place in the Tour of Flanders. All Tyler needs now is a solid finish in Sunday’s Paris-Roubaix to cap a fantastic spring for the Garmin rider. With Roubaix being a race known to favor the strong and powerful, Farrar’s streak might not be over.
As for the race itself, it pretty much went as expected. Filippo Pozzato was a last-minute addition to the start list; he finished in one of the front groups along with several other favorites for the Hell of the North on Sunday. Tom Boonen did hit the deck with about 37km to go, but was able to rejoin the leaders with enough time left to still finish 18th. I was a bit surprised to see Andre Greipel finish so poorly—especially after his team (and his mouth) worked so hard to position himself for the win.
2. Lost in the hoopla surrounding Sunday’s Tour of Flanders was an interesting Tweet from George Hincapie following some criticism he received from a fan via a comment at Podium Cafe.
Not too sure if any of it's earth-shattering, but I find it interesting that the line between riders and fans grows increasingly thin thanks to sites like Twitter.
3. And speaking of George, check this out from his first year at Roubaix. Tears for Gears is a terrific site for fans of the 1990’s--it’s helping me getting over throwing away my old copies of Winning Magazine.
4. In case you missed it, here's this again:
5. The Tour of the Basque Country is underway, and all signs point to the controversial Alejandro Valverde having a terrific Ardennes campaign. Oscar Freire and Garmin’s young squad seem poised for some nice results as well. Freire currently leads the GC, but tomorrow’s “Queen” stage looks certain to shake things up. Stay-tuned.
6. Speaking of Pais Vasco, Francesco Gavazzi won today’s stage for Lampre, a squad in an uncomfortable spot thanks to some doping products found in the home of Lorenzo Bernucci. According to Bernucci, the products belong to his wife and brother. Sure they do, Lorenzo.
Some are already talking about Lampre being booted from the Tour—could Vacansoleil finally get its chance?
7. And last, but not least, I did a fantastic ride this past weekend called the Hell of Hunterdon. If you happen to live near Philadelphia, you need to participate in next year’s edition (or for that matter, in this year’s edition of its sister-event, the Fool’s Classic). Just over 76 miles in length, the ride includes about 12 miles (18 sections) of some of New Jersey’s finest unpaved and gravel roads—like L’Eroica, but without the wine, costumes, and vintage bikes. If you plan on doing Battenkill next year, you’re a fool if you don’t ride the HoH as training.
The ride’s organization was smooth and efficient, and free beer and pizza were offered to all finishers. While I was a guest of the organizer, the registration fee was nominal for such a wonderful day—especially for those who pre-registered. Better still, of the 100 or so people registered in advance, 28 of them won raffle prizes from companies including Lazer, Belgum Budder, and Classic Cycling Essentials. Be sure to bookmark the event’s website, and add it to your calendar for next spring.
8. And by the way, I'm looking for a pair of 700x23 Vittoria Open Tubular CX's with black rubber and tan/skin sidewalls.
I've also been inspired by a recent Twitter conversation to track down some Briko Stingers or Zens.
Drop me a line at email@example.com if you think you can help me out.
Have a great Wednesday--our Paris-Roubaix coverage begins tomorrow!