The Armstrong Oprah Interview: Same as it ever was
In the dizzying run-in to Armstrong’s appearance on Oprah, speculation centered on whether he would tell the truth of his career at last. In the opening minutes, Armstrong shot off a series of yes answers.
Yes, I used doping to win the Tour de France. Yes, I used cortisone. Yes, I started doping sometime in the ’90s.
But that was where the truth ended. Despite those brief moments of truthfulness, the Oprah interview unfolded in typically manipulative Armstrong style. The Big Lie came around halfway through the interview, and with it came the rationale for Armstrong’s willingness to sit down with Oprah in the first place.
What was the big lie? Armstrong claimed that he stopped using in 2005. So while he said kissed those seven Tour victories goodbye, he made a desperate, hail mary play for a reduced sanction. The comeback years, the 2009 and 2010 Tour, he rode clean, claimed Armstrong.
Conveniently, 2005 was outside the eight-year statue of limitations. Even a back-dated sanction would free Armstrong to compete pretty much tomorrow.
There’s never been any doubt about Armstrong’s audacity or his hubris. He seems to think that he can still control the narrative, that we will still after all this time, believe his word.
Right man, you were totally clean in 2009. That’s why your biopassport numbers showed constant, rather than declining, numbers during the Tour. That’s why… Well, never mind.
USA Cycling announced on Tuesday that it has created a “pro team structure” for women’s cycling. It all sounded a bit confusing. So, let’s see if we can sort it out, shall we?
Without getting on the phone and calling a bunch of people (because this is tumblr after all) here are the key points of the changes and some analysis of their significance.
The easiest to understand change will shift the women’s national championship to the same weekend as the men’s pro championship. Also, the women will race for equal prize money.
This one has been a long time coming. For years, the women raced the “elite nationals” (in Europe known as elite-without-contract), which received considerably less media coverage than the men’s US Pro Championship.
Now, women who are on elite and UCI-registered teams and who carry a category 1-2 license will race the same weekend as the men. The same change applies to the US Pro Criterium championship. Also, I’m just going to go ahead and say, fuckyeah equal prize money!
Under the new rules, the U23 women will get a separate national championship race. In the past, the U23 women raced with the elite women, but were scored separately. Confusing, right? And not especially awesome for the younger women trying to make names for themselves by winning nationals. So now, the U23 women will race the same weekend as the U23 men’s race and have their own chance to shine. This is an important change for developing young riders for the future.
The “pro team structure” is less easy to understand, because in the immediate future, it does not appear to change much of anything. This change is aimed at the future and at building the women’s side of the sport into a more professional and logical structure.
Currently, there is no “pro license” for women. Women race as “elite” and the top license category in the U.S. is category 1 for women. Women’s teams are registered through the national federations in much the same way as men’s continental teams. There are technically no “pro teams,” though obviously, we tend to consider teams such as Specialized-lululemon, Marianne Vos’s not-Rabobank team, and Orica-AIS as professional.
The creation of a “professional team structure” opens the way to offering a “pro license” for women. This would also presumably in time create a more coherent structure for professional teams. As the sport grows, the women could have a separate national championship races for the elite and the professional riders in the same way the men do.
For now, the change sounds intangible and symbolic, but in the long run, it opens the way for the pro teams to become more professional, while the elite non-pro teams serve to develop riders and prepare them for the professional ranks. It also should create a distinction between elite and professional riders, a change that potentially makes the top level more competitve and more straightforward to sell to sponsors.
For now, this measure doesn’t change much. In the future - and it’s unclear what the time frame might be on this development - it almost certainly will.
Last, the USA Cycling announced the creation of a new race category 2.HC. The Exergy Tour will run under this designation. UCI-registered teams and national teams can both race in the 2.HC races.
(Updated! I removed some stuff here about race categories, because I still don’t quite understand the changes that are in place for next season.)
Buy raffle tickets. Support Hope Lives. Win Prizes. Simple.
Meredith Miller, cyclocross badass and former national road champ, is raising money this October to support Hope Lives. The Fort Collins charity offers services and support for women undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
Miller chose Hope Lives, because fundraising for a local charity allows her to see the results of her efforts. The dollars she raises go directly to women in her Fort Collins community. Even small donations make a difference.
Want to help Miller reach her fundraising goal of $10,000 this year? All this week, you can buy raffle tickets to support Hope Lives and possibly win some pretty awesome prizes donated by the cycling industry.
This year’s grand prize is an S-Works Crux built up with SRAM Red and a Zipp 101 wheelset. There are also prizes from Thule, Kinetic, Light and Motion, Strava, Oakley, lululemon, Modify, and Boa Closure Systems.
Review: Pactimo Women's Designer Jersey and Shorts
Pactimo was born in a basement in 2003. The Colorado-based company has grown just a little since then, and they offer clothing for cycling, running, and triathlon. The company also does custom team orders.
The thing that stands out most about Pactimo clothing? The colors. Especially in the Women’s Designer line, Pactimo loves bold colors and intricate graphics. If black-and-white is not your thing, Pactimo has got you covered.
I had the chance to try out a jersey and shorts from the Designer line. I have long been a bibshort kind of girl, but if I were to have a conversion experience, these Pactimo shorts just might do it.
The colors look just as rich in person as online, the quality of the stitching and materials is high, and the fit is comfy.
Pretty much the worse part of online ordering is guessing sizes. Is the little picture with the measurements correct? In the case of Pactimo, it is. I tested size medium in both shorts and jersey, and the measurements matched the size chart. No unwelcome surprises, there.
Women’s Designer Short
I switched to bibshorts early in my cycling life, due in part to an aversion to the binding feeling that shorts tend to have in the waist. It turns out the waistband on these shorts is the very best part. Okay, they look pretty nice, too.
But people! The waistband! Knowing that tight elastic on long bike rides is not a fun thing, Pactimo gave these shorts a smooth front like you might find on a nice pair of yoga pants. The elastic bits are in the back, and the shorts stay on, but they don’t bind.
I hear you, enough about the waistband. You get it, it’s comfortable. The Chamois! Tell us about the chamois!
"Another thing that annoys me is that Landis and Hamilton are being made out to be heroes. They are as far from heroes as night and day. They are not heroes. They are scumbags. All they have done is damage to the sport.”
McQuaid sought to retract the word “scumbags” but his anger was barely concealed as he spoke at the end of a day in which he admitted the sport was facing its biggest crisis.
Oh hey, keep it classy, McQuaid. Because it’s much better to lie about doping, right?
Also, I guess the parts of the USADA report that highlighted the involvement of the UCI went straight over McQuaid’s head. WADA? You’re move, I believe.
Having a high VO2 is something only a small percentage of the population has. Having the courage to do the right thing is in all of us. It doesn’t require human growth hormone or revitalized red blood cells. It requires knowing what you stand for.
The Bertagnolli Testimony: A Look into Ferrari's World
Reading the records of the USADA case against Lance Armstrong is like falling down a rabbit hole and ending up behind the curtain that divides what cycling fans see from the roadside from what happens on the way to the starting line.
Among the dark spaces lit up by the USADA spotlight is the world of the illusive Michele Ferrari, doping doctor to cycling’s stars. The USADA benefitted from cooperation from the Italian authorities.
The prosecutor in Padova has a long-running investigation into doping rings associated with Ferrari. The testimony of Leonardo Bertagnolli (Available in Italian, http://cyclinginvestigation.usada.org/) comes from that investigation, and offers a window into the world of Farrari. Bertagnolli is a small fish in Ferrari’s pond where Armstrong was the shark.
It’s a paranoid world of obsessively tracking blood levels, keeping up with the latest details of cycling’s testing programs, researching the latest doping techniques, and gossip. In the phone conversations with Bertagnolli, it’s clear that Ferrari enjoys a good gossip. He’s also manipulative, playing on the fears of riders that they will caught, and thoroughly ruthless.
Buried well-down the page in this story is an interesting tidbit. VeloNews has submitted a FOIA request to the Department of Justice for information about the federal investigation of Lance Armstrong.
I was wondering if someone had or would go this route. The Freedom of Information Act requires government agencies to release documentary records upon request. Yes! That’s an overly simple explanation! The agencies can refuse. They can also release the records with lengthy sections removed.
And, some documents are not subject to FOIA. Personal records of government officials, for example, are not subject to FOIA. So, no kids, you can not go to the Library of Congress and go all crazy with the FOIA on the Henry Kissinger papers. It won’t work.
The evidence in the Grand Jury hearings is not in the normal way of things obtainable by FOIA request. That information is sealed. What a FOIA request could reveal is why Birotte chose suddenly to close the investigation to the surprise of the investigators, Novitzsky among them. It could, if in fact, Birotte wrote anything down or kept any records. It could also turn out to be a wild goose chase finishing on a deadend street.
A friend of mine once did a FOIA request to the FBI for documents from the McCarthy era. He received a stack of paper with all but a few sentences blacked out.
What she said. Equal prize money for men and women is important and awesome. The trend in cyclocross is running in this direction, at least at the top level races. Mountain bike racing has also traditionally supported women athletes well. Road racing, with its chronically underfunded teams and minimal prize money for women, could learn a thing or two from the dirt disciplines when it comes to gender equity. There is just so much to love about beer, barricades, and equal prize money. Keep it up, cyclocross!
I seem to be having a women’s cycling moment here, so let’s roll with it, and talk transfers. Specifically, Tibco, Hitec, and Specialized-lululemon.
Yesterday, we learned that Tibco has signed three new riders to support the team’s international ambitions. Chantal Blaak, Shelley Olds, and Claudia Häusler will all join Tibco next year.
The additions should make for a competitve and balanced team at Tibco. Olds won a World Cup this year, why not another next time around? Häusler has not had the best of seasons lately, but she is a past Giro Donne winner. This combination looks intriguing, especially when combined with Tibco’s existing riders, especially if Amanda Miller and Megan Guarnier stay another year.
The other team snapping up talent this week is the Norwegian-registered Hitec team. Emma Johansson who rode as the team’s 2011 leader announced that she intended to transfer, though she has not confirmed her new team just yet. Hitec has lost no time in building up their roster.
British Cycling’s head coach Shane Sutton thinks Emma Pooley should take a year off from the sport. Maybe that will make her less frustrated with the way in which women’s cycling is governed.
Right, because Pooley could not possibly have legitimate grievances. Because you know, women.
Instead of engaging her in a constructive way, Sutton says Pooley would be better off leaving the sport and dismisses her criticisms as illegimate and motivated by bitterness. If that ain’t mansplaining, I don’t know what is.
Pooley is no slouch at pro cycling. She has a world championship title in the time trial and she’s picked off several world cup wins. In 2011 she finished second in the Giro Donne in a scintillating battle with Marianne Vos. That was some seriously good bike racing. If Pooley is wrong for cycling, I don’t want to be right.
I had the chance to talk to Pooley last fall in the context of the upheaval at Garmin-Cervélo. It eventually worked out with the partnership between the managements at AA Drink and Slipstream. But that agreement lasted just one year. Last year Pooley told me she loved racing her bike, but she hated the off-season uncertainties of finding a team.
With her AA Drink-Leontien.nl team stopping, it’s not a huge surprise that Pooley might be feeling a little frustrated.
Hey Coach Sutton, let’s talk about why one of the top riders in the sport is thinking about leaving it. And maybe we can start by not blaming her for being frustrated with the lack of support from sponsors and from institutions like the UCI and the national federations.
Women's Cycling Transfers: Tibco Goes International
During the 2011 season, Tibco-To The Top did two blocks of racing in the Europe with the goal of grabbing points for the U.S. Olympic team and bolstering the ambitions of Amanda Miller and Megan Guarnier.
Now, the California-based women’s team is looking to take its European ambitions a step further. Today the team announced three new signings that will add significant international experience to the team.
Chantal Blaak, Claudia Häusler, and Shelley Olds will join Tibco for the coming season. Häusler is a past Giro Donne winner and comes to the team from Orica-GreenEdge. Currently 22 years old, Blaak comes to Tibco from AA Drink-Leontien.nl team, which is stopping this year. Blaak finished second this past season at the Dutch one-day race, the Ronde van Gelderland.
Shelley Olds, meanwhile, brings sprint speed to Tibco. She won a World Cup race in China this past season, and is a past national criterium champion. Olds has also won two national titles on the track in the scratch race. At the London Olympics, Olds made the winning break only to suffer a flat tire which put an end to her hopes. She is hoping to race through to the 2016 Games in Rio.
Team captains Jo Kiesenovski and Meredith Miller continue with the team next year. Miller is currently racing cyclocross for Cal Giant Berries-Specialized and raising money for the cancer charity Hope Lives. Check out the t-shirts for sale at Breakaway, and jerseys from Voler.
Specialized-lululemon won the first evAH world championship team time trial. The six-rider team won by 24 seconds ahead of Orica-AIS. The Rabobank women finished third.
"I knew we were going to be successful when we had a visualization session with the girls before the start," said Evelyn Stevens. "We visualized the start area like a canon shooting us out, and the top of the Cauberg sucking us in. We finished the session with ‘Namaste Bitches.’"
Hey, whatever works! The Specialized-lululemon women have had a stellar first year in the results department. The team’s title sponsors signed on for one season. Will there be more where that came from? Here’s hoping.
Next up for the women is the individual time trial. Amber Neben, Evie Stevens, and Carmen Small will ride for the U.S. Next weekend’s the road race, one of my fave races of the year almost always, though it will be hard to beat the London Olympic race. That was badass, what with the rain and all.
There is a lot of blood in The Secret Race. Over the course of nearly 300 pages, former professional cyclist Tyler Hamilton recounts the story of his career and the multitudinous ways he chose to dope in pursuit of victory. The story is told in the first person, and in effect, Hamilton is saying, here is what I saw and this is what I did.
The result is the most detailed and credible account we yet have of the cycling and doping world during the period when Armstrong reigned over the sport and won his seven Tour de France titles.
Hamilton portrays his decision to dope in 1997 as a desire to be part of the A-team and to ride the big races at the U.S. Postal Service team. He saw the white lunch bags the other riders received. He wanted one too. The narrative traces Hamilton’s EPO-fueled rise, and recounts the laughably simple measures he took to avoid testing positive. He hid from out-of-competition tests and kept tabs on when he was “glowing.” He learned to inject EPO straight into the vein, because it cleared faster.
Throughout the early part of the narrative, the book tries hard not to be about Armstrong, but it’s impossible to avoid him once the Texan joins the U.S. Postal team in 1998. In this account, Armstrong is central to running the U.S. Postal Team and to directing the team’s doping program.
This is one of Joe Lindsey’s better efforts, which is a wordy way of saying it’s pretty awesome. Lindsey nails dead on the way the talking heads in the mainstream media have gone off the rails in their “analysis” - and I use that term reluctantly - of the Armstrong case.
I have on several occasions set out to write something on the Armstrong story. And I routinely encounter people in real life - yes! it exists! real life! - who want to talk about the case and who frequently parrot the lame formulations about how it doesn’t matter that Armstrong doped and what are you going to do, give the results to the second-placed rider? Everyone else doped too! So, there shouldn’t be a case! Or so they keep trying to tell me.
These arguments, they just give me The Fury. And they give me the fury, because of their total lack of engagement with the basic facts of the story.
I mean, I get it, the original reporting on the 99 samples case was in French! And French is hard! But you know, just about every relevent part of this lengthy sorry saga is available in English. In quintuplicate!
So, really, it’s either lazyness or malpractice to avoid talking about things that actually happened and to fall back on stupid platitudes about everyone doping and the results don’t matter and well, anyway, Armstrong did something good for cancer, so the doping isn’t a big deal.
People! Doping is a big deal! This is the kind of thing that gives me The Fury.
And Joe just nailed that shit to the wall. So you should go read it now.
Excellent interview from @podiuminsight with Cari Higgins, who runs the Exergy Jr. women’s team. It’s also a call to arms, because Higgins would like to see more top women serve as mentors for up-and-coming talents in the sport.
“There is such a bright with USA women’s cycling if and only if these girls don’t get lost, if they have mentors. And that is my challenge to every professional women cyclist is to take one of these girls under your wing…”
Really, go read the whole thing. Hopefully, as more U.S. women reach the elite levels of the sport, we’ll see more mentoring and more support for the juniors and U23s. For the women racers, I think it’s an especially difficult jump to get from the junior to the elite ranks sometimes.
Also? It’s super awesome to have Lyne back writing.
Word came out y’day that the French stage race, the Tour de Languedoc-Roussillon will not take place this year. Yet another women’s race unable to continue due to sponsorship problems. Emma J shares her views briefly here. She and her Hitec-Mistral team will head to South Africa, instead.
That was quite the heartbreaker for Nibali yesterday, wasn’t it? Trying to win Liège-Bastogne-Liège solo from the Côte de la Roche-aux-faucons is going big, though no doubt Nibali would have loved to have had company on his long escape. Two riders, they could have made the finish. But Nibali solo, that was a pretty big ask right there.
The solo break has been one of the recurring patterns of this season’s one-day races. It’s a strange thing to see a group of riders just look at one another as a favorite goes up the road.
Of the solo escapes only Boonen succeeded at Paris-Roubaix. Boonen to the world: I don’t need no stinkin’ breakaway partner.
When Freire went up the road at the Amstel Gold Race, he had hoped to have company. At the finish, he said it was impossible to win solo, and he was sorry no one had come along with him. That’s a hard sell, of course. Who wants to go to the line with a sprinter like Freire?
It was stranger still to see no one join Nibali’s move. The Italian is a talented rider against the watch and a stellar climber, but he’s not known for his finishing speed. Join a move with Nibali, and you’re at least in with a chance at the win.
The Season of the Failed Solo Escape - that’s what I’m calling it, anyway.
But really, I thought Nibali had this one. The teeming horde behind him never did get organized. And is it me, or does it feel like everyone’s been so busy watching Philippe Gilbert that they’ve forgotten how to race their bikes? People! Stop looking at Gilbert! The race, it’s going up the road. Maybe you should think about joining it?
Credit to Astana for recognizing that Nibali was riding away with it, and organizing their own chase. Iglinsky timed his escape perfectly to catch Nibali inside the final kilometer. Nibali looked crushed to see it all come undone so close to the finish. Iglinsky had fabulous form, and he benefitted from picture perfect team riding at Astana.
If there’s an award for Best Team Without Winning, it would definitely go to BMC. How many kilometers have the BMC riders ridden on the front this classics season? Too many, really, for the results they’ve gotten for it. It’s hard to imagine where Gilbert’s form has gone, but it certainly is not in his legs at the moment. Gilbert’s lack of form has put BMC in the position of race-makers without a finisher. They’ve made the race hard and forced the selections all along the way, but they’ve gone home with little to show for it. Bittersweet, that.
On the subject of team riding, did you yell at Pierre Rolland to work with Dan Martin like I did? I mean, I totally know why he didn’t. He was marking Martin for Voeckler who was behind in the chase group.
But still, I wanted Martin and Rolland to just go for it already. With Rolland sitting on, Martin’s chances were slim of staying out there. Of course, Martin too had a team mate behind in Ryder Hesjedal. All the same, when Martin went up the road with Rolland, I so wanted them to put their heads down and ride for it. Tactics, shmatics.
In truth, I never imagined I’d see Voeckler so close the podium at Liège. Amstel Gold Race winner Enrico Gasparotto took Voeckler at the line to give Astana a second rider on the podium. Big day for Astana right there.
So it’s good-bye for now to the one-day races, as the calendar sends us careening toward Italy for the Giro d’Italia.
The UCI issued the latest country rankings today. The U.S. women are up to fourth. Why do we care about this? The top five countries send four riders to the Olympic Games instead of three.
The recent win from Evie Stevens at Flèche Wallonne, a second place from Kristin Armstrong at the Ronde, and a string of consistent placings from Megan Guarnier have helped the U.S. climb up the rankings. The rolling points system means that Amber Neben carries the bulk of the U.S. points. Check out the rider points here.
The U.K. moved up to fifth. Emma Pooley and Lizzie Armitstead have brought the U.K. the bulk of their points. Sweden dropped from fourth to sixth. Emma Johansson has had a slower start to the season than usual, thanks to a training accident, and she is Sweden’s top ranked rider.
The Netherlands, Germany, and Italy sit securely in the top three. Marianne Vos and Judith Arndt are the big riders for the Netherlands and Germany, while Italy relies on the awesome threesome of Giorgia Bronzini, Tatiana Guderzo, and Noemi Cantele.
Should the U.S. hold its top five position, it should mean considerably less Drama for the team selection process. Evie Stevens, Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben, and Megan Guarnier have the top international results, presently.
I had a chance to chat with the Vanderkitten-Focus women earlier this season. Like many women riders, they race for very little money, but they love the sport with infectious passion. Currently, they are racing Sea Otter Classic. Also, their kit is awesome and I think I pretty much have to buy one as soon as they go on sale.
Thanks @ednl for the video. Super impressive win from Evie Stevens of Specialized lululemon on the Mur de Huy. She followed the wheel of four-time winner Marianne Vos, then with picture perfect timing, came around to win by a bike-length and then some. Linda Villumsen of GreenEdge finished third, well back from the leading pair.
At the beginning of the year, Stevens said that Flèche Wallonne was among the races she would most like to win. She believed the final climb suited her, but she had struggled in the past with the narrow, technical roads that lead to the final climb. Earlier this season, Stevens crashed trying to follow an attack from Marianne Vos at the Trofeo Alfredo Binda. This time, Stevens kept the bike upright.
From the start, her coaches have raved about her power and her physiology - that Stevens has that perfect balance of strength, weight, and speed to win the big races. Now, we finally start to see what the fuss has been all about.
Also notable, Megan Guarnier of Team Tibco finished seventh on the Mur de Huy. Guarnier is a rider on the move - she won her first international race last year at the Giro di Toscana. She is more in the mold of a sprinter than Stevens, but seventh in this World Cup is a big step forward for Guarnier, an ex-swimmer turned bike racer.
For the U.S., the results from Guarnier and Stevens are good news. The U.S. started the season on the knife edge of the Olympic selection game. Would the U.S. get two starts or three starts in London? Much depended on how the U.S. riders finished in these early season races. I haven’t done the math just yet, but today’s race should help that cause significantly.
At the beginning of the season, Tibco team owner Linda Jackson said she was committed to helping the women chase the UCI points necessary to make it to the Olympics and she arranged for the team - including Guarnier - to travel to Europe to race. It takes a village.
For Stevens personally, this result should also help her cause in the selection game. And if the U.S. does in fact get those three starts? Guarnier looks better and better as a possible pick for London.
Certainly, the list is shrinking: Stevens, Kristin Armstrong, Amber Neben, and Megan Guarnier have the most recent top level results of the American women.
So the mountain bike kids played at Houffalize this weekend. World Champ Catharine Pendrel bettered her third place from South Africa and won it. Julie Bresset of France was second followed by Maja of the long Polish family name.
Emily Batty kept it rolling with a seventh place finish, which puts Batty and Pendrel out in front in the points race for the Canadian Oly team.
Georgia Gould was the top U.S. finisher at twelfth, a significant improvement over her finish in South Africa which was down around 40th. She said after South Africa, she expected things to get better. And they did! Lea Davison was the next American at nineteenth. Other U.S. girls: Mary McConnoloug, 37th, Katie Compton, 43rd, Heather Irmiger, 45th, Chloe Woodruff, 48th, Judy Freeman, 67th.
Shout-out to up-and-coming young American Erica Zaveta who finished a lap down.
Full results, if you like that kind of thing. There’s a pretty awesome shot of Catharine Pendrel there, too. So go look at it.
So I went for a ride and then I headed over to my favorite sandwich joint. And the guy behind the counter, he watches pro bike racing. And we got to talking about Paris-Roubaix.
I’ve always sort of envied mainstream sports fans - they get to talk about last night’s game with random passers-by. But cycling, it’s like a secret club. Not everyone watched the game last night. Which, why didn’t they? Because it was awesome.
It was crazy times watching Boonen ride away with 55 kilometers to go. And that moment, when the others behind him, they start looking at one another like, are you going to chase? And you see them realize one after the other, I got nothing on that.
That long doomed chase, you felt for those guys, right? Killing themselves on the front with still 50 kilometers and seven or so sectors of cobbles to go - including the monster Carrefour de l’Arbe which more normally plays the racemaker.
The bike race, it was a long way gone up the road and not coming back.
The talk after the bike race, the rehashing and arguments, I think that might just be my favorite part of the whole thing.
People, really? You really were criticizing Pozzato? Aww, that poor dude. No way he was bringing Boonen back himself, not without help. And Ballan, he just got there after dashing across the gap, and then, there’s Nikki Terpstra going to the front and pounding on it. That was a smashing right there.
I’m not usually an afficionado of the long breakaway. But this one, it had drama. Something about the weight of history, and the sheer desperation and disbelief of the chase behind. They seemed shell-shocked. Like, for reals? He’s really gone? Yes, kids, he’s really gone. Next time you see him, he’ll be on the podium cradling his new rock.
You don’t too often see a rider so much in his element as Boonen was on the cobbles on Sunday.
Oh, and while I’m here? Rog, dude, shut your piehole! Blah blah in my day the cobbles were harder, blah blah… Whatevs, brah. Your record, that thing is so going down.