Encore de la Pluie

The Lion roars in the mud and rain

I don’t enjoy the races in February on the Arabian Peninsula because I like watching other people ride in the sun while I spend my afternoons looking for a sliver of daylight that coincides with some fragment of my day where I don’t also need to work or engage in some other activity. I also don’t enjoy them because I think corners are overrated, nor because I like watching stock-bike time trials, nor because I believe wind is a suitable substitute for mountains.

No, I enjoy the February races on the Arabian Peninsula because it’s the first sign of life we get from the hardmen who will be bending, breaking, and smashing their way over the cobblestones this Spring in snow, rain, or suffocating dust.

Not a bad way to start things, Tomeke.

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69 Replies to “Encore de la Pluie”

  1. @frank

    can i throw in a mention for the lad Ian Stannard who beat Cuntadore and TJ in a climb to the line in Volta Algarve

    I also like the salute

  2. @Sam
    Man, I’ve LOVED Ian Stannard ever since I saw his post K-B-K interview last year! Super result for him (although I do need to temper my reactions while they are still racing in the Middle East!)

  3. @Buck Rogers
    Not likely. Much more likely to fall off. Pray to Merckx that doesn’t happen, eh?

    Very cool. I have to say, with the advent of the smaller and smaller race-fit jerseys everyone is sports, and the lower and lower cut on the bibs, we’re starting to get that pookey little bit of underjersey in the finish line pictures. Can’t decide if it’s uncool to show any undergarment, or if it’s cool because they are layin’ down the V.

  4. @frank
    Looks like he managed to keep the rubber side down today. The Dutch have a real contender in the ranks this year!

  5. @frank
    the jersey sizing is a real issue for me, i have a weird shape, broad shoulders and a tiny waist, so i’m somewhere between M & L on most charts. Got a really nice Santini jersey t’other day and it fits really well but mighty short. I think from now on we have to accept it that laying down The V will result in a slightly iffy salute

    @Buck Rogers
    yeah but he always goes well in the classics, so with Hunt, Stannard and Flecha it’s looking good for us

  6. shit it’s Cummings not Stannard, everything said is still true. I’m blaming it on an unsuccessful return to the bike this week that left me hauled up in bed pumped full of cold and flu drugs

  7. Sam :
    shit it’s Cummings not Stannard, everything said is still true. I’m blaming it on an unsuccessful return to the bike this week that left me hauled up in bed pumped full of cold and flu drugs

    Bummer about the sickness. As you said, still great even if it is Cummings although I will always have a soft spot for Ian after that interview (if you have not seen it, youtube K-B-K postrace stannard interview–it’s not to be missed!)

  8. @Buck Rogers
    Holy shit the boys cold, watchin world cup in Manchester atm, we’re getting pasted by the aussies and americans, but thats what you get for a funding system based on Olympic Golds, has aided our road tho

  9. @All Just read Eddy Merckx thinks Robert Gesink is the top contender for this year’s Tour de France.

  10. @ Netraam

    Aye, he does look in good form, but it’s whether he keeps it, personally i’m a Vicenzo Nibali fan just hope he gets the place in the team

  11. Thought Nibali was pencilled in as lead for the Giro? He did awesome work for Basso last year, I’d like to see him get a shot this time.

  12. @Joe
    He probably is, i just don’t want another two horse race like last year. Last years vuelta was more exiting because there was nibali, gilbert (for a while) rodriguez and that fella from Xacobeo Galicia, who’s name slips my mind. But i’d prefer Nibali as he has been untainted by the juice

  13. In my opinion, A. Schleck (and perhaps Basso) is the man to beat the next Tour, but Gesink can get a top-5 and perhaps even a podium. Nibali will probably get a shot at either the Giro or the Vuelta, as Basso is still the #1 for Liquigas.

  14. Is everyone out of his mind? Hennie Kuiper, 1975 world champion, states Gesink will at least be along the best 3.

    10-to-1 he will end up falling down in one of the first rides, again crushing my hopes…

  15. @Netraam
    Awwwww….so harsh, so sad, so true. I guess I fail to see how winning a one-week race in the desert in February sets the stage for a three week race in July, but those guys certainly have a place in this sport that I don’t.

    I’d love to see Gesink win, but isn’t he a more likely candidate to win the Dotty Jumper? A chronic crasher, I just don’t see him staying at the front during the first week.

  16. Yup, all hopes flushed down the Ge-sink in the first week. (Probably after tripping over Banged’n’Felled)
    Looks like the Giro could rule in general this year – 7 mountain top finishes, including Etna with Grossglockner and Zoncolan, back to back….oooh. Might be interesting to see if ‘Innocent’ Bertie will contest it with his new vegetarian super powers in case the appeal rules him out of the Tour.

  17. @Joe
    For me, the Giro rules. The TdF has lost its mind. The Vuelta has lost its relevance.

  18. @Joe
    Absolutely. The Giro will be amazing this year. What’s up with the ToC trying to draw riders away and not all the great contenders going for it in Italy? Even as an American I do not give two shits about the ToC, except that it draws away from the Giro.

  19. @frank
    I don’t think he’ll be a real contender for that. The Dotty Jumper is for people who actually go for the mountain points, and Gesink (along with other contenders) probably goes for stage wins. Stage wins do not provide enough mountain points to be a real contender for the Dotty Jumper.

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