On to the Ronde!: yes, as evil computer-hacking criminal mastermind Floyd Landis gets a November appeal date in French court on the grounds he can barely master a rotary phone, much less infiltrate a seriously-secured computer network, and the past and present Barbie-sparkle-princesses at Lampre get ready to defend against systemic doping accusations, it's time for the Ronde van Vlaanderen, baby, so let's take a look at this weekend's bloody battlefest!
1. The Course: ow ow ow ow ow !@#$in' flat ow ow ow ow ow !@#$in' derailleur ow ow ow ow ow ow OW MY !#@$IN' COLLARBONE ow ow ow oh !@#$ I'm glad it's over! Oh right, and they've bagged the Muur and seriously shaken up the route. And it doesn't help *anyone.* Oh, and watch out for nails, suckers!
2. The Players:
--Fabian Cancellara: look, he's gonna kick someone's !@#$; it's just a question of when. If he gets more than two bike lengths on anyone, including Boonen, it's over. Plus, someone's gotta save RadioSkank's season!
--Peter Sagan: right, he's just here training. But damn, this boy's on form! The stealth candidate no-one ever seems to notice 'til he's already smooching the podium babes. Top 3!
--Thor and Gilbert: hard to believe Hushovd could be any more screwed than he was with Vaughters at ungrateful Garmin, but frankly, he ain't lookin' like I hoped. And hopefully Gilbert'll heal up from his toothache by the Ardennes. Come on come on come *on* Thor--what the hell?! And while we're at it, go Hincapie!
--The Dark Horses: yes, Stijn Devolder, Pippo Pozzato, Freire, and a slew of even more recent bad boys are there. And Sylvain Chavanel is blazin' if Boonen sacks out. Me, I like newbie Sep Vanmarcke--not yet maybe, but soon!
--Tom Boonen: Marked like dog on fire hydrant, but clearly, our charmer is back. It's this, or Roubaix. Take yer pick Tom, but one of 'em is yours! Here, let's encourage dear Tommeke by reminding him just how refreshing a long hot shower can be after a cold, hard race:
3. The Prize: well, apparently they used to give out massage oil, but these days, you have to settle for eternal glory. And a trophy. And podium babes!
4. The Latest Headlines: oh, those halcyon days when Bjorn Leukemans was gettin' so much action he couldn't keep his testosterone levels low enough to pass a doping test; now, the poor boy's a monk. Indeed, straight from the official Ronde site and the man himself comes this quote:"Whether I'm dry? Maybe You Should Ask My Girlfriend". Uh, no thanks Bjorn--but good luck in the race and all!
Off to Flanders--sticking it out til the finish line, that's a whole 'nother question!