Down to the Last of the Classics!: yes, with Fleche-Wallone but a happy memory for surprise victor Joaquim Rodriguez, and Andy Schleck having conveniently blamed other teams for his own squad's relative fiasco in the race, it's time to wind down the spring season with the venerable Liege-Bastogne-Liege, baby! The bets: really, with Philippe Gilbert in quickly-rising form and confidence, and the forecast calling for "cold and crappy," they're pretty well on him. Also out for blood: Valverde, Samu', Oscar and Rodriguez, likely to be felled a bit by the temps even more'n they'll enjoy the upwards yank to the line; Simon Gerrans; Cunego, lookin' for vindication from his earlier Ardennes crash-near-the-line buckets o' Belgians; and, of course, Frank and Andy, ready for redemption. Here's the fun to come: Allez, allez Philippe--hey, at least your brother's promised a hometown boozefest-fest either way, you can mourn or celebrate with some of that strawberry vodka!
Fast (Well, Actually Not So Fast Lately) Times at Team RadioSkank: meantime, an apparently panicking Johan Bruyneel, wholly unused to losing (until Lance's return, of course), has unceremoniously booted longtime Schleck guide-to-glory Kim Anderson from RadioSkank's Tour de France team car, and also completely freaked out Frank and Andy, who have reassured the fans (and themselves) that they'll be checking in with Anderson by telephone "at least three times per day" and "we're really excited that Johan's got no confidence in us whatsoever for the Tour." Johan, of course, is cheerfully encouraging the two, revealing that his tactics for July are to "limit Andy's losses" in the flats, descents, and time trials, and just capitalize on his justly-lauded climbing skills. Jeez, kick him in the psychological nuts whydontcha--it's enough to make me feel sorry for the kid! Anyway, I wouldn't worry Johan--Andy has, after all, won the Tour de France once already. Of course, Contador *actually* won that year. And Cadel is freakin' *motivated* to retain that maillot jaune in July. And...uh, at least you're gonna bring Jens!
Mark Cavendish, Man of Action: finally, big points to Colgate poster-pup Mark Cavendish, who's not only aiming at the Giro, but now swearing he's gonna finish the Tour de France *and* still be ready to go for Olympic gold. Hey, as long as Thor's gonna be too busy workin' for Cadel *and* bizarrely chasing mountain stages, lookin' forward to seeing you in green again, Cav!