Saturday, April 06, 2013

It's Paris-Roubaix, Baby!; and, What Is This, International Treat Women In Cycling Like !@#$ Week?

Welcome to Hell (of the North)!: What is it: Cobbles, baby! Twenty-seven sections and 52.6 kilometers of treacherous, uneven, spine-rattling, pile-up-inducing, damn near mocking blocks o' agony. And no, they're not as steep as Flanders, and no, they still ain't any more merciful. This ain't no pansy-!@# skip through a daisy-spangled meadow, honey, so enjoy--if you're not ridin' 'em!

Why You Should Watch It: Pain. Suffering. Grit. Bike handling. Power. Save pure climbing, it epitomizes virtually everything that is magnificent about this sport into a single fateful day. If you win Roubaix, you know you're one of the best cyclists who ever lived. Hell, if you *finish* Roubaix, you know you're one of the best cyclists who ever lived. Hell, if you crash out and break a baker's dozen o' bones at Roubaix, you know you're one of the be...

Who to Watch For: yes, yes, a pissed-off, twice-crashed Cancellara, but also 2011 champ Vansummmeren, ever-dreamer pin-up Pippo Pozzato, and, well, almost anyone else in the race from Belgium. And maybe the race *will* be a giveaway, if no-one's willing to work together to defeat Fabian. But it's Paris-Roubaix, and anything can happen. Your bike could spontaneously splinter. Your legs could freeze up. Your collarbone could explode into a pile o' pulverized bone-bits. You could get face-wrapped by a wind-whipped Flemish flag. Or you could have the best day ever of your life on a bike, and *still* not win. Me, I'd love, love, love for the fabulous, luckless Sylvain "See? The French Don't All Suck!" Chavanel to get it (shut up, I know he's most likely to podium, shut up!). And I actually like that wily s.o.b. Flecha, too, though sure, Vacansoleil's ignoring the whole Op Puerto thing til after the finish line's pretty skeevy. Forza, forza Sylvain--heck, Boonen can't stomp it this year, so it might as well be you!

What the !@#$ Is Wrong With You Freaks?: first, a pointlessly ornamental podium babe gets grabbed by freshman wanker frat-boy Sagan. Now, the women's five-stage Energiewacht Tour gets screwed for an entire day by giant trucks riding the course, race-stopping boat and train passages, and crap directions to the !@#-end of nowhere. Jaysus, can things *get* any worse for women in this sport this week?--now up their pay, fix the problems, and treat 'em with some damn dignity whydontcha! Here, Kirsten Wild *still* manages to pluck a win:

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