Sunday, March 23, 2014

Milano-Sanremo Was Great--But Get Yer Euskaltel On Now, "Cuz Samu' Sanchez is Riding Cataluyna!

Jesus, Kristoff, Superstar!: whoa moly, what a bangin' Milano-Sanremo, with a grimacing Gorilla and really strong Cav gamely gritting it out over the climbs, a demoralized Sagan coming in around 10th, Vincenzo Nibali with an inadvertently-solo attack on the Cipressa and a post-race twit to the peloton to grow some tennis balls, a magnificent freakin' ride by Martin "My Name Is So Much Cooler Than Yours" Tjallingi, Cancellara's 10th or 11th straight Monument podium, and holy crap wasn't no-one peggin' Swifty for third so cheers to the not-even-considered-an-underdogs and congrats Kristoff for stompin' your way into glorious history! So dazzling as it was, what's next? That's right, Euskaltel-Euskadi captain Samuel Sanchez--in still extremely upsetting black-and-red, but of course we now love BMC beyond all reason for hiring him and even forgive them for impossibly tanking Gilbert and Hushovd in the same year--takes the reins at the Volta a Catalunya! Oh, right, and a buncha guys who wanna win the Tour. Like, who cares--go Samuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!

The Course: stick around, we've got seven stages and climbing hell (or heaven, since I ain't climbin' it) to match! 14 category 3s, 3 cat. 2s, 6 cat. 1s, and if you haven't got your masochism on yet you perv, 2 hors categories to ice the cupcake. Tho' there's sorta a flat finish on Stages 5 and 6, if you aren't already too blinded by your own tears to make it over the climbs to get there. As they say in Spanish, "Ow, !@#$!"

The Contenders: yep, Wiggo bailed on this, too, to "train at altitude"--lookin' great to help you !@# at the Tour there, Froomey. But it's an on-form-and-in-fear-o'-Tinkoff Contador and just-comin'-off-a-bad-back Chris Froome's first pre-Tour showdown, plus Purito Rodriguez, Nairo Quintana, and Rigoberto Duran Duran. There too: last year's winner Dan Martin and Chris "That's The Last Time I Get Dissed for a Press Conference, You !@#$ers" Horner. And much as I *do* love Tejay Van Garderen, can the !@#$in' press stop acting like he and not Samuel Sanchez is BMC's team leader for the race? !@#dammit people!

The First Stage: hilly but not too deadly, with a little cat 1 to stretch the legs out, so it might give us some sense as to form, at least coming in to the race. Forecast: a comfy 60 degrees Fahrenheit (sorry dear non-American readers, I suck at translating into Celsius, they stopped fakin' we were gonna adopt that system in like 3rd grade), and partly cloudy. Sure as hell beats MSR, right? Here, nice guy Dan takes the trophy home: So good luck gentlemen--may the climbs begin!

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