Carnage on the Cobbles! Well, it was a crash-filled finish--and a crash-filled road to get there--at the venerable men's Gent-Wevelgem this morning, as Sky boys were flying into ditches or into concrete all over the road, the race kept stopping dead around mid-group pile-ups, and Cancellara and half the other strongmen who looked to thrash it out for an incredible sprint were caught behind a road-diving Tyler Farrar and his collateral damage Andre Greipel, who remarked thoughtfully of his likely broken collarbone and certain screw outta the rest of the Classics, "It's not normal. Fuck." A man of few yet effective words, that Gorilla! Already riding wounded but nonetheless grabbing an impressive fifth: thumb-smarting big Tom Boonen. Triumphant or at least still standing: a victorious and always-underrated John Degenkolb (and a very lively reaction from his team car), Demare, and a really bummed (for the second time this week alone) Peter Sagan. On the women's side (and only the third edition of the race for them at all): an upright finale, so you gents might want to take some stability tips from the ladies, and a road-rippin' finish for US's Lauren Hall. Woo-hoo Hall and Degenkolb--and Sky, whatever the hell happened to Ian Stannard and the rest of you, I hope you're taped up pieced back together pain-medsed and back in action soon! No video of the women's finish as usual, but at least we got the podium, and where those guys with high heels tiny skirts and lots of lipstick are is beyond me: And here's the men's action:
*Now* Can They Get Some Hot Cocoa?: meantime, over at the Volta a Catalunya, the half-frozen Grand Tour contenders finally made their way in over a nasty 8 circuits, with Purito Rodriguez takin' the whole show despite a desperate final attack by Contador while Alberto and Chris Froome still enjoyed the lion's share of the attention, Alberto got the reassurance of clutchin' his few extra seconds over Froomey, and Froomey still gets to lord his 2013 win over Alberto ahead of July. I'm callin' that just about even! Now, the trippy tribute to last-stage winner Liuwe Westra:
Screw You, UCI!: and, a giant "bite me!" to UCI for bamfoozling poor Pippo Pozzato, still confused by UCI's picky new rules over when you can and can't evade the cobbles for the nice smooth roadside, which might've come in handy, say, today if he and the furry Luca Paolini hadn't gotten jerked to a stop behind a mass pile-up at Gent-Wevelgem. What's next UCI, no more sneakin'in a forbidden late-race bidon or hoping your aero position hides you from the helicopter cameras while you draft for twenty minutes behind someone else's team car? Oh, just rip the very spirit of sportsmanship outta the sport, whyndontcha...
And, Yer I'm-Gonna-Regret-Puttin'-This-Up-On-The-Internet-Someday Pic o' the Race: Fran Ventoso, a tad scraped(but luckily not a bit broken) after Gent. Dang, I hope it's legal for this guy to take an aspirin!