Magic Bicycle Ride: well, if Ryder Hesjedal's incredible surge and heartbreaking pass-by of holy-crap-he's-nailed-it-Oliver Zaugg for Vuelta the win today didn't convince you that that wily fake-benevolent Canadian wasn't already bike-doping exactly as he's been accused of, nothing will, but you're still a paranoiac eejit, because that was one drained (and Giro-winning!) tank that collapsed over the finish line today. Whoa moly I hope Zaugg found some kinda hidey-hole from Oleg Tinkov back at the hotel this evening! And don't lie to me you dissemblers--you were absolutely *delighted* to see Alejandro Valverde dropped in the final kilometer today, though that rather does tend to discredit the widespread assumption that he's got a discreet little IV port permanently implanted in his !@#. Even a natural powerhouse like Alejandro can have a slightly off-day I suppose--though it was a far cry from the one-day stage-long catastrophic race-wrecking implosion we can expect from him at every Grand Tour! Meantime, *so* lovely to see Purito covering Alberto Contador's every move, clearly Samuel Sanchez is just holding back for tomorrow and Monday so you can all just stuff it, and jeez louise it was a surprise to Chris "The Walking Dead" staggering back up to and even past the GC contenders after having been dispatched to the underworld already near the start of the final climb. Dang those things are tenacious--haven't you ever seen the video for "Thriller" Alberto, the monsters *always* throw you for a loop just when you think you're safe!
Worlds o' Hurt: in other news, a dispirited Peter Sagan pulled out of the Vuelta entirely today, presumably to prepare for the Worlds in friendlier, less-vertical pastures, though his Cannondale team director sounds majorly freakin' grim about even that prospect. Word to the wise, big guy: now is *not* the time to start drowning your sorrows in a pint of ice cream! And even the great Fabian Cancellara, perhaps totally flamboozled by Tony Martin's incredible domination this year, is pulling out of the Worlds time trial to focus on the road championships. I love you Fabian, but I still hope that an increasingly happy-go-lucky--hell, he's apparently even lost his fear of the sprints--Tom Boonen takes it over you!
Eat This Bouhanni!: yes, he's been riding very well and is a lovely bike rider, but consider how far fewer'n'far between the women's opportunities for sprints are, much less wins, as they haven't even a 3-week Grand Tour to their name yet--but there's the grandissima Giorgia Bronzini, bagging her third--third!--win at the Tour d'Ardeche today. No video that I could find yet, but here's an illuminating "day in the life o' Wiggle-Honda" from yesterday--enjoy!
Well, on to tomorrow's lumpy then whoa-is-that-a-mountain-or-what stage to Lagos de Covadonga--I'm sure even the mountain goats won't *quite* be adoring that final 17.5% gradient push to the line!