Saturday, April 04, 2015

Now Win Flanders For Me, Sagan, Or I'll Grind You Into Dog Meat!: It's Your Ronde in Preview! #rvv

No Pressure: let's face it: our little Sagz has lost some of his joie de vivre. Whatever tactical sense he had has disappeared like a dirtbag ahead of a drug test, he's got squat in the tank when he needs it most, and the poor kid's been so down he hasn't even had the heart to pop a wheelie onto Contador's head. So you've got *one* day to get your mojo back before your desperate boss Oleg goes completely crazy-!@# on your overpaid overhyped has-been butt--but no pressure!

Oh Tommeke!: and, it goes without saying that a Flanders without Boonen and Cancellara is a party without a cake, so while I dry my maudlin tears and grab a cold one to scream my head off watching everyone else slug it out, I gotta say, I know furry bad-!@# Luca Paolini's justly working for strongman Alexander Kristoff and all, but if *I'd* just won Gent-Wevelgem in total dominating fashion, I'd be sending that guy back to the team car to get me a refreshing lemonade while the rest of squad carried me on my shoulders on a palanquin all the way to the line up at the front of the race tomorrow, which, among other issues like a complete lack of athletic ability, is why I'm a selfish !@#hole and not an incredible gracious cycling champion. So this leaves us with a wide-open race with a slew of guys who've been absolutely blossoming in the absence of Fabs and Tommeke's long shadows, like just-dented John Degenkolb, Van Avermaet, Stybar, gutsy E3 Harelbeke winner Geraint Thomas, and former shock champ Stijn Devolder, as well as, well, realistically, everybody else in the peloton from Belgium. My dark-horse fave? Niki Terpstra. My guilty-pleasure-no-chance-in-hell-but-I-still-love-to-watch-him-anyway? The all-style GQ king Pippo Pozzato. Still, forza grande Luca!

The Forecast: 48 F and sunny. Like even *that's* gonna help you poor bastards!

Ow, !@#$!: finally, your course map is here, and while it's gonna be a bangin' bucket o' excitement from start to finish for us, it is, as always, a study in total !@#$ing bone-jarring suffering for the peloton, including three trips up the Kwaremont, a spin up the Paterberg, and, of course, the fearsome pave of the Koppenberg. Me, I'm hoping someone smashes apart a potential bunch sprint by a daring far-out attack. And to remind you, like you needed it, here, your tribute to Fabs' decisive 2014 victory, as the big guy (get well soon!) brings it in:

So good luck boys--both winning the race, and just plain staying upright in one (especially your collarbones) piece--let the pain and glory begin!

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