Any given week, there are oodles of cycling stories flying around in the news. So here’s a quick-hit summary of this week’s happenings, plus my own garbage opinions on each. Much like my gambling advice, these takes are for entertainment purposes only!
We are all familiar with the wackiest story from this year’s Giro: Tom Dumoulin nearly lost the race overall because he had to stop and answer the call of nature. Is this the wackiest Giro story ever? If Dumoulin loses, it may go down in history as such. We literally can’t make this sort of story up, people. But maybe, on the contrary, the bathroom break actually saved his Giro. I’ve been there. I know how awful it is to be riding hard with that extra — um — weight. Maybe, if he hadn’t made his own drop-off, he would have been dropped even worse by Quintana and Nibali. Hopefully other racers don’t take a cue from the pink jersey in the stages to come, though. Things could get messy.
Tejay van Garderen saved his Giro on Thursday when he rode into the stage 18 breakaway and beat Mikel Landa in a nervy, high-speed sprint. Didn’t I tell you last week? Didn’t I say verbatim “Don’t quit, Tejay!” Well there you have it. This is empirical proof that the pro peloton hangs on my every word. If that is the case, we might start seeing a lot more weird mishaps at the races. On second thought let me add this disclaimer: Attention pro racers reading this. Don’t take my advice. Unless you’re Tejay.
Like van Garderen, Landa went to the Giro hoping for a crack at the pink jersey. He’s been sorely disappointed and well out of the running for the overall. Instead, he’s leading the mountains classification and on Friday he finally won a stage after finishing second twice in big mountain stages. Most teams would be thrilled to have those results, but is it enough for Team Sky? The British outfit is used to steamrolling everyone in the Tour de France. I have to think that pink was really the only prize that would suffice. This could be further proof that Sky is truly cursed in the Giro. If David Brailsford starts burning sage and whispering incantations at the start line on stage 20, you’ll know Sky is pulling out all the stops to break the bad juju.
Tom Dumoulin had some choice words for Giro GC rivals Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana after stage 18, saying he hopes they lose their podium spots. He didn’t like how uncooperative they were when Thibaut Pinot attacked. Nibali shot back, calling Dumoulin “cocky.” Seems like the fellas were a little cranky after that tough mountain stage. Maybe they ate a few too many energy gels and their stomachs are feeling a bit knotted up? Luckily there were ample toilets available at the finish. But if the chippy comments continue through the weekend, we’ll know there actually is some bad blood between the Dutchman and the Italian.