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!
I recently chatted with Andrew Talansky to talk about the Amgen Tour of California. He admitted that the race hasn’t treated him well over the years. He’s often suffered from sickness during the event. After a smooth run in 2016, Talansky is ready to take on this edition with pure focus on a GC win. ‘But wait, Spencer,’ you might say, ‘didn’t he and his wife just have a baby?’ Yes, but don’t worry about the lost sleep. I’ve seen the power of dad watts firsthand, getting smashed by masters riders at local races. As we all know, Cannondale-Drapac hasn’t won a WorldTour race in two years. Maybe that’s because the team is one of the youngest in the peloton — hence, no dad watts. When Talansky wins California and ends the team’s WorldTour drought, perhaps the rest of his teammates should start making babies ASAP to get those gains for the rest of the season.
The Giro d’Italia’s stage 4 to Mount Etna was supposed to be explosive, fiery, volcanic! It wasn’t. The GC riders stuck together. A solo breakaway won, and fans were snoozing. There’s so much wrong here. It’s the Giro! There should have been panic that the volcano would erupt. When a few GC riders had trouble early on, they should have lost oodles of time. Italian riders should have launched crazy attacks. Instead, it was tepid. I fear this has angered the cycling gods that live atop Etna, who want non-stop action on stages like this. If plagues of locusts and frogs swarm over the Tour this summer, we’ll know that the bike gods are seeking payback for the snoozy battle.
Chris Froome had a scare in training this week. A driver hit him while he was riding in southern France on Tuesday, totaling the Tour champ’s bike. Fortunately, Froome was unhurt, and we are all extremely happy for that. Froome noted that his team brought him a new bike to continue the training ride. Sounds to me like Sky’s famous attention to detail is slipping. Shouldn’t Froome have just taken off running like he did on Ventoux in the 2016 Tour? Why isn’t he preparing for every possible scenario in training? If we spot Alberto Contador out for a run in June, we’ll know he’s got a sneaky plan to beat Froome in July.
The Giro’s stage 5 finish in Sicily was pandemonium. Fans crowded the streets, vying for selfie photos. Race leader Bob Jungels had some choice words for the spectators, and he didn’t even get the worst of it. Poor Kristian Sbaragli got smacked with a selfie stick. The UCI seems to have a tough time reigning in disc brakes due to the industry’s influence. Maybe the governing body can crack down on selfie sticks. It is time for some rules governing the sticks’ length, diameter, and possibly whether or not they have that remote-trigger thingie. Expect roadside controls throughout the Tour de France.
While Mount Etna lacked a real fight, the kilometers before the huge climb produced some true fisticuffs. Bahrain-Merida’s Javier Moreno rode up next to Diego Rosa (Team Sky) and slugged him in the shoulder, causing the Sky rider to crash. The incident was captured by a TV helicopter, and quickly made the rounds on Twitter. The Giro kicked Moreno out of the race entirely, and Bahrain-Merida quickly put out a press release apologizing for the whole thing. Moreno even said he was sorry. Case closed, right? Wrong. Today, some new footage emerged of a moment just before the incident which kinda sorta shows Rosa whacking Moreno in the derrière. Is this one of those instances when the wrong kid got sent to the principal’s office?