Hereâ€™s your Monday Musette for this week:
1. Thereâ€™s not much we can say about Philippe Gilbertâ€™s repeat win at the Tour of Lombardy Saturdayâ€”the strongest rider in the race lived up to his pre-race billing.Â The rain and cold helped keep the race together going up the Sormano, but broke it apart on the way downâ€”much to delight of the powerful Belgian.
Michele Scarponi was smart to follow as Gilbert rolled off the front, seemingly to keep himself out of trouble.Â While some might say things would have been different had Nibali not crashed, he didâ€”and keeping your bike upright is an important part of racing.Â Gilbert deserves credit for racing attentively and positioning himself well to take the win.Â Now he sets his sights firmly on next springâ€”I hope he manages to take at least one of the Belgian Monuments.
2. As for Scarponi, 2010 will go down as a series of near misses for the Androni-Giacatolli rider.Â He narrowly lost Tirreno-Adriatico, finished one spot away from the podium at the Giro, and now is the runner-up at Lombardiaâ€”a terrific string of resultsâ€”or missed opportunities.
In other news:
3. More information keeps arriving about Team Luxembourg.Â Along with various Saxo Bank and other refugees, Trek, and Mercedes Benz, the team now has 3 new sport directors.Â But while we know the name of the teamâ€™s main benefactor, the Luxembourg businessman Flavio Becca, we still know nothing of which of his ventures will lend its name to the squad.
4. Did you read this recent interview with Michael Rogers?Â Credit the Australian for being one of few riders to have an accurate perception of his own talents and skills.Â Heâ€™s rightâ€”he has the ability to win any one-week stage race he enters.Â One can only wonder what terrific racing we would witness if others followed his lead.
5. This is a great video from Flemish TV of former professional and current kermesse rider, Patrick Cocquyt.Â Note the use of a garage as a locker room and the quintessential, â€œYou have to ride, eh?â€Â Thanks to Joe Parkin for finding this one.
6. Former Cervelo TestTeam rider Stefan Denifl has been offered a contract by Team Radio Shack, but has proven not willing to sign until heâ€™s given some assurances regarding the teamâ€™s future.Â Itâ€™s true that beggars canâ€™t be choosers, but can you blame him?
7. And last but not least, Specialized has taken a page from Colnagoâ€™s late-1990â€™s marketing manual and is now the official bike (and in some cases, accessory) supplier to Astana, Saxo Bank, and HTC-High Road.Â Contractual obligation, desperate measure, or does Specialized really hope to win every race on the world calendar?
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