1. In case you missed it, Philippe Gilbert won Saturdayâ€™s Clasica San Sebastian with a powerful attack inside the final few kilometers that left his companionsâ€”and Rabobankâ€™s Carlos Barredo, who was alone off the front at the timeâ€”helpless.
Not including his run of post-Tour Criteriums, Gilbert has won 8 of the last 9 races heâ€™s entered (not including stage wins at the Tour of Belgium, Ster ZLM, and the Tour de France). Heâ€™ll now take a bit of rest before lining-up for the Eneco Tour next week.
Gilbertâ€™s dominance makes him a favorite in just about every race he enters and one of the most dynamic one-day stars the sport has seen sinceâ€¦Bettini? Bartoli? Jalabert?
2. This just in: Stijn Devolder attacked during Saturday’s race–and held on to finish in the first big group. Could the Belgian have a resurgence up his sleeve?
3. If I’m Gilbert and I don’t end up signing with Lotto’s new project, I’m really going to miss Jelle Vanendert. Without him, one could argue that Gilbert’s impressive season never would have happened to the extent that it did.
4. Staying in Belgium: despite not one but two bad guesses on my part, Omega Pharma finally announced that it is merging with Quick-Step for 2012. This will be third collaboration between Omega Pharma CEO Marc Coucke and Quick Stepâ€™s Patrick Lefevereâ€”the two joined forces in both 2003 and 2005â€”but the question remains: is it enough to sign Philippe Gilbert?
5. Unfortunately, the merger seems to have done little more than upset Gilbert. While itâ€™s right to wonder if Gilbert is being a bit sensitive, would it have too much to ask someone to reach out and make a phone call?
â€œHi Phil, itâ€™s Marc and Patrick. We want you to be one of the first to know that weâ€™re about to announce the merger of Omega Pharma and Quick Step. Weâ€™re hoping youâ€™ll decide to be the centerpiece of this new project. Tot straks!â€
Is that so hard?
6. Meanwhile, in Poland, Skil-Shimanoâ€™s Marcel Kittel is off to a terrific start after winning the first two stages of the seven-day event. With 10 wins so far this season, Kittelâ€™s the latest in what is quickly becoming a steady stream of young German sprintersâ€”hopefully Skil can hold onto to him for another year or two. Especially since they just lost Kenny Van Hummel to Vacansoleil.
7. Overall, August 1st was much more quiet than many were expecting as the destinations of big names such as Gilbert and Thor Hushovd are still unknown.
BMC re-signed George Hincapie and Cadel Evans, a move that might make the financial picture a bit clearer regarding the teamâ€™s ability to sign one of the aforementioned classics superstars. Then again, with Evans on board for a few more years, the teamâ€™s likely to enjoy an increased revenue streamâ€”could a Swiss-backed, American-based super team be in the works?
Time will tell. Share your comments below.