Pro cycling is that pretty girl you thought you were over until you ran into her at a party, and she smiled in that way she smiles and you knew you shouldn’t talk to her again, but it was all over at the smile, and then you’re back in and she’s not returning your calls, and you wonder why it is this way, except that it’s always been this way with pretty girls…I mean, pro cycling.
With all due regrets to Al Pacino, I was out, but they pulled me back in. I should have know when I wrote this that I was slipping back into it, forgetting the heart break of recent seasons, but I found myself riveted to the play-by-play of E3 Harelbeke this morning, the last kilometer churn of the remaining four riders, Peter Sagan, Stijn Vandenbergh, Nikki Terpstra and Geraint Thomas, lighting my imagination. Gent-Wevelgem is coming. The Tour of Flanders.
Meanwhile in Catalunya, the climbers take wild swings at one another. Contador, Froome, Quintana, Rodriguez and even Tejay van Garderen have been playing out the same cagey battles on steep ground that the hardmen have been fighting on the cobbles. The last two mountain finishes have been fantastic.
And so, I’m back in. In part, I blame Mark Cavendish. I was sent a copy of his latest autobiography (review coming), and as I read, page-by-page, I recall watching each of the races he recounts, the Grand Tours and World Championships, and I find I’m enjoying it. I like thinking about races and how they unfold. I like the tactics and the suspense as the riders close on the finish. I like it even more when they do it in crappy weather (see above).
So this week’s Group Ride asks, are you paying attention to these spring tilts? Are you back? Or were you never out? Never in? Or will it take the Grand Boucle, the Tour itself, to get you back in front of the races?
Image: Fotoreporter Sirotti