We had the Tour of Catalunya and the return of Esteban Chaves; E3 Saxo Bank with DQS playing a blinder in team tactics; and Gent-Wevelgem with Jumbo-Visma playing a blinder in team tactics. We also had experimental podiums with fire and robots! What a time to be alive!
Wout wins Wevelgem
We’re starting backwards with Sunday’s Gent-Wevelgem first.
It was Nathan Van Hooydonck who was the teammate that stuck with WVA during the race and put some pretty nifty moves on the others to help thin down the group.
Who knew that you could get chair covers to look so so creepy? Wout! Don’t look behind you! Just run!
Giacomo Nizzolo gave that lovely European champion’s jersey some publicity with a podium place.
In other news, I finally worked out what that creepy chair reminded me of – Anubis from Stargate SG-1. Yes, lockdown has made me watch some strange television, yet sharpened my mind for random connections
Bennett’s bad day
The group of favourites in Gent-Wevelgem included a bunch of sprinters and it was Sam Bennett that the others were most wary of taking to the line. The final climb had Bennett going deep to keep in the front group but a power squeeze from Van Hooydonck a few kilometres after and it was off the back, in some distress.
Moments before the camera picked up, well, Bennett barfing on the bike, there had been a pinch point on the road that made for a close call between a rider and a pole that made Adam Blythe (who was doing superb commentating) say he was so tense he nearly threw up …
Luckily, Mr Blythe didn’t make the sort of sound effects that the moto might have heard coming out of Sam Bennett
You absolutely have to hand it to Bennett, though. Barfing off the bike, drained to a whiter shade of pale, yet he kept up the effort as long as he could and actually finished the race (in 55th place).
Some familiar faces in Catalunya
It was an eventful Volta Catalunya for some of our perennial favourites
There were a lot of Twitter cheers going up when Peter Sagan won stage 6, the first win he’s had in about two years. His recovery from Covid is obviously going well, just in time for Flanders.
And it was a full Ineos Grenadiers podium.
E3 with robots!
Friday’s E3 was raced and raced and raced almost the entire way. Every time the race looked to be settling, someone would kick off again – someone most likely in the DQS blue. They had guys in all the different groups, including multiples in the front group of favourites.
It wasn’t Wout‘s day – he had an untimely puncture so had to ride hard to get back to the group of favourites, which included his arch-rival Mathieu van der Poel. And, well, this happened …
I think we all sighed with relief when Asgreen won.
Because we know what could have happened
The Jetson’s maid doles out the prizes. Then they set off the giant flame fountains.