Tweets of the Week: Backbone, guts and Gent

Ah, the Belgian spring. When winds are strong, mud is thick and the rain just never stops. We have Twitter musings from DDV, E3 Harelbeke and Gent-Wevelgem; Quintana on the cobbles, Fabs crashing out, Sagan stalling, Thomas winning with flair, and Paolini outfoxing everyone.

It’s only a race

I truly believe that 99.9% of riders in the peloton are pretty decent guys. And that decency was proved at DDV by Katusha’s Rudi Selig. After falling in a mud-filled ditch, he ran over to help IAM’s Marcel Aregger, who was lying unconscious on the road. Reminiscent of Lucas Euser who stayed with Taylor Phinney after his terrible crash to keep him calm until the ambulance came.

DDV Aregger 2 DDV Aregger 1

Marcel spent five days in the hospital but thankfully has been able to go home to nurse his broken collarbone and let the side of his face heal up. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.

DDV Aregger hospital

That sexist race

God only knows what the promoters were thinking when they got pole dancers to serve champagne to dignitaries and throwing blue knickers everywhere at E3 Harelbeke. But it seems the cycling gods weren’t well pleased at the tasteless schenanigans that were going on.

E3 Crashelbeke E3 crashes

Crashes took a good many riders out of E3 early on – including (sob!) My Beloved Cancellara, who rode about 30km with two cracked vertebrae before calling it a day (well, calling it a spring season, really). More on Spartacus a little later.

But one rider who looked amazingly comfortable on the cobbles was one Nairo Quintana, doing a race reccy for the cobbled stage of the TdF. There was some confusion as to whether he was the 21st-century Badger or a snake (which rocks).

E3 Quintana 2 E3 Quintana

As has been happening a lot lately, chasing groups seem to have forgotten that the key word is ‘chasing’ – not sitting around and looking at each other.

E3 chase group 1

In the end, however, Geraint Thomas – a Classics legend in the making – took a solo win to make the peloton look around and say ‘I thought you were going to chase him.’. G played it smart and reaped the rewards.

E3 Thomas attacks 1 E3 Thomas rouleur E3 Thomas smile E3 Thomas win UK

More sportsmanlike behaviour from Zdenek Stybar, who hesitated and lost the race.

E3 Stybar congrats 2 E3 Stybar congrats E3 Stybar crash condol

But what of Wiggins and Woubaix now that G is on fire?

E3 Wiggins Mod Cave

E3 Bernie congrats

Meanwhile, back at the hospital

FC injury 4 FC injury 2 FC injury 1 FC classics 1

The x-ray that looks like a bat told the doctors all they needed to know. No Ronde / Roubaix for Spartacus this year.

FC xray

And it was going so well. Training with a smile on his face, making his bed before the race so that everything was just so.

FC training A

FC bed made

The fickle finger of fate was pointing at Fabs.

FC TB Etixx message FC TB message FC thanks for message FC BW classics 1

Let’s hope we haven’t seen the last of this duo in the Classics – one last time for Tom and Fabs in Flanders, please.

FC TB out

It’s an ill wind …

that doesn’t bring a great race in its wake. And Gent-Wevelgem stands out as one of the greatest races in a long time (I’m thinking even better than Omloop this year – and that’s saying a lot!). Guys were being thrown around like ragdolls.

GW wind GW Thomas bike GW riders in ditches GW Rast wind 2

GW echelons GW echelons 4 GW echelons 2

GW during Gruber

GW aftermath Rast

That Geraint Thomas was in the thick of it again on Sunday, looking to win two races in three days. Not to be, although the Jean-Claude Van Damme tribute was appreciated.

GWE Jean Claude

Etixx once again found a way to complete balls up the entire finish.

GW Etixx tactics GW Etixx 2

So Luca Paolini decided that while Etixx was faffing around, he’d just quietly go a bit faster and shake himself free of the chasing group to take a very popular win, not least because of his fluoro boots.

GW Paolini boots GW Paolini salute GW paolini leg warmers GW Paolini crash

Kwaremont bubbly – the best kind …

LP GW win bottle

…to pour over your own head.

LP GW win de Vaele

LP GW win 90 LP GW Chuck Norris LP GW win Jackman

Only one guy looks happy here.

GW podium 2

And here is what that happy man looked like beardless a few years ago in the maglia rosa.

GW beardless Paolini

A few comments in the aftermath of the rain-soaked race.

GW aftermath Cannondale GW aftermath Rast GW aftermath G crash

Crazy train pullin’ outta the station, folks!

Still an Oleg-free zone – at least his tweets – but his mad tweeting last week gave us an insight into motivational tactics that will never work. He suspends Bjarne Riis (announcing on Monday that they agreed to go their different ways, effectively immediately), he disses riders on Twitter and everyone is afraid for Sagan, who just can’t seem to get past the horror of it all in his head.

Oleg 1 Oleg 8 Oleg 7 Oleg 6 Oleg 5 Oleg 4 Oleg 3 Oleg 2 Oleg 1a Oleg Riises pieces

From one crazy train to another

Saint David Millar is keeping himself busy after retirement – what with being Ambassador to the Italian island of Maserati and giving fashion tips in the Telegraph. The article was on looking good while riding. It was really rather awful. I’d put in the link to it but I really don’t want to encourage this type of drivel

Millar dress code 1 Millar dress code 2

The gruppetto

Bernie is looking more and more like he might be storing canned goods in his bomb shelter in preparation for when the balloon goes up …

G Bernie beard

While (a clean-shaven) Tom Danielson promotes his rap album.

G Tom Danielson

Shield your eyes, Ma, Henderson‘s got them honey balls!!

G Henderson honey balls 2 G Henderson honey balls 1

Pippo, on the other hand, had some sort of stomach bug, which seemed to make him pout like a porn star.

G Pippo sad 2 G Pippo sad 1

“Mom, I don’t want to eat that broccoli! You can’t make me!”

G Majek yuck

In the wild, the alpha male presents himself.

G Nibs presenting 2 G Nibs presenting

Oleg might be on the crazy train, but Bjarne (or should I say Barne) has powers behind his wildest dreams as he can make himself into a ghost at will!

G letter J

G Ghost of Riis

And until now, I’ve never noticed the resemblance of Dan Lloyd to Salvador Dali.

E3 Lloyd Dali

Am I right?! I am! #IAMRIGHT


The last word

Last word humans