Clasica San Sebastian 2016 review: Bauke Mollema brings it home

Today’s Clasica San Sebastian saw Bauke Mollema (Trek Segafredo) attack on the final climb, initially as part of a trio, before overhauling Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) on one of the steeper ramps then descending like a demon and time-trialling to a solo finish. His breakmates, and former winners here, Tony Gallopin  (Lotto-Soudal) won the two- up sprint from Movistar’s  Alejandro Valverde to round out the podium.

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Tweets of the Week: It’s a new year!

Remember how much fun we had last year with Tweets of the Week? Well, the boys have had their Christmas break – as have I – and that crazy Twitterstream is getting busy again. And, selflessly, I am here to capture some of those choice tweets and share them with you. In my first column of the year, I am going to start in Belgium, because, well, I love certain Belgians … [Can’t say we’d noticed that before … – Ed]

The wonderful world of Tommeke

Note the casual nature in which our hero drapes his Belgian national jersey over the couch. I wish that was my couch.

Boonen colors

And here is the proud uncle dandling his niece on his knee – yes, I used the word ‘dandling’. It’s a great word. Should be used much more often.

Boonen niece 1

OPQS always does some sort of pillow-related photoshoot at the beginning of the season for one of their sponsors. Last year, they were resting on one another, pretending to be asleep. It was, um, odd. This year, it’s not quite so, um, odd. Or is it odder? But hey, who is that guy just in front of Tom?

OPQS pillow fight

Well, that would be Mark Cavendish, the newest member of OPQS. And here they all are on a training break. Hey, is he about to go up to the counter and bring back coffee for everyone?

OPQS coffee stopThere was some speculation on Twitter about how Cav and Tom – let’s face it, two superstars – will fit on the same team. Will they get on? Well, I think this exchange between the two of them says a lot about what we can expect this season.

Cav & Boonen

Of course, the beginning of the season means lovely new racing gear and another of my favourite Belgians, Dries Devenyns, has been channelling Fashion Police – black is slimming! Although Iljo Keisse doesn’t think Dries needs to worry about that.

Dries skinny 1

Dries skinny 2

Unfortunately in December, Alessandro Ballan had a terrible accident on a training camp ride with BMC. He broke his left leg (in two places) and a rib, punctured his lung and ruptured his spleen (which had to be removed). He’s been spending a lot of time in hospital but thankfully he is well and truly on the mend and even up for visitors.

Boonen Ballan

Ballan hospital

Get well soon, Alessandro!

Everybody’s out and about

One of the riders to watch this year is definitely SuperSagan. Everyone is expecting even bigger things out of him – especially our Panache. And with his hardworking fake tweeter on the scene, we should see a lot of him in this column throughout the year. Here he is, soaking up the sun in California.

Super Sagan 1

Does Nico look a bit strange out of his AG2R kit? He’s a Saxoff now! As is Roman Kreuziger, who is looking rather majestic in the picture below.

Roche in Saxo

Kreuziger first ride

Doesn’t PhilGil look great in his rainbow jersey? He certainly seems to have made this little boy’s Christmas! And speaking of rainbow jerseys, Marianne Vos reminds us of her embarrassment of riches.

PhilGil with fan

Marianne Vos jerseys

Cannondale (the team formerly known as Liquigas) haven’t unveiled their new kit yet. Well, we’re assuming they’ll have new kit, although I for one will miss that lime green. I really hope they keep the new kit light and citrusy – we don’t need another team of white, black and blues …

Basso ride

You can say what you want about Ivan Basso (I love him), but you can’t deny that the man has some incredibly beautiful children. The littlest guy is such a doll! And doesn’t his daughter look like Lourdes, Madonna’s daughter? (Google her, you’ll see what I mean. Really!)

Basso and kids

Shackin’ up’s all you want to do

You guys didn’t honestly think I could get through a column without name-checking My Beloved Cancellara™, did you? Here he is with teammate Haimar Zubeldia, looking happy and refreshed, ready to start a kick-ass season!

Zubeldia Fabs

And of course, there is Jens. He laughs in the face of rain and mud…

Jens fender 1

Jens fender 3

Jens fenders 2

I love how indignant he is at the thought of putting fenders on his bike. And he’s such a hard man he’s even comfortable showing us what shower gel he uses. (Well, let’s face it, he has about 100 daughters, doesn’t he?)

Jens pink gel

Jens pink gel 2

Okay, he’s not a Shacker any more (but he was for one season, remember that?) – in fact, he’s not in the pro peloton anymore, which is why Robbie McEwen hasn’t used some of Jens’s Pink Kiss shower gel and shaved those legs. I really must be obsessed with cycling, as a man’s hairy legs just look, well, wrong somehow! But you know what, he still looks great on a bike. I miss Robbie.

Robbie hairy legs

Robbie crits

I ain’t gonna say his name …

Even though I’m sick of the subject, this really was a bit too funny to leave out. As is the Scrabble tweet below. I wonder, does @NYVelocity think WWF makes the game sound more macho? Only if he’s playing @TheRock is that an acceptable abbreviation.

Lance panto horse

Omerta scrabble

It’s boring! No, it’s brilliant!

There was a lot of ‘Rapha designs the most boring kit ever for Team Sky’ when they released the initial design. Maybe it looked a bit flat because it wasn’t shown modelled by Ladies’ Favourite™ Bernie Eisel as it is here. As soon as Emily Maye‘s fantastic pictures of the new kit came on, the crowd went wild! Including Panache, who had been pretty sceptical. But he’s man enough to admit when he’s made a mistake.

Sky Rapha panache

Apparently, Peter Kennaugh is the new thinking woman’s crumpet. So Sky have both PK and Bernie … it’s only a matter of time before female fans start throwing their knickers at them when they’re on the warm-up turbos.

Sky Rapha Kennaugh

Sky Rapha Emily

Sky Rapha Bernie EBH

Speaking of underwear, this might be taking marginal gains just a little too far. Is Sir Dave afraid that the boys can’t keep track of their own pants? What is this, summer camp?

Sky Raphaunderwear

The Phinney fashion plate

Hmmm, not sure about this but just as it wouldn’t be a Tweets column without Fabs, it wouldn’t be a Tweets column without Hollywood Phinney. So here he is!

Taylor Phinney Bieber

Crazy animal picture

What does this have to do with cycling, I hear you cry?! Well, nothing, except it was posted by a cycling fan so, you know what, it goes in. Because I think it’s one of the most amusing Tweets of the Week, hands down …

Walnut head
Here’s hoping you all have a little adventure this week. Just remember, stay safe on the roads. See you next week, Tweeties!