Monday, February 21, 2011

Another day, another sale

Today is known as President's day. On this day Americans are invited to do their patriotic duty and abscond from work so they can shop until they drop. By now all of the items bought on Black Friday and Cyber-Monday have returned to their eternal resting place in the cosmic landfill, so everyone is reminded that it is high time to restock the shelves. By sheer coincidence or intelligent design, shoppers are about to find out that major retailers just happen to have one-time sales on this very day. Such are the miracles of the consumer society that we inhabit.

In other news, the world woke up to the shocking revelation that the Formula One Grand Prix of Bahrain scheduled for March 13 was canceled. Most American sports fan couldn't care less as they do not fall for this type of Eurotrash event, preferring instead to watch the opening of the Nascar season. Fortunately, the Daytona 500 did not disappoint. With 14 major crashes the event had all the excitement we have come to expect from an average Cat 4 race, but without the doping that is so rampant in cycling.

Speaking of cycling and doping, Alberto Contador was kicked off the podium in the Tour of Algarve, where German Tony Martin won the time trial and the overall classement (classement is Eurochic for classification).  In Oman, Robert Gesink walked away with the victory. As expected Sven Nys won the Gazet van Antwerpen (GvA) trophy in cyclocross, where Pauwels lost his second place spot to team mate Zdenek Stybar who did all he could to help the Belgian win.

But none of that matters in Flanders now where all attention is focused on the upcoming season opener. At this time, the cycling world is down to two riders. One of these is the unbeatable Fabian Cancellara who swept the classics in 2010, and the other is defeated Tom Boonen, who is said to be out for revenge. I have not seen the blood-thirsty Boonen poster that upset Eddy Merckx so much but it is sure to reappear later in the week.

Bring me Cancellara

Belgian networks sent reporters out to Oman last week, not to cover the racing, but instead to find the two favorites and ask them about the upcoming showdown.  Here is Tom, wearing the latest in fashion sun wear.

Tom Boonen in Oman

The reporters pulled out all the stops when they re-broadcast the infamous muur video with the enhanced Cancellara. The video purports to show Fabian activating his mechanic doping device to leave Tom in the dust. Tom was asked about it but he declined to comment other than to say he thought it was funny. For some reason it is hard to picture Mr. Nice Guy Tom as a blood thirsty cannibal eager for revenge; Or soft-spoken Fabian as the great destroyer.

Cancellara on the muur
Cancellara on the other hand called himself a "marked man" and said he feared Boonen and Haussler. He also stressed he was looking beyond the early classics, throwing out names such as Amstel Gold and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, that sounded like blasphemy to Flemish ears.

But the reporters were not impressed. They labeled Tom humiliated and out for revenge, and Cancellara thirsty for more.

Stay tuned as the showdown is about to begin.

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