Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Schumacher and the Chocolate tea pot

In an announcement that shocked no one, well almost no one, it has been revealed that Mr Schumacher has been found to be cycling's 2nd result from the 08 Olympics.
Was it just me, or did anyone else thing 'yeah right....' when Rebellin won at Fleche? There's a lot of outrage going on, a whole lot of outrage shock and disbelief, er ....

When a cyclist get's caught with the contents of the medicine cabinet up their arse my first thought is, well my first thought is unprintable and indeed are my next 98 thoughts, but by the time I get to thought 100 I thinking 'I'm not really surprised'. There are some riders who surprise you when they are caught, but if I'm honest these are few and far between. Maybe I'm just too cynical?

Still the one good side to this latest 'outrage' is the Schumacher will no doubt be attempting to sue the IOC and the entire Chinese nation whilst trotting out his claims of innocence.

Actually there was surprising thing, Schumachers lawyer claimed that the traces or CERA found in Schumachers blood were a result of the EPO from last July still floating round in his system. Now hold on there, wasn't Schumachers defense over the summer that he'd never taken taken CERA? Indeed wasn't that defense offered by the very same lawyer?
Oh, there is one small thing that's worth pointing out here, that is that CERA and EPO show up differently in tests, they do not turn from one to the other once inside the human blood stream

Needless to say the IOC will do bugger all, as no doubt will the UCI. Uncle Pat has issued a statement, infact Uncle Pat has issueed the standard pro-forma UCI statement, it reads:

'Something has happened in the world of cycling, we don't know what, we don't know if it's good or bad, but just in case we'll wait for someone else to make a decision before we make any further announcements on the issue.'

Dear Uncle Pat.

Cycling Weekly have, via the pen of Lionel Birnie written to Uncle Pat asking him, well asking him what's going on. Which if you ask me is a bit of a stupid question, the assumption being that anyone at the UCI has the slilghtest clue what's going on in the world of cycling is a bit wide of the mark. Still inspired by this I to have written to Uncle Pat, although whilst the CW letter may well get read, I suspect mine won't, here's the text of the letter I sent to the UCI:

Dear Mr McQuaid.

Why don't you just shut down the UCI and open up a burger bar.

Many thanks and best wishes..... blah, blah, blah.

Still the war against drugs is almost won, the IOC are taking a firm line and have said that drugs are very naughty and that no one should take them, so that's all good then.

The Giro? Should I give a toss?

Like all GT's I tend to pay little attention to the Giro, there's nowt wrong with it, it's just that I have always believed that the serious racing season starts in September and runs through to the end of April, that is classics, cross and track. Anything else is just a training race.
I never used to be like that of course, up until 1998 I used to follow the GT's with a fine tooth comb, traveling all over Europe, watching the great, the good and the doped out of their heads do battle on the roads of Europe. Then we had Festina and whilst I'd still follow the GT's, after all they were bike races, I stopped chasing round Europe in the months of May and July.

Suddenly though there is a new mood of optimism in the peloton, or at least that's what we're being sold. A mood of 'no to drugs' a mood that is supposedly embraced by the younger generation. Now whilst I believe that this clean younger generation dirty older generation is bollocks (Redondo Ramos is what 23?, Kohl was 25 and Ricco the same). I do feel that the times they are a changing. And so I find myself getting excited about a GT once again, oh dear.

Of course this has been helped by a streak of nationalism that even the most Eurocentric cycling fan is sometimes prey to. And with Cav and the brave lads of the British Expeditionary force taking on Johnny foreigner this summer there will be someone to discuss on the Sunday runs. In addition this summer will see the unfolding of the great 'Who have Sky signed' game and lets face it, we all like playing that one. Actually if you want a Sky related game to play over the next few months you could do a lot worse that try to guess the name of the team itself, Sky +? Sky HD? Sky? Sky's the limit? Watch the darts on Sky? It's any ones guess.


Monday, 20 April 2009

Picking names out of the hat.

I've got a bone to pick with Lance Armstrong. I mean it's all well and good Lancey Boy making a comeback, but did anyone of us actually think it was going to start an avalanche of comebacks. The UCI should issue some sort of guidelines re comebacks, they really should. I mean coming back to promote your charity is one thing, but Jan Ullrich making a comeback for God sake!!!!!
But if I thought that was bad how about Dick Pound making one. Ye Gods, if there was one name I'd thought we'd seen the last of it was Dicky boy.

Now I don't know how much of Dicks latest pronouncement is formulated by his views on Lance (I don't even know what his views on Lance are) or by his dislike of Uncle Pat and the UCI (the latter I suspect). You see Dicky could always be relied on to take the opposite view to Uncle Pats. It was just the way of the world. Pat likes red wine, Dick like white wine, Pat likes blonds, Dick like brunettes, you get the idea. So when Uncle Pat stood up for Lance it was somewhat inevitable that Dicky should come out slagging off Lance. Mind you from Lancey boys perspective it could have been worse, if Uncle Pat had slagged him off there is every chance that Pound would now be chasing him round the streets of Texas attempting to kiss him, Lance, do you realise how close that was?

My problem is that I actually thought Lancey boy was in the wrong during 'Showergate', but now, following Pounds outburst I'm starting to change my mind.

Close, but no brown smokey thing.

Amstel has come and gone and a Lotto rider has finished 4th, by their current form this is a major achievement, so there was doubtlessly be a bottle or two of bubbly popped over the weekend.
Close but no cigar then. I'm now running a book based on a predicted number of Lotto wins for the year, it goes something like this: 'Will Lotto win more races than Crazy Frank actually finishes' So far it's 2 all with 6 months to go. I doubt that either will be in double fingers some October. What has happened at Lotto? Have the training plans been lost at pre season camp? Is there a secret beer sponsorship that requires the riders to get pissed each night? God alone knows, but one thing is for sure the magic has gone. Something is clearly not right, we'll wait until the Tour to get a real picture, but putting all you eggs in Cadel basket is heaping pressure on the fella that he could well do without. Still Cadel + pressure + molly the dog = high entertainment value, may be this was the plan after all, no results in spring probably keep them on the front pages almost as much a Boonie, but come July a couple of dog induced outbursts and there will be no other news story in Belgium, indeed around the cycling world.

May 9th - take the day off work.

The UCI have announced that May 9th will be the day. Oh yes, the day! What day's that then? Well, dear reader, the day or all days, the day that the names of the riders who have 'failed' the bio passport checks.
This is of course the first time an actual date has been given, previously Uncle Pat has said 'next month', 'next couple of weeks', 'next week', 'soon', 'never'. As I mentioned months ago the main stumbling block has been legal, or rather getting enough money in the piggy bank to pay the lawyers once the inevitable writs start flying. And fly they will, I have no doubt that the riders in question will both know that they are on 'the list' and have already contacted their lawyers in an effort to get their retaliation in first.

So expect lots of declarations of innocence, questioning of the UCI's process and procedure and shows of outrage. In other words don't expect the unexpected, it will be business as usual as riders huff and puff and Uncle Pat tries in vain to control the situation and it's inevitable fall out. As I can't afford a lawyer I'll make no predictions as to who will be getting named and who won't. Actually to be honest I have no idea, I'd be better off sticking 800 names in a hat and picking some at random (maybe that's the way the UCI will work it?).

Still, however it pans out, the days following May 9th will be entertaining indeed.


It's not twins this time.

I believe Tyler Hamilton. There I said it, bet you never thought you'd hear that, oh, hang on,I've just realised I never finished that previous sentence, sorry.

So what do I believe then? Well I believe Tyler Hamilton isn't twins for a start, I believe that Tyler Hamilton is probably not planning a come back in the foreseeable future and I believe that there could soon be a US championship Rock Racing jersey on ebay pretty soon.

Tyler has got caught 'over the limit' again, 'on the juice' one more time, on the front pages yet again.

It seems that Tyler has now decided to hang up his wheels and retire from racing. Of course this is only one step ahead of a ban that could be anything from 4 years to life, we wait to see what his punishment is.

His punishment then, punishment for having a steroid found in his blood, and it seems it was his blood and not his twin brothers (sadly really, cos I would have swam to the US , shaken his hand and fallen down on my knees in homage if he'd trotted that one out). The 'roid' in question was to be found in an over the counter anti-depressant 'herbal' remedy.

There is a theory, to be honest it's one I subscribe to, that if you dope you will do damage to your mental health. Just take a look at the list of dopers, ex-dopers and their claims, counter claims and public pronouncements. Crazy Frank springs to mind first, but there are others and indeed I'm sure you could spend a happy evening listing them.

You start living in a world of denial and lies, a world of secrets and hiding, a world of fear and suspicion and there is one and only one result and that is not a good outcome.

So I hope Hamilton gets the help he needs here are therapies that will cure CD and I hope that he gets one and that it works. CD can be cured and I hope that the medical support is available to Hamilton, sure he has annoyed me in the past, but right now I wish him success in his fight.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

This is a brewery, you use it to get pissed.

Now I'm all for the banning of dopers, ex-dopers, riders with dogey hair cuts, poor looking bikes, or long black socks from bike races. But whats going on with ASO? ASO, well known for banning anyone who is remotely linked with doping or possible dopng crimes, seem to have missed a trick or two of late.
The organisers of Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege have, quite rightly, banned Di Luca from riding their races and yet Vlad the impaler or Valv Piti or that bald Spanish bloke or whatever his bloody name is, is being allowed to ride. Why's that then?

Not a Lot Oh!

Meanwhile Lotto are desperate to salvage something from the part of the season they regard as theirs and theirs alone. Forget Le Tour, the events that really matter to the Lotto bosses, GS's and funders are the spring classics. Lotto are currently having their noses not just rubbed in it but stuffed full of shite by Quick-Step and lets face it even by landbouwkrediet-tonissteiner. Still, it is worth pointing out that if you buy a Lottery ticket you stand more chance of getting sod all than you do making the podium.

Still, with Cadel preparing for le Tour all their hopes of success now rest with Desmond Double Dekker! There's a thought to put a smile on your face. Of course Des talks up a good race, the only problem comes when it comes to riding one. Des's legs have a massive talent, sadly what goes on between the ears whilst being massive doesn't stretch to talent. Too often Des seems to throw victory out of the pram along with the toys. It's a shame, I'd like to see him get his head together and start winning some races.

Oh, Kaisen wins a stage in Turkey, so no need to worry then Des, have the rest of the season off, oh, you'd already planned to eh? Ah well.....

We don't sell bikes OK!

Over in the UK Halfords are ditching their Bikehut brand. Quite what this means for the Bikehut team is beyond me. Still it seems a purely business decision. Much in the same way as the banks buggering themselves up seemed to be a business decision.
Bike sales are up, and this is expected to contribute to Halfords making in excess of £90 million proffit, that alongside expansion into Europe, which is reaping financial rewards, would seem to make this decission slightly odd.
Not only do Halfords sponsor a team, they also sponsor the season long Premier Calender series. Well I say season long, as the 'season long premier calender' series gets shorter and less season long by the day.

Halfords always seem to sell an odd mixture of bikes, on one hand there were the Billy Boardman bikes and on the other there are the bike shaped objects, that appear on closer inspection to be made not from metal or carbon, but from rice pudding and jam. And then there's the odd range of accessories, again Boardman branded items, all in a fetching shade of dirt and then theres the pink knee pads and the my little pony bells.

And talking of pony why didn't Boardman enterprises bother employing someone with a bit of design flare? No doubt the bikes are amazing value and good quality, after all if Cycling Plus like them that should be good enough for anyone in their right mind!!!!! Certainly when I made a finger the Boardman vist to the local Bikehut I liked what I saw, but only in a technical way, good choice of components etc etc. But the design left me cold, Grey and black with a hint of anemic yellow? No, no, no. No matter what the technical design quality and performance if a bike doesn't have a nice paint job there is no point in buying it is there?


Sunday, 12 April 2009

Tom Boonen rather good on cobbles.

I can only assume that Filippo Pozzato is off to train as a Proctologist, I mean after all he's spent the last week looking up Boonens ass. At Flanders he finished sitting behind Boonen on every meter of the way, even finishing up following him home after the race, today he did a pretty good job as well, only once going to the front, where upon a look of confusion and fear came over his face as the horror of what had just happened dawned on him and he quickly hit the breaks and assumed his rightful place, making sure Tommy Boy didn't fart too loudly.

Of course all the best laid plans go to pot eventually and when Boonen was the only rider of the front group to remain up right he became not only favorite to take a 3rd P-R, but also had to face the possibility of wiping his own backside that evening. Still joing an elite group that includes Eddy is small price to pay for having to reach for the toilet paper yourself.

Lotto? What the hell's going on there then? Er, not a lot by the looks of it. Vague and half heated appearances at the front of races, rare podium places and a brief attempts to break away, all of it adds up to not a lot. Even Lambo'credit and the tent pitchers have had better seasons. Still, no doubt they are saving their forces for the upcoming grand tours, no I can't quite believe it either. Still it makes the Ardens week look more interesting now, Cadel must be getting even more pressure from the bosses to be on a ride for L-B-L, it's certainly a race that he could win, indeed I'd love to see him on the top of the podium, but I doubt that he's got it down as a target for 09. I suspect he'll ride it in an attempt to gague and hone his form and close his ears to pleas from his employers to 'go for it'.

Bloody Passports.

Uncle Pat has an opinion! I know, bit of a shocker that one, but it had to happen at some point. Uncle Pat has spoken, and his pronouncement is that the French labs that borrowed some of Lances blood earlier in the week are a bit sloppy. Now Pat may well have a point, some labs do indeed seen too eager to leak stories to the press. But shouldn't the head of the UCI be trying to force some sort of standardisation of process and procedure?

Still, nice to hear Uncle Pat talking about doping and testing procedures, he does a lot of that does Uncle Pat, how many times has he said that the blood passport driven sanctions are just days away? Well about five at the last count, first in January I seem to remember and then about once every three weeks since then. Of course any French labs that are busy chasing (sorry annoying) Lance are just going to look at Uncle Pats latest outburst and laugh at him. Why should they bother acting in a decent and transparent manner if the head of the UCI can't deliver on what he continues to promise?

The Sky's the limit.

Who are you riding for next year? Got a team sorted out? Nice new jersey tempting you to jump ship? Well Big 'Dave' Brailsford is busy flitting too and fro across Europe cheque book in hand signing up just about anyone who can ride a bike. Well at least that's the way it's being told in some parts.
Now if anyone thinks that Big Dave work up the morning after the Sky deal was announced and thought 'Huummn, better get some riders signed up' they are sadly mistaken. I would put money on the fact that somewhere in the dark Manchester bunker there is a list of riders that Big Dave wants for his team and I fully expect that such a list was first drawn up years ago when Big Dave and Shane Sutton sat down and one night said 'Lets have a Pro Tour team'. Of course since then names will have be crossed out and added goes without saying, but the idea that the structure wasn't planned to the last detail back in 08 is a little far of the mark.
Actually I'd guess it's not just riders, there will be support staff, DS's, doctors, accountants and all sorts on the list, there will be lists of food supliment providers, jersey manufactures and I'd guess even a selection of options for provider of team toilet paper.
You see dear reader Big Dave will have left nothing to chance, not the sudden realistaion that they need a mechanic or a soigner as they line up Downunder in 2010. There will be a plan, an order, a schedule and it will be followed to the letter, oh sure there will be minor deviations, but the script is pretty much ridden and rehursed all that will be happening this year is a little change to the height of the microphones.


Friday, 10 April 2009

Jonnie Woodall, the man who loved people.

Jonnie Woodall MBE an obituary.

You probably never met Jonnie, but a week ago he was hit by a train at a level crossing and died, the end of a great life.
You can, no doubt, read the obituaries in the press, there will be talk of representing his country at multiple winter Olympics, of his military service, of his business acumen and his success in organising cycling events. But there won't be much in the way of personal stuff, so, I'd like to beg your indulgence for a few moments.

Jonnie would have like you, who ever you are, he would have given you time and he'd have listened to you with the same attention and concentration he gave to those he'd known for years. You see Jonnie just loved people, there was no getting away from it. When you spoke Jonnie listened, not that modern half an ear listening that you get in today's modern half an ear times, oh no. What you got with the big man was full on 'What you say is important' listening. And Jonnie would be interested in what you say, he'd look you in the eye, he'd nod and he'd ask you questions, proper listening that, good old fashioned listening.

The other thing Jonnie would have done is believed in you. Jonnie would have believed in you, just as he believed in everyone he met. He would believe that once you got on a bike you could exceed any targets you had set yourself, that you could ride further and faster than you had previously thought possible. Jonnie just believed in humanity, in the power of the human spirit to overcome barriers, whatever barriers you put up, 'It's too far', 'It's too steep', 'It's too fast' Jonnie would knock them down for you. Not in an agressive way, oh no, that was never his style, somehow Jonnie managed to convince you that you would be riding that extra 50 miles, that you'd be cycling the extra hill and when you'd done it and amazed yourself Jonnie would smile the smile of a man sharing you joy and your elation.

Jonnie just embraced life and whilst he had one arm hugging life he'd reach out with the other and embrace you too. That was it, it was a simple philosophy really, treat people as you would want to be treated yourself and you know what? We all hugged Jonnie just as hard as he hugged us.


My old man's a dustman.

I don't understand Japanese, not a word of it. I mean I like Japan, how can you not like a nation that gave the world Kerin racing. I like Japanese style, all this Zen archer stuff, you know, the' I close my eyes and I am at one with the target', all of that. I like Haiku, I'm partial to a little Sushi and indeed Mr Shimano makes a fine component. And who was not a fan of Oolong the Rabbit (look him up). But the speaking of Japanese is just something I can't manage.

And so it is like that with our wonderful world of cycling and our 'powers that be'. When Uncle Pat speaks it is as though a very kindly but slightly confused Japanese man is trying to give me directions. I can look where his arms are pointing, I can watch the smiles and the nods, but ultimately I still bloody lost and confused.

Uncle Pat has been commenting on the 'Lancey boy knocked up by a Froggy' case that is gripping the worlds mainstream media (meanwhile the rest of us are just enjoying a great classics season). And as ever he seems slightly confused.

I'm not going to comment, well, OK then, but just a small one. The laws say that once a tester (that's a bloke with a blood bag, not a man in black riding a 150 inch gear down a motorway at 5am), has identified himself to you you have to remain in his sight, until the sample is taken. "remain within direct observation of the DCO/Chaperone at all times from the point of notification by the DCO/Chaperone until the completion of the Sample collection procedure." Is what it says in the rule book.

As someone who's been trained in monitoring testing procedures I know that there's a good reason for that ie, it only takes a second or two for you to apply something to your anatomy that could invalidate the test. Believe me if it's a pain for the rider spare a thought for the tester, he has to spend time watching athletes pissing and crapping as part of his job.
Still we don't as yet know exactly what happened, I mean, lets just say Lancey boy needed a dump, maybe he said 'look man, I'm gonna take a shit, do you wanna come and watch' at which point anyone in their right mind would say 'on your bike'.

So what else is there to say? Sure I know Lance has been tested more than any other rider on the planet and that's just in the last couple of weeks and that he's, just as you or I would be, getting a little pissed off (TBH I admire his restraint, personally I'd have done a hell of a lot more swearing). In fact so regular are tests that Lance now assumes that any knock on his door is from a tester and has started getting his cock out as he opens the door. (Still it keeps unwanted callers away).
The man from the lab is reported as being tad on the shabby side with scruffy looking paperwork, so, sounds like a damn foreigner if you ask me. But ultimately this shouldn't have made any difference. The tester had identified himself and even though Lance and BJ (sorry JB) may well have thought he looked like a tramp, wandering off for a shower is a breach of procedure. I mean after you've ridden a stage of Le Tour and the Chaperon approaches you for testing you have to stay in their sight until after the test is completed (for the reason stated above), there's no, 'Sorry mate, never seen you before, I'm off for a shit, shower and a shave', what's the difference here? The quality of a mans choice of shoes it would seem.

Still right or wrong, Uncle Pat has pronounced that there hasn't been a breach of anything and that he will wait for someone else to make a decision before he makes his.
I suspect the outcome will be no outcome, Lance will still be a negative and the French labs will still be sending out tramps to piss him off on a regular basis. Lance and the French labs will continue to dislike each other and Uncle Pat will continue waiting on someone else to make his decisions for him. The more things change the more.... etc.....etc.....

Alejandro Valverde, half man half biscuit.

Have you ever taken kids on a long drive? Not much fun is it 'Are we there yet?', 'Are we there yet?' is the cry from the back seat.
'Soon, soon' reply the parents, knowing full well that they have many stressful hours ahead.

'Mum, Mum, when will Alejandro Valverde be arrested and banned' comes the cry from the back seat....... Uncle Pat looks over his shoulder and hopes the lights stay green

Oh Paris-Roubaix.

A win for Lotto then. Well come on, if none of the above made you smile you should be pissing yourself now.......


Friday, 3 April 2009

Up yours, right up yours and sling your hook!

The friends of Dr Eufamiano Fuentes'.

Old Doctor Death had lots of chums, come the evening they used to sit round his Spanish castle sipping on the ol' red stuff.
'Nice drop this Doc, what year is it?'
'Why it chateau Jan 2004'
Of course someone who was never there was Vlad the Impaler, or Valve pitta bread, or Valv Pitti or what ever his effin name is.

When the power went off at Furentes place and all the blood started to melt and run under the door, thus alerting the Spanish old bill, one of the things that floated out was a list of names both human and canine. Since then the Spanish forces of law and ignore have been at pains to turn a blind eye to those names.

Fortunately their colleagues in other lands got very excited and started arresting and banning cyclists. One person that was never arrested was Mr Alejandro Valverde (he of the premature hair loss, wonder why that is then?) and since that day he has raced up an impressive list of victories. But now CONI, that devilish array of Italian go getters, have borrowed some of Mr Valverde's blood and you know what, it matches some of the blood that run out under Furentes door.
This of course by no way proves any guilt or wrong doing on the part of Valerie Verdigris indeed there are several options for this blood match, they are:

A) Valverde is Jan Ulrich in disguise .
B) Valverde is in fact a dog called Fido and it was Fido's blood stored in the fridge.
C) Valverde did indeed have his own blood stored in Furentes fridge, but it was only as a precaution in case Alej (do his friends call him that?) needed extra blood whilst he was giving birth.
D) During that fateful night in Italy Ivan Basso kidnapped Alej and pretended to be him during the CONI raid.
E) All of the above.
F) He is in fact guilty of blood doping.

Personally I like option B, have you ever noticed that when Valverde attacks in a race his move is preceded by a man at the side of the road throwing a ball, which Valverde promptly goes after?

Woof, woof, woof.

It's Flanders this weekend, ah Flanders, ah cobbles, ah the soul of bike racing, such wonderful things.


Thursday, 2 April 2009


What do you do on a rest week? Maybe a little light recovery ride? Maybe stay well away from the bike? Well 'The MC' (that's the Mighty Cav) went to Poland and rode the track worlds! So Sunday you win the worlds longest 1 day classic, have a couple of races with the best track endurance riders in the world and then come back and win two stages in De Panne, obviously this recovery business works.

Apparently Bernhard Kohl took drugs.

If I went to the supermarket, bought some milk and on opening it found it was green instead of white I'd be surprised. If I bit into a bar of chocolate and it tasted of cabbage I'd be surprised. When Bernhard Kohl admits that he's been sticking all the spare smack he can get his hands on up his ass (or how ever else he took the stuff) I am not surprised. When it's revealed that there are/were five other Doctors peddling the juice a la Furents (thanks Rudy) I am mildly surprised. (So few?)

Kohl has admitted that he was on the juice since 2005, yeah right, and has managed to spend 50,000 Euros! 50,000 to have your career ended, become a social pariah, lose just about everything you hold dear and end up living in a cardboard box seems like a bit of a waste of money if you ask me.
For 25,000 I'd have kicked him in the bollocks, which could well have ended his career, but would have left him with 25,000 and his house. Seems like a good deal if you ask me. In fact, just to show there are no hard feelings I'll do it now for nothing.

Something else I'm not surprised at is that these 5 other Dr's haven't been brought to trial, named and shamed or banned from the sport. I'm not surprised that the UCI have done bugger all in following up on Pevenage's claim.

Cobblers mate, cobblers.

It's spring and a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of cobbles. Flanders, G-W and P-R fill the next week and one question is on everyone’s lips, 'Will Silence Lotto finish a rider in the top 50?' Tough one that, now if you'd said will they finish a rider in the top 100 I might well have said yes, but 50, that's pushing it a bit if you ask me.

Thank God for Cadel, he has the teams sole win this season and in the coming weeks I'm sure he'll shine in the hilly classics, but this week Lotto's 'other' team of cobblers will be in action, just don't expect too much, that's all. Perhaps Lotto are finally doing what they should have done ages ago ditch any pretence at being a two pronged team able to handle GT's and classics, it's just that no one's told the Belgian public yet. So they keep up the pretence that they are capable of winning a cobbled classic for fear of alienating their fan base.