What a terrific race last Sunday, wasn’t it? A worthy winner who soloed away from the chasing pack with 20km remaining and held out for a career-best win on a Classic parcours in front of a massive crowd in Oudenaarde. Great sport, great television.
Oh, hang on. What’s that? That’s not the race you remember watching? You spent a full five hours parked on the sofa that day and, despite the consumption of three bottles of Leffe and a cheeky Chimay chaser, you’re pretty sure that’s not how the race panned out?
That’ll be because the description above is of Elisa Longo-Borghini of Wiggle-Honda taking the women’s race a couple of hours before Alexander Kristoff steamrollered Niki Terpstra into submission at the end of the men’s.
Despite devoting an entire day – and rightfully so – to fabulous Flanders, the host broadcaster Sporza could not squeeze in so much as a ten-minute slot of the women doing their admirable thing into their cleared schedule.
Emotional, not camera-shy
Carlton Kirby on Eurosport, clearly tiring of having to field questions on the lack of women’s race coverage, put the matter to the providers, only to be told that it would be too confusing to show even a brief segment of one race within the other.
Did any of you, during the six-and-a-half-hours of the 99th edition of the Ronde, totally lose the plot during one of the ad breaks? Unable to follow the action because Tom Boonen was giving his thoughts on the race in one corner of the screen?
No, I thought not.
And when the biggest talking point of the day results from neutral service cars taking out riders – because, let’s be perfectly honest here, it wasn’t a classic Classic, was it? – you not only have to question the decision to deny us seeing Longo-Borghini’s win. You have to say it was downright wrong, simple as that.
Enough excuses, cycling. Let’s see some action.
"There's only one thing for it..."
Wiggle-Honda's Giorgia Bronzini appears in issue 54, coming soon
Sporza managed to post a few minutes of footage of the women eventually. An emotional Longo-Borghini in action.
Accordion music cheesier than a round of Camembert, a suitably laissez faire Gallic voiceover and the great Merckx in his rainbow jersey pomp. It’s the 1968 Paris-Roubaix.
More cod accordion in a syrupy version of My Way, but this time with an excitable Italian shouting home his man Fausto Coppi to the Roubaix velodrome following a 45km solo effort. Bravissimo.