As the 2018 road race season gets ready to launch, the message from the entire professional peloton is unanimous: nobody has any real, meaningful form.
World Champions in rainbow stripes, superstars with multiple grand tour victories, classics winners, elite sprinters, stage winners, time trial specialists and even pack-filler domestiques all announced to the media that they couldn’t promise anything because, well, their form just isn’t there yet.
The riders insisted that they really hadn’t been training much, had been snacking far too much, had indulged in watching endless hours of TV, paying attention to their wives, kids and girlfriends, doing home repair projects and re-organizing their closets.
Several of the most well-paid riders intimated that managing their financial portfolios and buying real estate investments and planning their post-race career had taken up a surprisingly large chunk of their training time. While their bank accounts were in excellent shape, the same could not be said of their bodies. Account balance, good, power output, not so much.
Other riders said they had been stuffing themselves with desserts for three months, while others admitted to an embarrassing intake of craft beer and wine and chocolate cake. They simply weren’t immediately ready for the intense demands of a WorldTour race and fans shouldn’t expect anything great and certainly not a podium placing.
Race organizers issued statements of concern and panic as the races do require a winner and a second and third place finisher. With over 200 professional cyclists downplaying their form, there are serious questions over who will win these early season events. A call has gone out to a few select Category 2 racers and several recently retired pros to step in and provider some winners.
Race officials at the Tour Down Under — and the millions of fans watching worldwide — will hope that somehow, someway, there will be one pro rider who is, in fact, on form.
The identity of that rider has yet to be determined but please do step forward. With the entire rest of the peloton downplaying their form, winning the Tour Down Under could prove to be astonishing easy.