The B-b-box Boys take care of b-b-business.
There was, in point of fact, plenty of business at stake. With both sponsors set to exit after this season and with three meetings lined up with potential new backers, team b-b-boss Jean-René Bernaudeau went into Paris-Nice under heavy stress.
“If all this comes to an end, I would be in better health,” said Jean-Rene. “But it would be the failure of my life. There are 100 people who depend on this project – families, children.” Tell the kiddies, there will be food on the table.
Team strategy for the Race To The Sun was desperately clear: For godsakes, somebody get a stage win. Mission accomplished as William Bonnet shot pass Liquigas’ Peter Sagan to win stage two into Limoges.
Bonnet is getting the French double cheek kiss routine from everyone in Bbox land. He didn’t just win a stage, he probably saved the squad from folding or a fate worse than death — doing amateur races in the US with Rock Racing.
“Of course it doesn’t hurt when we win a race like today,” said Bonnet. “I hope this is the start of a good series. When we aren’t used to winning anymore, it’s a vicious circle.”
It was do-or-die in Paris-Nice for the Bbox-boys. Looking for TV exposure, Cyril Gautier went on a solo attack with 11 kilometers to go. While he only managed a 17 second gap, he worked it like a dog as long as possible before being swept up by Liquigas, Saur-Sojasun and Cofidis.
Then trains formed, speeds ramped up, sprinters took their places and disaster struck. Grega Bole (Lampre) touched wheels with a Saxo rider 500 meters from the finish and the dominos fell hard. Tony Martin (HTC-Columbia), Dan Martin (Garmin-Transitions) and Jimmy Casper (Saur-Sojasun) hit the deck but avoided serious injury. However, the damage was done: instant stage win, boxed up for the B-b-boys.
In the overall standings, Lars Boom (Rabobank) and Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank) retained their first and second positions while Luis-Leon Sanchez (Caisse d’Epargne) booted David Millar of Garmin out of the third spot.
A week ago, Bernaudeau insisted his squad was stronger than last year. “They’ve matured, the average age is higher and there’s less nervousness and more serenity among them,” he said.
Well, a stage win in Paris-Nice while your boss is hunting for new financial backers will certainly relax the b-boys. Let Doug E Fresh and Slick Rick take us home with the classic for ’85, La Di Da Di. B-b-bravo, beat box boys.