BMC and GZA RZA. A classics team with the stone cold rapper attitude.
Latest word from the BMC camp came with a definitive pronouncement from Hincapie, Ballan and Marcus Burghardt that the former leader of the Wu-Tang Clan would salute: “I got your back.”
All three men are prepared to go to the wall for each other in the Spring classics. No egos, no attitude, just hard racing for whoever has the best legs that day.
“It’s definitely not a problem, it’s a strength,” Ballan said. “We all have goals, but if one wins, we all win. Before I signed, I called George to ask him about the decision, and he was happy – he signaled that we would support each other in our individual goals.”
The Hell of the North is much the same as the inner city ghetto. Cobblestones and concrete and twenty guys trying to beat you up and break you down. Both men have been on the podium at Paris-Roubaix — they know what it takes to survive in the Hood of the North.
“I’m excited to do the races, and to have several cards to play in the finale. Ballan and Burghardt have been up there many times, and are very talented,” said big George. He called out BMC as “the strongest Classics team I’ve ever been on.”
Never much of a cyclist, but a rapper, author and actor, RZA put it this way, “I gotcha back but you do best to watch your front, ’cause it’s the niggaz in front that be pulling stunts.” You don’t need a decoder ring to know that would be Tom Boonen he’s alluding to.
Now maybe it’s the BMC doo-rag, but Hincapie knows how this whole ProTour thing goes down. “It’s my place … to know if I need to be sole leader that day. If I’m not doing great, I know that I can still do one of the best jobs in the world to help the guy who feels the best.” Word up or man up or nut up — you know? Whatever sounds bad-ass.
It’s possible that the influence of Latino gangs around the Santa Rosa, California area (BMC’s base of operations) has also served to harden rider attitudes. Some of the BMC riders are reportedly carrying knives and cans of spray paint, tagging local buildings with slogans like “Quick Step Dies” and “Kill The Belgian.”
The new attitude may also come from the one man who sets the tone for BMC — the enforcer Cadel Evans, the mad dingo dog of BMC. That sophisticated piano music died last year and Wu-Tang Clan is in heavy rotation.
You can call it the Ronde van Vlaanderen or you can admit it’s one big ride-by shooting. Blood mixed with Belgian mud and cobbles.