Blazin' Saddles

Greipel loses his marbles

Blazin' Saddles

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German Gorilla Andre Greipel went bananas after losing out at the end of stage three of the Giro, won by boy band pin-up lookalike Wouter Weylandt.

Greipel was caught short on the final bend of another accident-packed stage in Holland, allowing the QuickStep sprinter to take his first victory of the season.

Incandescent with Teutonic rage, Greipel, who believed Weylandt didn't pull his weight during the closing kilometres of the stage, threatened his generously chinned Belgian rival at the finish line by shaking his fist and, according to Cyclingnews, bellowing the words: "You didn't do anything at all, you rotten dumb***".

Whether or not these were actually his words or a rather endearing translation from German - does Greipel strike you as the kind of person who would curse "rotten dumb***"? - it shows just how the pressure is getting to the HTC-Columbia fast-man.

Greipel clearly started the week with hopes of finally winning some "big races" like his team-mate Mark Cavendish, but all he's achieved so far is to act and sound like Cav.

Returning to the race, the maglia rosa has changed shoulders for a third time in as many days after Cadel Evans was held up in the crash which also saw Bradley Wiggins and three Sky team-mates lose around four minutes.

To cap off a formidable few weeks for all aspiring former dopers, Alexandre Vinokourov is the new man in pink. You may expect Blazin' Saddles to have a few harsh words reserved for Vino - but you'd be wrong.

Say what you like about the Kazakh snow leopard, but a doping past doesn't make you any better at avoiding crashes and so his pink jersey, if rather fortunate, isn't exactly underserved.

Yes, the roads are ridiculously dangerous and more than 20 crashes in two days is a worse return than a women's only dodgem park, but crashing is part of racing and it's not the first time in a major race that a leading contender loses time after being involved in a pile-up. In fact, it happens every year and in every Grand Tour.

Evans's gripe that he "had done everything right and was relaxed and there was no wind" before he was taken out is all well and good - but maybe he should have anticipated such a scenario around such a dangerous bend.

On Sunday he was lucky, on Monday he was not - that's bike racing. Things could be worse: look at Christian Vande Velde, the American who for a second successive season was forced to retire from the Giro after crashing heavily in stage three. Lightning striking twice - now that's bad luck.

"He said a few nasty words to me, but he can't blame me for anything." Weylandt holds his ground after Greipel's fists fly.

Follow Blazin' Saddles throughout the Giro on

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