Blazin' Saddles

Mankini madness

Blazin' Saddles

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The Borat-style mankini craze shows no signs of abating after yet another spotting on Wednesday's stage 17 in the Giro.

As a breakaway of 19 riders climbed the Palade Pass a rather brave man in the luminous green swimwear most favoured by imaginary Kazakh journalists ran alongside, leaving little to the imagination.

Such an open display of flesh wasn't a first and came just 24 hours after everyone's excitement during the mountain time trial was punctuated by the sporadic sight of near-naked tubby men in tight-fitting Y-Fronts.

Watching from the comfort of his own home after quitting the race with a knee injury, Australia's Robbie McEwen clearly has beef with a fad perhaps encouraged by the advertising campaigns of riders such as Filippo Pozzato.

"Why were there so many blokes running up the Plan de Corones in their undies today?" McEwen tweeted. "Were the bikini girls on strike? C'mon fellas - stop it."

Blazin' Saddles would agree outright, but then he can sympathise with those hearty male exhibitionists. For only 10 days ago, on a sunny morning in London, did Saddles take part in a special speedo charity run through the famous Portobello Road Market and down to Wandsworth.

Alongside BS there were around 30 toned men, all of whom were wearing nothing but a pair of Budgy Smugglers and their trainers. The feeling was quite exhilarating even if getting eye contact from the stunned spectators was a real test. Things also got rather interesting when Chelsea fans pelted the group with celery from open top buses (it was FA Cup final day).

Anyway, back to the Giro and Wednesday's undulating stage was won by unheralded Frenchman Damien Monier, a rider with such doleful droopy eyes and a relaxed (stoned?) way of speaking, he could well be a surfer.

Cofidis's Monier was one of two relative unknowns in the final group of three, the other being young Dutch neo-pro Steven Kruiswijk. The third, rather elderly, rider was the former phenylpiracetam-friendly Danilo Hondo, who made no effort of disguising the fact that he was unfamiliar with his fellow escapees at the finish.

"At the end, it was like a poker game," Lady Gaga'ed the German. "When the Cofidis rider attacked, he was really strong. The Rabobank rider was strong too but he also didn't manage to catch the French guy."

Monier's victory - the first of his road race career - was a second for France in this Giro following Jerome Pineau's exploits in the opening week.

The last time two Frenchmen emerged victorious on the Giro was back in 1999. While both Monier and Pineau are renowned for their clean riding, it can be safely assumed that Richard Virenque and Laurent Jalabert relied on more than just Evian back in their day.

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Hopefully professional racing cyclists will think twice before trying to place blame for their transgressions on whiskey." Bourbon whiskey maker Jeremiah Weed demands a formal apology from Floyd Landis for falsely blaming his produce as a possible cause of his positive test for synthetic testosterone in 2006.

Follow Blazin' Saddles throughout the Giro on www.twitter.com/saddleblaze.

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