They’re weird aren’t they, the Classics? It’s possible to lose one based on something so innocuous as the placement of a waterproof coat upon a metal crowd barrier, and at the same time, Phil Gilbert can win one with a torn kidney.
That’s right, a torn kidney.
You don’t need me to remind you that a kidney is typically found on the inside of one’s body and as such it takes quite some doing to tear one. And yet, tear one Big Phil did – in a crash early on in this year’s Amstel Gold Race – before going on to win the whole darn shooting match, a scant 130km later down the road.
I’m no doctor, but I reckon kidneys are quite important for winning bike races. Sure, they’re not top-tier bike racing organs like your lungs or heart, but they’re definitely a vital member of the lineup.
They’re the unseen domestique on the team, the ones doing loads and loads of grimly boring work on the front of the peloton to reel in a break that’s half an hour up the road, all so their sprinter can have a pop at the finish. If your lungs are Peter Sagan, then your kidneys are Shane Archbold and Jan Barta.