The Tour de France is the world's toughest cycle race. Let's be clear on that. But Le Tour takes three weeks. If there's a one-day event which is tougher than any other, it's the Paris-Roubaix. This is 257.5 km of sweat, misery and extremely sore backsides as competitors race over cobblestoned roads in the north of France.
Ouch. But overnight, Australian Mathew Hayman won it, becoming just the second Aussie to do so after Stuart O'Grady in 2007. Hayman, 37, rides for Orica-GreenEDGE, the team backed by Melbourne businessman Gerry Ryan. Hayman's win is all the more remarkable given he broke his arm while racing in Belgium just five weeks ago. Amazing.
It was seriously rough out there on the cobblestones.
Here's the finish. In a velodrome. Half a bike wheel in it. An awesome result for a man whose job is usually to help others win big races.
— peloton® (@pelotonmagazine) April 10, 2016
Where does Hawthorn get them from? James Sicily is 21 and has played just six games for the reigning AFL premiers. But he kicked truly with a minute to go to ensure Hawthorn won an epic dogfight, excuse the pun, against the Western Bulldogs. Tragically, the Dogs appear to have lost skipper Bob Murphy for the year with a knee injury.
With or without Murphy, the Bulldogs showed enough to prove they're genuine premiership contenders. You can't say the same for the Freo Dockers, a team many tipped for the flag. They're still winless after three rounds after losing the Western derby to the Eagles. The ladder's here.
There's a salary cap scandal brewing in the NRL. Isn't there always? Fairfax Media reports that former Parramatta Eels chief executive officer Scott Seward and ex-team manager Jason Irvine made secret cash payments into a player's overseas account in breach of salary cap requirements. Both men will be star witnesses at a NRL investigation into allegations of widespread salary cap breaches at the club. In happier Eels news, at least they're winning football matches.
In other farcical NRL news, there were two balls on the field at one stage in the Knights/Tigers match, which helped the home team score a try en route to its first win of the season.
There's actually a rule buried away somewhere deep in the rule book that says if there are two balls, the play should stop. But the refs ignored that the way they ignore the 10 metres and pretty much every other rule. Too bad for Tigers fans like this writer, huh?
Let's talk A-League, and it's a big congrats to Adelaide United, who finished first at the end of the regular season in the A-League. It's now finals time. All the match-ups are here. Meanwhile in UK football, Leicester is so close they can taste it now. After beating Sunderland 2-0 thanks to a Jamie Vardy double -- who else? -- their EPL lead remains at seven with five matches to go.
In horse racing, this happened. Last to first in about six bounds. Wow.
That was Lucia Valentina, who was a major player in the 2014 big Spring Carnival races in Melbourne but who hadn't done much since, winning only one minor race. Victory in Sydney's richest race, the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes, should help the mare's connections feel better.
And in today's random cool thing, try this. We're calling it "snolf", which is a mixture of snooker and golf. Have a lovely week.