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I Wonder If He Is A Distant Cousin Of Golfer Jean Van de Velde

Alessandro Trovati/Associated Press

Alessandro Trovati/Associated Press

American cyclist Christian Vande Velde has withdrawn from the Giro d’Italia race after a crash during the third stage that left him with two broken ribs and a sprained back.

Vande Velde is the leader of the cycling team Garmin Slipstream and wiped out when “Vande Velde’s front wheel had touched the wheel of a rider ahead of him.”

That’s why I only ride unicycles. Nothing bad like this can happen since the wheel is directly underneath you, for cryin’ out loud.

Be that as it may, talk about your bad luck, which must run in the family. You do recall what happened to Jean Van de Velde, right?

I know what you’re thinking: they don’t even spell their names the same – one is Vande Velde and the other is Van de Velde – they can’t possibly be related. Au contraire, my friend.  You have to remember that Vande Velde is American and Van de Velde hails from France.

In fact, I don’t have to look any further than my own ancestry to provide a worthy explanation. Names are screwed up all the time when an immigrant enters the United States. For instance, when my family came to America all those years ago, there was a big mishap on Plymouth Rock when they arrived in New York. When the folks on Alice Island asked what my great-grandfather’s name was (whom I am named after, by the way) they didn’t know how to spell his name and screwed up the paperwork. Instead of Reefero Versi Amphetamino, the name Weed Against Speed was given to him. *

And the rest, as they say, is history.

I have no idea where I was going with this. Oh yeah, that probably hurt when that one guy crashed on his bike.

Carry on.

* may not have any grounding in historical accuracy – sue me

Vande Velde Out of Giro After Crash [New York Times]