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Climbing the Koppenberg by whatever means necessary (Sirotti Images)
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I never thought practising a wheelie would end in international scandal, but there you go. It just goes to prove you never know what's around the corner when you're a pro cyclist.

Remember last week how I mentioned that Peter Sagan caught me pulling wheelies outside the team hotel? Well, he came up to me on the Saturday before the Tour of Flanders and apologised for the way his team-mates had been heckling at me after he told them what I'd been up to.

I thought that was a great gesture from a guy who didn't need to give me the time of day, let alone apologise.

Anyway, Peter and I got talking in the hotel - well, as much as an Italian and a Slovak can get converse in their second languages - and we got on to the topic of what other crazy stuff he could do to celebrate a good result.

I suggested running across the line with his bike held over his head but he thought that might be considered too arrogant. The same went for dropping into the inner ring and pedalling like mad over the line at 15km/h to take the win.

It took a while, but I finally convinced him that a cheeky squeeze of a podium girl's derriere would be suitable. What harm could come from that? The girls are up there looking glamorous, kissing the winner and blinding all and sundry with their chemically whitened teeth. Surely everyone would think it was good, clean fun - albeit a little risqué.

I don't need to tell you how the story ended, other than that Peter Sagan isn't replying to my text messages any more.  

Similarly, I'm pretty sure Tom Boonen won't be sending me any Christmas cards after I laughed at him when he came off his bike less than 20km into De Ronde on Sunday. It was just meant to be payback after he did the same to me when I took a tumble on a reconnaissance ride a few days earlier, but I ended up looking more than a little bit heartless when it turned out he had to quit the race and pull out of Paris-Roubaix this weekend.

Sylvain Chavanel gave me a dirty look when we came together in the peloton later in the race but I don't know why he was so upset. Surely Boonen being out of contention was a bonus for him, both at Flanders and Paris-Roubaix this weekend? Maybe he was just being the consummate professional while cheering on the inside.

Anyway, the best news out of De Ronde - apart from me shredding what little respect I had earned from the peloton and causing an international sex scandal - was that I didn't fall off!

Sure, I might have been the first rider to jump off the bike up the Koppenberg, forcing the 50-odd riders caught behind me to do the same, but it was a voluntary action and not nearly as embarrassing as face-planting the cobbles in front of the cheering Belgian masses. My team-mates told me later that I was being abused in at least eight different languages but luckily the crowd noise prevented them reaching my tender little ears.  

Now the trick will be to repeat my crash-free feat when we hit the pavé in Paris-Roubaix. I don't hold out much hope, to be honest. Stranger things have happened, but rarely to me.

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