Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The bigger story is that Matthew Busche went on to win the road race on Monday! So great to see new talent doing well in the sport. Pulling the RadioShack guys up Baldy seems to have been some good final prep for Matthew.
--The Giro came to an end on Sunday and Contador hung on to his overall. Millar, who won the stage, went to to say this year was "too hard". Zomegnan, as usual, brushed off the concerns of riders and told them to stay home if it was too hard. My favorite comment on the difficulty of the Giro came back in 2009 when they had horrific transfers (Garmin got lost in Sicily and ironically enough only found its way after pulling out a Garmin). A rider said something along the lines of "...and they expect us to not dope!"
Zomegnan thinks it makes the race more exciting, but to who? He quotes 11 million users as having watched, but how much did they watch? Whether the stage is 5 hours or 8 hours the only part they show is the last few hours. So really, from a fans perspective, it's moot how long the stage is. On top of that, Millar has a point, if anything it makes the racing less exciting. People are afraid to attack because they're afraid they'll have to pay for it later. I'm all for climbs like the Zoncolan and such but aside from the Wow!-factor, length doesn't really matter to me.
--Jim (@jwbender) got to ride in the team car at the final stage of the Tour of Cali this year. He got some pretty sweet pics from the UnitedHealthcare car:
This guy had stuffed a foam finger up his jersey and used it to call for water!
Check out the rest of the album!
--Looks like the director of the Swiss lab that had the positive Armstrong test back in 1999 has confirmed the meeting. The Lance camp remains steadfastly Richard Pryor, deny, deny, deny.
--Some of you may have heard about the recent Facebook scandal where they paid a PR firm to supply journalists with "news" about Google's privacy policies in an attempt to smear them? The shady PR firm was called Burson-Marsteller. They have another well-known client you might have heard of: Lance Armstrong. Clearly these guys mesh well with Fabiani...
Friday, May 27, 2011
LANCE ARMSTRONG has added prominent S.F. attorneys John Keker and Elliot Peters, of Keker & Van Nest, to his legal team. The Armstrong camp argues that federal investigators have created a pattern of improper leaks of confidential information, culminating in allegations on Sunday’s “60 Minutes.” The Armstrong sources assert that a great number of the leaks from investigators have been inaccurate, and are designed to create “a false sense of momentum” for a case that has been underway now for more than a year. Keker and Peters are two of the nation's most renowned defense attorneys and have a reputation for fighting fiercely for the rights of their clients – including representing the Major League Baseball Players Association's successful challenge to the unlawful seizure and then leaking of 2003 baseball drug testing records.
Notice they quote the "Armstrong sources" as somehow different. Sure, Hincapie Tweeted he didn't say those things, but Twitter isn't under oath and it's certainly not punishable.
I talked to Martin about Keker and he says he bills at probably $1100 an hour, about the highest in the industry, which got me thinking about all his other expenses. He hired Fabiani a while back and is probably spending $1m a year on him. Plus, he's probably spent at least $1-2m a year on legal since he won the Tour. This guy has some serious expenses.
Also, his house in Austin is for sale. And it looks like he's selling it at a $3.5m discount to what it was listed at in 2009 ($12m).
If the Fed case continues and he gets tried, all his endorsement deals are bound to dry up as well. He could have a serious drop in his standard of living.
--Speaking of Lance's PR, I saw this Tweet the other day:
This, from Ty's FB: 'They are all being paid to write these comments. Check it out at: http://www.pstrategies.com/index.php/crises/' Hmm.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet ReplyMatt Rendell
Notice how all the critical pieces of Lance have comments at the bottom? Some of those could be organic, but these guys also do that as a service. The call it "outreach to target communities" (you have to delete the ' after the URL to see the site).
This type of thing is illegal for brands to do (ie they can't post as other people in support of their products or services) but it looks like it's a-ok if you're trying to clear your name...
--Dr. Michael Ashenden has released his views on the Armstrong case. Some of you may remember his Velocity Nation interview from a few years back in which he said "there is no doubt in my mind he (Lance Armstrong) took EPO during the '99 Tour." A pretty strong statement coming from a member of the UCI's panel of experts.
Some have argued that maybe one of the labs spiked Armstrong's samples. Ashenden did a follow up with Velocity Nation follow up on this topic where he said it was impossible that that happened. Just in case you're still on the fence...
--Today was another beautiful day at the Giro. Contador attacked with about 1.5k to go and caught Tiralongo. At first it looked like he'd blow right past him but he passed him and then let Tiralongo sit on his wheel. He checked to make sure no one else was coming and then gave Tiralongo the stage. It was great to see Tiralongo get one after he missed out the other day. You can check out the video here. It's also worth watching yesterday's finish.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Initially, I predicted he would get the axe since more than a handful of guys had already gotten the axe for clenbuterol. That was because they weren't Contador. Then, I saw they were letting him ride and the politicking by McQuaid--pretending he was upset when the Spanish courts let Contador off--and I revised my predictions. Contador will ride the Tour and the fact the other guys (eg Li Fuyu) were banned won't be an issue because they can't afford attorneys. No crying in cycling.
--In other Giro news, I mentioned yesterday how Contador's mechanic was kicked out of the Giro for opening the door on a fan who tried to punch Contador. In today's stage there was some fan who reached across another rider just to try to touch him!
--In Milan politics trump cycling. The upcoming Milan TT course has been changed due to the need for police at the elections.
--Visconti still considers himself winner of yesterday's stage. Ulissi shut the door on him, much worse than some of the moves Cav has been relegated for, but Visconti was DQ'd for pushing Ulissi.
The trend I seem to see is strict enforcement of everything but arguably the most important thing, holding your line. Renshaw was DQ'd from the entire Tour last year for his headbutt which arguably saved a crash from happening but at the beginning of the Giro Petacchi swerved all over the road with no relegation. (The exception is when you're the world's top sprinter and your changing lines causes a crash.)
I think it's unfortunate because this is the clearest and most obvious example of cheating the sport has. Take yesterday's stage for example, Visconti pushed Ulissi not once but TWICE and still beat him across the line. Clearly Ulissi didn't have the gas to beat him and that's why he swerved into Visconti's line. It's the same with Petacchi's case, he didn't have the gas so he swerved three times to cut Cav off.
I really feel for Visconti on this one, as I did with Cavendish earlier. This type of sprinting isn't fair for the riders and it hurts the sport.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Gerard Vroomen, who worked with him during his year on the Cervelo Test Team, has an excellent post up about Xavier.
--News just came out that the 2012 Tour of Cali will start in Santa Rosa. Levi will be so happy to embark on the race from his hometown. Especially since he'll be riding as a domestique for Horner!
--Today's Giro finish was unreal! A breakaway and a very controversial sprint. See it for yourself here.
Visconti clearly chose the wrong line. And why? Well, all the heat is about Ulissi shutting the door on Visconti, which he clearly did, but if you look back further I think the reason Visconti chose the inside line was because he was closing the door on Lastras. I was rooting for Visconti after Ulissi went off his line Petacchi style, but it's always cool to see a 21 year old win a stage. Congrats, Ulissi.
--Saturday was an unbelievable day of the Giro. They climbed five climbs and about 140 miles. Contador even said it was the hardest day of his career.
It was also one of the most beautiful stages I've ever seen. Check out this canyon they climbed through:
Like last year, Scarponi had his signature hawk helmet.
He was pretty happy there but got a bit uppity when the kid started taunting him.
Then, Contador took off and was followed by a syringe-toting fan.
It was a really exciting day of racing, but after umpteen straight days I was ready for a little break. Grand tours are hard on fans, too.
--The void was filled by the Tyler Hamilton piece on 60 Minutes. For those of you living under a rock he went on TV and told us what everyone [in cycling] already knew. It also came out that George Hincapie had testified in the grand jury and had said the same thing. He later denied saying those things, on Twitter that is, not to the grand jury. According to Scott there's really no way for a grand jury testimony to leak unless it's someone who's working on the case, so the Feds had to have leaked it.
What's known is that Hincapie hasn't spoken to the Feds since August 2010. That doesn't mean he didn't say that but the timing is a bit odd. Why now? It could be that the Feds have a weak case and/or are trying to wage a bit of a PR war with Lance and possibly get him to fess up.
In the meantime, Thomas Weisel has also been dragged into the muck.
--Before all this, the hype was around the "breakaway league." McQuaid seems to think JV is the ringleader so he's putting pressure on him in the form of double secret probation. Basically, he's having him sign something saying he's not organizing this. A breakaway league sounds amazing, so hopefully Vaughters has his fingers crossed.
--Contador's mechanic has been expelled from the race! During yesterday's time trial he apparently opened the door on someone whom he thought was trying to punch Contador.
--As I mentioned before, some tool named Golas just left the Giro to get married. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against marriage, just so long as it doesn't interfere with any major races. I'm just a fan, but even I won't be getting married during a major race. If I do, I can guarantee I'll be watching it before the ceremonies begin at the biggest little chapel in Vegas.
--Back to the Giro, Millar says this year's is hard but not as hard as the 2008 Giro. That was the year Ricco won, and still holds--thanks, Zomegnan--the best young rider's jersey. His incredible times put pressure on everyone since the time cuts are only 13% greater than the fastest time. (Cav also wanted to punch Ricco for this.)
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
I'm not sure what did it exactly. Maybe it was my post about "Lancevertising".
The other night I mentioned this to Scott, Melanie's brother-in-law. This was right before we were about to sit down and watch the Tyler Hamilton piece on 60 Minutes. We got to talking about the issue of doping and I stated how I didn't think the guys who took PEDs had a choice.
At the time I wasn't able to articulate it very well but now it's clearer. One definition of choice is "the power, right, or liberty to choose." People who take drugs to gain an unfair advantage have no other choice. If they did, they wouldn't take the drugs. The guys who do have a choice don't do it.
Why? For the same reason the alcoholic drinks. Because he has no other choice. He is compelled by a force greater than himself to drink. Just like Lance and all the others. They couldn't not do it. Their whole lives had been spent chasing that feeling. To race, for them, is an outright addiction and something they were willing to feed at all costs. For them to say "No" would have been impossible.
The story of Lance's use has been known all along. But only now is it reaching the mainstream. Yet there are those holding on to the bitter end. The other day while out riding a motorist stopped alongside to tell me "Lance Armstrong is not on drugs!"
And why wouldn't they believe? For some, he's the reason why they're riding a bike at all. His triumphs in France led to their personal triumphs that continue today. For others, he's their reason to live. His fight with cancer gave them hope with their own battle. And both are incredible gifts.
For me, someone who had neither of these connections, my emotional ties to him are limited. I see through all the cancer-fighting rhetoric because he's not the guy who first got me on a bike or made me believe in myself. Instead, I see a man desperately trying to clean his conscience through his fight against cancer. Or in the least, gain immunity through it.
I see a guy who had no other choice. He had to win. And if others were doping to win, he had to do that as well.
What about him "never testing positive?" As pointed out by Tyler Hamilton, that's not exactly the case as there was the Tour de Suisse positive. More importantly, that is what, in Armstrong's mind, made it all okay. If you don't test positive, you're not cheating.
In a 2001 interview with David Walsh, he was asked about Tommy Simpson (the cyclist who died at the top of Mont Ventoux from an amphetamine overdose). His first reply was that he knew nothing of the history of the sport. When asked again he replied:
"Tommy Simpson never tested positive."
Lance, like all the others who've avoided testing positive, made sure he was never caught. And because others were doing it, it was okay for him to do it. And since he never got caught, he never did anything wrong. He was just playing by the rules, the ones set by the others who had to win at all costs, too.
Despite that logic, and all the personal marketing he's done through his charity, his time may be up. And hopefully all those who started riding because of him will keep riding. And all those who were inspired to fight a bit harder through whatever their struggles should still be inspired.
With or without drugs, the Tour de France is an incredible human feat. To finish it, a lifetime accomplishment. To finish it faster than all others seven years in a row, unfathomable. Lance did the unimaginable and he did it again and again.
But the lie is getting old. The sport is trying desperately to move on. And now more than ever this is real hope in the form of bright young stars. So it's time we bring out the skeletons, all of them. And stop confusing courage with integrity.
Sunday, May 22, 2011
I woke up early again and started checking Twitter for updates about the race. It wasn't long before they announced they'd be doing an abridged stage. I did some work until the rest of the guys woke up and we went to breakfast.
They all went to the restaurant for breakfast but since I wasn't very hungry I decided to get something light and hang out in the cafe. While there I started talking to a guy who worked with the race. Eventually it came out he's on the board of the race and is a minority partner. Sick! We chatted some more until the guys were done with breakfast.
Around 10 we headed to Nevada City for the start. I was worried about my little two door making it over the pass so I roped Jim (@jwbender) into coming with me. He's landed planes on boats so you feel safe with him around. We took off and made it to the start an hour later.
Oscar Freire was out and chatting to the cameramen.
Almost half the Team Sky riders were on the Osymetric chainrings. I saw Bobby Julich is working for them so I think that's probably why. He used them when he was racing.
After a while it started to look pretty overcast so the riders all came back to the vans for rain gear. Freire was stuffing his rain jacket in a cut off bottle like a true PRO.
It was almost start time so we headed over to the start. Luckily we came from behind so we were mixed in with all the riders and team cars.
I had a chat with Chris Froome while waiting for the start. It was his first time here in Cali and he was pretty excited.
I also noticed a camera on Tour of Flanders winner Nick Nuyens's bike.
He wasn't the only one. A number of the riders had these GoPro cameras on the back of their bikes. (I just checked for some of those vids but I can't find them. I did see they're based in Half Moon Bay--where my parents live and where I'm at right now--so I'll have to hit them up about it!)
Then, Tjallingii rolled near us. I noticed he had a full carbon Fizik Arione. That's a serious saddle so I asked him if he trains on it, too. He said yes. Chamois cream? Nope. He said if you have a good saddle there's no need for chamois cream.
We chatted a bit more. I asked him where in Holland he lived and told him I'd ridden through that area. Then, the race started and they were off.
Jim and I ran back to the car and floored it to Sac. An hour later we rolled in.
We headed over to the finish and checked out all the tents. I tried on a pair of Bont shoes and was totally sold. They weren't even molded to my foot yet and they were my size. Amazing. I'm definitely going to get a pair.
Then, we headed over to the United Healthcare bus. Jim knows the owner, Thiery, so we got to hang out in there. Shortly thereafter Dr. Iñigo San Millán and Dr. George Brooks walked in. San Millán has been the physio for a number of PRO teams including Astana and currently Garmin. Brooks is a longtime Cal professor who helps out with CytoSport.
We got antsy so we headed out to grab some food. There was a Korean BBQ burrito place right on the finish so we all got food there. Before we knew it the last of the lead cars were rolling through. Then, the commissaires, and...the race!
It came a lot sooner than we had expected. We headed down to the corner where we'd watched from last year. It was pretty wet out so we were sure we'd see some carnage. There were wrecks on this corner last year when it was completely dry.
Lap by lap the riders came through. And each time they managed to stay upright. The rolled through one final time and we heard Ben Swift had won.
Everyone started to leave so we walked over to the team vans one last time. We saw a few of the guys roll in and then we parted ways. Jim and crew were headed back to Reno so they could fly out to Seattle the next day. I headed over to a cafe to do some work and wait for traffic to die down. This was my third year going to Sac and hopefully there will be many more.
Friday, May 20, 2011
--Looks like Tyler Hamilton has cleared his conscience. Be sure to check out his piece on 60 Minutes this Sunday at 7pm ET.
--Speaking of confessions, remember Landis supposedly got sued by the UCI? Well looks like the UCI made that up:
When asked if there was a legal action being taken against him by the UCI he said, "I had some lawyers look around in Switzerland and the UCI never filed anything. They just made that up."
--McQuaid has proposed a rule that would ban cyclists who had been convicted of doping from team management. Looks like there will be a lot of vacancies in team management...
--Today's Giro stage was pretty epic. They climbed the tallest mountain in Austria. Yeah. Rujano attacked and Contador went with him. At the top Contador didn't contest it and Rujano won. The funny part was right before the finish Rujano looks back at Contador just to make sure he's not going to attack. Check out the final k.
--Looks like someone caught Chicchi doing what all sprinters do on Mt. Etna. Yes, he took a pull from the team car. Oh the humanity.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Anywho, the crux of the issue is this: cycling is boring. Period. It's one of the most boring sports on TV.
Let's take football, for example. You turn on and immediately know who's winning. The red team or the blue team. From that point on you know what's happening. Don't know the players? Moot.
Red team is beating the blue team. That's all that matters. From then on you pick a team and get excited or depressed depending on how they fare.
Now take cycling, for example. I turn on my TV. There's one group of cyclists, probably five, all wearing different jerseys with brands on them. Then, the camera keeps switching between them and a big group with a ton of different jerseys. Maybe they even have a third group that's at some unknown point in the race. Either way, you have no clue who's winning, or better yet, who to root for. It's like if football had 150 different teams in one game. It wouldn't be on TV.
(Yes, there are technically teams in cycling, but no one knows what that means. I won't even go into the differences in jerseys and GC vs stage winners.)
So next time this comes up, about improving viewership, just remember it's because the sport is boring. That's why they can't do anything. That's why Versus tries the "football" method of cycling production--cut to interview, cut to product review, cut to 5 seconds of the riders, cut back to Road ID. Anything to get people interested.
Why do I love it? Because I happen to spend at least 5-10 hours a week reading about riders and watching bike races. So when I turn on I know who's winning, who I want to win, and who said what about who. Knowing all the background means when I tune in I get to see the most beautiful play unfold before my eyes. Tragedy and triumph.
--Horner won yesterday! It was an amazing stage. Ryder was off the front for a while descending like a madman with Martens. Then, Martens went off the road so Ryder waited.
They were caught by the group with Horner and Levi. Horner was leading Levi up the climb but then Levi just couldn't hang. Horner kept at it and took the stage.
--There was an amazing sprint at the Giro today. Check out the Androni rider who slots in third wheel right before the last turn...and then crashes! Seconds after getting into the best spot in the sprint the guy crashes out. Then, some Colnago guy crashes and Robbie Hunter starts crying. Totally messed up his "sprint" from 30 guys back.
--I saw this tweet the other day:
RT @theswordsman: Sponsor Saxo Bank flew Contador in a private plane to cut down on the transfer time & hassle http://bit.ly/mgD4rm #Giroless than a minute ago via ÜberSocial Favorite Retweet ReplyRubén Darío Yaguas
The Giro has had notoriously rough transfers. Looks like Contador got a little love from his sponsors. Wish I had a jet to fly riders around...
--In other news, Contador was fined 1000 Swiss Francs (~$1000) the other day for, get this, not talking to the press. Didn't realize they could fine riders for that.
What they should fine him for is his recent statement that the Giro could be won in "a hotel." The guy investigated for doping says he's going to win in the hotel...
--Speaking of Contador and doping, Lovkvist has some issues. Basically, Lovkvist is upset that there's no real rules in doping prevention. Period. Last year there was a guy busted for "clen" and he received an immediate suspension. With the Contador case, he's riding a grand tour. No justice in cycling. I just became a Lovkvist fan.
--Cipo goes out and calls Cav fat and mismanaged. Although I'm a Cav fan, I agree. I saw it coming when he dumped his high school sweetheart for the Italian model. Shortly thereafter was his escapade in Uruguayan cosmetic surgery, which threw off his entire 2010 season. Since then he really hasn't regained his dominance on the road. Hopefully he's something from all this. In the meantime, Goss is on the come up.
--Ricco's talking about a comeback. No comment.
--Recently figured out a nice cool weather embrocation: lotion. It works when it's 50-60 out and you want a little protection but not as much as knee warmers.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Around 11 I headed up to Tahoe. Jim and I had talked and neither of us felt like riding in 40 degree weather so we decided to leave our bikes at home.
Two hours into my trip I call Marek and he says there are 1000s of cyclists out. It's 60 in Tahoe and he just saw four teams riding when they were out. Bummer.
I got up to Trukee at around 3, before Jim and his BROs or Henry. I grab a bite to eat and head over to the hotel. Henry gets a deal at the Ritz so we were living large. I unpacked and relaxed in my room.
Once everyone got in we went to the hotel restaurant for dinner. Jim had brought two riders from Seattle with him. Coffee Brad, an ER doc, and Southern Lyle, Allen Lim's personal attorney. Jim gave Lyle a lot of shit because, as it were, Lyle's way faster than Jim.
After dinner they all headed out for adult drinks and games of chance. Considering I only stay in a Ritz, well this was the first time in 25 years, I decided to enjoy the accommodations and stay in. Besides, tomorrow was going to be a long day.
I woke up at about 6 and I was wired for sound. I turned on the Giro and started checking the Twitter for race updates. It was snowing so we had our fingers crossed.
At 930 the announcement came that the start was pushed back to 1215. We called the valet and headed out. In front of the hotel there were a few RadioShack cars.
On the way over the lake looked amazing.
Thirty minutes later we arrived at the hotels; Montbleu for the Euro PROs, and Harvey's for the domestic PROs. We headed into the Montbleu and had a look around.
It wasn't long before we saw Bob Roll and company. All the journalists were down in the lobby checking out the weather. Most of the riders were still in their rooms at this point.
Then, Lyle ran into Allen Lim. He was carrying a tray of scrambie eggs and a bag of tin foil wrapped rice cakes. He gave us one to try and told us to come with him. He was taking them to the team.
We chatted with him as we walked over to the restaurant. On the way over Andy Schleck and a few other Leopard Trek riders walked by. Today was going to be a good day.
There were already a few teams in the restaurant when we got there. Allen told us it was cool so we sat there chatting with him as the other teams rolled in.
One by one riders rolled in. Sagan was over in the corner with his Liquigas buddies. Lars boom was there. The Velit's and Tejay Van Garderen. It was amazing.
I had met Allen at Interbike last year but we didn't talk much. He had some pretty cool stuff to say. He mentioned a TED talk he gave in Denver about how as a kid he arranged his whole life around riding a bike, but now as an adult his responsibilities don't allow him time to actually ride it.
We chatted for a while longer until Horner and Klodie rolled in and we knew our time was up. We headed back over to the cafe area where we had seen Bob Roll. When we got there Sagan was doing interviews.
We headed outside to check out the team cars. Along the way I started chatting with Joseph from BTP Films (@BTPFilms), the ones who've done all the Cervelo videos. They decided to do a shot with us and that's when a photog came up and snapped out pic. Later we found out we made Cyclingnews!
We headed backin and hung out in the lobby. After a while all the big hitters started coming through. Linus Gerdemann, Jens, Ryder, Johan--everyone. I looked over and caught Oscar Freire having a coffee so I had to get a pic with him.
I walked around some more while the guys went to play blackjack. I saw Bob Stapleton so I introduced myself...as a guy who works for a guy who has a lot of money, too. He took my card and gave me his email. I thanked him for all he's done for the sport and we parted ways.
By this point it was about an hour before the start time. We needed to get going if we were going to make it to the finish in time. As we were walking to the car I remember Joao told me to go see the Jamis guys about a ride in the car. I ran over and found them behind Harvey's. I chatted with the DS. He said they had to save room for the media so I ran back and got in the car.
The weather was nice until we got to the climb near Northstar. It was covered in snow and that wasn't the worst. We summited and headed down the descent. It's a 50 mph descent that's sketchy even when it's dry.
Once we were back in the hotel we found out the stage had been cancelled. Bummer. The finish was still set up down at Northstar, though, so we jumped on the gondola and headed down.
All the bike manufacturers had their new gear out on display. I bought a few $25 Kenda tires and met up with Marek. We all had lunch and then parted ways.
Hanging out at the hotel in the morning made up for not seeing the race. Meeting Allen Lim and Bob Stapleton, as well as seeing all the riders, made for an amazing day despite the racing being cancelled.
Race or not, we were still staying at the Ritz. I headed up to my room and relaxed before going to bed.
Monday, May 16, 2011
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Friday, May 13, 2011
The list is interesting to look at but it's problematic in that we don't know the criteria by which the riders were judged suspicious. Also, as the AIGCP points out, the list not only harms the innocent but the guilty. By seeing they are high or low on the list they can adjust their doping techniques.
Below the rider list I've posted the "Index of Suspicion" for teams and countries, as calculated by L'Equipe.
The complete list:
0 Mario Aerts, Yukiya Arashiro, Stephane Augé, Michael Barry, Francesco Bellotti, Jose Alberto Benitez, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Lars Boom, Maxime Bouet, Pavel Brutt, Fabian Cancellara, Manuel Cardoso, Dries Devenyns, Samuel Dumoulin, Julien El Farès, Simon Gerrans, Anthony Geslin, Bert Grabsch, Christopher Horner, Robert Hunter, Kristjan Koren, Burt Lancaster, David Le Lay, Christophe Le Mével, Adriano Malori, Koes Moerenhout, Amael Moinard, Lloyd Mondory, Damien Monier, Juan Jose Oroz, Remi Pauriol, Mathieu Perget, Gregory Rast, Mark Renshaw, Nicolas Roche, Jurgen Roelandts, Pierre Rolland, Anthony Roux, Jeremy Roy, Mathieu Sprick, Rein Taaramae, Sebastien Turgot, Niki Terpstra, Brian Vandborg, Kristof Vandewalle, Ivan Velasco, Thomas Voeckler, Fabian Wegmann, David Zabriskie
1 Marcus Burghardt, Sandy Casar, Anthony Charteau, Sylvain Chavanel, Julian Dean, Mickael Delage, Martin Elmiger, Johannes Fröhlinger, Jakob Fuglsang, Robert Gesink, Xavier Florencio, Adam Hansen, Ryder Hesjedal, George Hincapie, Andreas Klier, Roger Kluge, Alexander Kuchinsky, Daniel Lloyd, Mirco Lorenzetto, Martijn Maaskant, Aitor Pérez, Alan Pérez, Jerome Pineau, Ruben Plaza, Alexandre Pliuschin, MaartenTjallingii, Rafael Valls, Maarten Wynants
2 Eros Capecchi, Mark Cavendish, Stephen Cummings, Remy Di Gregorio, Arkaitz Duran, Mathias Frank, Oscar Freire, John Gadret, Francesco Gavazzi, Volodymir Gustov, Thor Hushovd, Christophe Kern, Thomas Löfkvist, Sebastien Minard, Daniel Navarro, Grischa Niermann, Stuart O'Grady, Rubén Pérez, Christophe Riblon, Thomas Rohregger, L. L. Sanchez, Carlos Sastre, Fränk Schleck, Simon Spilak, Bram Tankink, Stijn Vandenbergh, Benoit Vaugrenard, Jens Voigt, Eduard Vorganov
3 Ivan Basso, Grega Bole, Brent Bookwalter, Dimitri Champion, Gerald Ciolek, Rui Costa, Damiano Cunego, Mauro Da Dalto, Francis De Greef, Markus Eibegger, Imanol Erviti, Tyler Farrar, Fabio Felline, Juan Antonio Flecha, Maxim Iglinskiy, Vasil Kiryienka, Roman Kreuziger, Matthieu Ladagnous, Robbie McEwen, Maxime Monfort, Sergio Paulinho, Joaquin Rodriguez, Andy Schleck, Chris Anker Sörensen, Sylvester Szmyd, Paolo Tiralongo, Amets Txurruka, Johan Van Summeren, Gorka Verdugo, Charles Wegelius
4 Lance Armstrong, Janez Brajkovic, Bernhard Eisel, Cadel Evans, Pierrick Fédrigo, Juan Manuel Garate, Andriy Grivko, Jesus Hernandez, Ignatas Konovalovas, Sebastian Lang, Levi Leipheimer, David Millar, Daniel Moreno, Serge Pauwels, Manuel Quinziato, Luke Roberts, Samuel Sanchez, Christian Vande Velde, Nicolas Vogondy
5 Alessandro Ballan, Matti Breschel, Alberto Contador, Cyril Gautier, Inaki Isasi, Sergei Ivanov, Vladimir Karpets, Alexandr Kolobnev, Karsten Kroon, Steve Morabito, Benjamin Noval, Jose Rojas, Nicki Sörensen, Alexander Vinokourov, Bradley Wiggins
6 Linus Gerdemann, Christian Knees, Egoi Martínez, Alessandro Petacchi, Francesco Reda, Mauro Santambrogio, Geraint Thomas
7 Jeremy Hunt, Andreas Klöden, Tony Martin, Christophe Moreau, Michael Rogers, Wesley Sulzberger
8 David De la Fuente, Ivan Gutiérrez, Danilo Hondo, Matthew Lloyd, Iban Mayoz, Dmitriy Muravyev, Rinaldo Nocentini, Daniel Oss, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Kanstantsin Siutsou, Jurgen Van Den Broeck
9 Denis Menchov
10 Carlos Barredo,Yaroslav Popovych
The ranking of the least suspicious teams:
2. Bbox Buoygues Telecom 14
3. FDJ 15
4. AG2R-La Mondiale 16
5. Garmin-Transitions 17
6. Cervelo 20
8. Rabobank 21
9. Liquigas 22
Team Sky 22
11. Milram 23
Saxo Bank 23
13. Euskaltel-Euskadi 24
14. Katusha 26
15. Lampre 28
16. Quick Step 30
17. Omega Pharma-Lotto 31
18. HTC-Columbia 32
Caisse d’Epargne 32
21. Astana 39
22. RadioShack 40
The ranking of the least suspicious nations:
1. France 1.23 (based on the average of 35 riders)
2. Netherlands 1.25 (8)
3. Switzerland 1.60 (5)
4. Portugal 2.0 (3)
5. Slovenia 2.25 (4)
6. USA 2.37 (8)
7. Belgium 2.69 (13)
8. Denmark 2.80 (5)
9. Austria 3.0 (3)
10. Germany 3.27 (15)
Australia 3.27 (11)
12. Spain 3.27 (32)
Great Britain 3.27 (8)
14. Italy 3.70 (17)
15. Belarus 4.0 (3)
16. Russia 4.33 (6)
17. Kazakhstan 5.33 (3)
Ukraine 5.33 (3)
Petacchi swerves in first sprint of the Giro:
"In the past every time I moved one centimetre from my line I was disqualified but this isn’t Alessandro’s fault,” Cavendish maintained. “This is the fault of the organisers or the commissaires or whoever is in charge at the time. For me I felt hard done by because for the same movement I would be disqualified."
Farrar, who's accustomed to watching sprints from behind, chimes in "I saw Petacchi sprint a dead straight line, so I guess he was pissed that Petacchi won."
Love that the peloton cheers on this old hack when he beats Cav by any means possible. Everyone hates a winner.
I had more cool Giro news about how they were planning a protest on the Zoncolan stage due to the descent of the Crostis (pic of gravely descent a few post back).
Today's stage was definitely worth watching. The guy who won is a neo-PRO and won by a nose. Amazing to watch.
--Stybar gets third in the Four Days of Dunkirk. That was his first road race ever. Looks like he'll be having a solid season! Too bad Quick Step won't be at the Tour of Cali.
--Speaking of, I'm heading up tomorrow to catch the Tahoe stages! Joao is working on a team car for me so should have some good posts!
--This Vacansoleil rider clearly needs to straighten up his priorities. He's leaving the Giro for...his wedding! Really!
First off, what better place to get married? It's Italy! So, you keep the date, only you fly in the bride. Then, on the stage you have her wait 100k into it. Go with the morning's break, then when you get to the bride, pull over, say your vows, and get back to racing! You'd never forget it! And you say, "Honey, I know how bad you want to have a big wedding, so how about on international television?!" Bam.
--Okay so I've hated on Zomegnan a lot in the past but I've recently turned my cheek. It came as a result of this interview. Basically, he says how when he took over the Giro he could either make it a lot like the Tour but still never be better than the number 2 Tour. Instead, he decided to do something completely unique. And I would say he's done a pretty amazing job so far.
I know, I know, I've bemoaned his journalist-turned race director lack of cred and hyper dictatorship, but this year, and the past few years, has been really exciting. There's been some amazing stages this year and I can't wait to see more.
--Bart Wellens will be in the US next year! He's going to come for two weeks and even do CrossVegas! Unreal!
--Okay, that's all for me. I need to start my Friday and get prepped for a weekend of bike geeking. If you have any questions for PROs at the @Amgentourofcali, tweet me (@jstreebin), or email me. The stages will be on Versus and I'm sure you can find them on versus.com or the other cycling feed sites. Enjoy!
Monday, May 9, 2011
He won last year's stage 3:
Zomegnan will be making a statement about it at 730pm tonight. It was only two years ago that Pedro Horrillo crashed and ended his career at the Giro. Since then they've had an ambulance following the peloton.
Friday, May 6, 2011
--File this under bad ideas: the GP De Québec organizers are going to have a sprint competition because you "can't control the length of the race." The proposed solution would have a set time limit and be "huge for TV."
Okay guys, before you go reinvent the wheel, how about at least a little clarity on what exactly the problem is. First, they state the issue is one of timing. Races have unpredictable times. Wait, that's not true, so let me rephrase: races don't have predictable enough times. One solution, besides inventing a new type of race, would be to have a 5 hour circuit race. You base the laps off time. There, done.
Race organizer Serge Arsenault goes on to say:
"We could establish a world ranking and create a distinctive leader’s jersey. The sprinters dream of a world championship for them every year but that will never happen. They can only go for stages at the Tour de France but with this challenge, they would have a permanent event."
The sprinters have a permanent event, even sport, it's called track cycling. You know, the one where all they do is sprint? It does so well on TV they only show it once every four years.
The article states:
"The UCI has given the green light to the project, knowing it could attract higher crowds to the races and boost television coverage of cycling. Arsenault hopes to extend the concept around the world to other races."
I love the part "knowing it could attract higher crowds to the races and boost television coverage." Is this fact? Or is this the McQuaid hamster wheel of ideas? Last time I checked the major issue with coverage was all the doping controversies (see: German coverage of the Tour de France).
Lastly, the article asked two of the best sprinters in cycling what they thought:
Farrar: I don’t think I’d be very good in a sprint like this.
Freire: ...But not every idea is a good one.
--The other day I'm in my reader and I see a new Toto. The subject is how the statute of limitations for Lance to sue Landis just expired. The catch is that there's still time for the UCI to sue.
Then, the next day I see that the UCI is taking legal action against Landis. Did Toto remind the UCI to sue Landis?!
--Team Sky is launching its own online channel of sorts. I like this idea. Its been especially effective for Cervelo and now Garmin-Cervelo, specifically with their Beyond the Peloton series.
--Looks like Miche is where cyclists go after they've served their time. Davide Rebellin will be joining Stefan Schumacher at Miche - Guerciotti for the rest of the season. I can't think of Rebellin without picturing him pointing at his head after outsmarting Evans and Schleck in the 2009 Fleche Wallone.
--Stybar is making is road debut at the Four Days of Durkirk! Let's hope he doesn't get hurt so we can see him in Cali next week!
-Lastly, the first stage of the Giro is tomorrow!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
I was thinking of changing the pic from Niels Albert to the one of the Schlecks at the Tour of Cali last year. Wick also sent over a much more graphic one (NSFW). Then again, what better marketing than a topless woman on your shirt?
--Looks like La Gazzetta has published some info from the Mantova investigation. Check out these two conversations:
On April 1, 2009, Ballan talks to Nigrelli about growth hormone:
Ballan: “Is that G?”
Nigrelli: “Yes, of course.”
Ballan: “But how do you take it?”
Nigrelli: “By mouth.”
Ballan: “Have you got some?”
Nigrelli: “It’s being delivered on Tuesday.”
On April 20, 2009, Ballan speaks to Nigrelli about taking EPO.
Nigrelli: “How many have you done?”
Ballan: “This is the fifth one.”
He then adds a little later: “This is how I’ve done EPO...”
On May 4, 2009, Nigrelli talks about Ballan to fellow rider Daniele Pietropolli. “Without chemicals Ballan would never have made it.”
BMC has suspended Ballan and Santambrogio. Guess that 2008 Worlds win by Ballan was so amazing for reason. It's still worth a second watch.
--Check out this gnarly crash by the Andalucía Caja Granada team car the other day:
I found that on Twitter the other day.
--Looks like the UCI is giving in a bit with their recent regulations on frames. Finally! Now for race radios...
--Check out some of these pics from upcoming Giro stages:
That's Contador checking out the tunnel near the summit of the Zoncolan. He says he'll be using a 34x32 on that climb.
That's the descent of the Crotis. It has Contador super worried and for good reason. Apparently they're going to erect barriers to catch any riders that fall. This is insane!
Don't forget, the Giro starts this Saturday! Looks like Universal Sports has a package which I'll probably buy. They have great pricing and great service.