October 31, 2006
I can just imagine that discussion going on between the dynamic duo of Dick Pound and Pat McQuaid over the recent ruling that Manolo Saiz and his company Active Bay can keep their ProTour license. Since Operation Puerto data is on hold pending the criminal trial, everything needs to go back to early July.
We know that a lot of water has gone over the dam since then, so where does that leave us? If you let yourself think about this for a minute, it gives you a headache. Here is the update. If you ever wrote this into a script, you would be thrown out as it being too unbelievable. But as they say, truth is stranger than fiction.
- Alexandre Vinokourov is part of the newly formed Astana team with new management. It turns out, that Astana has no license as that part never came over in the ashes of Liberty-Seguros.
- Manolo Saiz has a license and no team. Ah, but wait. He has contracts with many of the Astana riders including Alexandre Vinokourov and Andrei Kashechkin . This point he is making abundantly clear to anyone who will listen.
- Vinokourov says he will not ride for Saiz since Saiz is currently persona non grata in the cycling world.
What will happen next? Stay tuned.
All this because two knuckleheads decided to jump the gun and move the legal proceedings from the courtroom to the media.
October 30, 2006
There seems to be a new team on the horizon. The team is backed by Russian business man Oleg Tinkov. The team, Tinkoff Credit Systems is looking to form a team that would initially fall out of the ProTour but would look for wild card invitations to as many races as possible.
USAToday, among other media outlets, are reporting a keen interest by the team in some of cycling’s top talent that have found their way to the scratch and dent rack. One of those cyclists is Tyler Hamilton. According to team manager, Omar Piscina:
“We spoke with his agent and we’ve made a proposal. His agent said he’s been training these two years and is in form. He’s 35, so he’s still got another couple of good years.”
Another rider getting a second look is Jan Ullrich. One note of caution. CyclingNews reports that Oleg Tinkov made his fortune in beer and restaurants. This could present an issue to the caloric-challenged Ullrich.
I take Tinkov at his word that he feels that Hamilton deserves a second chance and that Ullrich still has a lot of upside. I’m sure that he also notes that he will most likely get a significant discount than the normal asking rate for athletes of their skill level and palamares.
I’m also sure that being that successful at age 37 means he understands that part of that discount is due to the continuing risk with these two riders. It should be interesting. Especially if Oleg is factoring in some expenses required to gain entrance to some races if there is resistance from other parties?
October 29, 2006
Going to a Halloween party? Need to get a quick update on the Floyd Landis situation? Stop by Trust but Verify for the Quarterly Update that will get you primed and ready. Well done TBV!
October 28, 2006
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Power is no fun until you abuse it – taught by Dick Pound
October 27, 2006
I guess the tour bosses are fans of Brendan F. Behan. Usually the day of the Tour de France route announcement stands alone in the cycling press. Not this year. Patrice Clerc and Christian Prudhomme have decided that they want more.
First they take a shot across Floyd Landis’ bow by finishing the tour video focusing on Floyd Landis standing atop the podium. Instead of fading to black, they inserted a cracked mirror effect to close the video.
Then to stir up more controversy closer to home, Patrice Clerc is quoted in L’Equipe as saying that if Floyd is found guilty, then there should be no winner. Well Spanish blood runs hot on a normal day, on this day it boiled over. Patrice clarified his remarks by saying that Oscar Pereiro would be declared the winner. One point Mr. Clerc, you can’t be misquoted in your own paper.
Finally, one quick reminder Christian and Patrice, most people quote Brendan F. Behan this way “All publicity is good publicity.” The real quote is “All publicity is good publicity except your own obituary.” Be careful. Dick Pound and Pat McQuaid are in the process or writing their career obituaries by seeking too much publicity.
October 26, 2006
Since my post this morning on this topic, I’ve taken another look at the logo. Isn’t it interesting that the body of the rider is the Americas? And the wheel being Australia? Even the UK is represented. No Europe much less France to be found?
Given the obvious discomfort with the last eight winners being non French or even non European, what is the significance?
October 26, 2006
This refrain has always been spoken by the organizers of the Tour de France. Today, they reaffirmed their commitment to making a plain vanilla Tour de France course when they announced the 2007 route. At first glance, there seems to be little creativity.
The route starts with the traditional 8km prologue. The interesting part here is the backdrop being on the other side of the channel near Londion’s Trafalgar Square. Another traditional full week for the sprinters until the first sort-out coming on stage seven with a 197km ride into mountains with the final climb being the Col de la Colombiere (16 km at a 6.7%). Look for crashes, frequent switching of the yellow jersey, and other standard first week happenings.
Overall, nothing unique with 2 individual time trials (54km, 55km) and 6 mountain stages, three being mountain top finishes. I guess with no patron like Armstrong or Indurain, there was no need to try to make the course patron proof.
I do agree that the riders make the race. Virtually all of the 198 starters base their season and training programs on this race. The Tour de France attracts the top riders who are on top form. What always disappoints me is why not give them a course that matches the field. Why make the riders make the race.
Last year, I believe it was procycling who attempted to create a course that would be exciting in and of itself. Take a look at the Giro course. This is a course with great creativity. The Giro usually guarantees an exciting race. Can you imagine a Giro-influenced course with the talent of LeTour? All I can say is wow.
In the end, it seems that Christian Prudhomme is content in being a forgettable tour boss.
October 25, 2006
In your mind, is cheating subjective? I’ve been thinking of that over the past few nights since watching the World Series baseball championships. The brewing controversy that wasn’t is “What was on the pitcher’s hand?”
For those of you don’t know, one of the hardest things to do in sports is to hit a major league baseball pitch. The speed can be in excess of 100mph, the shape of the bat, the distance of the pitcher to the hitter all conspire to give a huge advantage to the pitcher. To paraphrase former coach Tommy Lasorda, hitting in major leagues is so hard it is the only profession where if you are successful 3 out of 10 times, you are considered great and if you are successful 4 out of 10 times, then you are considered the best ever.
Even with this advantage, pitchers have long sought to increase that edge. One way to do so is altering the surface of the baseball to change its rotation and thus flight path. Altering the spin and flight of the ball can be accomplished by putting a substance on the ball like Vaseline. A foreign substance changes the spin on the ball creating an unexpected path to the hitter. If done well, a pitch becomes unhittable.
Kenny Rogers has recently found himself pitching at 40+ better than he has ever pitched in the past. This year, he has gone from being statistically one of the worst playoff pitchers of all time to one of the best. This year he has pitched better than anyone for 101 years. Rogers is doing this at an age when most athletes are well past their prime.
Well some people are wondering how that can be true. Since the playoffs are big business, more and better camera coverage is in place. Those cameras have noticed a glistening substance on the same spot of his throwing hand in each of the playoff games he has pitched. He claims it was dirt and he didn’t know it was there. Sceptics claim that at his level, he notices anything on his hand, and it is a coincidence that his hand gets dirty in the same spot in each game. Also, noted is the fact that dirt generally doesn’t glisten.
Given the fact that tens of millions of dollars are at stake, should we care that cheating might be going on? I know the press are trying real hard to create controversy here. So far, there are more chuckles than protests.
What do you think?
Kenny Rogers hands the last two playoff games.
October 24, 2006
Is Rudy Pevenage the Don King of cycling? Every fighter Don King ever managed ended up broke and ruined. It seems that Rudy Pevenage has some sort of Rasputin-like hold on Jan Ullrich.
Jan left T-mobile over Rudy in 2003. Ullrich’s move to CSC hit a snag when Bjarne Riis wanted Jan to come to CSC alone. He came back to T-Mobile in 2004 only after Rudy was allowed to return as Ullrich’s advisor.
“I am delighted that the Team has come to an agreement with Rudy,” he said. “It is very important to me, that he helps me to peak for the Tour. For that he doesn’t need to sit in the team car at the Tour. Ultimately, it doesn’t really help me much to have Rudy sitting in the car, urging me to go faster. If my form isn’t right, then that kind of advise won’t be any use to me. So – Rudy is more important in my preparations for the Tour, than he is at the Tour.”
Then Pevenage implicates Jan in doping during taped phone conversations during the Operation Puerto investigations.
Now Rudy is reportedly continuing to represent Jan Ullrich in his quest to find a new country to gain a license and team sponsorship for the 2007 season. this story is being reported in the German sports magazine Kicker. Kicker is also reporting that Rudy is looking to include former T-Mobile sports director Olaf Ludwig as part of the deal.
Since Italy seems to be the likely target of the Jan crew, is Rudy also looking to complete the circle and obtain sponsorship of Telocom Italia?
October 23, 2006
Have you ever said this? In my mind, I invented the cordless screwdriver. My dad was obviously running out of steam screwing all these screws. I suggested he hacksaw the end of the screwdriver off and use it as a drill bit. He chuckled. Then a few years later, well…..
Bjarne Riis must be saying something similar. I should have gone into the business of professional sports team building. Forget the sponsor headaches, the logistics of a ProTour team, the driving. Start a team building company.
It seems that before Bjarne can patent the idea, T-Mobile is stealing it. CyclingNews is reporting on the “getting to know you” session. I guess you really don’t know a man until you are suspended on a rock wall with him