July 8, 2012
I will be watching the ITT tomorrow very closely. If team SKY really thinks they have a Tour winner, they should hold back phenom-in-waiting Chris Fromme. Holding him back serves two purposes. It will save him for later in the race when his support will be needed and it will also take him out of any contention for yellow thus ending any potential controversy before it starts. So, they should hold Fromme back.
While I like Wiggins, I just don’t see him as the Tour winner type. He seems to be good enough without being great. This year, good enough might actually win it. The point is, I think Fromme is going to be great. I felt this way before and during the Vuelta last year. After the Vuelta, I knew it. Fromme is the better long-term bet for SKY. Why not keep him in contention just in case good enough is not good enough?
July 1, 2011
Why Basso? Well, I started with the favorites and started eliminating riders who would not win the tour. That left Basso as the only man standing. I know that is not really a ringing endorsement but that’s all I have this year. Here is my thought process.
Contador. Now that Contador is in, everyone is jumping on the Spaniard’s bandwagon. I’m not so sure. I think those bandwagon jumpers will be saying “Where’s the beef?” three weeks from now. I just don’t think you can win the double (Giro and Tour) in this day and age. The last rider wo did so was Marco Pantani in 1998 and he had a little help. Even with pharmacology, he needed a faltering Jan Ulrich to take the jersey. I’d rather look at more recent examples where riders who fared well at the Giro were spectacularly absent from the Tour. The most recent example is Ivan Basso who, for the first time in his career, is skipping the Giro to focus on the Tour. Why should I argue with him. Bottom line, you can’t have both.
Andy Schleck. Those who are not falling in behind Contador are going with Andy Schleck. I fully understand that and I will put Andy on the top of my list of picks from the heart. My problem is I look at the TTT and the Individual Time Trials and I can’t help but hear the quote from the famous Ty Webb. “You’re not good Andy, you stink.” So Andy will play the role of PouPou again this year.
Levi is losing the race against father time. If he had a couple of years back he could sneak a peek at the podium and maybe even the top step. I’ll say it flat out, I have never been a believer in Cadel. The temperamental Aussie is good at most disciplines but not great at any. I don’t see him even on the podium. Bradley Wiggins is more of a top five finisher, not a real contender.
An unexpected podium visit may come from Rabobank’s Robert Gesink.
So that leaves Basso. He knows how to win and he is finally focused on this race. While not a great time trialist, he is good enough not to lose the Tour in the race of truth which should be enough to win the Tour.
June 24, 2011
Early in my career, I worked at a start-up software business that went public. The process was very interesting. First was the road show. Senior executives travelled all over to potential investors strutting their stuff. They tried to generate interest and get them interested in participating in the public offering. “Bet on me and you’ll win!” was the message. Much like the most recent road races. The Tour de Suisse and the Dauphine were the road shows for riders looking to make a squad like Tom Danielson and for riders with designs on winning like Andy Schleck.
Tom Danielson may have done enough to get Jonathan Vaughters to bet on tommy with one of his 9 Tour de France slots. I’m not sure if Andy’s road show was successful.
After the road show came the quiet period. This was time for the potential investors and investment media to go away and deliberate on what they saw. Companies can’t issue and financial data that could have an effect on analyst’s’ recommendations. We are now in the pre Tour quiet period. Time for the professional and amateur analysts to take what they saw and issue their recommendation.
June 22, 2011
This year’s Tour de Suisse surpassed the Dauphine for competitiveness and stood out as the supreme tune-up for the Tour de France. Here we found out that the Little Prince, Damiano was more of an accidental winner of the Giro back in 2004. Damiano showed he can climb and sprint but can not time trail. This style makes him more of a Classics rider suited for the tough courses like Liege-Bastogne-Liege in the Spring and the Tour of Lombardy in the fall. His downfall in stage races? Time trialing.
In a medium length course, Levi Leipheimer put more than two minutes into Cuenego allowing him to take first place but four seconds.
The only question I have now is who should I pull for in the Tour de France. Dauphine winner Bradley Wiggins and Levi are solid top ten to top five picks but ate not podium worthy. Andy Schleck did not impress me. Does Contador even have hotel reservations? It should be exciting.
April 2, 2011
The Colosseum was used by the emperors to show off their power, wealth and to support their popularity. The show was usually held for more than one day and it included comical acts, displays of exotic animals and fights to the death
between animals. The games really bagan when the gladiators came out to play.
Paris-Nice was a good opening act. The metal on metal sound you hear are the gladiators sharmening their sworda for their epic battle that begins with the Ronde van Vlaanderen or the Tour of Flanders. The spring season of cycling does not begin until the first wheel touches the first belgian cobble. My wife has already locked up my credit cards because if left unattended, I will be on the phone with Rosetta Stone buying their Duch/Flemish program.
The protagonists are set. Most are focusing on the top gladiator, Fabian Cancellara. Others are wondering if the formet top gladiator, Tom Boonen, has anything left in his sword. I have to agree that until someone comes up through the ranks, these two veterans of the Colosseum are the two to beat. Wisdom and strength are both needed this week.
The course profile is the typical Flemish saw-tooth profile that will sap the strong yet foolinh leaving those who parse their energy standing for the final battle.
July 27, 2010
I remember talking to someone who does Marketing for Major League Baseball. He mentioned that one challenge was to keep people talking baseball during the off season. That is why you see MVP and Cy Young awards as well as other activities in the dead of winter. Get people talking about your sport all year round. Well, I’ll give you 39 reasons we will be talking about cycling long after Mother Nature has our bikes up on rollers or trainers. That is the 39 seconds between Alberto Contador and Andy Schleck.
How can you not believe in a higher authority after this year’s tour. That 39 seconds can’t be a random coincidence. It has to be part of someone’s grand plan. That someone has one heck of a sense of humor. Attack, drop chain, replace chain, lose 39 seconds. Have the time trial of your career and lose by….39seconds. If the margin was 38 seconds in Paris then you may have some people griping. Have it be 40 seconds and the other side can say that the Stage 15 decision didn’t matter. But spot on 39 seconds? Both sides have the fuel for a long debate.
July 19, 2010
Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that’s right is to get by, and the only thing that’s wrong is to get caught. ~J.C. Watts
Well Alberto, you got caught. I have always been a fan of your ability. I rooted for you when it seemed that your whole team worked against you last year. Unfortunately, today your career may have been defined by one classless move.
Ironic isn’t it. Lance Armstrong who is known for breaking an opponent physically and mentally could not get into your head. Then some kid from Luxemburg who by most accounts is a happy-go-lucky kid forced you to make a completely classless move. You, Menchov and Sanchez took advantage of a situation that you were honor bound to uphold. Odds are you could have taken Andy in the Time Trial. I guess you could not wait.
I am reminded of a Shakespearean quote.
Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.
Also, own up to your actions to say “When I launched my attack, I was not aware of the incident. When I was told about it, we had a solid lead and we were going full gas.” Passing a guy dressed in yellow bent over his chain is kind of hard to miss.
May 20, 2010
This morning, my inbox was flooded with emails along the lines of “Did you hear?” Unfortunately, I did. Again. Another cyclist coming clean after years of protesting his innocence. Increasingly, I am getting disenchanted with my sport.
I started this blog in July of 2006 and found it fun and cathartic to express my views on professional cycling. I would scan the news and provide a brief interpretation from my point of view. Shortly after starting my blog, the Floyd Landis story broke. I weighed in occasionally, tried to lighten the mood often, and really tried to keep the other news alive. I did not want my blog to become a doping column. The problem is that quite often, the only stories were of doping. Basso, Hamilton, Vinokourov, Heras, Rico, and on and on and on. Dick Pound got more cycling press than anyone. His “Q score” in cycling was probably higher than Alberto Contador.
Then cycling acquired an autoimmune disease and started to attack itself. Pound vs. McQuaid became a bigger draw than MMA. Over the last year, my writing became sporadic since it was no longer cathartic but maddening. I’ll still write from time to time but I’m in a cycling low right now.
I still read the news, follow the races, and cheer for riders. And pray they are clean.
March 22, 2010
If you are a cycling fan, where are your thoughts come late March and early April? Mine are in Belgium. The true kick off to the cycling season. The place where cobbles can tell stories back to the Romans; or at least look like the last people who paid any attention to them were Romans.
Well, I got the opportunity to put my body where my mind was. On Friday, I was told I needed to head to the land of cycling, beer, frites w/mayo, and chocolates. I immediately made plans to spend the weekend to watch Gent-Wevelgem. While not the Tour of Flanders or Paris Roubaix but definitely worth it.
I contacted a few cycling tour companies to see if I could grab a last-minute cycling tours so my rear end could enjoy the same experience as my eyes. To my displeasure, the three I contacted had cancelled their tours due to the economy. That’s OK, I’ll brave it alone.
Then the other shoe dropped. While I was needed in Belgium on Wednesday, I am also needed in New Jersey on Friday! I can only blame it on “the man!” “The Man” must have it in for me to send me there and then bring me home.
March 5, 2010
La Gazzetta dello Sport is reporting that the Schleck brothers are looking to break free from Riis cycling and form their own team. The article is not on their English site and while my Italian is suspect, it looks like the two brothers are trying to poach Fabian Cancellara and have Kim Andersen serve as Director.
On my way home from Sweden, I was reading how Frank Schleck pledged his undying loyalty to Bjarne saying that he would always ride for the Dane. He also felt that a new sponsor for the team was a mere formality. So what happened?