The real cost of doping

August 31, 2006

Samuel Abt of the International Herald Tribune interviews a very candid Bobby Julich on the topic of doping. Bobby reveals how recent events such as Operation Puerto and Floyd Landis’ case affect the psyche of riders who are currently competing. Even stalwart anti-doping crusader Jens Voight expressed anything buy joy after winning the Time Trial in the recent D-Tour.

‘I don’t know if I should have won the time trial because now everyone will assume I’m doped.’

Should that be the first thought that is expressed in the privacy of the team bus with your roommate and good friend? With all that Jens has given to his sport, team and the fans over the years, I would have hoped that he took a minute to enjoy the fruits of a hard won and well deserved victory.

Bobby goes on to give his candid feelings towards Ivan Basso and the whole doping process.

“We lost our reputation as a team, and it gives people the excuse to say, ‘Oh, that’s why Bobby is riding so good the last two years, that’s why Jens Voigt is winning the Tour of Germany, and that’s why Franck Schleck is able to win a classic and the Tour stage into Alpe d’Huez – because they all change their blood. “


Time to settle this once and for all

August 31, 2006

The knock on American cycling is that while we have produced the likes of Greg Lemond and Lance Armstrong, we did not have the depth of the European countries. To prove the point, all they needed to do was point to the USPRO championships in Philadelphia. Our national championship needed to be part of an international race the Wachovia series. All of the other cycling nations (even France) had a national race where only riders from the home country. Then, if they wanted to really rub salt in the wound, they said two words. Guido Trenti.

Now we have our own championship race. I like the idea but don’t think I like the place on the calendar. This means Americans like Chris Horner and multiple winner Fred Rodriguez will not participate as they are hard at work for their team in the Vuelta. Also, having the race in June insured riders were at, or near top form. What does Labor Day mean?
I also miss the Philadelphia location. This is a selfish feeling as I was only an hour from the Start and enjoyed watching the race with my family. Since “Phillly Week” is a series of races in the suburban area during the week leading up to the big Sunday race, couldn’t you use one of the races in Lancaster or Reading to serve as the US championships? Most top riders are here having been at the Tour of Georgia. They also have their teams with them to race Phila. There was a definite drop off in the caliber of the ProTour squads since they were not riding for their US captains who also missed Philly week. I also noted a drop off in quality at the Tour of Georgia. I can’t say if that was related.

Enough complaining, let’s go!


Phonak out Unibet in

August 30, 2006

Did you ever have a store that you frequented go out of business? When the new store opened, did you erase the memory of what once was there out of your mind? Me neither. I see the new but I still see the ghost of what came before.

Well, the ProTour is moving on with the granting of a license to Unibet.com Cycling team. We will get to see former Green Jersey winner Baden Cooke back in the top tier of cycling.

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Still, I will always see the ghost of Phonak. I dosen’t help that the ProTour chose a replacement team whose colors are close to what was there before. I’m OK with that since an alternative is the blue that makes Milram, Discovery, Quickstep, Gerolsteiner, indistinguishable. Even Astana is sometimes too close for comfort.


Danilo Di Luca in gold

August 30, 2006

Danilo Di Luca sprinted away from Janez Brajkovic from Discovery Channel to take the 5th stage of the Vuelta.

Breaking up the first week with a mountain stage wrecked havoc on the GC today with the top contenders having to come to the fore. This creates an issue for Di Luca. Can he defend given the heat that has already crossed 45C? I don’t think so. Today’s results:

  1. Danilo Di Luca (Ita) Liquigas 5.02.25
  2. Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team at same time
  3. Andrey Kashechkin (Kaz) Astana Team at 0.07
  4. José Ange Gomez Marchante (Spa) Saunier Duval-Prodir at 0.15
  5. Carlos Sastre (Spa) Team CSC at 0.22
  6. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne-Illes Balears at same time

While he looks good in gold, I kind of prefer pink on Di Luca.


I hope you are watching

August 30, 2006

Being bored on a conference call has its advantages. I called up Cycling.tv and while waiting for today’s stage to start, I watched the prologue team time trial with the sound off.

A quick recap, the Vuelta has put into place several innovations (click here) in this year’s race. One is the 7km team time trial across a pancake flat course. I have to tell you, there is nothing more beautiful than the team time trial. The prologue format really highlights the poetry on a person racing a bicycle. It is worth the 19.99Euros.

Please watch. I promise, you will not be disappointed. I hope the ASO is watching.
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Should the WADA be investigated also?

August 30, 2006

the process for Floyd Landis is already underway. I will await the outcome before weighing in with my opinion. But you should already know my concern. Those sitting in judgement namely Pat McQuaid and Dick Pound are unqualified to render judgement.

I believe anyone who is put into a position of judgement needs to be objective. We have seen enough of the McQuaid-led UCI which admits to breaking rules in order to leak information first.

We have seen enough of the WADA who not only haspublicly accused all riders of doping, he has taken shots at the credibility of other Anti-Doping agencies such as the USADA. Pound has stated that regarding the USADA

“Who knows, USADA may subscribe to a suggestion that both athletes (Landis & Gatlin), in separate sports, were ambushed by a roving squad of Nazi frogmen and injected against their will with the prohibited substances.”

Can anyone receive fair treatment? That is the question being asked in a petition calling for an overall investigation into the governing bodies of sport. The petition states:

“The organisation’s president may have the best of intentions but his attacks on athletes, before due process has been carried out, often fall far short of the standards you would expect of the head of a body aiming to eradicate drugs in sport,”

What do you think? As of this writing, approximatly 3100 people agree.


T-Mobile cleans house and keeps moving forward

August 30, 2006

Out managers: Olaf Ludwig and Rudy Pevenage. Riders: Jan Ullrich, Oscar Sevilla, Andreas Klöden and Matthias Kessler.

In, new management in Bob Stapleton and director Tristan Hoffman who debuted as a first year director this year with CSC. Says Tristan:

“It’s been a tough decision to make, cause I’ve had a fantastic time at Team CSC. The team gave me a chance as sports director, when I suddenly had to stop my active career due to a serious injury, and that’s given me the perfect experience regarding my future career within cycling. I’ve been with the team for seven years now, so I needed a new challenge, which I found at T-Mobile. I’ve talked a lot with Bjarne about my decision, and I’m very happy that he respects my choice.”

Bob is an interesting sort. The cycling world knows him as the successful manager of the T-Mobile women’s cycling team. What you may not know is that his relationship with T-Mobile goes a little further. Bob is the former CEO of VoiceStream Wireless. In 2001, Deutsche Telekom purchased VoiceStream for $55 Billion dollars.

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With a few billion in the bank, you’d be smiling too!

Well, we know Bob can’t be corrupted by money. Bob has shown an ability to manage a team, a passion for cycling, and a knowledge of his weaknesses. He has publicly stated that he is not qualified to sit in the car and direct a team. That is why he has brought in Tristan Hoffman.

While T-Mobile is a German company, it has global ambitions. Therefore Stapleton says to expect the team to stay true to its roots but have it’s riders reflect the global nature of the company. That sounds a lot like another team. What is their name? Oh yeah, Discovery Channel.