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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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.