New DNA better than old DNA

January 31, 2007

“Ah yes, but no more 1966. Lets splurge! Bring us some fresh wine! The freshest you’ve got – this year! No more of this old stuff.” The Jerk 1979

Well folks I learned something today. It seems that not everything gets better with age. Cyclingnews is reporting that Jan Ullrich will come to Germany to give a DNA sample for the purposes of matching it to samples collected as part of Operation Puerto.

But, Jan the German authorities already have a sample of your DNA. Remember, they had a house party in your Swiss chalet while you were on your honeymoon. Well, Der Kaiser is saying “Nein!” to that sample. Hmmm. Jan’s lawyers are saying that they can not give permission to use that sample because there are private papers that they want to protect. Ok, whatever.


UCI redraws line in sand

January 31, 2007

Grand Tours: This town ain’t big enough for the two of us

UCI: It ain’t?

Grand Tours: No it ain’t!

UCI: I’ll fix that (builds bigger city)

UCI: Now is it big enough?

Grant Tours: No!

Adapted from Bugs Bunny Rides Again (1948)

In the never ending battle between the UCI and the Grand Tours, the UCI reacted to the first shot fired by the Grand Tours with a strongly worded whimper.

ASO, the organizer of the Tour de France, made good on its promise to only invite 18 ProTour teams. Therefore, the latest ProTour team Unibet was denied entry into the first Grand Tour event Paris-Nice. Unibet is the 19th ProTour team replacing the departed Phonak.

The UCI returned fire with a quote that started out strong:

“Without going into details right now, at the moment we are looking at what measures we could take in relation to the Paris-Nice situation.”

You go girl! Then, Pat follows that up with:

“There is a general agreement that the ProTour is good for the future of cycling. It needs some changes, everybody is aware of that, but it requires that everybody gathers around the table and starts working together. We can then look at those changes and introduce them. The UCI is prepared to sit down with the Grand Tour organisers and discuss those things. “

Sit down and discuss? What? Come on Pat, they just just raised the battle flag, took dead aim and fired. If they wanted to talk, they would have invited you over for a little tea. I would have figured an Irishman would know when talking was over and the time to pun down the pint and bring up the fists had come.

Get in there and start swinging.


Christian keeping his powder dry

January 30, 2007

In a remarkable show of restraint, Tour de France boss Christian Prudhomme declined to lob a verbal grenade into the whole doping controversy. When asked by La Gazzetta dello Sport if Ivan Basso would be riding the Tour de France, Christian replied:

“Basso racing in the Tour de France. I know that all Italians are interested in this. It is a valid question but now I am not able to respond. We will see.”

Wow, refreshing. I think everything will come to a head around Basso. All other Operation Puerto riders have either left the sport or are riding on Continental teams and therefore out of the crosshairs being set up at the ProTour level. That leaves Basso as the one rider who also happens to be one of the top riders in the sport as the lone representative of Operation Puerto. Basso now holds the lightning rod for the whole botched effort.

It will be interesting to see if the UCI, WADA, and race organizers decide to take a pass on Operation Puerto in 2007 until they have more ammunition once the courts release the evidence. That would bring all that frustration Floyd Landis’ way where the feeling that he may provide a greater chance of success. And I’m sad to say that the only thing on the table is winning and losing. The search for the truth has long since died.


Mom! The Grand Tours are not playing fair!

January 28, 2007

In a story that escaped me, it seems that the UCI is calling mom in to try to get a resolution to the ingoing tug of war between the ProTour and the Grand Tours.

Over in the Tour de France blog is a report that states that the UCI is planning on calling on the European Commission to settle the dispute on whether the Grand Tours have the right to organize their own races.

I guess the UCI feels that the EC has the competencies required to come to a decision. After all, the EC has been smacking around the tech companies such as Microsoft, Sun, and others for the past few years.

Pardon the pun but this dispute would be child’s play.


More motivation to get on the trainer

January 28, 2007

Over at Erik’s Cycling and Social Commentary blog, there is a link to the 1988 Tour de France L’Alpe de Huez climb. Try not to increase your pace while watching this.


Quick Step takes TTT At Tour of Qatar

January 28, 2007

It seems everyone is loving the Team Time Trial these days.  Except, of course, the Tour de France.  The Tour of Qatar is the latest to feature the team race.  The Tour of Qatar is more of a showcase race to call attention to a country that is eager to do business with the European continent. 

As in the Vuelta, the Tour of Qatar TTT was in place of the prologue.  When a TTT is this short (6km) it, in my opinion, brings out the best in a team.  Formations must be perfect and stay perfect.  The end result is a thing of beauty.

“It was very tough,” said Tom Boonen, third in the overall standings. “It’s not easy for a team to manage such a course over a small distance. You have to get off very quickly, don’t slow down and stay very organized. We were tough today.”

It is still too early to start guaging the form of the classics riders at this point but Patrick Lefevre and Quick-Step injected (sorry) a little excitement into the still young season.


Lefevre takes shoe from mouth and puts on other foot

January 27, 2007

An indignant Patrick Lefevre held a press conference where he blasted the newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws for irresponsible journalism.  As quoted in Cyclingnews

“The way I have been tackled is inconceivable. A newspaper – worthy of that name – would never use such methods.”

Trial by media must really stink when you are the one on trial.  I’m sure that in Lefevre’s mind, this situation is different than the L’Equippe article on Lance Armstrong’s alleged doping.  Even when that article  led to an independent investigation clearing Armstrong, Lefevre said “The last clean winner of the Tour de France was Jan Ullrich in 1997.”

So, Patrick.  How does it feel to be on the other side of a media frenzy?