Forget the ‘B’ sample, let’s rumble!

June 27, 2007

Alessandro Petacchi has asked that his ‘B’ sample not be tested and that his case be taken immediately to CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee for adjudication. In an attempt to keep his Tour de France hopes alive, the Italian sprinter feels he has a good case for overturning his ‘non-negative’ finding from the recent Giro.

On June 12th, information leaked that Ale-Jet had tested ‘non-negative’ after winning Stage 11 of the Giro. His urine contained 1320 nanograms of the asthma drug Salbutamol. A reading of over 1000 without medical clearance is considered ‘non good’. If you have medical clearance there is no WADA specified upper limit.

The deal is that Petacchi has a medical clearance to use this drug for his asthma. He is also citing the fact that in 2002, the UCI declared Igor Gonzalez de Galdeano’s reading of 1360 nanograms ‘non-non-negative.’

Also testing ‘non-negative’ was Iban Mayo for high testosterone. Mayo was cleared after reminding the UCI to look under TUE in his file for his Therapeutic Use Exemption as he has a naturally high testosterone level. (Virgins beware) Rule #1 of leaks, check your facts before leaking preliminary test data.

Leonardo Piepoli also tested ‘non-negative’ for Salbutamol after an out of competition test performed during the Giro by CONI found the drug in his urine. Piepoli also reportedly holds a medical clearance for the asthma drug.

I am still waiting to see more information on Danilo Di Luca and his reported low testosterone levels during the Giro. All virgins within 100 miles of the Italian rider are waiting to see if they can unlock their doors.


Just in time for Summer Reading

June 26, 2007

Anticipation, Anticipation
Is making me late
Is keeping me waiting Carly Simon

I can’t remember when the last time the only thing on my mind coming home was “Did the mail come?” “Is there anything for me?” Probably when I was a kid and after saving the required boxtops, enclosing the required shipping and handling I would start this process at 6 weeks into the 6 – 8 week delivery period.

What is causing this feeling? Dave Shields new tome. Tour de Life: From Coma to Competition. I have an early copy on the way and I can’t wait to get my hands on it, read and review it. “Was that the mail truck?” Sorry, I got distracted.

You know that I am a fan of Mr. Shields style and ability. Combine his skill with the incredible story of Saul Raisin and you are virtually guaranteed an incredible read. Saul is setting new standards in recovering from traumatic brain injurt suffered just a year ago at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

In a time when cycling is bereft of good news stories, this surely is one to savor.

I’ll let you know when I get it.

Shaping up for a good Tour de France

June 25, 2007

With just a few weeks to go until the Tour de France, the build up for the Tour is at a fever pitch. Several teams are looking very strong as a unit but I really don’t know which horse to back. Everyone listed as a potential has strengths along with clearly exposed Achilles heels. Vino is impulsive, Sastre can’t time trial, Valverde is brittle, Kloden is not always a team player and may be looking for a weakness in Vino as much as his rivals.

I expect this race to be fairly close and a surprise on the podium.

New Jersey to ban Quick Release Wheels

June 21, 2007

You gotta love my state. Our state is getting known not only for mishandling the highest per-capita revenue of any state (it also has the highest debt of any state) and the endless perp walk of politicians. It will now be known as the state of inane legislation.

I always get concerned when the first explanation of a new legislation is “to protect our children.” So when Masiguy posted that my wonderful state is trying to protect my two kids, I sat up and took notice.

Back in 2006, the Assembly considered a bill saying:

It shall be an unlawful practice for any person to sell a bicycle [intended for use by children] with a front wheel diameter of 20 inches or less, which is equipped with a quick release wheel, exclusive of specialty adult bicycles.


OK, so what. Sounds like that would be a good idea. 20 inch wheels are for fairly young kids anyway so I don’t see them needing a quick wheel change in a high stakes race. Plus, I remember noticing that virtually no bikes, including racing bikes, actually had quick release wheels at that size. So NJ State Assembly, have at it! Ban something that does not exist. Way to spend more tax dollars!

But, like a bad horror movie, something more sinister lurked around the next corner. The bill recently passed the Assembly. It looked a little different than when it went in. This was added in addition to the 20 inch or less line to broaden our State’s child protection.

c. (1) It shall be an unlawful practice for any person to sell a bicycle which is equipped with a quick release wheel if:

(a) the front wheel diameter is greater than 20 inches; or

(b) it is a specialty adult bicycle with a front wheel diameter of 20 inches or less

Wait a minute! Wheels of 20 inches or less and wheels greater than 20 inches! What’s left! This bill is now at the State Senate and if passed will hurt shop owners, not help children. Look at our State’s geography, no one in the state is too far from either Pennsylvania, New York, or (tax free) Delaware. The most profitable bike shop will be the one right over the border.

I almost prefer when our elected officials spent their time routing money to friends rather than making laws.

Will the Tour of Champions usurp the Tour de France?

June 20, 2007

Of course not. But look at this for a minute. The Tour of Champions at season’s end in Dubai is a 3 day stage race with a winning purse of $1 million dollars. The field will be limited to six teams with three teams being the winners of the three Grand Tours.
Danilo Di Luca has decided that after winning the Giro, his focus is now on the Tour of Champions and it’s $1 million in cash. With a goal like that, I’m sure that will affect his race schedule.

Now, what about another rider? Will he look at the three Grand Tours and pick the one that carries the highest likelihood of entry into the Race of Champions? Also will place on the calendar also affect the decision. By that I mean, planning a peak for a Grand Tour with another peak in November? Money can make people do interesting things.

Basso: A sweet deal?

June 15, 2007

TDF Blog reports that Ivan Basso received the “maximum” suspension for his almost doping. Two years. The UCI asked for the two year ban as part of it’s hard line against cheats.

Let’s look at the hard time for a minute. First, Doesn’t the UCI run the ProTour? Isn’t the ProTour policy 4 years? Two years no racing at all and then another two years off the ProTour? Hmmm.

Also when is two years not two years. The AP is reporting that Basso is getting credit for serving 8 months of his suspension since CSC suspended it’s rider right at the start of the Tour de France. Uh, didn’t Basso sign and ride with Discovery? Wasn’t most of the suspension period during the winter months when there were no races to ride? Am I wrong? Is there something wrong here?


Basso seen here while serving his suspension.

A tale of two riders

June 15, 2007

Mt. Ventoux has always forced a selection when included in the Tour de France. I believe it has forced a selection of a different sort without even being part of the 2007 course.

Teams are looking very closely at riders who are “on the bubble” for the final selection of their respective Tour squads. In a previous post, I worried about the fates of American riders making their teams. Watching the Dauphine Libere, I saw two ride CSC heading in different directions.

Watching Bobby Julich in the grupetto caused me to feel that he may be riding off the tour squad. I hope I am wrong as he can add some leadership to the squad. At the other end of the peloton, Dave Zabriskie showed more maturity as an all around rider. I believe this is important for him to progress from time trial specialist to a more valuable rider. Dave Z. may have ridden onto the squad.