Category Archives: Pro Cycling Antics

“Politics” Keeping Landis out of the Tour?

I think Floyd Landis might be giving politics too much of a role in his lack of Pro Tour team offers. There is also the little problem of his 2009 results. What were those, you ask? My point exactly.

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Filed under Doping, Pro Cycling Antics, Racing – Europe, Tour De France

Here’s a Thought — Don’t Cheat in the First Place

While saying he doesn’t “look for excuses” Thomas Dekker checks in with the predictable I only did it once excuse and adds in the I only did it because I was injured excuse. Then he moves on to assure us that since he’s young he can come back and prove himself clean. If you’re so young and have so much time why bother with the drugs to rush back into shape. Thomas Dekker is very sorry — sorry he got caught.

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Filed under Doping, Pro Cycling Antics

Universal Sports Cycling Name Game

I’m glad to have the Vuelta on TV. It’s had some cool moments this year (Cancellera’s storming prologue, Tyler’s crazy-long sprint win). Mostly I blaze through the stages via TiVo to get to the good parts. I have watched enough of this race and the Giro to pick up on some odd name pronunciations from the the Universal Sports announcers — Todd Gogulski and  Steve Schlanger.

Now, I have no idea how most of these cats really pronounce their names. People do all kinds of whacky crap with their names — I’m looking at you Brett Favre (Farve). That said, I’ve never heard anyone use the pronunciations these guys do. Do they have the inside line? Are Liggett and Sherwen wrong (and everyone else I’ve ever heard) wrong? If they’re right I want to start using their pronunciations. I love knowing the right way to say things when common wisdom say otherwise. For example it’s Ser-Ott-uh, not Ser-Oh-tuh. If they’re wrong I want to shout at the TV and mock them during the club rides.

Here are the ones that jumped out at me — with my preferred pronunciation in parenthesis and theirs in brackets:

  • Freire (Fr-air)[Fee-air-ay]
  • Sastre (Sas-truh)[Sos-tray]
  • Cunego (Ku-Nay-Go)[Ku-Nuh-Go]
  • Farrar (Far-ar)[Far-uh]

That’s all I can pull out of memory, but it’s kind of odd. Did Gogulski and Schlanger make a decision about this or was it organic?

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Filed under Pro Cycling Antics, Racing – Europe

Vino Returns to Racing. Leaves Humility at Home.

Alexandre Vinokourov made his big comeback to racing on Tuesday in France. In the natourcriterium of Castillon-la-Bataille Vino sported a jersey w/ a picture of himself and the words Vino 4 Ever. Still a class act, apparently.

This guy has got some balls. First he dopes when he knows he’s going to be under massive scrutiny due to his association w/ Dr. Ferrari. Then he gets nailed and gets his entire team tossed out of the Tour, not for one year, but 2. Next he doesn’t have the balls to man-up and admit what he did. The Kazakh federation gives him some bullshit 1 year suspension. The UCI decides to sue to enforce the full 2 years and Vino retires, so UCI drops the case. Now here we are in 2009 and the guy just waltzes back into pro cycling with his “comeback” story. What a dick. I mean, really. He hurts the sport, and himself and costs Astana untold sums of money and there are really no consequences for this guy. Stunning.

And once again we have cycling’s big names silent. People like Lance Armstrong , Johan Bruyneel, Phil and Paul, Contadore need to come out and call foul on guys like this. What good do they think it does to prolong the cycling omertá.  I can accept dopers back into the sport, but in my mind they must not only serve their suspension, but show some remorse and admit to their infractions of the rules. Sweeping shit under the rug may help things look better, but it still leaves a stink.

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Filed under Doping, Omerta, Pro Cycling Antics

As(s)tarloza Suspended — And So It Begins

Winner of Stage 16 of this year’s Tour, Mikel Astarloza of Euskaltel, tested positive for EPO in an out of competition test on June 26. He ‘s been suspended from racing and will face a disciplinary hearing by the Spanish Cycling Federation. I’m sure he’ll request an analysis of his B-sample and then claim ignorance about how this all could have happened. The script is well ingrained in popped riders now.

On the day of his win Astarloza said “It’s the best day of my life.” I’m guessing today is right up there as one of his worst. It will be interesting to hear the backstory on this out of comp test. Was he being targeted via the blood passport program?

And the question that still needs to be answered: Why do these guys think they won’t get caught? I wouldn’t be surprised if today is the first day of a long month of drip, drip, drip doping news connected to the Tour. Then we have the 2008 Tour retro testing to look forward to in the fall.

Will any of the big names come out to condemn this or will the Omerta prevail.

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Filed under Doping, Pro Cycling Antics, Tour De France

Why So Angry Greg?

Another July has come and gone, and along with it the Tour De France. And what would the Tour be without some bombs tossed by 3-time tour winner Greg LeMond? This year Greg is on about VO2 max testing and rates of ascent in the Tour’s mountain stages. This topic was previewed last year when LeMond showed up at Lance Armstrong’s press conference at the Interbike tradeshow.

In the grand scheme of things LeMond has a good point. Why thrash about with blood, urine, and hair testing when one can simply look at power output to determine what’s going on inside the body. In short LeMond is suggesting testing young pros to determine their VO2 max (the maximum capacity of an individual’s body to transport and utilize oxygen during exercise). The higher the VO2, the faster, longer you can go. He also suggests fitting every rider’s bike w/ a power meter. With power data, a VO2 baseline and stats about the length and incline of climbs on a race course one could determine when an athlete is riding above their natural physical ability.

The problem is that Greg comes at the whole thing from an accusatory stance. Ever since Armstrong started winning Tours Greg LeMond was there to throw cold water on the idea that Lance was clean. This article does a good job of summing up LeMond’s history with Lance while shedding some light on his own demons. I’m no fool. I know cycling has a drug problem and that more/better testing is needed, but Greg LeMond could be leading the way through calm, reasoned ideas rather than innuendo-dripping articles in French newspapers and ambushes at press conferences. How about a concrete plan for his VO2 testing? I’m sure one of the cycling mags would love to give him some real estate to describe his ideas. But the stone throwing just doesn’t help. Especially with a guy like Armstrong who likes to get his back up when he’s accused and pushed.

Greg LeMond has given a lot to cycling. I wish he could find a way to continue to help push the sport forward.

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Filed under Pro Cycling Antics, Tour De France

Dos Hombres Un Camino

In the tradition of great Mexican telenovelas I present Lance y Alberto in Dos Hombres Un Camnio.

Daytime Drama

Daytime Drama

As we head into the second week the tour is becoming a great daytime drama. All of the elements are in place. Older, wiser hero – check. Handsome, young upstart, sí. A full cast of characters of all shapes, sizes and nationalities with a psychologist’s couch-full of problems, done and done.

While Lance has publicly said in recent days that there is some tension between him and Alberto, Contadore has said the opposite. On Monday’s rest day he stated “”It’s a subject which is starting to tire me a bit.” “It’s too repetitive. For me there are no tensions. I am totally relaxed and focused on the competition.”

Things should remain pretty mellow until Saturday and Sunday – w/ Sunday’s mountain-top finish at Verbier being potentially game-changing. But I said that last week and I was wrong, so we’ll see. But in the meantime the tension will only rise and the days tick down to Paris. The ultimate question will be Quien es mas macho?

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Filed under Pro Cycling Antics, Tour De France