Season starts with more doping nonsense

Headline:  ”Cycling has another week riddled with news of doping and not much else”

Well, at least that is what you’d think if all you read is the mainstream press, or even the mainstream cycling press.  We’ve already had racing action this season.  First in Australia with the Tour Down Under, and the Tour of Qatar just started.  Now honestly though – how many folks do you suspect actually know the standings of the early season races?  I’m betting a fair sight less than the number that know that 1) Lance Armstrong is off the hook, and 2) Contador has been stripped of his 2010 wins – including the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia.

And this season is promising to be a great showdown.  The combination of some of the riders from both Leopard Trek and Radio Shack into one team.  Renshaw free to clash sabers in the sprints without having to focus on delivering Cavendish to the front.  This is real racing drama – happening now.  Armstrong doesn’t race anymore – remember?  And now Contador won’t be racing this year until the Giro either.  So let’s focus our attention on the people out there trying to beat each other on the roads and single tracks – not in the court rooms, press rooms and headlines.

If only we could get as much coverage of our race winners as we do the doping circus…  Just one man’s opinion.

Contador shows my hypocrisy

Photo by Richard Masoner

Hypocrisy is something that drives me particularly nuts.  I am especially sensitive to situations where I find myself acting or thinking in this way, and strive to stamp it out.  Thanks to Alberto Contador I’ve actually found myself in one of these situations, and I’m still trying to figure out where my thinking may have gone wrong.  Specifically, I’m realizing that I’ve not been judging Lance Armstrong and Contodor by the same standards.  Even more so I’ve found myself holding the exact same opinion of Contador that I previously criticized others for having regarding Armstrong.

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Floyd-buterol

Floyd Landis, in what should have been a completely expected move, has chimed in on the Alberto Contador Clenbuterol issue.  Not only has he expressed his doubts about Contador’s explanation of the failed test, he has taken the opportunity to again point the finger to the UCI, reiterating his claims of wide-spread cover-ups.  Speaking to German television, he stated:

In the peloton, everyone knows that Pat McQuaid, Hein Verbruggen and other UCI officials have protected some riders, and not others, for the past 20 years.  It was manipulation, and their way of creating stars.

I still can’t decide – is Landis a press-hungry moron out to cause terminal, or is he becoming to doping what Kevin Mitnick became to computer crimes?  No matter what evidence may come to light, I suspect the answer to that will always be a mostly personal – and emotional – one.

Contador reveals how hard the failed test is hitting him

OK ok. I concede that English is not his primary language, and I get the intent of his message. But c’mon – this was just too good to pass up:

Things change

As I sit on the cusp of a big change in my own personal life, I found myself pondering other changes taking place around me.  “Change” somehow seems to be a theme that is thrust upon us every fall.  It is hard not to think about change when the very colors of the trees around you draw attention to it in vivid reds and yellows.  Well, assuming that there are trees around you, that is.  Turns out that I don’t have to look very hard to find a whole lot of change in the cycling universe in just the last couple of days.

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Top Spanish rider absent from top Spanish race

The Vuelta a Espana (or Tour of Spain) may be slightly lopsided this year.  This year’s Tour de France winner Alberto Contador, who is also the holder of the current UCI #1 world ranking, will not be participating in this year’s Vuelta.  Contador’s contract with current team Astana ends right in the middle of the 3 week race, and Contador has already announced his move from Astana to Saxo Bank-Sungard for the next season.

Also absent from this year’s Veulta is Team Radio Shack.  Bruyneel’s team was denied a wildcard spot in the race – apparently for not being a “good enough team” to compete.

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The Saxodus continues

The Saxodus continues as more and more people confirm that they are leaving Saxo Bank for other teams.  Here’s a quick rundown of current migrations:

  • Frank Schleck – “I’ll go where Andy goes!”
  • Andy Schleck – “I’ll go where Frank goes!”
  • Frank-n-Andy Schleck – New Luxembourg team.  Sponsor still TBD.
  • Jens Voigt – Confirmed to be leaving Saxo Bank.  Most indications are that he is going to join the Frank-n-Andy endeavor, but that has not been confirmed at the time of this writing.
  • Jakob Fuglsang – Moving with Frank-n-Andy
  • Steuart O’Grady- Moving with Frank-n-Andy
  • Matti Breschel – Transfering his accounts from one bank to another, Matti is moving from Saxo Bank to Rabobank.

That makes six out of the nine Saxo Bank riders in the 2010 Tour de France that are heading for other teams – 5 of them apparently to the same new team.  Fabian Cencellara still has one year remaining on his contract with Saxo Bank, and of course Alberto Contador has signed on to the newly names Saxo Bank-Sungard team for two years.

Indications of Voigt joining Schlecks on new team

The Danish website TV2 Sporten is reporting (English translation here) that there are indications Jens Voigt will possibly be leaving the current Team Saxo Bank to join Frank and Andy Schleck on their new Luxembourg team.  Reports are that Kim Anderson – former directeur sportif of Team Saxo Bank now working to help set up the new Luxembourg team – has contacted Jen Voigt about a possible spot.

VeloNews as confirmed the rumors that Alberto Contador will leave Astana to ride with Team Saxo Bank next season.  These moves are potentially setting up a repeat of this years Tour de France next year, with Andy Schleck again facing off against Alberto Contador.  In fact, Andy Schleck as already stated as much on the website andyschleck.com:

Next year I can turn the tables and win the Tour. I did a bad prologue this year and I have to admit that, but Fränk crashing out was a big loss. If there were two of us in the mountains it could have been so different. But now I know that I can beat Alberto and that gives me huge confidence and motivation for next year.

Andy vs. Alberto Specialized commercial

I actually thought this was pretty damned funny: