Sunday, February 24, 2008

Tour of F'in California

So a few unhappy campers after the penultimate stage and last chance to try and take some time from Levi.

Mark Cavendish looked to take a stage and erase the oops of leading out no one earlier in the race. Look again though as he is penalized for being helped back to the peloton by his team car after the entire Rock Racing team crashed and took him with them 8km from the finish. Unsurprisingly Mark Cavendish was not happy:
a disappointed Cavendish told Cyclingnews. "It's just bullshit -- who is working on this f**king race? When you have every car in the peloton dropping back to get me on... like it has been in professional cycling for a hundred years... who is working on the jury here? What are you going to do, make it a f**cking crit every day?

Even Bob Stapleton had a few choice words about the incident "If Cipo was practically in the f**king car, but Mark comes from all the way back and wins... and that is something that has to be yanked, that is completely wrong" Considering the adjustment to the rules made last year to keep Levi in the yellow jersey following that early race crash, this does seem like a sketchy decision as Cavendish still needed to make his way through the peloton to the front AND win the bunch sprint to take the stage.

Kevin Hulsmans from Quick Step had a completely different kind of complaint after the time trial Friday. Apparently he was selected for the doping controls and when the controller came to get him the whole team was in the showers, so the controller waited right there for him to finish. Not a big deal except the controller was a woman. "We politely asked her to leave, but she refused. What were they thinking? That I would try to escape through the roof? Would they send a man to look at eight naked female athletes?"

Thursday, February 21, 2008


At the rate that people are dropping out of this race, Levi might be racing by himself (maybe Chris Horner too) by the end of the race. I mean look at this list of people who either did not start or DNF yesterday:

Riders who did not start stage 4:
Fabian Wegmann (Gerolsteiner)
Johannes Frohlinger (Gerolsteiner)
Heinrich Haussler (Gerolsteiner)

Riders who abandoned during stage 4:
Dmytro Grabovsky (Quick Step-Innergetic)
Patrice Halgand (Credit Agricole)
Jonathan Hivert (Gerolsteiner)
Mathias Frank (Gerolsteiner)
Peter Wrolich (Gerolsteiner)
Julien Belgy (Bouyges Telecom)
Tom Danielson (Slipstream-Chipotle)
Jackson Stewart (BMC)
Jonathan Sundt (Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast)
Matt Crane (Health Net-Maxxis)
Ivan Dominguez (Toyota-United)
Burke Swindlehurst (Bissell)

You have to feel for Jackson Stewart. Taking the max on all the KOM to get the jersey back and then dropping out due to hypothermia.

Hypothermia? At the Tour of California? Absolutely ridiculous. And who would have predicted that Gerolsteiner would have a smaller team than Rock Racing by the end of the race.

Add the virus going around to the miserable weather and it’s amazing more riders haven’t dropped out. The start list for stage 6 should be interesting since it still has a good amount of climbing in it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tornado Tom and the Argyle Armada pt. 2

Big Tom took his first win on US soil today in stage 2 of the ATOC with third place going to Cipo of all people.

Apprantly BMC's plan is to have a rider take off alone each day and take all the KOM and Sprint points. Today Scott Nydam must drawn the short straw and going it alone for over 4 hours.

Slipstream played it perfectly and helped Tyler Farrar into the yellow by taking bonus time in each sprint. Can he hold it with the big climbs in store for tomorrow's stage? Time will tell but I am guessing no.

Monday, February 18, 2008

No publicity is bad publicity

In the continuing circus that is Rock Racing, Michael Ball has once again shown a flair for getting everyone talking about his team, but maybe more importantly talking about Michael Ball.

After AEG lists the Rock Racing roster minus the trio of Sevilla, Botero, and Hamilton, Ball goes ahead and announces them at a press conference and seems to pretend he doesn't know they are excluded at first. What a mess.

I have to say that initially I was with rock racing on this one. The whole Puerto thing has been a joke and to have 3 of their riders barred for that is ridiculous. On the other hand, acting like a spoiled child is a sure way to make sure people don't take you side.

Hopefully the UCI can just finish this stupid investigation and focus on what is happening today in the cycling not 2 years ago.


Paying attention to stage 1 more than my homework, I have to say go Jackson Stewart with the epic solo break that must have come as a, perhaps unwelcome, surprise with no one bridging up.

IN the women's racing world, the one and only women's race is done and congrats to Brooke Miller who pipped Laura Van Gilder at the line for the win. Hopefully both of them can make it to the NVGP again this year.

Updated - 10:15pm

Well as one might expect Jackson Stewart's epic breakaway did not net the stage win, but did get him the KOM and most aggressive jerseys.

My pick in the poll from the ATOC website, JJ Haedo, went ahead and won the stage (I suppose you get lucky once in a while).

Big George should maybe start thinking about skipping the ATOC after bumping with Boonen and hitting the deck.

Shouts to Freddie Rodriguez for beingthe highest placed non-Pro Tour rider today.

General classification after stage 1
1 Fabian Cancellara (Swi) Team CSC 4.07.20
2 Tyler Farrar (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30 0.02
3 Bradley Wiggins (GBr) High Road 0.04
4 Levi Leipheimer (USA) Astana 0.06
5 David Millar (GBr) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30 0.07
6 Gustav Larsson (Swe) Team CSC 0.08
7 David Zabriskie (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30
8 Benjamin Jacques-Maynes (USA) Bissell Pro Cycling 0.09
9 Gerald Ciolek (Ger) High Road
10 Christian Vande Velde (USA) Slipstream Chipotle Presented by H30 0.10

Thursday, February 14, 2008

ASO to Astana, You are SOL

Well the big news out of France was ASO giving Astana the big FU for the entire season.

No Paris-Nice, No Paris-Roubaix (not that Bruyneel cares about the classics), but especially No Tour.

On the one hand ASO has a point in that this is the second year in a row that Astana has changed management in the wake of doping scandals and it is fair to make them prove the changes are for real this time.

on the other hand Bruyneel points out:
“ASO does not invite us because of the past of a team that had the same name. Many other teams, with a similar suspicious past, that even did not change management or structure, can participate without problems. Where is the consistency? Is Tour the France not loosing all credibility now?”

This kind of makes Astana this years Unibet, except the Vuelta is welcoming them with open arms (kind of like 2006 all over again). ASO also was strategic in inviting all the other ProTour teams to Paris-Nice thus pretty much silencing any outcry like there was over the Giro.

It should be interesting to see how this plays out over the season and whether Astana exists next year. I suppose we can wonder if Contador is all hype and if he could actually win a Grand Tour that isn't handed to him in the Vuelta this year.

Stay Tuned

Monday, February 04, 2008

Tornado Tom and the Argyle Armada

Surprising to no one paying attention, Quickstep once again dominated the Tour of Qatar and Boonen took the overall for the second time in three years.

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come in the ToC later this month.

On the other hand Big props have to go out to Slipstream and CJ Sutton for his fourth place, that very easily could have been a podium spot if not for the crash in stage 5 that left Backstedt with a broken collarbone (hopefully it doesn't thro him too far off track in his classics training).

Even bigger props to Ryder Hesjedal for his third place in the GP La Marseillaise to open up the French calendar.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

One dimensional director

Just got done listening to the latest Bicycling Mag podcast, an interview with Johan Bruynee at the Astana camp in NM, and I was interested in a comment he made towards the end.

When asked about races other than the Tour that they are focused on he mentioned that they are not that strong of a team for the classics and that is one thing missing from his palmares. It got me thinking that despite having a strong classics rider in Hincapie at US Postal/Disco, the focus was so strong on the Tour that the one day races really got short shrift.

Now that he is with Astana, I think it is even worse because they really don't have a leader for the classics. Even more than Disco they are built to win races like the Tour de France, Tour de Suisse, and the Dauphine. Should be interesting to see what happens.

Update: Beofre I could even post this, the news came out that Astana Will not be going to the Giro this year. Apparently the fact that Contador has said he couldn't care less about anything other than the Tour and that Levi has only used it for a tune-up himself is behind the decision. Too bad for Kloden, this might have been his only chance to win a grand tour this year.