Last year, I kind of half-joked about Post Tour Depression (PDT) and how it was going to be a long wait before the flag dropped on another edition of the Tour de France. It seemed like there was still a lot going on in the cycling world so that while the 2009 Tour was still about 330 days away I was still not "jonesing" for a fix.
This year, things are different. I don't know if it is my lack of interest about what is going on in Europe and the US, cycling-wise, or maybe it was just that it was such a great Tour that nothing can compare. Let's face it, it was a great Tour. There was so much drama and so much attacking it was a feast for the cycling world. So, maybe I am suffering from a full belly.
One thing that is definitely contributing to the banality is the new rule by the UCI that riders cannot discuss with whom they are going to ride in 2010 until September 1. Frankly, this rule sucks. Back in the good, old days (and they really were the good, old days) all rider transfer information was made public on the first rest day of the Tour de France.
I don't know why the UCI decided that riders and teams needed to keep their plans for the coming season a secret for a couple of extra months. These guys are professionals. Even if they are moving to a new team next year, the will still ride as hard as they can for their current sponsor. To do anything less would jeopardize their value to future teams.
What is interesting is that some riders are respecting the UCI rule and declining to discuss their 2010 plans, while others don't seem to be too concerned about the rule and are openly detailing who they will be riding for next season. Hmmm. Do some riders just not know about the new rule or are they just not concerned about any repercussions from the UCI?
One thing that is definitely happening is that the cycling rumour mill is running at full speed, 24/7, churning out all sorts of "information". We all know that Lance Armstrong will be on Team Radio Shack in 2010, but for just about everyone else, the sky is the limit when it comes to speculation. There are even rumours of transfer for riders who are contractually obligated to their existing team for 2010.
Things seem to be getting a bit out of hand. I think the only cure for all the rumour mongering is a good, three-week stage race. Unfortunately, ever since it moved from April to September, the Vuelta a Espana, hasn't been a good three-week race. To be sure, some non-Spanish riders have been in contention, but even so, this really is an overwhelmingly Spanish affair. Viva Le Tour! Can we have an autumn version of the race?