Here's my bike-related Christmas wish list:
-the climbing ability of Alberto Contador. I agree with Johan Bruyneel that Lance can hang with the best in the mountains, but Alberto is the man.
-the timetrialing ability of either Lance Armstrong or Fabian Cancellara. Hey, I am not picky, either one will do though if there is significant uphill, I would prefer Lance
-the sprinting ability of Mark Cavendish. Along with his fast legs, I probably also need his nerves of steel.
-the descending ability of Paolo "the Falcon" Savoldelli. This guy literally flew down hills and mountains like he was on wings.
-the heart of Jens Voigt. This guy can go fast on the flats, the mountains, in time trials, etc, and doesn't seem to be built to go fast in any specific discipline.
-the tactical prowess of Johan Bruyneel. Nobody can read a race better than Johan.
-the overall demeanor of Christian Vande Velde. This guy was in the thick of things all the way to Paris, but seemed to be having too much fun.
-the pocketbook of the New York Yankees, because if I get all my wishes, they will be the only professional team who can afford me.
What's on your wish list?
Rumours circulating in the media indicate that Amaury Sports Organization(ASO),
the company which owns the Tour de France, may not invite Team Astana to the
2008 edition of the race. That leaves defending Tour champion Alberto Contador
and America's best stage race rider, Levi Leipheimer, on the bench for
professional cycling's biggest show.
One of low points in last year's Tour was Team Astana's Alexandre Vinokourov
testing positive for non-homologous blood doping which resulted in the whole
team being sent home. The fallout from the affair saw a complete overhaul of
the squad, which is sponsored by a group of Kazakstani government-owned
businesses. Johan Bruyneel, who directed Lance Armstrong and his USPS/
Discovery Channel team to seven tour wins plus the win last year by Contador,
was brought in to rescue and rebuild the squad. Gone are almost all of the
team personnel and any rider who had doping problems, including Vinokourov.
Unfortunately, Contador still has a shadow hanging over him with regards to
Operacion Puerto; the initials AC appear on a questionable document. Contador
has declared his innocence, but in the world of denials by confessed dopers,
such as Marion Jones, the Tour champion's words seem to have had little affect
on the head honchos at ASO.
As I reported in an earlier blog, with the Tour de France dropping out of the
Pro Tour, the organizers at ASO now have complete control over which teams will
ride their race. At the 2007 Tour, ASO chief Christian Prudhomme told me that
in 2008 the Tour would be run under ASO's rules and not the UCI's and now that
has happened. Hey, ASO owns the Tour, they can decide to do whatever they
please. Way back in 1930, Tour boss and founder, Henri Desgrange, didn't
invite the 1929 winner, Belgian Maurice De Waele, to the race supposedly
because he didn't like how he won the previous year. I guess some people grow
on you as Desgrange invited De Waele back to the Tour the next year.
I think this sends a pretty clear message to Team Astana that the ball is in
their court and they need to take some pro-active steps to assure Contador's
innocence. The question is, if Contador's words are not sufficient, what does
he and his team need to do to prove their innocence? Hopefully, the Tour
bosses and Johan Bruyneel can come up with reasonable criteria so that everyone
feels like this issue has been dealt with fairly. It would be a shame not to
have the defending champion and also our native son, Levi, excluded from the
Tour on scurrilous grounds.
2010 Amgen Tour of California Preview
American Athletes Record Historic Firsts
2010 Amgen Tour of California Route - More Details
Online Golf Tee Times with Last Minute Tee Time Deals & Discounts
Cool Running is the complete online resource for runners.
Find your favorite campground from the best campgrounds listing!
What have you always wanted to do?