It is a new year and that means it is time for a few resolutions. I am not going to bore you with the 'lose weight', 'ride more', 'train harder', 'win the Tour de France' and all those other cliche and mundane resolutions. These are big, earth shattering, life changing, global planet resolutions/wishes.
-buy a clue for the UCI. Every year I do this, but every year the UCI seems to lose it. I just don't understand how the governing body of our sport can continue to make such bonehead moves as dumping the individual pursuit from the Olympics.
-get a peace pipe for Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador. Enough already. The Tour was finished five months ago and you haven't ridden together, or against, each other since. Here's an idea. Let your legs do the talking.
-find Floyd Landis a team. OK. The big rumour is that Floyd is going to Rock Racing and that is probably true, but let's give him one more chance to put the events of 2006 behind him and get back to rocking it on the bike.
-get the World Road Championships moved back to late August/early September. The titles shouldn't go to riders who don't have anything better to do in October.
-push for the USA to have a national tour like the Tour de France. This may seem to be a bit provincial, but let's lose the Tour of Georgia, Tour of Missouri and Tour of Utah and just let the awesome Tour of California become, like the Dallas Cowboys, America's Tour.
-get women's cycling some more credibility. While the men's ranks are loaded with depth, women's racing really suffers from depth of field. We need to attract more quality female riders to the sport which will make those victories both much more deserving and also exciting.
-get more cycling on TV. It is great that NBC Universal Sports has stepped in to pick up the slack as Versus seems to want to focus more on getting more high profile sports, but both of these channels are now owned by cable giant Comcast. We need to get cycling on the four major networks so we can all watch and not have to become tools of the Comcast empire.
Just when you thought the pro rider transfer season couldn't get any weirder, it appears that Cadel Evans has left his Belgian Silence-Lotto team to head over to the USA/Swiss Team BMC. Evans had one year left on his contract with Silence-Lotto, but he was somehow able to get released from the service of his now-former team.
Given Evans' forgettable performance at the Tour de France, this might not seem to be all that newsworthy, but you might remember that just under two months ago, he won the World Road Championships in Mendrisio Switzerland. So, BMC is not only getting the plucky Australian, they are also getting the rainbow jersey. It is most likely a bit of coincidence that the rider who wore the rainbow jersey before Cadel, Allesandro Ballan, will be riding alongside Evans at Team BMC.
Of course, we will never know why Evans changed teams. Rumour has it that Team BMC, which is owned my multi-millionaire Andy Riis, basically had no budget when it came to signing riders for 2010 so there was a lot of money being offered to the top pros to come to BMC. This might seem a bit sleazy, but that's how it is done in the pro ranks, especially if you are a team like BMC and are looking to move up to the next level in the pro ranks.
Probably the biggest affect of bringing Cadel to Team BMC is that the Tour de France is now a real possibility. Team BMC is a Pro Continental, rather than Pro Tour, team which means they are eligible for a wild card birth to participate in the Tour. Last year, they showed well at the Dauphine Libere. With the likes of Evans, who has twice finished second at the Tour, Team BMC should be a strong candidate for a wild card spot.
If Team BMC does get into the Tour does the squad have enough talent to be able to support Evans, especially in the high mountains? All of their best climbers have never ridden the Tour which probably means that BMC team management might need to get out the checkbook and go shopping for a few more uphill specialists with some Tour experience. George Hincapie, who comes to Team BMC from Columbia-HTC can clearly be the road captain, but the mountains are another story.
Of course, at this point it is only speculation, but until the pros turn a pedal in anger in 2010, that's about all we can do.
So Cadel Evans is now the World Road Champion. Cadel and the Australian team rode a great tactical race with Evans only putting his nose into the wind in the final few miles. Previously, I wrote that I hoped that Cadel's most important win would take the pressure off and allow him to be more positive with journalists and fans. Well, one thing I forgot to mention is a little thing my friend Lindsay reminded me about which is the curse of the rainbow jersey.
Winning the World Road Championships carries with it the privilege of wearing a rainbow jersey for the next year. The jersey calls you out as the reigning World Champion. For every rider incapable of winning the Tour de France, winning the World Road Championships is the greatest achievement of their career (OK, maybe Paris-Roubaix is up there,too). Unfortunately, there seems to be a bit of history to support the fact that for many winners of the World Road Championships, their winning ways stop when they pull on the rainbow jersey.
That's why they call it the curse of the rainbow jersey. You win the biggest race of your career then spend the next twelve months trying to explain to journalists and the public that you are still a deserving champion even though you haven't won anything since the year before.
Which brings us to the Cadel dilemma. While I was hoping that this win would turn Cadel's whining ways into winning ways, given the curse, it appears that next year may prove to be a, well, um, uh, bit of a down year. Clearly, the curse may not affect Cadel, but if it does, how will it affect Cadel? We can all get frustrated when things don't go our way. Hopefully, Cadel can defeat the curse and all will be smiles in 2010.