Who brought you the news that Oscar Friere’s 2005 season was officially over, before world bicycle news leader CyclingNews? Oh yes, it was lowly Cyclocosm. Totally sweet. Meanwhile, in actual news, Bobby Julich absolutely put it to the Benelux Tour field into today’s final TT, opening up a void of 37 seconds over second-place finisher Leif Hoste of Discovery Channel to win the stage and the GC. Rik Verbrugghe, meanwhile, after leading the race for all but two stages, came utterly to bits, losing almost 2 minutes over the 26k course, and dropping to 5th in the overall.
In transfer news, sneaky Dutchman Karsten Kroon, after coyly concealing his destination for 2006, revealed today that he would be going to CSC, giving them a well-rounded squad of 23 roleurs (including another new acquisition, ’04 TdF prolgue winner Fabian Cancellara), one climber (Carlos Sastre) and one GC rider (Ivan Basso). Initial speculation had suggested Kroon was bound for Gerolsteiner, which goes to show you that Erik Zabel might not be bound for Domina Vacanze next season after all.
Also breaking out the checkbook this week was Disco’s evil genius Johan Bruyneel, who, after witnessing the relative failure of DS to support Lance in the hills this year, is creating a run on emaciated Spaniards. Euskatel’s Egoi Martinez and Saunier Duval’s Jose Marchante have each signed on to Disco’s sqaud next year, while another, Xabier Zandio of I-B, is currently in negotiations with the team. Inside sources say that Bruyneel is trying to get the latter on his squad, because “the team needs more riders who sound like bad guys from Buck Rogers.”
Let’s see…what other bits of tripe can I string onto the end of this sheesh-kabob and call news? Oh, Yaroslav Popovich is getting married to the daughter of an Italian diplomat, because, in Yaro’s words “I don’t want to have a kid out of wedlock and then start to suck, like Cunego did.” Also, Todd Yezefski, the only professional (out of some dozen that were present, including a former World Champion) to take a win at Collegiate Nats this spring will be returning to the boards to contest the points and scratch races at this year’s US Elite Track championships. No word yet on whether the Hulkster, who began his career on the track, will bring back the little belly he sported over the early part of his career to commemorate the occasion.