Despite having a totally sweet name like “Bram Tankink,” Bram Tankink has ungone his share of misfortune (scroll way down) earlier this season. Even after driving the long break in today’s first stage of the Tour of Germany, and then dropping the rest break over a small rise with 16k to go, “The Tank” lost traction in a rain-soaked corner, and almost missed out on the stage win. But everything came out in the wash for the Quick-Step Dutchman,l who now sits over 3 minutes ahead of race favorites Jan Ullrich and Bobby Julich.
So remember yesterday when I was pondering how Illes Balears would fill the gaps left by its departing Spanish riders? Well, they’ll use Spanish riders from less-well-heeled Spanish teams, of course. Word came in today that San Sebastian winner Tino Zaballa will be heading to the squad formerly known as Banesto next season, and his teammate on Saunier Duval (referred to by ProCycling as “lightly-financed”), last year’s San Sebastian winner Miguel Angel Martin Perdiguero, is apparently also leaving for greener pastures. One Spaniard *not* leaving the team is Jose Marchante, who, despite previous reports, is not signing with Discovery Channel for next season. Whoever reported that first *cough* velogal *cough* was apparently misinformed. Oh, an Bobby Julich signed a two year contract extension with CSC today, quashing rumors that he will retire at the end of this season, his best in recent memory.
On to politics: how do you trace pervading political beliefs between continents? Simple. Just take a look at their cycling coverage. Australian-based Cyclingnews (which does a fair job of catering to Americans as well) led off today’s coverage with a report on how Lance was set to ride with Bush at his famously-overused Ranch in Crawford, Texas. The same bits of text were used in a report on British-based Eurosport today, but with a decidedly different message.