After being temporarily sucked into the same post-Giro vortex that claimed Mario Cipollini in 2003, Alessandro Petacchi has retrurned to our dimension to take the thrid stage of the Vuelta a Espana. The flat, stinking hot rumble through the Spanish interior went pretty much exactly to plan for the Fassa boys, as they reeled in a breakaway with 4k to, and launched Ale-Jet 150m from the line. Zabel, Boonen and Hushovd came in behind him in that order, but the victor was never in doubt.
Sensing that perhaps Armstrongate is loosing a bit of momentum (or maybe that people just don’t care), l’Equipe has refocused its journalistic ire at the UCI, saying:
“The sport in its entirety cannot, after such a revelation, stay like it is…Since Tuesday, the supreme institution of cycling, the UCI has fenced itself in a deafening silence. This one, like other silences, has to cease”
While being also apparenlty unfamiliar with the AP Style Guide, l’Equipe seems not to have noticed the numerous statements given by UCI officials on the topic. The UCI’s response? Why, the break off negotiations with the Grand Tours, of course. The organizers of the Giro, Tour and Vuelta have been wary of the ProTour ever since its inception, and things have only been getting worse. Despite constant sweeping threats from both sides earilier this season, the ProTour and the Grand Tours have all gone off sans hitch thus far; like many long-winded European debates (scroll to “Astarloa hopes”), this appears to be more about honor than anything else, and will most likely blow over without incedent.