Sorry for the brief blackout there, folks. Not having a permanent address can do horrible things to your ability to access the internet. Not much interesting happened in my absence, of course, just a few more rider transfers: Moreau to Ag2r, 2004 KBK winner Stephen DeJongh and 2005 KBK runner-up Kevin Van Impe each signed two year deals with Quick-Step in hopes of further establishing that team’s early season dominance.
Speaking of Quick-Stacked, the Belgian squad seems to reviving its glory days of the Mapei uber-team. Pippo Pozzatto and Luca Paolini went 1-2 at Hamburg’s “sensationally non-selective” HEW Cyclassics Cup. The youngest of the ProTour “classic” events, and second only to Paris-Tours in terms of being sprinter-friendly, was dealt its final shuffle by a crash 15k from the end, allegedly caused by Alessandro Petacchi’s chain slipping off. (I feel for you, bro).
And then there are the rumors. Hushed whispers in the German press about a certain 7-time Tour winner trying to coax a certain 5-time Tour runner-up over to his former team for the upcoming season. All unsubstantiated so far, but none the less intriguing. Also, the uncertain fate of Erik Zabel has kept the rumor mill well above production quotas for this quarter. Scuttlebutt has it that the 35-year old could be headed to Domina Vacanze for 2007, to fill in for Ale-Jet in races that are plum too hard for his spoiled little legs (these would include Le Tour). One thing is certain – Zabel chose to leave T-Mobile, passing up a 3-year contract extension with guaranteed starts at the Tour de France of his own volition.