EICMA is somewhat overlooked outside of Italy. After all, it’s name is a confusing and mysterious Euro acronym, where all the letters are out-of-order to us simple English-speakers. And, despite what the silver space-man riding a bike might suggest, the show isn’t particularly long on technical innovation. EICMA is where you go to revel in the beauty of the old school, or the old and outmoded made beautiful. Oh, sure, occasionlly a manufacturer will drop a new product, but by and large, EICMA is all about celebrating the triumph of style over substance. So it doesn’t get much coverage. Plus, its name doesn’t end in “-bike,” so many American journalists might get confused by that.
Boldly progressing into the next paragraph without a segue, Ryder Hesjedal and Pat McCartney are each wiggin’ out from Disco to Phonak next season. Each had a fairly unremarkable 2005, but Phonak needs to replace all those gaps left in its roster by dopers somehow. Riders aren’t being the only ones shuffled around in this post-Worlds mayhem; Italian coach Francesco Ballerini is said to have his head on the block after failing to win the World Championships again. In most places, going 3 years without a World Title wouldn’t be a big deal, but in Italy… Things are apparently different in Belgium, too. After coaching the Belgians to their first World Title in almost a decade, Jose De Cauwer is stepping down to take a position at Davitamon-Lotto. And then there’s Germany. Perhaps there’s no other country so utterly terrified by its past; the new Milram squad has fired a manager and an assistant directuer sportif because they used to work for the Stasi. No word yet on whether this will set off a purge of former intelligence officials from other ProTour sqauds. I’m inclined to doubt that it will, seeing as 90% of ProTour squads originate in countries that were on the winning side of the Cold War.
Speaking of secret police, sounds like Tom Boonen could have used a few over the past couple nights to keep an eye on the Rainbow Jersey. Though an exhausted Boonen doesn’t remember it, he apparently “saved” the jersey by passing it off to a few Belgian fans who were somewhat less hammered than he was during his post-race revelry. Though he is looking forward to an eventual break from all this partying, the new World Champ is still interested in a little fun. Having apparenly exhausted the intoxicants offered by the MadrilleÃ±o night club circuit, “Blackout Boonen” plans to ask the docs for “some extra anaesthesia” before today’s stomach operation. He just better be sure to check the WADA banned substances list first.