Pro Cycling News – More Heras Affair, Grand Tours v. ProTour

Nov 26 2005

Arg. I am so sick of reporting doping news. But I suppose if I didn’t want to do that, then I picked the wrong sport, yeah? Anyway, the first rider to lose his Grand Tour title due to a dope offense requires some attention, right? Here’s a stack of rider reactions (following a brief summary), including Pedro Delgado, the ’88 Tour winner who, with current regulations in place, would have been kicked out of that race for a positive Probenecid test. Despite Heras’ looming legal assaults, the Vuelta director says here that this proves the effectiveness of anti-doping measures, while in this article, the UCI prepares for yet another challenege against its only EPO test. I’m really beginning to wonder if the UCI really has faith in this test, or is just panicked about losing it’s only current EPO countermeasure.

Moving on, Giro Director Angel Zomegnon says he’s no longer concerned with the ruling of the ProTour Council against his split stages, because currently the Giro has no ProTour license. Considering the current animosity between the UCI and the Grand Tours, and the fairly caustic response toward the split-stage from riders, this is a pretty ballsy move by the Italian race director, and certainly an about face from his “this is just a suggestion” stance of 10 days ago. New UCI President Pat McQuaid is relatively unconcerned, expressing implicitly here that it’s fine by him if the Grand Tours and other RCS, ASO and Unipublic events are left out of the ProTour. The quote of the interview:

CN: I think it is fair to say that the ProTour won’t have the same lustre without [the Grand Tours]?

PMcQ: Initially, no. But there is a lot of potential to develop the ProTour and there is a lot of very positive enthusiasm for the ProTour amongst the teams and amongst the riders.

Maybe I’m in the dark here, living 4,000 miles away from all of this, but it sure doesn’t seem to me like anyone (not named “DiLuca”) is especially enamored with the ProTour. But I could be wrong. We’ll see next season, I suppose.

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