Pro Cycling News – Astarloa to Barloworld, Boonen Better, CSC Camp

Dec 20 2005

Ho ho ho! I’ve got a lovely bag of Euro news for you this glorious winter morn. Leading off will be the latest and hopefully final episode in the Igor Astarloa saga (for this season, at least). After fairly reasonable rumors of a move to Lampre (one of his former teams), then talk of him switching to Liquigas, the Basque and ’03 World Road Race Champ has decided to remain with his current squad, the South African Barloworld outfit, for 2006. This means he’ll have to rely on wild card entries to get into the season’s biggest events, but with the partial dissolution of the ProTour last week, this seems like much less of issue than before. In other transfer news, former Disco rider Hayden Roulston, known well as a street fightin’ man (search “drunken brawl”) has moved to another American squad, HealthNet, probably because the medical coverage was better (yuk, yuk).

Meanwhile, Tom Boonen says he’s already better than last year, bucking the current trend among athletes of waiting until the next year actually begins before comparing it the current one. Maybe that’s why he’s so good, people: he thinks outside the box. Or maybe it’s because he’s from Belgium, land of “cycling, beer and chocolate”, as this report from Germany, land of efficiency and stereotypes, explains. Another man known to think out the box is Team CSC director Bjarne Riis, who began his paramilitary-style team-building camp with a rousing bowling match. The only reported casualty was a young girl, reduced to tears after finding that the lithe-wristed cyclists had stolen all the six-pound children’s balls. Never one to court bad press, Riis immediately cancelled the event and gave his athletes 20 minutes to gather their things and hit the woods (or in this case, a boat). I wonder if he told “the vampires” where they were going…

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