Pro Cycling News – Lance on Trial, Vuelta Reactions

Dec 15 2005

Lance Armstrong on the recieving end of legal trouble? Yes, it’s true. Of course, the proceedings are in Italy, so you can be certain that March 7, 2006 trial date is purely speculative. ProCycling states here that Amrstrong’s first legal manuever will be to try and change the trial location from Simeoni’s hometown of Latina, near Rome, although other evidence says Simeoni is actually from Milan. Whatever. I’ll let the lawyers figure that one out. Interestingly, if information comes out in the trial that proves Lance used illicit drugs (though with half the world trying to prove his guilt for some time now, you think it would have happened already), it could mark a new era in the way the American justice system prosecutes doping offenses. USATF would do well to take note.

What would a Grand Tour route announcement be without rider reactions? Valverde, who may or may not do the race, is happy. This year’s victor-apparent, Menchov, who may or may not do the race, doesn’t actually comment on it. Mancebo, who may or may not do the race, is happy. Seeing a pattern? Man, it must suck to the redheaded-stepchild of three week bike races. Carlos Sastre says here that he does like the course, and, after the Tour de France, where he will presumably be helping Basso, it’s his main season objective. There’s more news on the ’06 Vuelta here, including some riders doing the hokey-pokey and the somewhat embarassing revelation that this climb-intensive racecourse had orginially been intended as a tribute to former 4-time Vuelta winner Roberto Heras.

It’s a pretty safe bet that if you country of origin sports both a European location and compulsary military service, that you won’t be doing much fighting. Yes, so long as you’re not addicted to video games, it seems like a nice little vacation, where you can hang out with a bunch of guys and learn to shoot things. But apparently in Switzerland, a country which hasn’t been involved in a non-internal military conflict since 1798, the army has a special detachment just for athletes, which currently includes some members of the Phonak squad. If the military issue tracksuit is any indication of the level of discipline applied to these “soldiers”, it’s no wonder the greatest legacy of this country’s military has been a suprisingly useful pocket knife.

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