Pro Cycling News – 'Cross Worlds, Team Presentations, Fat Jokes

Jan 30 2006

Arrrg…So much news for me to re-report. And all because I was lazy and didn’t post yesterday. I shall begin with ‘Cross Worlds (which I choose to write without the apostrophe – I see “Worlds” as a plural, short form of “World Championships”, VeloNews apparently sees it as a possesive, I guess from “The World’s Championships”), where late-race mishaps felled favorites in both the women’s and men’s Elite races. Strangely, in each case, the country that lost a rider still went on win the overall title, with Marianne Vos of the Netherlands winning a two-up sprint after teammate Daphny van den Brand flatted, and Belgian Erwin Vervecken rolling home to the win after Sven Nys found himself sprawled across the frozen mud, and apparently pretty badly injured. (It’s hard to tell, probably because of the difference between Babelfish’s Dutch Dutch and Het Laatste Nieuws‘ Flemmish Dutch.) The Belgian was thus unable to continue his streak of winning World Titles after having his wife pose provocatively in a popular magazine.

Elsewhere in Europe, team presentations continued unabated. Saunier Duval, maintaining their recent media prominence, announced at its presentation that it was riding not only for its sponsors, but also to advance the cause of human rights. It’s a noble end, and unsuprising, considering the unkempt hippie hairstyle of star rider Gilberto Simoni (who also apparently has no clue how to bend the brim of a baseball cap correctly). Also unveiling themselves to the media today was Liquigas, apparently bent on turning the clock back to 1998 with this fully alumnium pro bike, with unsanded, seagull-dropping welds and everything. Though actual riders probably won’t care, Competitve Cyclist would not approve. Remaining in Italy, Continental Tour squads Miche and LPR pulled up the curtains on their ’06 seasons today, reinforcing Velochimp’s assertion that Black is the new Blue. And though I know fat jokes are passé, it is quite amusing to see how decidedly unexcited Ms. Guerciotti looks to be supporing Dario Pieri in this photo.

Speaking of fat jokes, Eddy Merckx commented recently (BTW – what’s wrong with that headline?) that he believes Jan Ullrich will win the ’06 Tour pretty easily. The five-time Tour winner and all-time great credits the German specifically for using the Giro to warm up for the Tour. I however, am not so certain Ulle’s little vacation to the Land of Flowers will turn out as planned; Italian continental squad Amore e Vita has landed new sponsor, one which could seriously set back the T-Mobile leader’s Tour prep. Then again, thin may no longer be in. According to, these riders apparently “radiate” confidence; most folks I talked to just seemed to think they looked fat. Underworld figures like Suge Knight and Tony Soprano have long used their physical size to intimidate their rivals – perhaps the trend is now carrying over into professional cycling?

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