Tours of Cali, Valencia; Interviews of Riis, Julich

Feb 22 2006

So, what’d I miss by waiting until 2am to post? Interviews, with Bjarne Riis and one of his star pupils, Bobby Julich. Julich’s interview is much more interesting, as the Coloradan reveals his three remaining goals – National Title, maillot jaune and a TdF stage win. Julich was close to a vic in a couple TTs back in 1998, but that was when bikes like this were still cool. Where’s the friggin carbon? My bike’s got as much carbon as this (minus the wheels), and it cost $1300! And this guy’s been on the podium at Worlds. It’s almost as if having a carbon bike doesn’t make you a better rider after all. No, no, that’s just nonsense. Spending more money is obviously the most sure-fire way to improve performance, though my faith in that bit of marketing dogma was shaken twice today, with the revelation that the cheaper PowerTap hubs are initially more accurate than the more expensive SRM cranks. But the world of power meters has always been weird; were you really to need one, someone else would have bought it for you.

In results, all I missed was the opening stage of Valencia, where three riders were “not healthy enough” to start (I think this is a stupid rule, though this is much more suspicious than the recent Olympic cases, as Valencia is not at altitude). Anyway, Alexandr Kolobnev slipped away from the other “healthy” riders, while Petacchi seems to have lost a sprint(!) for 2nd, 27 ticks later. Here in the USA, Levi Leipheimer was psyched after retaining the lead in the Tour of California, but will be less psyched after today. Gorgeous George won a “sprint” from a group composed entirely of climbers, having been set up perfectly by his team. Landis, Leipheimer and some T-Mobile dude named Kohl left the field for dead over the top of the day’s big climb, but the flattish descent and strong riding behind ate up their gap. I know this because I watched the 1am-2am coverage, which was almost devoid of time gap announcements, and cut to commercial, inexcusably, right as Leipheimer made his move on the climb. I feel like, with the ESPN logo over on the left at VeloNews‘ home page, someone from that mag would be directing coverage on “The Deuce”; heck, maybe there is and VN is even worse than I thought.

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