Apr 27 2006
Yeah, folks, I would have liked to write more in the past few days, but every since that dashing young Spaniard Valverde won Liege-Bastogne-Liege, there really hasn’t been any news in the cycling world to speak of.
Despite claiming the Tour de France is what “really matters”, Jan Ullrich waited practically until May to make his first start. Another Tour hopeful, Floyd Landis, has won three stage races already. Jan Ullrich being woefully behind in his Tour prep is not news. Ullrich claimed to be ready to “go through the pain barrier” prior to his first start on Tuesday, but then barely cracked the top 100 in the opening time trial (a discipline he is allegedly good at) in the Tour of Romandie. Jan talking tough and then underperforming – not news.
Der Kaiser then claimed to have ridden within himself because it was “a very technical course”. Jan Ullrich making excuses? Definitely not news, though media outlets making excuses for him might be (the worst example of this was Anthony McCrossam’s minute-long “it’s-tough-to-be-Jan” rant on the subject during today’s Romandie coverage on Cycling.TV). By the way, the winner of that ultra-technical prologue? Paolo Savoldelli, nicknamed il falco, for his bike handling and descending skills. Savoldelli winning on that course isn’t exactly something to stop the presses for.
The next day at Romandie (that’d be today…) Davitamon-Lotto finally got a European win in April. That would have been news given the team’s miserable spring, but the victory was notched by Robbie McEwen, who took a twisty, bunch-sprint finish in the rain. “McEwen wins difficult sprint in bad weather”; a headline up there with “dog bites man”. I mean, it was such a forgone conclusion that team management was pretty much banking on it.
Aitor Gonzalez, meanwhle is extremely miffed at the media. You may recall notorious French daily L’Equipe leaked to the world that the Aitorminator had a positive test at least year’s Vuelta. Turns out it wasn’t his fault, and the Spanish federation dismissed the case against him. This, combined the recent Hondo dismissal, might indicate people are reconsidering their attitudes toward dopers, and that might have been news if someone hadn’t suggested it last September.
Each year the bike world chills out and unwinds post-Tour de France. With the spring one-days just completed, and the Giro just days from getting underway, I feel like that’s what’s happening now. So until things pick back up, I’ll try to keep you interested, but let’s face the facts: I can’t make the the news happen.