Jul 5 2007
Two sunrises to go ’til the prologue start, and it’s kind of a slow newsday. It’s not really the calm before the storm – more like the indecisive riding of a Cat 3/4 field coming into the final kilometer. That late break has been reeled in (the Petacchi exclusion), the riders looking to contest the sprint have moved forward (the start lists are in), but no one’s ready to fire things up quite yet (the Tour hasn’t started). Even the racers are holding back a bit, with Carlos Sastre citing the course and the weather as his top rivals. Although, with the race as wide open as it appears to be, those two might just be the safest bets.
Anyway, I’ll sift through the news for you, as the items make up in interestingness what they lack in significance. Bjarne Riis will not be attending this year’s Tour, contrary to earlier reports that he would. That report was in turn contrary to the wishes of TdF organizers, who expand their other thoughts in a VeloNews interview, conducted by yet another Cyclingnews evacuee. Now, it could be that Mr. Quenet is just un freelanceur, but his appearance at VN, taken with CN’s recent purchase and other high profile-departures, suggests to me that something is rotten in the state of New South Wales.
Speaking of rotten, rumor has it that the Landis trial will be decided within the week. The smart money is against the transplanted Pennsylvanian, with Lance Armstrong predicting defeat for his erstwhile frenemy. The race is clean so far, with all 189 participants passing the pre-race blood tests. The cyclists’ union might use this sterling opening to pressure management and race organizers to take more responsibility for the doping problem, or to tout the success of self-enforced squads (like the apparently expanded Team Slipstream), but to read Jerome Pugmire’s decidedly uninformed AP story, doping is all the fault of Therapeutic Use Exemptions. And for comic effect, Oscar Freire is having that problem with his butt, again.