Timing and Shifting

Aug 1 2007

So I don’t know who to blame. Sackless editors? Lazy writers? Why is it only after the Tour de France, when no one else is paying attention, that the “mainstream sports are dirty too” and “at least cycling tries to be clean” stories come out? Maybe I’m just a cynic, but it seems like the timing was designed to cause as little stir as possible. Still, I suppose that’s preferable to the aggressively antagonistic timing of anti-doping expert Werner Franke, who seems to have waited until after the Tour had declared a winner to go through the documents he stole and “prove” that person was doping. At least the UCI’s new doping Czar is getting such results that soon, the services of Franke will only be useful to the accused.

Continuing on the “things couldn’t get any worse” theme, Barloworld’s Ryan Cox has died at the age of 28. The loss of Cox, a talented, developing rider who will never get to fulfill his ostensibly immense potential, will certainly be a blow to a Barloworld squad riding high after an excellent TdF performance. But, if there’s any silver lining to be taken away from the former Langkawi Tour winner’s death, it’s that he died of complications from an arterial surgery, rather than the mysterious nocturnal heart attacks thought to be a side-effect of EPO abuse.

But it’s not all bad news, as Team Slipsteam, Jon Vaughters’ “as-dope-free-as-possible” squad, has gathered enough money to sign David Millar, Dave Zabriskie and Christian VandeVelde, plus a former Paris-Roubaix winner to be named later. These big signings will encourage other top-tier riders to give the team a shot, which should in turn catch the eye of the oligarchs at ASO, and hopefully, it won’t take the the Superweek Solution to get the squad into the TdF in the next two years. If they do get the bid, Slipstream won’t be the only new arrival: Campy’s electronic shifting gruppo is allegedly almost ready for prime time (although this year was far from its first TdF experience).

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