Bennati Wins, Valverde Waits, McEwen and Moreau Go Home

Sep 19 2007

Sorry for the impromptu haitus, but I’ve been working on nailing down a better “real” job. That means lots of web searching, resume and cover letter writing, driving, interviewing, and general sweet talking. It’s time-consuming, repetitive, low reward-to-effort ratio work – not unlike competitive cycling, one might say. But man, is it ever sweet when that long-shot effort pays off.

Cycling, like life, is dominated by the mundane and reliable; the group sprint while GC leaders bide their time and wait for the moments that matter. Change comes slowly in this sort of system – four years ago, the world would have been shocked at a Bennati Vuelta victory – he was podium fodder behind the big names. But place by place and win by win, he’s carved out a position among the best sprinters in the field, and avenged a national team snub.

Same program with Sammy Sanchez, who’s been making a steady progression from rouleur, through classics man and short stage race threat, to Grand Tour Top 5 for the better part of a decade now. Has overnight success – like Alejandro Valverde’s eruption at the 2003 Vuelta – gone out of style? The UCI says yes, but Spain says no; the likely compromise seems to be letting the CAS decide. With a Landis verdict due within the week, and the CAS the last line of appeal, Sport’s highest court could be very busy this month.

Also busy will be David Millar, doubling up at the upcoming World Championships. The TT comes first, of course, literally and figuratively. However, Millar will not be rubbing elbows with Australian Robbie McEwen or Frenchman Christophe Moreau during the event. Each was left off their respective national team, despite McEwen’s recent Paris-Brussels win, and Moreau’s, um, well…ok, so, not a lot of results for Moreau, but he does have a fairly long tongue. Has to count for something, right?

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