Menchov Retakes Gold, Valverde Still in Limbo

Sep 9 2007

Was I right on the money last week or what? I told you Oscar Pereiro was a poor bet for the overall – and now, he’s out of the race. Not only that, but I said Pereiro’s teammate Efimkin was a more-or-less legitimate contender – and now he’s in second, with the blessing of his squad. You might also remember I said Contador was Disco’s best hope for a win back in July, but the Spandiard had a little help from Rabobank team management in securing the overall. I can’t imagine Efimkin will be receiving similar assistance.

Anyway, today’s hilly stage was won by a spry, diminutive climber, same as yesterday’s net downhill TT was won by a less spry and less diminutive TT specialist. Grabsch wasn’t really on the radar before the stage, but the German TT champ has certainly shortlisted himself for the chronometrist’s arc en ceil later this month. Stijn Devolder used the TT to breifly take the lead, but c’mon, we all know that Belgians can’t climb, and hours later, Denis Menchov once again donned the golden fleece. Let’s hope, if he does end up winning it again, it’ll be on a podium in September, instead of a courtroom in February.

Speaking of litigation, the UCI has repeated that Alejandro Valverde cannot race at the World Championships. This was announced a week or two ago, but the Spanish cycling federation went ahead and registered him anyway. Not sure who’s gonna win this one. I mean, if Valverde just shows up on the start line the day of the race, will the UCI not start the event until he leaves? That could lead to some ugly protest footage, especially considering Valverde has yet to be accused of anything. Of course, if he wins, and then it comes out later that he was on drugs, the sport will look bad. Kind of a lose-lose spot for the UCI, and maybe why WADA backed out of worlds this year.

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