Winding It Up For the Vuelta

Aug 9 2009

ballanFor all my annoyance with the sudden bloom of races following the Tour, I find myself getting more excited for the Vuelta with each passing day.

Granted, given the continued success of Americans at Burgos, hailing from the US of A probably doesn’t hurt, but who doesn’t like to see a long-suffering World Champion come back to form as well?

But it’s not just Burgos that I find interesting—even the lowly Tour of Portugal has some excitement to it. I know the guy is 34 years old, but I want a ProTour squad to sign Candido Barbosa next season just so I get a chance to see his name on results sheets.

Races like the Volta also are the only places you get to see the ex-dopers making their comebacks on halfway house Continental squads like the Czech PSK-Whirlpool squad, and—of course—Rock Racing. After all, someone needs to fill the space left by Danilo Di Luca.

Which brings me to the World’s team selections. Because their countries have amassed so few UCI points, both the Netherlands and France will only be able to select six riders for this year’s World Championships. I’ll admit to being clueless about the inner workings of the processes, but it would seem difficult to simply extract the UCI points of dopers like Di Luca from season totals.

While I respect a rider like Cunego, who has all but stated that he used to dope but doesn’t anymore, the stance looses some ethical viability when he’ll be backed by 8 other riders instead of 5 due to performances of his less-scrupulous countrymen.

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