Polemics Are Back

REUTERS/Joseba Etxaburu
REUTERS/Joseba Etxaburu

Ahh, the Vuelta is sometimes the place of redemption. A cyclist having a bad year can go to the last Grand Tour and make a season positive. Denis Menchov is trying to help Rabobank forget about Micheal Rasmussen and Roberto Heras. Menchov looks like he is bulding a healthy lead in the Vuelta and could win it and savor his podium unlike a few years ago when he received the Amarillo jersey after Heras lost it due to doping.

Now, the best part of cycling is also back. Carlos Sastre is not too happy with the cozy situation between Denis Menchov and little Italian climber leonardo Piepoli. The two used to be teammates on the Banesto team. It seems like they are still wearing the same jersey by the way they worked together in the tough mountain stage. Carlos Sastre is PO’d and is speaking out.

Sastre even pulled a “Lance” type move by acting as if he was in trouble to see what Piepoli and Menchov would do.

“I played a little theater today to see if what I was thinking was true,” Sastre continued. “Piepoli straight away attacked the group. That proves that alliances are at work here.”

Piepoli, who finished seventh in the eight-up sprint won by Menchov, calmly denied he was blatantly working for Menchov.

“The comments by Sastre are overblown and came at the heat of the moment after finishing the stage,” Piepoli said. “All I did was ride my own race. I was the only rider who attacked up until 4km from the finish.”

Piepoli’s tactics could be mistaken as working for Menchov. However, look at Piepoli’s riding style and his performance at the Giro. The man wins climbing stages because he is a climber. He won the stage and the only way he could do it was to keep a high pace and keep everyone from attacking. It seems that Piepoli’s tactics meshed well with Menchov’s but that is simply fortunate for Menchov. Piepoli is always at the front going for stage wins, what else would he do?

Cycling is getting fun again, it is refreshing to talk about team tactics and polemics rather than lost sponsorships and positive dope tests.

Velonews article