Not surprisingly Roberto Heras is now officially suspended for two years and stripped of the Vuelta title. Denis Menchov won the Vuelta, although he does not feel like taking the trophy or the Golden Jersey from Roberto’s hands.
The suspension is for two years and the recent change in the suspension laws mean that after two years, Heras cannot come back to a ProTour team for yet another two years. So he will effectively be out of major events such as the Vuelta and Tour for 4 years. No chance for redemtption unless his lawyers can get him out of the suspension by overturning the positive drug test. In the meantime, he can probably ride with Tyler Hamilton who (as Cyclocosm pointed out) has been relegated to lowly roadcycling magazine.
David Millar was suspended just before this rule took effect and is now enjoying what is basically a 1 to 1 1/2 year suspension. You may have noticed Millar all over every cycling magazine and cycling news site with “in-depth” interviews. He will come back just in time for the Tour. So if he were doing the Lemond-Armstrong method of Tour prep, then he is not missing anything at all.
Tested out Wayfaring to map out my trainign route. This one is a little different as I take Seet Rd. instead of 91 which is tougher at first and then evens out. The cool features about Wayfaring are that it is a very nice and easy to follow interface. You can save your maps and share them. You can easily post them to a blog such as I am doing below.
The not so cool features are that you cannot edit a map. If you want to add points at a later time, you can’t. You have to make one map all at once, which is something I would have expected since you create an account and save maps. The other is that there is no altitude indicator like there is on the Gmap Pedometer. That would be a cool feature to have especially since cyclist love to see figures especially about altitude. I am split on Gmap-pedometer and Wayfaring.
The United Pro Cycling Team will be revealed today. The new venture tries to create a new model for cycling team formation where they are not completely reliant on a sponsor for the teams survival.
“United Pro Cycling Team is a new concept, as far as this sport is concerned,” said team owner and founder Sean Tucker. “Our joint fan membership and sponsorship business model is similar to that of NASCAR and Formula 1 and now brings a new look to cycling as well.”
Structured in a manner similar to the fan-inclusive models of NASCAR and Formula 1, where each team is its own individual brand supported by a strong corporate partner, fans of the team will have the opportunity to develop a long-term relationship and support the team by subscribing for membership. It’s a model currently used by the Basque Euskaltel-Euskadi ProTour squad, and with limited success by the former Flanders-iteamNova.com team. — Velonews
The United Pro Cycling Team is loaded with talent so results should not be a problem. Their roster includes:
USPRO road champion Chris Wherry, reigning national time trial champion Chris Baldwin, Pan Am Games champion Ivan Dominguez, former U.S. Olympian Tony Cruz and four-time Argentinean national champion Juan Jose Haedo. Other key additions include Mariano Friedick, Justin England and Ivan Stevic. Sharing team director responsibilities are Frankie Andreu, a nine-time Tour de France finisher and the U.S. Postal Service director of U.S. racing in 2001-2002, and Harm Jansen, a former Saturn rider and the 2001 USPRO criterium winner. — Velonews
The team will be riding United Bikes which is a company created by the team. The bikes are made of Easton Scandium Tubing.
The new kit is heavy on the stars and stripes theme. Chris Wherry’s US National Champion Jersey does not look that different from the rest of the team’s kit.
Rujano who?…. The new discovery of the Selle Italia team Jose Serpa is making Gianni Savio quickly forget the Jose Rujano troubles as he takes another victory in Langkawi. Serpa took another solo victory in the Genting mountains today. Serpa is showing he is an all-round talent winning in the mountains and on flat terrain. He certainly has a nose for the finish line too.
Selle Italia teammate Gabriele Missaglia lost one minute to leader David George of South Africa.
1 Serpa,José in 3h01’00″
2 Elias Galindo,Jose a 1’18″
3 Iannetti,Massimo a 1’33″
4 Bellotti,Francesco a 1’38″
6 Grajales,Cesar a 1’39″
7 George,David a 1’41″
8 Raisin,Saul a 2’08″
9 Le Mevel,Christophe a 2’14″
10 Le Boulanger,Yohann a 2’27″
1 George,David – South Africa in 16h10’33″
2 Missaglia,Gabriele – Selle Italia Diquigiovanni a 1’57″
3 Bellotti,Francesco – Credit Agricole a 2’19″
4 Pedraza,Walter – Selle Italia Diquigiovanni
5 Grajales,Cesar – Navigators Insurance a 2’20″
6 Sharman,Robin – Recyling.Co.Uk a 4’20″
7 Elias Galindo,Jose – Relax-Gam a 4’40″
8 Serpa,José – Selle Italia Diquigiovanni a 4’44″
9 Lefevre,Laurent – Bouygues Telecom a 4’54″
10 Poilvet,Benoit – Credit Agricole a 5’42″
The last two days at Langkawi brought out two interesting victories. First, the young American phenom Saul Rainsin got a great victory after his breakaway succeeded. Saul is still very young and he will take on more of a leadership role in the Tour for Credit Agricole. Hmm, an American leading a french team in the Tour… makes me feel like the 1980s all over again.
Gianni Savio is probably not too upset about the Rujano channeling Terrell Owens saga. This man leads the Selle Italia team with a small budget, but lots of talent. Seems as though Savio has a savy eye for new up-and-coming riders from South America. So, could this year’s version of Jose Rujano be Jose Serpa?
The neo-pro from Selle Italia Diquigiovanni is quite possibly the last rider to be registered as a professional in 2006; after all, direttore sportivo Gianni Savio only signed him right at the end of last month following his three stage wins and second overall at the Vuelta al Tachira. — cyclingnews
Savio signed Serpa at the end of the Tour of Tachira. There he placed second overall and won a stage. Savio describes his new signing as a complete rider. So, maybe Savio isn’t too concerned about the Rujano situation and already has a replacement lined up.
Jose Rujano is pulling a Terrell Owens type move on his small Italian team Selle Italia. Rujano wants to renegotiate his contract to get more money and focus his efforts on the Tour de France. Jose Rujano was the bust out revelation of a legendary Giro D’Italia in 2005. The little Venezualan climber looks to be a favorite for the 2006 Giro which features serious climbing in the final week. So much climbing that Alessandro Petacchi was almost going to skip the Giro altogether.
Rujano had a contract with Selle Italia that ran through 2006. In August Quick-Step was calling Rujano with offers. Selle Italia team manager Gianni Savio worked out a deal that would allow Rujano to ride the Giro for Selle Italia and then let Quick-Step become Rujano’s new employer on June 1st. Selle Italia even brought in several veteran Italian riders to help Rujano get through the first week and give him some support on climbing stages. Everything seemed set for Rujano to make a serious bid for the Maglia Rosa.
Now problems are surfacing between Rujano and Savio about money and contracts. It seems that Rujano is not too happy with the contract and would like to renegotiate the five month deal that was reworked to allow him to move to Quick-Step. Rujano, asked to focus his effort to the Tour de France and only use the Giro as preparation for the Tour. Apparently, Rujano would like to focus his energy this year on the less mountains and more time trail intensive Tour de France. He could probably win a few mountainous stages in the Tour, but the Giro gives him a serious chance of winning overall.
So the question now is, did anybody see Drew Rosenhaus in Italy talking to a small Venezualan dude? If so, Jose needs to be filled in on the Terrell Owens story before it is too late.
Lance and Sheryl broke up and it is big news. Yup, the couple you thought had it made in the shade is no more. Some thought that once Lance retired from his seven time domination of the Citizens race Tour de Bababooey ( a three day omnium race open to citizens racers only) that he would spend more time with girlfiend Sheryl, but that wasn’ t the case. Lance is pretty highstrung, and not racing just made his obnoxious attitude worse. Lance has all of this unused energy that was previously deveoted to winning races. Now he was just acting like a total dick.
(Lance and Sheryl in happier times)
Lance will go back to his job as a copier salesman, while Sheryl will go back to her job as receptionist at a very prestigious law firm. Co-workers are wondering if Lance will resume his amateur racing now that he and Sheryl are splitsville.
“I think I am going to do some local crits and maybe even buy a new carbon framed bike now that I don’t have to be with Sheryl anymore. That woman was a drain on my bank account. I had to practically beg to get a cheap pair of Nashbar cycling shoes. Now that I am free I am going for a pair DMT Flash baby!” — Lance
“In the end he was such a dick. I was glad to play support for him and drive with him to races all over the freakin country, but come on, where is my time? He would just yell at me when he would pass by a feed station. Not to mention he would go totally ballistic if I passed him the cytomax instead of the powergel on the wrong lap. He promised that after winning the Tour de Bababooey ( a three day omnium race open to citizens racers only) for the seventh freakin time that he would either move up to Cat 3 or retire. He retired, but he was just being so annoying when he wasn’t riding his bike. I am never going to date another bike racer…ever! — Sheryl”
The breakup of Lance and Sheryl has the local cycling community stunned especially as news of this came just and some other couple broke up.
Alessandro Petacchi took his first win of 2006 with the sprint victory in the GP delle Costa Etruschi. AleJet responded in the “Battle of Sprint Kings” with a convincing win on home turf.
(photo from Grande Ciclismo)
The win was not easy as the race was hard from the start with several attacks. Team Milram and Lampre then took control of the race for their respective sprinters. Petacchi took the wrapping off his new team, while Lampre were setting up for their new sprint man Daniele Bennati.
A break involving two riders-Pietropolli (Tenax) and Cuesta (Endeka)-had a lead of 3 minutes going into the final circuit, but the gap was brought back down in time to allow Petacchi and Bennati to place 1,2 respectively.
“My teammates did a great job to keep the race together. I took off too early in the sprint because I saw Napolitano breaking away at 250 meters. I thought that he was trying to contest the sprint, so I started sprinting. He was actually working for Bennati, but it was too late for me to do anything about it. I can now say that I am happy with my form after a 200km race. I am not as good on the climbs, but in the sprints I am going well. I will now train very intensively this week and then head out to the Ruta del Sol.” — Petacchi
“Today Petacchi showed a great deal of strength. There was nothing anyone could do, so I am satisfied with the result and how we raced. The team worked perfectly. My next goal is the Giro del Mediterraneo” — Bennati
Tom Boonen won the final stage 4 of the Tour of Qatar in a dominating show of sprinting prowess. Boonen’s only loss came yesterday as he was beaten by both Bernhard Eisel and Erik Zabel.
Eisel was quick to point out that he only won because Boonen was having shifting issues.
Boonen commented on his current form by saying: “There is still plenty of time…My first objective is Milan San Remo and I am still coming into form”.
This is a quote that must put all those guys with fast twitch muscles on notice, since with Boonen and his tweeked out Treno Blu present there may not be much chance of winning a sprint this year for anyone else. This year, Quick-Step has made personel moves specifically to help Boonen win more sprints. Riders such as Stephen De Jongh of Rabobank, Guido Trenti and Matteo Tossato of Fassa Bortolo.
Petacchi’s current Milram Team was unable to get Tossato and Trenti signed, so now they bring their experience to work for the young Boonen.
The extensive experience certainly shows as Boonen has been unbeatable when there are no technical glitches to slow him down.
What remains to be seen is if this form and domination will carry over to the regular season. Once Milan San Remo rolls around, will Quick-Step still be clicking as they are now? There may be some other issues that breakup the Treno Blu, such as the ambitions of Quick-Step teammate Paolo Bettini.
Gazzetta dello Sport
Bernard Eisel broke the Quick-Step domination of the Tour of Qatar as he took the win ahead of Erik Zabel.