Friday, 26 December 2008

Tis the season to be jolly.

This is coffee, please take a good sniff.

Our friend Jorg Jaksche is getting back on his bike, this time for a salary of one Euro!
Jaksche as you'll recall had been poking around in the medicine cabinet and as a result got sent to sit on the naughty step by uncle Pat.
He later admitted that he had no intention on returning to cycling, preferring to carry out daylight robbery and become a lawyer. However he has since changed his 'mind' and is now preparing for a season with Cinelli-OPD. That'll be the same Cinelli-OPD that Frank Vandenbroucke is riding for. Now I don't know too much about funding a professional cycling team, but Mad Frankie is bringing his own sponsors to the party, so that's two riders for the year and all for one Euro. That's a lot of publicity for, well, for nothing. Mind you in the riders riding for nothing v publicity scale it is but a small tremor compared to the fun at Astana towers.

One Stefan Schumacher, there's only one Stefan Schumacher. (thank God)
I'm joining the Stefan Schumacher fan club (assuming there is one). He's great, he really is. His level of delusion is up there with the Hamilton twins and good ol' Ginger Floyd (like Pink Floyd, but, allegedly they took fewer 'substances').
His latest outburst is looking promising, "I am innocent, I love this job and I am only 27-years-old. I want to win races again." Stefan, Stefan, hasn't anyone explained to you yet that the only way you won races is because you took the magic beans that you got offered by the naughty wizard?
The Quick Step training camp looks like it will be fun. Will they be employing bouncers to keep Stefan out of their hotel? Will they have the judges place a restraining order on him that prevents him from coming within 100 meters of them when on their bikes? Cos it looks like they'll need to do something as Stefan is determined to be there, invited or not, he's crashing the Quick Step party and he's bringing his own bottle.
"When I get a license, then we will surely sit down and talk. I will get the license, I have a valid contract and I have the goal of being successful with Quick Step." Yes Stef, but successful in what capacity, cos it looks pretty certain that it won't involve riding a bike.

Leonardo Piepoli has held his hand up like a good little scumbag and admitted that he was partaking of the substance known as 'Ricco's little helper'.
We had the usual whinging about wrong decisions and mistakes, but then we had 'It is futile to name names, it is a lot of people who were already prosecuted' So if 'a lot' of the people involved have been prosecuted that means that there are some that haven't and must therefore be offering their special brand of support to other riders. Roll on the date when the EU make doping a criminal offense and we see our first prison sentence.

Bringing it all back home.

Katusha have been 'unveiled' at a big meet the team bash in Moscow. Putin was amongst the guests, which I have to say is one in the eye for the Halfords-Bikehut team and their miserable attempt to get Gordon Brown/Tony Blair/George Bush to their presentation.

Lots of photos of riders rugged up against the cold whilst showing everybody their 'nice ' new jersey. I felt really sorry for the Italians, who seemed totally confused about what was going on, team presentations in the cold? What the hell was all that about? Filippo Pozzato and Danilo Napolitano look really unhappy, but ever game they cracked a half smile. Incidentally does anyone look less like a professional cyclist than Danilo Napolitano?

Attention race organisers.

Running a race in 2009 and need some publicity? Simple, just announce to the world that Lance is riding it. He doesn't actually need to have it on his schedule. All you need to do is drop a few hints on a convenient forum, maybe a quick call to a 'friendly' jurno who's after a scoop and 'Pat's your Uncle'. Lance will issue a denial saying something along the lines that it's a nice race, but, sorry, it's not on his schedule and he won't be riding it. You can then issue a statement saying Lance denies interest in riding your event, but you're still 'keeping open the channel of communication'. This allows you to issue a statement every few days to the effect that Lance is still not riding your event, but as ever you remain hopeful that he will change his mind. A few weeks of this and you'll up your profile so much you will have riders, teams and sponsors fighting to sign up. Not convinced it will work? You'll be surprised, it seems to be a favoured tactic of several race organisers during the 'off' season. So if your local evening 10 mile ITT is lacking a certain something......


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