Thursday, 19 February 2009

Is this your blood?

Cameroon or California, who has the best sponsors reception.

I see Lancey boy has said that he thinks people are more interested in the Tour de Cali than him. I'm sorry? Am I watching the same race? Yes there are doubtlessly people more interested in the Tour de Cali than in Lanceys appearance on the start line every day, but these people are out and out cycling fans, and would be at the race no matter who was riding or what the weather was, and good luck to them, they will be there when the celebrity count is 0. These people are however in the minority, well, certainly in terms of the media. As in the TDU the biggest media hawks gather round Armstrong, not for the cycling story, but because he's Lancey boy and he's back. At times it really is not about the bike race.
But, there is of course a spin off in having the media spin the story, as there always is when Lancey is in town. And that is raising awareness of bike racing. I have a friend in the states who said the only benefit of Armstrong winning so many TdF's was he made Lycra cool. And as we all know making Lycra cool is a very good thing, well I say a good thing, if you tip the scales at 120kilos Lycra should never be cool.

Meanwhile as the only show in town rolls through the rain and as Cav practices his new victory salute (whilst simultaneously taking the piss out of Boonan) riders are hard at it over the water. Lets us not forget that the Tour de Cameroon is in full swing. I love races like Cameroon, they may well be the new frontier. They're also a great way to make you realise that old cyclist never die they just turn up and race in really odd events. Stage one proved Jaan Kirsipuu is still knocking out the k's and that Dave Clarke and I assume his team are riding. After that facts get a little vague, still, great event, real bike racing and as always good to see the UCI get right behind cycle racing in the developing world, which they do by smiling, shaking hands, and eating and drinking at the sponsors expense in California, God bless' em.

Old dopes never die, they just continue to live in fantasy world.

I was starting to despair, I really was. Staffan Schumacher had gone very quiet since he threatened to sue the world and her husband. So let the bells ring out and let job be unconfined as AFLD got round to banning him for two years. Needless to say the UCI have still done bugger all. They are awaiting any actions by AFLD, "We are still waiting in fact for the AFLD decision" they say. Or in other worlds, we'll wait and see if he sues them before we join in.

Needless to say Schumacher is not happy, oh, no, no, no. He is not amused, still in his spluttering amazement he did manage to utter "it's a shock for me and leaves me stunned" Talk about self delusional. Exactly what did he expect? At some point someone with some balls (obviously not the UCI) was going to stand up to his bully boy tactics and ban him.

Still you have to love him don't you? (oh, ok then, you don't), but what the heck, he's good value, witness: "I want to, and will, continue to ride. This sport is my passion and my job. I am fighting for my rehabilitation and appeal to everyone not to base their opinion of me as a person on this AFLD verdict"
Don't worry Staffan, we're not basing our opinion of you on the fact that AFLD have just banned you, but on the fact that you're an weired Alien looking dope cheat, who got kicked out the Tour after he produced a power output that a motorbike would fail to match.

"I want to, and will, continue to ride" Well, what happened to riding for Quick Step then? Didn't he insist that he would definately be riding for them in 2009? Sadly this doesn't look like happening, I was looking forward to seeing Alien number 1 following the peloton shouting "let me in, let me in" .

Someone else who's being fingered, so to speak, is the balding Alejandro Valverde, CONI, who like their French counter parts seem to have found some balls, made a point of filling their blood bank when Le Tour found it's way into Italy last year. Since then they have been playing match the DNA.
The first rider they matched (perhaps the one they really wanted) was Valverde. Apparently one of the blood bags found in Puerto fridge had the name 'Vlad the impaler' on it. Which has a V in it and as Valverde doesn't appear to have a dog will have to do.

Meanwhile the Spanish authorities have kicked off, saying that CONI have no right to probe their lad, who has been found inocent in Spain following the simple but effective test of 'Did you do it?' But this didn't have the desired effect, the Italians took it as an affront to their manhood and an insult to nationhood and promptly charged Vlad, sorry Valverde.

The one constant in all of this international double dealing and intrigue is that the UCI have continued to keep their head in the sand. Not so much keeping all events at arms length, more a case of hiding behind the sofa until the nasty man goes away, the nasty man in this case being the sector of organised doping.


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