Tuesday, 18 August 2009

When I asked for a blood sample.......

Cycling it would seem is not the only sport where madness is high on the agenda, Rugby Union also seems to clock up it's fair share of strange events. Dean Richards of Harlequins has been banned from coaching for 3 years for his part in a 'fake blood scandal'. Of course Rugby Union is nowhere as good a sport as cycling and this 'scandal' is proof positive.
Fake blood? Fake bloody blood? Bloody fake fakey bloody blood? Call that a scandal, in cycling we don't mess about with fake blood we use the real thing, gallons of it, your own blood, someone else's blood, blood from a fridge, blood from a clinic, blood from a Spanish doctor. And we don't just splash a few drops on or lower lips on no, we mix it with anything we can get our hands on, EPO, CERA, Testosterone, speed, recovery drink, coffee, lard, sometimes we mix the whole lot together and down a few pints before the morning training run. Fake blood my arse, call that a scandal?

Latest transfer news.

It's been confirmed that AC (That's Alberto Contador not AC from operation Puerto) is not moving teams, that is unless he moves teams. He will apparently stay at Astana and ride as personal assistant to the proudest son of Kazakhstan Alexander 'Me? I've just been on holiday for 2 years' Vinokourov.
Brilliant, if ever there's a contract that someone wishes he hadn't signed it must be Contadors, it was all going swimmingly, there he was main man in a team funded out of a county that had been put on the map by having the piss taken out of it. Still, he was number one and then? And then it all went wrong, up comes Lancey Boy and suddenly AC (That's Alberto Contador not AC from operation Puerto) is a number 2 and then just as he was thinking about leaving for pastures new some damn cycling official waves a contract under his nose and mutters something about carring water for Vinokourov (who as we all know only wins on water).
His only hope now is that Vlad the impaler gets a global ban, and gets sacked and thus allows C d'E to free up enough cash to buy him out of his contract.


Sunday, 16 August 2009

What if Sky don't sign you ?

Time to raise the anti-doping bar.

Team Sky are rightly proud of the research they are doing into riders backgrounds and their test results / blood passport numbers before signing them. So if a rider signs for them we can make an assumption that they are pretty damn clean.
But what of the riders they don't sign? Is it a sign that the rider in question has something to hide? Is it a sign that their passport is ever so slightly stained? Is it a sign that they owned up to something under Big Daves thorough cross examination?
Have Sky raised the bar in the anti-doping fight? In the future will suspicion now fall not on riders that produce unexpected performances but on riders that reach the end of a contract and don't sign for Sky? Will it be a question of They didn't sign for Sky, therefore they must have 'issues'!

What is more interesting is will other teams follow suit, indeed will Garmins actions in posting the power and blood values of their riders especially VDV and Wiggo set another new trend? Teams may talk about transparency, which is of course just talk, and do sod all about that transparency. So it's gratifying to see that Sky and Garmin are both putting their money where their mouths are, it's about time other teams followed suit, indeed it's about time that the UCI requested open publication of riders power and blood results as a pre-requisite for all future team licenses. I fully accept that this would require the UCI excreting some kind of authority over and above their usual level of rhetoric, but maybe they could be forced to play catch up here? Or maybe they could just go on holiday as per......

More Kohl cobblers.

It's been a good few weeks since twatty face Kohl as been in the news. But he's back now with more dope fuelled revelations. As with all his utterances there is a sad air of inevitability about them. I'm not in the least bit surprised at the latest one's, that is, that his manager Stefan Matschiner bribed anti doping labs to find out the exact level at which doping products could be detected, thus allowing the needle to go into the arse at just under the point where it would show as positive. What I'm interested to know is what the UCI are doing with all this information, Are they formulating new policy based on it? Looking at the work done in the labs called into question? Looking at the scientists involved and not just the labs? Attempting to findout if any other teams are up to the same tricks? Cos if one's doing it you can bet your bttom btacket that they're not alone. Ary they sharing any information wiht national anti doping bodies, the IOC, the police? I would be more than a little surprised if the answer to any of these question was yes.

Other sports - more shocking revelations.

Having recently wondered out loud about the point of other sports and making the case for turning their venues over to cycling events I was more than a little alarmed to find out that some sports are still living in the dark ages, er, not.

It would appear that the England cricket team have had players injured playing football! Note the word player, for me that implys certain things, it implys an armature approach and a certain lack of commitment. Anyway, someone or the other has got injured playing football as part of their warm up routine for cricket. Er, different sports, different biomechanical actions, different, though admittedly similar physoligical requirements, different kit and therefore technique, etc etc. As a cycling coach if one of my riders wanted to warm up for a road race by, say, going for a run, playing football or riding a BMX I'd say a big no. So what gives with cricket? Ah yes, players not competitors.
Is it perhaps a coincidence that the sports where GB excels / does well in, cycling, rowing, possibly swimming are the sports that have a scientific apprach to preparation, warm up and competition. In other words sports that are professional in attitude and approach not just in name.


Friday, 14 August 2009

An inglorious return

Well after a whole month of excessive coaching stuff, riders at champs, courses and even a little 'real world' work I'm back at the coal face of ill judged ranting and semi libelous cynicism.

Mind you my return is in no way as inglorious as Vinokourovs, back and back to his winning ways. I've no idea if his winning is in any way connected to his old ways or to new ways, but there you go, he's back.
He's talking joining Astana and Caisse d'Eparhne are talking 2nd sponsor to get Contador into the black. I mean why not, they've been riding for him all year and AC (That's Alberto Contador, not AC from Operation Puerto) has probable had enough of being tossed around at Astana, one day he was a number one and the next Lancey boy turned up, turned in a more than decent ride and then rode off with most of the team, and oh, he didn't get paid for a few months. Me thinks that if someone was to offer C d'E a tenner he'd be off.

BTW Vinokourov said "I wanted to go to all out. My goal was to test myself" - well I guess he knows all about testing.

And you thought the UCI were stupid!

Now I know I have, on occasion, let rip in the direction of the UCI, however, I should like to point out that the UCI are in no way better or worse than any other international governing body. A few weeks ago we had the world swimming champs and with it a slew of world records that is second only to the records set on the day 'Records began' (as in today was the wettest day since records begain). And was it all down to extra super training? nope, was it all down to new super 'juice'? - oh no, it was down to super fast costumes, made of I don't know what (and can't be arsed to find out) they allowed hundredths, tenths, seconds and in some cases days to be slashed of previous records. This of course caused much uproar, were they fair? Was technology taking over from good old fashioned hard work? Who was to blame? Needless to say FINA acted with UCI like efficiency and banned the suits, from next year, but hey they did something.
Not only did they ban them, but they issued an instruction that all future suits should be made from and get this, made from 'material' ! Genius, pure UCI genius. What the bloody hell are they made from now? Cabbages?

Le Tour de 2010, 78 teams apparently.

So, Le Tour is over and like all good soaps next years has started in earnest. Speculation about who will and who won't be there is building to such a crescendo that I can hardly stay awake. Apparently there will be a restriction on the number of teams with 20 being ASO preferred guess. Meanwhile there will be 3 new Radio Shack, Team Sky and team 'Is Sean Kelly still riding for them' along with the current 18 lucky recipients of the UCI's largess that, if my maths is correct is 21 and as we all know from school 21 will not fit into 20.
But you know what, this is cycling and we love nothing better than cold hard cash and cold hard publicity, Shack have Lancey boy and Sky has, well Sky has the worlds biggest media machine, Big Dave Brailsford and his meticulous planning and a super strong anti-doping policy, so they're riding then. Skill then? Well they had a decent Tour this year, not coming away with much, but aggressive and on the TV in a lot of breaks. And when compared to the pathetic showing from Lampre they look to be a shoe in.

But race day is still many months away, time for riders to change teams, time for twats to get busted and time for someone to win the odd race (The tour of Poland,that's an odd race). I suspect we will have a classic compromise and see all 21 on the start line. Still there's still time for a name or 2 to fall foul of the testers and spare eveyones blushes.