This is the time of year when anything is possible. Yesterday’s disappointment is tomorrow’s hero. We can still hope that our favorites will have the seasons of their lives. It's all promise and anticipation.
Tom Boonen won the Tour of Qatar last week and in this season of boundless possibility that victory feels like a promise. He could win the Ronde van Vlaanderen, this year. And André Greipel won stages at the Tour Down Under and at this week’s Tour of Oman. He could win on the Champs Elysèes. You see what I mean? In February, anything is possible.
Anything is possible must surely have been what the Belgian sports site RTBF was thinking when they published a Cyclismas spoof story as a true-to-life news story. The story reported that Liquigas team riders had been arrested by the Oman authorities for obscene photos. It’s shocking! And funny! It’s also not true.
Hello there Internet echo chamber, how ya doin’? I mean, some dude in Belgium actually translated that story, proofread it (presumably, though this step is often optional), and published it for the world to see. People, sources, verify them, please! Do I have to explain everything to you?
Mostly, I’m just picturing the follow-up calls to Liquigas press officer Paolo Barbieri. Ciao Paolo, How are you? I was calling to ask about the obscene photos? Yes, I’d like to know where I might acquire a copy of the photos. What? They don’t exist? This is so very disappointing.
Really, the way the news has been going lately, we can be forgiven for confusing fiction for truth. What with the rewriting of the results and the two-year doping sanctions that only last six months, it’s a weird world out there.
Last week, after the TAS-CAS threw down a two-year ban on retired rider Jan Ullrich, the German federation moved to ban Ullrich from amateur events also. No charity rides for you! It’s tough when you can’t even do the cakes for kids ride in your local town.
On the subject of doping, the UCI has begun the process of deciding - you know, now that the season has already started - whether it will allow Saxo Bank to keep its Pro Tour license. The decision is due in several weeks time. You know, while the season is going on. Maybe we can just airbrush the Crotch Eagle out of all the races, if the UCI decides to pull the team’s license.
Hey! UCI! We just want to know who actually won the bike races! Apparently, that’s a little too much to ask, these days.
Manolo Saiz, last seen meeting Dr. Fuentes in a cafe while carrying a bag of money, showed up to voice his support for Saxo Bank. I’ve always wondered if Saiz wore a fake moustache or at least a big black cape, to that fateful meeting. At least he wasn’t wearing a dress like Santuccione maybe did. Really, that story never gets old. Cape or no, Saiz thinks that Bjarne Riis is a swell guy and that the team should definitely get to keep its ProTour license. Which is maybe not the endorsement Riis is looking for. With friends like these, who needs fake moustaches?
On the subject of moustaches, Filippo Pozzato underwent surgery on his collarbone in Brescia on Tuesday. He is hoping to be back racing in time for the Belgian classics, a goal that pretty much leaves him no time to recover. No time to lose, he said. Indeed. The 67th edition of the Omloop het Nieuwsblad, née het Volk, goes off on 25 February, which is like really really soon. At least Pozzato seems to have left his moustache somewhere in last year. Didn’t I tell you last week that there’s always good news? There’s always good news.
And while we’re talking happy. Happy birthday Cadel Evans! Evans turned 35 on Tuesday. For his birthday, he received an out-of-competition doping control. Really, you shouldn’t have.
Okay, that’s all I have this week. Short and sweet. Now run along and agonize over your FSA virtual DS teams s’more. Keeping you up at night, is it? Just draw the names out of a hat and get it over with. Hey! You might even win!
Until I see you next, watch for parodies, stay away from fake moustaches, and always wear underwear, but maybe not under your cycling shorts. You can thank me later.