- it's in the hands of the UCI licensing commission, which is looking at the new sponsorship to decide if the team is licensed
- Saiz' ownership is an/the issue but he's being pressured to sell
- Saiz hasn't actually been incriminated yet, even though others have been.
It'd be heartbreaking to see them tossed, I think, because of Vino, who I really can't see doping. You never know, of course, but if innocent-til-proven has any legitimacy, these guys can't have their careers trashed right now. Ultimately this may be bigger than the Festina affair, but if it's just certain people, there's a chance for redemption where Astana comes in, sponsors a clean team headed by Vino, and the Tour and Cycling are better for it. Without a trial, the Tour and UCI have to make assumptions, and the safer one favors letting them ride. You can yank their results later if necessary, and that kind of sucks, but not as much as having excluded top riders for no reason.
Anyway, enough dope chat...
- Sam Abt covers the Communidad Valenciana tossing. Nice quote from Belda: "It's easier to kick out the poorer one that's thin and dressed badly and throw them to the lions."
- No he didn't, did he? Hey, The Angel of Viciousness knows Saiz better than I do...
- In the same CN thread as the dope coverage, Flanders makes a pitch for a Tour Grand Depart. Surely the Koppenberg would be prominently featured on day 1, right?
- Ed Hood is downloading his entire brain full of Tour memories onto Pez' pages this week. 1985 today.
- Wada says Cycling has the highest rate of dopers of any sport. The good news: it's 3.8%. Not to make excuses, but golf doesn't exactly drive you to amphetamines the way four straight 280km mountain stages would.
- VN has some Horner Chat, which is always fun.
- Bicirace checks in with il Falco... and the news isn't good:
"I have trained only a little, I have had a slight fever, but I hope that I can put in some hard training for the next ten days," Savoldelli explained to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Instead of being a possible Tour contender, il Bergamasco will likely play a support role to his Disco teammates, Hincapie and Popovych. "For the Tour I will have a hard time racing for the classification. In September I will have to have another operation on my nose, I have found out that I have a nasal path that is almost completely obstructed. It is a result from my crash a few years back..."
- Simoni's Basso-obsession is getting obscene... now he's having a kid too?!?!
"Only my wife and I know if it will be a boy or a girl," said Simoni secretively. But his focus is also on La Grand Boucle, "I will go to the Tour for the Alpe d'Huez stage and to help Millar."
- Charity ride of a lifetime: Ride the Rockies with the legends.